Falling Skies: Saturday Night Massacre Review

Falling Skies serves up an unsatisfying last stand in Saturday Night Massacre. Here is our review.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good battle scene as much as any Falling Skies fan. The strategizing, the inspirational speeches, the posturing and acts of bravery – all of it makes for entertaining television and reminds me of some of the best scenes from this show in previous seasons. But there was just something a bit unsatisfying about this “last stand,” especially given the loss of some key characters.

Calling the episode “Saturday Night Massacre” told us what to expect, and it would have been foolish to hope that the term would be used to describe the decimation of the Espheni forces. And given where we last left Lexi, it could have been surmised that she would be the instrument of the 2nd Mass’ destruction rather than Scorch and his forces. Be that as it may, Lexi’s departure near the start of the episode left the door wide open for the sanctuary to no longer be a safe have, and the battle that ensues certainly makes sense.

I was somewhat disappointed that Lexi didn’t come out of the cocoon looking substantially different, but at least she didn’t go on a rampage as Shaq seemed to indicate she might last week. Because of what Lexi said to Lourdes before her apparent demise, I have a hard time believing she’s actually dead, and I tend to side with Ben that it might be possible to find out what’s really going on inside Lexi’s head. I applaud his decision to follow her but am amazed at his sheer chutzpah in getting in the UFO with her. Bravo, Ben!

The decisions of others in the lead-up to the battle seemed admirable on the surface as well. The Volm taking out the bridge provided a nice buffer of time, and the thermite raining down upon the mechs was both creative and visually exciting to witness. And that’s why the gas main explosion just seems so… empty. It’s not that so many of the dead were mere red-shirts; the sacrifice Lexi’s followers made had plenty of emotional impact, but the idea that a huge chunk of the 2nd Mass could be taken out by such an unlikely accident just lessened its impact by virtue of its lack of credibility. A working gas main? Really?

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Perhaps I’m just still numbed by Maggie being trapped in the debris, although I can’t imagine her injuries will be fatal. However, I also wouldn’t have believed you if you had told me that both Kadar and Tector would be taken out after a major character had already supposedly died at the beginning of the episode. These deaths should have added depth and heartbreak to the massacre, but it just added to the tragic unbelievability of how it all happened.

It didn’t help that Sarah and Pope’s storyline continued to fall flat. Although Sarah’s urging Pope to flee to Florida did seem like something the old Pope of season 1 might have gone for, his sensitive reaction to her reluctance to fight seems out of character and certainly doesn’t help me understand or respect their burgeoning relationship. It was easier by far for me to accept his defense of Tom Mason’s leadership, which he has been known to begrudgingly praise in the past.

And Tom did lead this battle well up until his decision to use Tector’s 50-calibur rifle to take out Scorch. Ah, Tector; such a noble sacrifice. But with Tom and Maggie both trapped under rubble, we should be in for an interesting recovery next week. And let’s face it, dusting everyone off, and pulling them back up on their feet to persistently fight again is what this show does best. Back to the good stuff!

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3.5 out of 5