This review contains spoilers.
4.6 Door Number Three
It’s interesting to see Falling Skies leaning increasingly on its history to bring back tidbits from the past and make them relevant to the current events. In the case of Lexi Mason-Glass (Glass-Mason?), it’s wise of the show and writer Melissa Glenn to bring back elements from all sides of the Mason family to tie things in the fourth season to those in the first three. After all, there have been a lot of suspicious elements throughout Falling Skies, most of which have to do with various Mason entanglements with the Espheni or their agents.
Tom spent a significant time on board the space craft of the Espheni, and even spent time with them during his time in the concentration camp. Ben still carries the mark of his harnessing in his back, despite the damage they may be doing to his body, and was the original source of stress in the Second Mass camps due to the way the harness and spikes affected him. As for Anne, well… we know what she did, smashing Dr. Kadar in the head and running off with her weird Uncanny Valley baby to evade more unwanted attention.
All those threads come together in this week’s episode of Falling Skies, thanks to Lexi shedding off her mortal coil and retiring to her weird alien cocoon device to gestate into her next stage of being. The Volm, perhaps the wisest of the bunch, decide to bail on the humans and get a safe distance away from… whatever Lexi is going to become. They’ve dealt with Espheni hatchlings before and know how dangerous Lexi might become. Other humans, like Pope, are ready to just pump Lexi and her alien pod full of lead and call it a day. Also wise. The Masons, AKA the first family of weirdness, are willing to let this play out and are ready and willing to defend their relative from all clearer-headed killers.
Given the threads dug up by the characters, and by Weaver having witnessed his own monsterized daughter willing to defend her father to the death, it makes sense just how characters line up on various sides of the issue at various points. Hal’s on the fence because while he’s seen all that his father and brothers have done through, he also remembers what the Espheni did to Karen. Anne is staunchly defending her daughter because it’s her daughter. Pope and the rest of them have seen what the Espheni have done, and aren’t believing the holy lies told by Lourdes—who probably isn’t terribly trustworthy these days anyway after killing the President—though there are a lot of followers who believe in Lexi’s powers.
It’s a well-crafted episode from a dramatic standpoint, and it is filmed very well by Jonathan Frakes, who is something of a TV sci-fi mainstay in the director’s chair. He makes great use of the sets crafted, particularly during a long walk-and-talk through the camp as they discuss how the various sides are shaping up, and how outnumbered the wait-and-see crew are. There’s also a great shot of Hal and Maggie’s reunion in the midst of the farmer’s market-like atmosphere of Lexi’s village, and as the camera tracks around them, Ben comes into frame in the background, efficiently interrupting Hal’s reunion sex with the woman Ben now has a crush on. Frakes also does a great job with the confrontation scenes, as when Tom walks into a gathering of Anti-Lexi soldiers and lays down the law, and again when Pope and a gang try to bust through Lourdes’ human chain to take out Lexi before it’s too late.
It resolves, at least for this week, in a peaceful way (this is still Falling Skies), but there’s an impressive amount of tension between the characters throughout the episode. Hal has tension with his father; Tom erupts at his son in return in an uncharacteristic display of open anger courtesy of Noah Wylie. Ben has tension with Maggie and Hal; Maggie’s tension is confronted while his tension with Hal is unspoken. Pope remains the troublemaker of choice, guaranteed to take the side of anyone but Tom. It’s a way of creating a pretty fun episode without spending a lot of special effects budget (aside from recycling the alien pod from a few seasons ago and investing in some red lights).
The episode made good work with the Lexi situation, and gathering all the principals together and putting them at cross purposes—albeit with the same goal—means the show feels leaner and smoother than it has with the cast scattered the past few weeks. Now there will be forward momentum on the Lexi/Espheni situation, which out to pay out nicely given just how well everything else has paid off on the show thus far.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Mind Wars, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan found this week’s episode to be particularly fun, if only because it made so much mention of the show’s history of doing weird things to Tom and his family in the name of plot advancement. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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