This review contains spoilers.
If you’ve stuck around for all five seasons of Falling Skies, the ending of the show won’t come as a surprise to you. Nor will the beginning of the show, for that matter. Falling Skies loves its big, dramatic speeches, and the finale episode won’t leave fans of voiceover or dramatic monologue disappointed. Indeed, the finale pushes in more speeches than battles, which for a show promising a climactic battle, is more than a little disappointing. But what’s left to say about Falling Skies‘ final season other than to acknowledge it as a lost opportunity?
Yes, Falling Skies stays true to its corny roots, in spite of the promise of bloodshed and a war to end all wars and all that good stuff. The deus-ex-machina weapon is ready, Tom Mason and the gang are there ready to sneak into the heart of occupied Washington DC, and all is primed to end the alien threat once and for all. This is Falling Skies, so there have to be complications, but when you’ve got Tom Mason around, every complication only serves to make him a bigger hero. And he has to be the biggest hero of the bunch to fulfill his destiny as George Washington for a brave new United States of Earth.
After repelling the assault of the flying hornets—dropping US-made bombs on the militia—and sustaining casualties like good old Marty, the Second Mass meets up with some other militia members and together they march, not on Washington, but on cheaper-to-shoot tunnels underneath Washington. DC is surrounded by an impenetrable alien wall, and while the Mason militias attack the wall to serve as a distraction, Tom and the gang will sneak in using the service corridors to administer the fatal dose to the alien queen. Unsurprisingly, like their initial plan of attacking the wall head-on, this secondary plan also runs into a problem, namely a grenade-happy Lt. Wolf, a bunch of Espheni overlord eggs, and a tunnel collapse. While the rest tend to a dying Anne, completely blowing off their mission, Tom finds out the alien queen’s secret plan for earth, why she hates humans so much, and then gets a lethal dose of poison via the blood of Tom Mason, who injects himself with the harmless-to-humans spore to kill off the alien threat once and for all.
There are a lot of ridiculous moments in tonight’s episode, penned by David Eick. First, the alien threat was initially driven off of earth 1500 years ago, presumably by Incans or some other indigenous tribe living in the vicinity of the Nazca lines in Peru. From the figure drawings used in conjunction with the queen’s voiceover, it’s somewhere vaguely meso-American. This brings up the question as to how a bunch of people doing stick-figure paintings can drive off an advanced alien civilization, but perhaps the aliens were caught by surprise or the death of the… princess, I suppose, left them vulnerable. Either way, the figures look more caveman and less Incan, and the whole thing doesn’t really make a lot of sense, considering just how tough it’s been for armed fighters to fend off aliens and just how easily the aliens were able to wipe out most of earth. Even if they had to spend that time developing technology to wipe out the earth, surely they were still more advanced than humanity even back then.
It’s just too convenient. Pope shows up to admit that Mason’s suffering brings him no happiness. Pope then immediately dies due to his injuries after somehow crawling out from the rubble of the collapsed building, finding friends in a Tennessee militia, and making it to wherever Mason has taken Anne only to fall over dead after a last talk. The same explosion that killed Wolf and the Espheni hatchlings also ended up injuring and killing Anne; but Tom’s brought her back to the magic lake and the aliens bring her back to life for a happy ending. Maggie and Hal get married, Matt writes a book, Weaver gets some medals, Anthony joins the real military, and an international coalition of what I can only assume are Mason militia members have gathered together to hear Tom make a big speech about togetherness.
It feels like a joke. It’s just too pat, and Olatunde Osunsanmi uses some incredibly cliched visuals—the crowd gathered at the National Mall, the rousing music, the bright blue sky ending in a pan all the way up to space—to further that point (or to try and fail to inspire some wellspring of pro-humanity sentiment). But, for a show that has indulged in its cheesiness for so long, it’s a natural finishing point, even if it’s not as effectively cheesy as the show was in its first and second seasons.
There’s an acceptable amount of feel-good cheese, and Falling Skies has eaten that cheese to the point of sickness in this week’s episode. It’s a disappointing way to end the series, but at least it’s out of its misery now. What was once a positive, fun, simple sci-fi show ends up a mess of unappealing treacle.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Reunion, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan is supremely disappointed with the ending of Falling Skies. Not that he expected greatness here in the last episode of the last season, but something a little more satisfying than this would have been nice. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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