This Falling Skies review contains spoilers.
If fans were asked to choose how Falling Skies should end its five season run, chances are they’d respond with the desire to see the 2nd Mass defeat the alien invaders once and for all. Fortunately, the show kicks off its premiere episode with some long-awaited victories for the beleaguered humans, and the rallying cry of “Find your warrior!” can’t help but strike a chord with viewers. The brilliance of this episode, though, is in the underlying suspicion that the situation is being manipulated by an unknown alien force, and it will be interesting to see how long the show can sustain the balance between glorious payback and the sense that it’s all too good to be true.
The situations are familiar. This isn’t the first time Tom Mason has returned mysteriously unharmed from a visit with the alien powers-that-be, nor is it the first time he’s been subjected to visions of life as it might have been. The difference here is that the many characters, including Tom, react just as the audience does: with skepticism and cautious optimism. The vision of Rebecca, even if she was an alien masquerading as Tom’s dead wife, was clearly using cancer as a metaphor for the Espheni invasion, and Tom knew it. He chose to embrace the message despite its source, and who can blame him? “Find your warrior” is powerful advice.
Or is it? It’s interesting that Anne notices a downside to getting “lost in the rage” as the 2nd Mass sought its revenge. As a no-nonsense viewer, I applaud Tom’s take-no-prisoners approach to eliminating the remaining Espheni infrastructure, but his callous brutality did seem alarmingly out of place at times. Then again, so did Anne’s comforting of the Skitter in its death throes. In the end, this creates an unsettling feeling mixed with the joy of easy victory, an oddly satisfying conflict of emotions.
I’m also glad Anne scanned Tom for eyeworms. Clearly he’s attacking the Espheni at the behest of his mysterious saviors from the end of last season, but since their goals appear to align with his, he offers only vague reassurances of dreams that felt more real, like memories rather than mind control. The destruction of the fallen beamer and the scavenging of mech weaponry is a huge win for humanity (and super-cool as well), but it’s all somehow tainted by the multiple shots to the face Tom gives the fallen Overlord. The clincher, though, is the glowing blue bug Tom slaps on his neck at the end of the episode. What was that? So many wins, yet the episode ends with a feeling of foreboding. I love it!
Some bad taste still lingers in my mouth from last year’s less-than-stellar season, however. Mira Sorvino returns as Pope’s annoying love interest, Sara. Her character’s surprising crack shot which brought down the Overlord escape pod was received with an appropriate amount of ridiculous shock because, really, who cares? Meanwhile a beloved character, Denny (a.k.a. the other spiked teenager), is gracelessly disposed of, having become superfluous. What a waste!
Perhaps it was to make room for the new “spikes” plot between Maggie and Ben. I did enjoy the way Hal dismissed the tension between him and his erstwhile girlfriend despite her stubborn insistence that her feelings for Ben could not be denied. The love triangle could easily become a nuisance, but I think it was handled well here in the season premiere. As long as the writers keep a tight rein on it, I’m game for a little relationship drama.
“Find Your Warrior” is a well-balanced and encouraging start to the final season of Falling Skies. The benefits of being able to end a series with plenty of warning cannot be overstated. The humans have been underdogs far too long, and they deserve some vengeance. Although it will still be an uphill battle for the 2nd Mass, I’m confident that season five will deliver. What it will deliver, however, is anyone’s guess.