Falling Skies: Stalag 14th Virginia Review

An unpopular Falling Skies plot detour comes to a close, and a glimmer of hope for a return to the alien fight shines through.

This review contains spoilers for the latest episode.

Every week, I give Falling Skies a clean slate. No matter how frustrating the prior episode was, I always go into the new week hoping things will get better. Moments of “Stalag 14th Virginia” had me aching for more, like little morsels of food after two weeks of starvation. Sadly, since the majority of the plot continued last week’s debacle, more than half of the story was the same dreck. The march to Washington had better knock my socks off, but with only two episodes remaining, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to satisfy.

Slow build-ups can be good sometimes, and Weaver’s skillful maneuvering while remaining free of accusation himself brought him a well-earned victory. However, I found myself getting confused about when his inside men were going to act and how many were on his side. Weaver’s discovery and subsequent killing of an Overlord seemed to stir even the desire of Ben’s abuser, Kagel, to fight the real enemy, but apparently he and others remained loyal to Marshall. It felt very repetitive, in fact, to have Shelton convinced by Tom to set him free separately from Weaver’s machinations. This confusion made the mutiny seem choppy and ponderous to me overall.

Not to mention the escape attempt was far too simplistic and haphazard, and Tom’s sole departure almost seemed unnecessary. He could have easily been on the firing squad delivering his inspirational final words instead of Anne. Matt was already bringing Cochise, Dingaan, and the others. And if Weaver was counting on the execution team being 100% sympathetic after the group had already killed over 30 supposed sympathizers, it sure feels like he was taking a huge risk.

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And I’m all for tension and swashbuckling rescues, but the truck bursting through the fence was reckless and quite possibly counter-productive. I was certainly pleased that none of the soldiers opened fire even when Kagel was gunned down by Isabella, but it just felt like blind luck. The triumphant moment felt flat even though I was overjoyed for the paranoid military plot to finally end.

The conclusion allowed other high moments to give me solace if not complete redemption for the episode. The fact that Captain Marshall was not just influenced by the Overlord but was actually a completely fabricated duplicate of the Kate that Dan Weaver knew, even with her memories and feelings, was a complete shock. Having the ability to look like humans opens up an array of possibilities for the enemy. Unfortunately, with the series so close to an end, I’m not sure if the opportunity can be exploited very much. Still, very cool.

Likewise, Ben’s revelation upon reaching into the Espheni communication device got my heart racing. This is what the last few weeks should have been spending time on! A mysterious super-Overlord appears to be directing the actions of the remaining legions (more than I thought, actually) of Espheni on Earth. The fake Kate Marshall indicated Tom was a target because if you “cut off the head of the snake, the snake dies,” and that could be true for the alien invaders as well. On to DC!

But wait! Not only did this episode give us some closure to the Ben-Maggie-Hal triangle, we finally got to see Pope and Anthony again, and boy, have things gone downhill. As a whistle-blower from the 14th Virginia joins their camp, it appears Pope may be back on the warpath. But… is this what viewers want and need? My biggest hope is that Pope is headed for a quick redemption by sacrificing himself for the greater good in the ultimate irony. Otherwise, it’s more human against human drama ahead.

And I think we’ve all just about had enough of that.

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2.5 out of 5