Tweetable Takeaway: This week #FallingSkies effectively shakes us when we lose a major character. Tweet
Airtime: Sundays 10 PM, TNT
By: Paul Gulyas, Contributor
A healthy dose of a muched missed component was injected into the final season of FALLING SKIES last night: genuine human drama amongst character we actually care about.
Too much of last season was spent on setting up the primary conflict of Espheni-Human hybrid, Lexi Mason, child of Tom and Anne. This new character was introduced who we were supposed to care about–who we were supposed to believe Tom and the rest of the Mason’s cared about–but never truly felt the connection. And so when there was betrayal and loss, it wasn’t felt by the audience, leading to an unsatisfactory conclusion.
This season is doing the opposite. It’s taking its original cast members and setting them against one another. Tom has been pissing people in the 2nd Mass off with his newfound “warrior” side–notably Weaver. But this episode we finally saw some real world consequences of Tom’s change in attitude: the loss of Pope’s one true love Sara.
That’s not to say that the Pope and Sara relationship was pulled off without a hitch. Introduced last season, Sara (Mira Sorvino) and Pope had a “will they/won’t they” thing going, but you knew exactly where it was headed from the start. Meant to reveal Pope’s softer side, Sara never really developed into a character of her own, or at least a unique one. We got the “bad girl trying to do good” early in the series with Maggie.
But with Pope’s romantic dinner with Sara last episode, it finally started to feel like he and Sara had something worth the audience’s investment. Which is why when she was killed off this episode, it actually pulled at the ol’ heart strings a bit. I was actually starting to believe Pope and Sara might live happily ever after at the end of the series.
More important than the severing of this relationship is Pope’s reaction. When Sara’s legs were stuck in some Espheni-goo, he had to run back to camp to get the flamethrower to melt it. He caught Tom & Co. in the truck on their way out, and begged for a ride to get to Sara faster. Tom however decided the mission was more important than one person, and made the orders to leave Pope in the dust, thus leading to Sara’s demise.
And that is why even if I wasn’t invested in the Pope/Sara relationship, I would be okay with her dying JUST to serve the purpose of making the ever-rocky Pope/Mason relationship boil over. They’ve butted heads the most since very early in the series. Now this may be the final straw, and it’s going to be fun to watch it play out, if handled correctly. These are two characters we care about, and who we’ve cared about since the beginning, and pitting them against each other, where one may literally be gunning for the other, makes this alien sci-fi drama human. The next episode is called “Pope Breaks Bad.” The Pope vs. Tom showdown is reminiscent of Walter vs. Hank on the final season of Breaking Bad. (NOTE: I do not believe Falling Skies holds a candle to Breaking Bad. I’m not insane. The plot devices are similar, all I’m saying).
In other noteworthy developments, we learn from Cochise that other human resistance factions are calling themselves “Mason Militias” as Tom’s message is being spread across the Earth via the Volm. Also it appears that the alien race coming to Tom in his “visions” are long deceased. And Anthony may or may not be struggling from PTSD, imagining having seen a weapon in a captured Overlord’s hand that turned out to be just dirt.
Overall the episode was solid in terms of character development, but the “monster of the week” thing with the hybrid creatures was tired. Hopefully the rest of the final run remembers to focus on sending the 2nd Mass off into a satisfying sunset, and not a special effects spectacle.
Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite TV shows, earn points for what they get right, and see where they stack up against friends and the world (free in the iOS App store). Check out the SHOWoff app at playSHOWoff.com