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Airtime: Sundays 10 PM, TNT
By: Paul Gulyas, Contributor
I’m really impressed with where the final season of FALLING SKIES is going. It’s asking questions about the prices of war, and not just in effort and casualties, but in regards to the very essence of what makes us human. For the first time, and in its final season at that, we are seeing hero Tom Mason stray from his moral code. And even more surprisingly you may be finding yourself sympathizing with the very race trying to enslave and conquer the human race.
The Espheni are still hurting after last season’s lunar offensive, leaving their legions of skitters still on earth unmonitored and hungry. The 2nd Mass now has to defend their stronghold of Chinatown against the onslaught, while trying to solve a food-shortage crisis as well. It’s enough to put everyone over the edge, but we are really seeing some unchecked rage for the first time in the character of Anthony. He can barely keep behind the barracks during a skitter attack, climbing over the wall to bash a skitter’s head repeatedly. And while Tom tells him to stop and focus here, our hero turns the other cheek when he sees Anthony and other angry hungry soldiers openly torture a lone captured skitter.
When Captain Dan Weaver calls Tom out on it, an interesting argument ensues. Once the soldiers do embrace their rage, as Tom has instructed them to do, can they ever come back from it? Is it REALLY beneficial to the 2nd Mass in the long run? Dan, Tom’s trusted advisor, seems to think not. And we’ve already seen Tom’s own wife questioning this rage. This storyline takes us further down this path of Tom breaking with his people, and it makes you wonder how it all will wrap up.
Aside from this conflict, we’re treated to more Hal-Maggie-Ben love triangle, this time Ben and Maggie getting advice from Sara, and of all people, Pope. But Pope turns out to be quite the romantic himself; after raiding a food distribution plant he treats Sara to a classy candle-lit dinner on a balcony overlooking the wreckage of the city. At the end they share their first kiss. I’m more interested to see if this relationship survives to the end than a few of the main characters.
In the episode’s final scene we discover that the “insect” that bit Tom on the neck at the end of the premiere is a hybrid of espheni/hornet/skitter/human DNA, with human eyes (which is creepy but also absurd–it looks like something out of a 1950’s sci-fi flick). It wakes up while under Anne’s microscope and flies off. Anne and Tom follow it to a hill overlooking a huge meadow where a veritable army of these new hybrid creatures await.
The problem is it feels like more of the same old and not threatening at all. We’ve been introduced to new alien creatures/weapons before that were scarier than these things. Inserting a new monster this late in the game just feels like a stall. Let’s get the 2nd Mass back on the offensive to kick some Espheni butt, and let’s find out who those mysterious helpers were who seem to be pulling Tom’s strings like master puppeteers. Hopefully next episode is not just a one-off where the 2nd Mass deal with the monster of the week and move on, no consequences (next week’s episode is called “Hatchlings” which worries me). We shall see.
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