Tweetable Takeaway: “Respite” serves as a break from the action, however a calmer and quieter episode doesn’t mean it’s any less intriguing. Tweet
Airtime: Sundays 10 PM, TNT
By: Paul Gulyas, Contributor
The sixth episode of FALLING SKIES’ final season does in fact offer some respite, a break in the action, from the last two episodes of maniac Pope trying to avenge the death of his dear Sara on the Masons. Pope wasn’t even seen this episode (it wouldn’t have been much of a respite if he was, considering just his appearance is so unsettling). By my count the only kill, human or alien, the entire episode was a moth Espheni (the one who carried away Tom at the last moment last week) lying on the ground already injured, who Ben puts out of its misery with a couple rounds to the head.
However, a calmer and quieter episode doesn’t mean it’s any less intriguing or well executed. We see that Tom is on the mend from Pope’s bullet in his leg. He wakes up on a farm all but untouched by the alien invasion. The children living there have no idea that anything extraterrestrial even exists. Normally in a series’ final run, these little asides seem distracting, unfocused, and unnecessary. We want to see the main characters together, tying up the storylines from across the series in neat little bows, or at least making progress towards that. For this reason I felt cautious knowing that this episode would have an A storyline mostly taking place on a farm.
In the end, though, it worked. Ultimately this storyline is there to remind Tom, and the viewers, what EXACTLY he and his 2nd Mass are and have been fighting for for the entire run of the series: a return to normalcy. To just live. In a particularly affecting scene, Tom joins the farm family for dinner, taking the head of the table, and holding hands to say grace, pass the potatoes, pass the corn… He breaks down crying. This drab, everyday moment we take for granted has become more alien to him than the Espheni themselves. It’s tragic. And particularly moving when at the end of the episode Tom starts speaking to the family about rebuilding America, and needing strong families to help. Though it may not have been the writers’ sole intention, it definitely hyped me up to see the humans once and for all win this thing.
Other plotlines involved Maggie removing her spikes in her spine, thus removing her deep connection with Ben Mason. The interesting part that I didn’t see coming was that when Hal returns (with new girlfriend Isabella), Maggie seems to be completely in love with him again. With the introduction of Isabella last episode, and with Isabella and Hal hooking up this week, I naturally presumed that the writers were making things easy on the two oldest Mason boys former love triangle debacle; “Oh, Ben and Maggie can end up together because we’ll give Hal another also badass girl to fall in love with.” If this isn’t in the cards, then I’m genuinely unsure where all this is leading.
And in a twist surely to play out in great importance in the coming episodes, Weaver discovered an Espheni tool in an old abandoned whiskey distillery. No clue what it does but he described it as “the nail in the Espheni coffin.” Whatever it is, there are still battles and losses ahead, I’m sure of it. And Pope is still out there somewhere…
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