Tweetable Takeaway: Stalag 14th Virginia straddles the line between satisfying and disappointing due to missed opportunities. Tweet
Airtime: Sundays 10 PM, TNT
By: Paul Gulyas, Contributor
Some may be disappointed by the copious amounts of human vs. human drama this season, as opposed to the 2nd Mass being knee deep in Espheni corpses after a season-long warpath, but I for one am glad that the writers and directors of FALLING SKIES have given the characters emotional arcs we can invest ourselves in in its final stretch.
Earlier this season we had Pope vs. Tom. We had Anthony vs. Anne. We had Weaver vs. the Lonely Weirdo Dad. Last episode planted the seed of conflict between the 2nd Mass and the 14th Virginia. After being accused of treason and working with the Espheni, the Masons are sentenced to death by firing squad. We also learned that Captain Marshall (Melora Hardin) was working for/with the Espheni. It was a great set-up, and this episode was all pay-off (some more satisfying than the rest).
First, the satisfying: it was a cool twist to learn that Captain Marshall hadn’t just been compromised or brainwashed. She had actually died a few weeks prior, and the Espheni terrifying were able to produce this Overlord in her image, complete with memories and feelings. What’s cool is that it allowed an emotional, trying dilemma for Dan (he used to and probably still has feelings for her) and Will Patton was able to act his ass off in those scenes. I always thought he was a real treat for this series, and it’s good to see him utilized so well in these final episodes.
Beyond that, the very fact that the Espheni have this capability is interesting. Will we discover that other humans, perhaps some in the 2nd Mass, are also long-dead with Overlord imposters? Could Tom be one of them? The season started with his mysterious return to Earth. He has been acting out of character at times. It’s a stretch, but an intriguing possibility nonetheless.
The less satisfying: though it was a cool, emotional sequence, the firing squad scene, in my opinion, had a misfire. One of the Mason boys, or Anne, should have gotten a bullet to the head. I don’t say this because I don’t like the characters, but because we’re nearing the end of the series (two episodes left) and no tragedy has befallen the Mason family (Lexi doesn’t count).
I won’t say that this is the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it’s becoming wildly unbelievable, after all the death and destruction and loss we’ve seen other characters go through (and assume the rest of the world has gone through). Every last minute escape like this becomes a larger stretch of suspension of disbelief. Plus offing one of Tom’s kids or Anne would be a great way to up the tension and stakes going into the penultimate and ultimate episodes.
Sure, it could happen before the end of the series, but then we don’t really get to see how the Masons would react to losing one of their own. Maybe in a scene or two. But I’d like more.
Other important developments: Tom successfully acquired the 14th Virginia soldiers for the 2nd Mass, which is good news for their final march on Washington. Ben learned from mysterious Espheni seeing device that their enemies seem to be bowing before some type of alien god of war. Also Pope finally makes his return. And he’s right on Tom Mason’s tail.
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