Previously on Falling Skies, ‘Reunion’
Starring: Noah Wyle, Will Patton, Moon Bloodgood, Colin Cunningham, Drew Roy, Sarah Carter, Catalina Sandina Moreno, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Doug Jones, Treva Etienne, Mpho Koalo | Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Here we are, at the bitter end. Tom Mason and his battle-hardened 2nd Mass are ready to form the greatest offensive against the Espheni since the start of the Invasion. With a multitude of resistance groups rallying around Washington DC, the seriousness of this operation isn’t beyond anyone’s view. Their siege must work because there’s no tomorrow to redouble their efforts. Even in the last episode when things are at their most grim and exciting, new characters are still literally rolling in. A biker gang arrives from nowhere in particular, ready and willing to kick alien butt and drive them out of Washington DC. Perhaps with the sudden influx of new guns, there will be a massive battle scene to watch after all! The crew were saving up all their chips for this one big score and we’ll see Mason lead all his militias take on the Overlords and their Queen!
Instead of a direct assault on the Capital, the 2nd Mass have to slink their way through unguarded tunnels underneath DC. It seems an easy enough task but guess what? The Espheni decided to open a hatchery underground. Thanks to some very dumb acts committed by numbskulls (that’s what unnamed characters are there for), the first casualties of the final battle dropped in a terribly humorous fashion. Surprisingly, no one in the main cast became worm food for the entirety of “Reborn”, although there were some tense moments here and there.
So let’s get to this showdown between Tom and the Espheni Queen. This is the moment all Falling Skies fans have been eagerly anticipating for five long years …and it’s all about revenge??? The Espheni, the destroyers of worlds, conquerors of galaxies, decided to invade earth because mommy wanted to kill all the humans who killed her daughter thousands of years ago? That reason contradicts the entire operation of the Espheni! What would be the point of occupying a planet and enslaving its natives if they were going to be annihilated in the first place?! I… what… does not… brain… hurty… logic center… ow…
Speaking of misfired synapses, there’s poor John Pope. As expected he survived the explosion and the collapsed building, yet in his final appearance, death was already kicking down his door. There were a myriad of ways they could have used Pope over the years and the hasty decision to switch him to a full blown baddie was a great disservice to the character. As frenzied and sinister Pope’s introduction was to fans, his swan song was a feeble whimper. Props must be given to Colin Cunningham for sticking through with all the changes – good and bad – and injecting some fervor and earnestness into an extremely volatile maniac.
Falling Skies ends with viewers witnessing the beginning of the reconstruction period; a global coalition appears to be in place along with promising intergalactic relations between humans and Volm. Everyone from stately Tom to wishy washy Anthony are present and apparently comfortable in their new lives. The series concludes with Mason giving one of his classic speeches and receiving thunderous applause by all present at the Lincoln Memorial. It is a genuinely heartfelt moment as the leadership of the 2nd Mass and their lieutenants are given their just praise.
Seldom will one view a series during its last season and witness beloved characters efficiently tie up all loose ends and wayward plotlines and fashion them in a pretty bow. Falling Skies did for all intents and purposes resolve its central plot, which is sadly considered a big achievement for contemporary television. Tom found his warrior when he needed it most and could finally cast that necessary role aside to eventually become a scholar and father once more. However, for the sake of your health, it’s best not to recall the once urgent need to free harnessed children, the uneasy alliance with the rebel skitter faction or the looming third alien race that never showed up. There isn’t enough running time in the world to cover all predominate storylines from previous seasons.
Ultimately, season five of Falling Skies was a mixed bag, filled with muddling story progression and confusing character shifts with the occasional nugget of crafty writing and scene-chewing acting. Although it was known this would be the final year, most weeks had the unnerving aura as though things were half-done, or being scripted on the fly. Granted, it didn’t help that Falling Skies didn’t have 12 episodes or the same budget it had last season. Wily though the writers were, by the end of the series finale, the sentiment in seeing 2nd Mass restoring civilization after the Invasion was more of relief of its end instead of glowing contentment.
Hardships aside, Falling Skies was an entertaining series that established its own style in a popular genre which a number of properties typically mime narratives and characterizations between themselves. A show on any network to sustain a viewership for five years is a success in itself, and it shouldn’t be downplayed. For all its ups and downs, Falling Skies was fundamentally an allegory demonstrating the resolve humanity can potentially muster when faced with various forms of adversity.
Hopefully it won’t take something as catastrophic as an alien incursion to make all of us connect on a closer scale.