Falling Skies finale failure


Tori Flick, Arts & Entertainment Contributor

With a literally out of this world cliffhanger wrapping up the 4th season of Falling Skies last summer I had only high expectations for the series finale launching this past June.

We began with Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) as he made yet another miraculous return to the 2nd Mass, aided entirely by some other external force (ie. a new alien race introduced purely for plot convenience). “Let me get this straight, you hijack an alien ship, fly a one way ticket to the moon, you’re lost somewhere in the void of the galaxy, and you still won’t die.” I couldn’t have said it better myself John Pope (Colin Cunningham).

 Despite how much I’ve come to appreciate the impact of his character through the past 5 seasons, an appropriate conclusion might have ended in Tom Mason’s death. One genuinely cathartic release for the audience might have been enough to solidify the story, but the writers settled for a tease death with his wife, Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) instead. In a series where character death had been a staple on the themes of humanity and mortality they really fell short of delivering.

Another disappointing, borderline terrible, factor tying into the final season was without a doubt the evolution—or devolution of John Pope. I’ve always been particularly fond of his character since his initial appearance in episode 2 of season 1. He is full of wit and a refreshing amount of candor and common sense. On one part, he’s stubborn and incredibly selfish, and then on another part, he’s protective of the people he loves and willing to take the leap for the good of mankind. His drastic decharacterization takes away all of that development and brushes him aside as a typical black and white villain. John Pope was so much more than that, and it was a huge mistake to write him off in the way they did.

The final showdown storyline only spanned a maximum of 2 and a half episodes and is littered with sudden plot conveniences. It progresses as follows: Ben Mason (Connor Jessup), uses his alien spikes and communication link with the Espheni to uncover a Queen as their higher power and life source. Tom meets with the Dornia (the alien race that saved his life in the season 4 finale) and they give him a technologically advanced biological weapon that will (are you ready for this?) automatically destroy every single enemy alien on the planet if it’s used against the queen.

Not only that, but Matt Mason’s (Maxim Knight) only purpose in the entire finale was stumbling upon none other than his half alien sister who had presumably BLOWN UP ON THE MOON. But surprise, surprise: it’s not actually Lexi (Scarlett Byrne) it’s an Espheni ploy. And guess what else? Pope’s back after his supposed death a few episodes ago! Gunfire is exchanged and Pope supposedly dies again (spoiler alert: not yet). And then in the midst of the drama we learn Anne is pregnant again (because god forbid she find a new pastime in a world scoured by death and aliens). But hopefully this time their baby won’t be the potential destroyer of the world. So Tom is separated from everyone else and makes his way to the foot of the Lincoln Memorial where the Queen has made her throne. A lot of talking ensues, followed by some brief action, the villain reveals all of her evil plans cliché, and then Tom manages to retrieve and use the biological weapon he had just dropped at the very last second (also cliché), which he then throws at the queen to destroy her, and then poof. Gone.

It’s over that quick. There was so much potential for an impressive fight sequence and they resorted to this. This was possibly the biggest let down of the entire series. Rewinding just a little, the Queen (who we’ve only become aware of within the last 3 episodes) is the design of a spider, who captures Tom in a web-like substance, and plans to kill him by eating him. If that’s not the writers being lazy and uncreative I don’t know what is.

Despite the final season, I can’t completely dismiss Falling Skies—with 5 years invested  into its development. The characters and cast have been among the most substantial contributing factors to the show’s success with hugely talented actors like Doug Jones (Cochise) and Will Patton (Colonel Dan Weaver), along with Executive Producers Remi Aubuchon, Greg Beeman, and Steven Spielberg. The roots of the show are what drew in their crop of loyal audience, the viewers who stayed for all 5 seasons. More than anything behind the series, Falling Skies has become a growing experience; through each development and new conflict the audience progresses and grows alongside the season and the characters. Unfortunately, as this was the last season, Falling Skies will not be able to redeem itself past the finale episode, but while its end was dishearteningly mediocre, the journey itself is what viewers should take away from the experience.