Falling Skies finally came to an end with their fifth season. The Espheni have been skirmishing with Tom Mason for nigh on five years and it finally all came to an end, however who came out on top? If you don’t want to find out then I’d recommend not reading on because spoilers may well ruin your experience of the massive alien vs man show off that is to come.
Yeah…the problem with season 5 of Falling Skies was that there was actually no massive alien vs man show off at all, in fact everything was totally flat and predictable. Season 4 left us with the cliff hanger of Tom being picked up by some sort of new alien race, which then in season 5 helped him to embrace his rage for the final onslaught against the Espheni, all sounding good so far. Tom embraced his rage for all of five episodes before remembering that rage gives you high blood pressure and reverting back to good ol’ Tom, and there it is, the problem with Falling Skies once again rearing its ugly head, they never follow through on their storylines.
Consistently through the life of this show they have introduced interesting concepts, only for them to be totally resolved in a couple of episodes or even worse totally dropped and forgotten about. The worst thing is that the whole inner warrior rage thing wasn’t even the best example of Falling Skies doing this in season 5, no that privilege went to the whole Pope finally snapping saga (I say saga but I really mean one episode and then ten second appearances). They’ve been teasing a Tom-Pope fight for five seasons, and when they finally deliver it, they manage to fuck it up. The funny thing is that it all started so well, Tom making a decision for the good of the war effort to the detriment of Sara’s life which finally pushed Pope over the edge, which was then followed up with Pope kidnapping Hal and making Tom run all over the place, and then it was just sort of dropped and pushed to the side. Well that was until out of nowhere Pope is reintroduced and he and his merry band of men make the world’s oddest attack on a military base. Yes what is essentially a group of drunks with guns, thought that a head on attack on a military base was the best tactic available. What makes it even worse is the way they have Pope do the whole ‘it’s me!’ thing, I mean were they huffing gas when they came up with this idea? The weird thing about Pope was that he often picked holes in Tom’s way of life, as in the whole idea that if it was a Mason stuck in sticky putty he would move heaven and earth to save them even if it was to the detriment of the group, which is true. The saddest thing about the whole Pope arc is how it ended, both in the way he was just sort of blown up and then even worse when he finally confronted Tom by the water. Of course anyone with half a brain (and probably those with less) will question how a man who has been critically wounded could wander about the forest hoping to come across his arch nemesis, and they would also ask how the hell he was able to find Tom when as far as he knew he was away to Washington DC, and they would be right to ask these questions because it is simply ridiculous that either could happen.
Remember when the Skitters were a deadly enemy? Yes as do I. Remember how the Overlords were super intimidating? Yeah, me too. The problem is that the writers for Falling Skies seemed to have forgotten, to the extent that they became little more than a nuisance. What frustrates me about the whole destroy the power core thing from season 4 is that the time between destroying that core and them getting to DC seemed quite large, yet the Espheni never managed to get their technology back up and running, they really should fire their handy man. The whole mass suicide attacks form the Skitters was, something I guess but ultimately felt like filler and the Overlords very much played a side role. In the second half of the season the big bad was actually other humans, as the 2nd Mass got side tracked with court martials and other sorts of nonsense, which ultimately led to absolutely nothing, other than to waste time. Weaver even took an Overlord down with nothing but his trusty belt (must’ve been good quality leather), this was meant to be one of the biggest bad guys in the show, yet they were taken down with relative ease. The Skitters, the waspy things and the Overlords were killed with such ease that they totally lost any threat which they once had, in fact when they actually managed to kill someone it was a genuine shock.
Talking of the Espheni, what about that Queen? She was there for all of ten minutes… In what was a pretty terrible finale, this has to have been the worst bit (and there were many bad bits). You introduce a major character in the final episode and then have them do that classic bad guy move of explaining their evil plan to the good guy? Jesus Christ, have the Espheni never seen a James Bond movie? They then do this odd thing where they change everything which we have been told before and feed us this new story about how 1500 years ago the Espheni invaded Earth and the Queen’s daughter got killed, so the Espheni have been plotting revenge for 1500 years and this was it. I thought the Espheni went about mining planets for resources and Earth was just another step on their path, sometimes a story doesn’t need a hidden agenda, this one certainly didn’t. It seems even sillier when you consider the technology 1500 years ago that they were able to defeat the super advanced Espheni with what was essentially a big sword. If that wasn’t bad enough, why did they wait 1500 years to get their revenge? Surely the main Espheni force could have come in and destroyed the planet with ease 1500 years ago, in fact why didn’t they just blow the planet up to begin with, granted that doesn’t make for good TV. I also wonder why the Volm didn’t mention in all their conversations that the Espheni had actually been to Earth only 1500 years ago. If all that wasn’t bad enough, after Tom does the deed and takes out the Queen, we get this weird exploding Espheni performance, which leads me to wonder if someone killed the British Queen would that lead to all British people instantly exploding? Sounds messy. Falling Skies have had a really bad tendency throughout the series of mishandling the aliens they’ve introduced (Skitters/Overlords/Queen) or underutilising them (Volm/Dornia).
Generally the finale was horrible and was a terrible way to wrap up the series, which is a shame really because a good finale can go a long way to putting a bad season to bed. The penultimate episode left us with a cliff-hanger, as the waspy guys made a last ditch attack, which was naturally won by the Mason gang. The 2nd Mass (and their new buddies) goes on the final assault/sneak attack (why would they take Matt along when he’s a child?) and we have the deaths of a couple of characters we don’t really care about. Then finally, after five seasons, a Mason actually perishes after forgetting to put on their plot armour, poor Anne, especially after finding out she was pregnant… Oh wait, Tom has somehow carried her dead body all the way to a lake which is nowhere near DC and we then skip forward to Matt writing a book (another problem with the finale was the fact that Matt doing a voiceover told you who would win, not that there was ever any real doubt).
We discover that Tom has become a hero of the world and is a big wig when it comes to political things, which is fair enough. What isn’t fair enough is that with no real explanation as to how, there is Anne alive, pregnant and well as if nothing had ever really happened, essentially meaning that the Mason’s had went the war with the Espheni practically unscathed (does Lexi count when she was sort of an Espheni?) and making Anne’s dying scene totally invalid. Generally throughout the series I had hated how everything was so American centred, especially when if you were picking a strategic position you wouldn’t pick America and you certainly wouldn’t pick DC. I probably have these feelings because I’m not American and hence don’t think America is the centre of the world, however the writers of Falling Skies clearly do, with their nice big speeches about how great America is and the founding fathers. I honestly thought as the camera panned out over the crowds after Tom’s speech they were going to blast out ‘America Fuck Yeah!’ it would have seemed apt.
I’m not sure I liked anything about Falling Skies season 5 to be honest. I have written about the show before and each time I said it wasn’t great but ‘oh, but it’s got potential!’ Yeah…I had become one of those people who stay in an abusive relationship because I’ve deluded myself into thinking that it would get better, when in fact it kept getting worse. If you want positives; the acting was ok, as were the characters, there was less Matt and the series has finally ended. Not too many there. One of the things which really bothered me about season 5 is that everything in the end felt so rushed, which is so frustrating when you consider the sheer amount of filler throughout the season (what is it with this show and love angles?). Another thing which really frustrated me was the fact that none of the main characters actually died in this season. One of the beauties of it being the final season is that you can finally be cutthroat and take risks with your direction, however they played it safe and despite being at the centre of a war for five years not one of your core group of good guys (I’m not counting Pope) actually died. Season 5 of Falling Skies was pretty awful, the finale sucked, you could see the ending a mile off and pretty much everyone lived happily ever after, just generally terrible.
So what did you think of Falling Skies season 5? Are you surprised that this has Steven Spielberg’s name attached to it? Were you disappointed with how the show never reached its potential and how the great concept was wasted? Or am I just a big grumpy puss who needs to lighten up a bit? Leave a comment and let everyone me know. Why not whilst you’re here also take a look at my 4th season and 3rd season reviews as well.
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