I’m officially calling this season of Falling Skies the Season Out of Left Field. From the first moments of the premiere in June – with new alien ghettos being formed with no buildup – right up until tonight’s season finale, the plot seems to just keep lurching from idea to idea without any overall plan or finesse. Every angle comes straight out of left field like they’re making it up as they go along.
This 2-hour season finale was no different, as we sprinted through Lexi’s unsupported redemption plotline, hurdled over a totally new Skitterization plan, and barreled to a forced confrontation with the Scorched Overlord.
So, in honor of the rushed season ending stories, let’s get started, shall we?
Lexi returns to the devastated Chinatown, all doe eyes and apologies for having chosen the wrong side. No one trusts her, but they decide that she’s their best chance of successfully flying the Beamer to the moon and destroying the energy factory. Tom agrees to take her with him, and they head out.
While en route, the Beamer malfunctions and Lexi uses a cocoon to protect them both from freezing in space. In a dream state, she expresses her fears that no one will ever forgive and accept her. Tom reassures her that it’s still possible.
However, as they approach the moon, the Scorched Overlord hijacks their Beamer.
Meanwhile back on Earth, the 2nd Mass are attacked by a new Espheni bomb that freezes its victims and Skitterizes them where they stand. Through various means, they manage to defeat the fog-bomb.
Tom and Lexi also manage to defeat the Fish Head, as Tom sticks him with a poison dart. Their bombs damaged beyond repair, they turn the Overlord’s ship into a missile headed straight for the alien power core. Lexi must fly the ship manually, so she sends Tom away in the Beamer and dies while destroying the core.
Cochise’s father saves Tom in the Beamer. Unfortunately, Tom is lost in space. He wakes up in a strange room, greeted by a new alien that he describes as ‘beautiful’.
What Hit the Target
Sorry, Tom, but Pope was right to take his shot at Lexi. In early seasons, Pope provided some dramatic conflict but was usually on the wrong side of morals and ethics. However, this season, he’s actually made more sense than other main characters. This was one of them. And his breakdown over losing so many of what he’s only come to just realize are ‘his people’ was well-executed.
Nice call-back to the syringe (despite a heavy-handed mention earlier) that Tom was given in the prior episode!
I’m oddly intrigued by the new aliens’ arrival. Their holographic room and strange appearance intrigued me more than most of the rest of the episode.
What Missed the Mark
Let’s talk about Lexi’s rushed change of heart and redemption. The series spent so much time building up the character in Chinatown as a mystical hybrid savior convinced that the aliens had the right plan for evolution, that there was no real time to develop her change of heart. After one nightmare and an eavesdropped conversation, she suddenly changes sides and spends the rest of the episodes apologizing and trying to destroy the Espheni. It was Straight Out of Left Field.
Also Straight Out of Left Field was the previously unseen new method of Skitterizing people via the La Brea Tar Pits and a fog machine. The introduction of this device was badly handled and confusing. Why would someone just stand around watching an Evil Alien Bomb hatch? Did no one just try taking off their boots or clothes? Was it really the fog, or just the liquid underneath that immobilized victims? How did it immobilize people but not the vehicle Sarah confiscated? There was too much left unexplained about this development.
Mira is not nearly as interesting a mouthpiece as Karen or the guy after her.
How is it that Matt has better aim with his knife on his first live victim than Hal has with a gun after years of fighting a war?
Possibly the most Straight Out of Left Field are Anne’s sudden epiphany that the flare will fight off the fog, and Pope’s fluid-cable realization. Neither idea had any development, and just seemed to be tossed in as a deus ex machina. If the writers aren’t even going to try to write solutions that make sense, how are we supposed to believe them?
Where was Sarah, and how did she come to show up at exactly the right time and place?
The Final Body Count
A hurried ending to several hit-or-miss plotlines, the final two hours are less moving than confusing. Lexi was never going to survive the season, but her return and sacrifice might have worked a lot better if it had had more time to be developed. While the first hour, “A Space Oddity” was a bit heavy-handed, the dream sequence was fun and the Beamer trip interesting. The second hour, though, went off the rails with too much plot. The fog-weapon peril was a cheap trick to try to keep the rest of the cast involved, and it robbed the Beamer storyline of time it needed to make a decent showdown with the Fish Head and get us to care about Lexi before she sacrificed herself.
I enjoyed the earlier seasons of the series much more than this one, and I suspect that this might be one of those shows that needed to have ended gracefully rather than limp along for more seasons than can be supported. While there were a few bright spots in the season, overall it lacked cohesion, was too overfull of plots, and threw too many curve-ball plot ideas at the audience. Next year is purported to be the final season, and I hope that Falling Skies goes out with a better season than this lackluster year.