How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Falling Skies

ImageWell, one of my favorite summer series came and went while I was offline, but as I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to make sure I hopped back on here and let you know my thoughts. I was watching — usually live — and I had some mixed thoughts on this season.

I was always impressed with Falling Skies, since from its start, I was always surprised that it was successful as a series. Shows with large budgets (which I imagine this show has a decent one, given the CGI) tend to have higher standards to meet, so they can be worth their price tags. Plus, given that it’s a show about aliens, I was always impressed that it focused more on the humans than the people in costumes.

This season gave me pause, though, when at the very start of the season, we see Tom buddy-buddy with the Volm. Suddenly, we have an English-speaking alien as part of the ranks. I, for one, was hesitant. No, I wasn’t like Pope and his anti-alien, we-can’t-trust-any-of-those-guys spirit, but I just worried for the state of the show. Are we really going to go down the traditional alien sci-fi path? Have the humans intermixing with aliens, all speaking the same language (which was a far stretch of the imagination, if you ask me — at least Farscape had a good reason for a common language; we had none here), walking on two legs with two arms, two eyes. I feared we were one step away from Star Trek: everyone on board the same ship wearing uniforms, chatting strategy.

Fortunately, while the Volm was discussed a lot, they weren’t featured as much. The show still revolved around Tom, his boys, their friends, and their enemies. At the heart, it was still the Falling Skies I enjoyed.

But this season was a little slow for me. With the huge cliffhanger of Hal’s evil side, I was expecting more of Hal being devious. We got lots of talking, very little action. In fact, the main evil thing he had going for him was his chin beard. Then we had Anne and the baby. Another great cliffhanger when they were taken by the aliens — but then we never saw them again until the final episode of the season. Falling Skies just wasn’t taking the opportunities they were handed. (To be fair, Moon Bloodgood was pregnant and had a child in real life, so perhaps she wasn’t available this season, but I still think they could have done something with even Alexis if Anne wasn’t there.)

Instead, we spent too much time with Tom, who bugged the crap out of me for most of the season. Tom is growing more and more righteous as we move along, a trait that I really find annoying in any TV show. I felt his scene with Pope after the plane crash — where Pope told the real story of how he ended up in prison — was incredible, only to be ruined by Tom’s rude attitude and declaration that they’re still not friends. You’d think that would have softened Tom a bit. He was also quite adamant about not listening to anyone about the Volm.

That being said, Falling Skies once again hooked me with its ending. Watching Karen be killed — shot by Tom and killed by Mags — was just shocking. Don’t get me wrong. She deserved it. But I didn’t think they’d take her out of the picture yet, and I’m not sure how Hal is going to get over Mags’ actions next season. What else? Well, Boston has been crushed by the Volm’s much larger ship, and it looks like our fearless band of fighters is back where they started, wandering nomads fighting off all they can.

So who knows where this show will be going next season. We have more aliens, but more chances for “alliances” (and more chances for those to go horribly wrong). I’m hoping we get more back to the heart of the matter — the survival of the human race — instead of focusing on the aliens next time around. But with Alexis’ special talent of healing Lourdes, who knows what this could mean. Is she a risk or a reward. I guess we’ll find out.

Until next summer!

*image courtesy of TNT

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