At the end of last season of Falling Skies, I had no idea where it was headed. We had an odd season with two different groups of aliens, only to end with a war between aliens and the humans walking away to their inevitable deaths. Given that this is a TV series, “inevitable” could really mean anything, but ultimately, it was ominous.
Fast forward, and we have this season. At first, I was absolutely thrilled with the direction. Seeing the group torn apart by the electric fences was startling and dramatic. It really set a great tone for a new series. Then, we see that months in the future, everyone’s in separate groups. Ben, Lexi, and Mags are in one (peaceful) camp. Hal, Weaver, Tom, and Pope are in a ghetto camp. Anne and soldiers are on the road. And Matt’s by himself at what we discover to be an education camp for children.
Interesting, right? Until…things become nonsensical and you discover that everyone’s basically back to their old tricks. Ok, perhaps that’s too black and white. Let me get more specific.
I’m really frustrated. Separating everyone and having them work with people they don’t generally share scenes with really shakes up the cast for a new seasons. I liked the idea. But the individual situations are falling flat for me.
We’ll start with Anne. Her story is the one most like what came before, out on the road fighting monsters while on their way somewhere. This story is fine (though who knows where it goes from here, now that they found Lexi’s camp). In fact, what I like about it is that Anthony (Mpho Koaho) is getting his moment to shine. But Anne is too one-dimensional in her pursuit to find Lexi. I find shows that lean on the “I must find my baby” — and do nothing else — as lacking dimension and power. Yes, she’s pushing her troops really hard. And that’s about it. It just needs something more.
Then there’s Matt. Matt’s development in the series has always been something that I’ve enjoyed watching. So seeing that he was stuck all alone on one side of the electric fence was really interesting. However, I would have really enjoyed seeing how he survived instead of jumping right into this education camp. And while I am mildly invested in seeing how he brings down the camp from the inside, his supporting characters are really bugging me. For one thing, when an entire room is sitting like statues staring ahead, seeing the girl beside Matt rolling her eyes and turning her head to look at him is obvious. It could just be done better.
That bring us to Lexi and her camp, which, sigh, is another I care little about. I’m not much of a Ben fan; he’s fine. He’s a good enough character. I just don’t tend to want to spend a lot of time with him. And he and Mags just don’t have the chemistry that she and Hal have. And Lourdes in her worshippy state (odd, since she was such a devout Christian before) is annoying as all hell (pardon my language). Lexi isn’t all that much of a mystery to me — at least not one that I care about. Perhaps it’s because we don’t really know her yet, but I don’t care much about her magical powers or Anne’s alien pregnancy. And they haven’t given me much to like about her.
So while all that is bugging me, I’m pushing through it. And it must go somewhere. So I’m watching to see where it goes.
But then there’s the ghetto camp. Or the group that used to be the ghetto camp. What’s the problem here? This is the same thing we’ve been watching season after season after season. We’re seeing the same righteous, know-it-all Tom. We’re seeing the same Pope. We’re barely even seeing Hal. It’s almost like taking all the supporting faces from around these people we’re forced to focus on the same things we’ve been watching episode after episode after episode.
I just want Tom to shut up for a while. I wanted to see people stand up to him instead of blindly following him and another one of his plans. For example, these people, who have been running from aliens and death for years, have finally found somewhere where they can stay in one place, be provided for, and live. Yes, it’s in terrible means. But for people who have been living for survival for so long, wouldn’t they just want to do that finally? Especially the old couple in the last episode. They wouldn’t be the adults that get harnessed; why not live their final years in as close to peace as they can?
I would have loved to see Tom offer the plan and everyone just say no. Go against him. And just go from there. Now that would have been interesting. But instead, we’re outside the fence, back where we started. It’s just frustrating. There’s no development and these characters are just stalled.
In addition, it just makes no sense. Why did I spend a season watching two alien factions fight it out with human alliances if one of the species was going to leave Earth within months of their “win”? Do we really care about adult harnesses? Or education camps? Or Lexi’s powers? There’s a lot going on, and I think the writers are so desperately trying to keep mystery building instead of filling in holes so storylines make sense. It’s frustrating and without having faith in the characters to take me there, there’s not much keeping me going.
That being said, it’s Falling Skies. I’ve stuck with this series for three years so far. I care about this bunch. So I want to know what happens. So I’ll keep watching…for now. But don’t let me down Falling Skies. Or I’m siding with the Espheni.
*image courtesy of TNT