Falling Skies Season Finale Review: A Lot of Dialogue, Drama

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Is TNT having budgetary problems? Or are the writers of Falling Skies so intent on proving this is a character-driven drama that they purposely leave out key sequences?

The answer must be yes to one of these questions, as this show has suffered from a focus on exposition over action throughout the summer. Never was this more evident than on the two-hour season finale. Consider what vital scenes were NOT show on "Mutiny" and "Eight Hours:"

Porter's death. Any of the attack on his camp. Tom stealing the charges off Pope's bombs. Rick's talk with the harnessed young girl in the forest. The attack on Weaver and the 2nd Mass in Boston.

Got One!

Instead, viewers were treated to one long speech after another, with characters simply telling us about what happened. And we're talking about major events here! Would it have been so difficult to kick off the opening hour with Dai speeding away from Porter's camp? With a shot of that integral character being killed?

It was baffling, not to mention boring, for this huge piece of information to be relayed via a wounded Dai in a hospital bed. The same thing could be said for any of the developments listed above. A well-written series shows, it doesn't tell.

I understand that Falling Skies prides itself on its characters and their interactions, but there's a big difference between dialogue that lets us into the lives and minds of these individuals - and exchanges that simply rundown key storylines in order to move the plot along.

The first half of the episode, overall, felt like forced filler. Tom and Weaver had just bonded, literally hours earlier, in the latter's old apartment. Suddenly, they were at such odds that they went all Crimson Tide on us? And the key player in their feud was some guy named Danner, a never-before-seen Lieutenant? Who was then killed an hour later?

Eventually, we were back to where we started: the attack on the aliens was imminent and the 2nd Mass was on board. It felt mostly like a waste just to get us to the crux of the finale.

Fortunately, a couple developments stood out and leave me excited for what's to come:

  1. Ben as a soon-to-be Skitter, using his knowledge of the enemy to help the resistance. It was growing tiresome for the group to continually ignore Ben and Rick, who were both clearly affected by their abduction/harness. But now the secret is out in the open. What other ways will Ben's state contribute to the survivors' cause? How else will he change? When will he turn from an asset into an enemy? All intriguing questions for next summer.
  2. Tom entering that spaceship. I certainly can't find fault with the cliffhanger. Kudos to the show for realizing it has to mix things up next season. I have no clue what will come out of Tom's chat with that long-necked alien, but I assume it will be a major game-changer. Falling Skies could only go on for so long with survivors hiding out in a camp and wondering about an attack.

It may not seem that way from most of this review, but I'm on board for season two. There's a lot to like about Falling Skies - Noah Wyle, the unknown motives of the aliens, the harnessed kids, everything Pope says - but there are also many changes I'd like to see. If the series ups the action and dials down the explanatory discourse, I'll be happier than a bazooka-firing Tom Mason.


Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (94 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


The show is a hit. Those of you how don't like it so sorry. Maybe you need batteries for your remotes or you could just leave the room. No harm no foul. Great job cast and crew! Really looking forward this years season!


"Could have gone without the comment, "Noah Wylie looks like he's playing a mentally handicapped homeless person..." thought that was disrespectful to all said named...over the top, rude. Really necessary to go there to make your point?" Agreed. I would have added: "dirty and clueless." Why doesn't his character just go wherever all the other characters go for showers, perms, manicures and clean designer clothes? How rude is it to fight aliens in bad clothes? One thing I do like is how his character thinks reading books about civil war battles, in someway prepares you to battle massively, technologically superior aliens invaders who wiped out all of earths armies.


"I understand that Falling Skies prides itself on its characters and their interactions..." You're kidding right? The characters and dialog on this show are some of the worst on TV. They're literally written at about a 6th grade level - if that.


I could forgive the lack of specials effects and battle scenes if the writers at least had come up with decent characters. Every single character is a cliche of a cliche. It's as if the characters were all created by people who had only watched other TV shows. Or, perhaps they were created by a marketing department looking for a show that would appeal to "all four quadrants - young, old, male, female. I mean come on... The rebellious teen son, the gorgeous doctor who loves the intellectual leader, the troubled military leader, the biker dude bad boy, the lack of any common sense as far as survival, training, hiding, tactics, etc. Two day with the 2nd Mass and I'd be off on my own - at least I wouldn't give a 13 year old a gun and a role on a critical mission only to have him freak because the doggie might get hurt.


One of the worst elements of the show are the relationships. There is no consistency. Characters and plot change based on the needs of the poorly thought out plots. Point in case - the heroes should not be in a group of 300. I sure as hell wouldn't be. I'd be in smaller platoon sized groups that could actually move around without being seen. Bigger still is the flaw of the aliens. Beings who crossed the galaxy to come to earth would not be fooled or bothered by a "resistance." Humans with a few guns and little training would pose as tough a challenge to interstellar travelers as a room full of hamsters would pose for the marines. The aliens would shock and awe us. Any resistance would have to resort to true gorilla tactics like those used by the America Indians. Driving trucks loaded with people on roars and getting to within rocket launched range would never happen. They'd have drones with heat seeking technology or something far better. This show is irredeemable.


Howdy, folks. T'was a pleasure to read the wide-ranging opinions of the first season and last episodes of Falling Skies. The criticisms expressed are largely valid ones, but I can tell you this. The foibles this series had in it's first season didn't take away from my enjoyment of it at all. I really enjoyed the direction the writers took us, and was flabbergasted at the final scenes, personally. Ticked off at them as well, but that didn't turn off my enthusiasm, more fomented it for next season, which is probably the point. The thing for me is that I was pretty thoroughly entertained throughout the short season. My beefs include the mid-season two parter that could be sniffed out a mile away when the soldier said it was important to move the children. The second half of that, though, was really pretty good. Also, the assault on the school scene as some have mentioned. You have these supposed miracle bullets that pierced through the mech armor, but no real time, military testing. They just all open up on, it seemed, one target. Should have been better planned by the mil. leaders, and the writers for that matter. Then the flag pole thing... Noticeable flaws, I understand, but this was a show getting it's sea legs, probably on a budget as well. Hence the big things not shown, etc. I can forgive those things if they bring it back next year with a bigger budget and the same feel, and keep me as throroughly entertained as I was this go 'round. I was one of the folks that stuck by it all year and plan to tune in as soon as I hear it's coming back as well. Summer though? That's like a lifetime from now even, heheh.


It is boring, sanctimonious and full of whiny beta characters. In a real situation the commander would have shot the idiot doctor if he tried to enter the ship.
Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad are far superior.


Could have gone without the comment, "Noah Wylie looks like he's playing a mentally handicapped homeless person..." thought that was disrespectful to all said named...over the top, rude. Really necessary to go there to make your point?


Really refreshing series . . . loads better than what other networks are offering. Extremely well done, esp. for television. Appreciate that it doesn't just depend on "fight scenes" but on developing complex characters. I hope that in the future we will learn more about the Mason's family dynamics. At first I didn't like not knowing the answers to a lot of the questions that I have but understand, I think, that this is part of the development plan. I am a little bummed that it will be summer 2012 before the next season. Will it pick up from the time Tom entered the space ship? Don't know, but my guess is "no." Hope I remember to watch in a year. Hope TNT does a great deal of promos for the new season.


You know, that "it's about the characters" stuff is getting pretty tired. So, bin the situation and let's keep the characters. A history teacher prone to looking earnest and dropping history lessons into every conversation. A sporty hot head son, a bookish son, and a precocious 'outta the mouths of babes' son. Next door, in this cul de sac is the kindly old tinkerer, beside him is a burnout, former military contractor whose family skipped on him. Across the way is the obstetrician who is also prone to looking earnest. She has a tenant whose trait is that she loves god. Next to her is the family from Rochester. The father is also earnest, and the son is sort of creepy after having been abducted. Occasionally he inexplicably hangs in the corner of room. Things really heat up when a wise cracking biker buys on the cul de sac and makes a lot of noise... That is a character set of a cheesy comedy. This show is NOT about the characters...That's apologist garbage and is the same crap they started spewing when LOST lost it's way. All of these characters aren't 'characters', they're 'types' everybody's earnest, except for the Han Solo character who's wise cracking. get out of here with the "It's about the characters" crap. With respect. We're just talking here. All said in a friendly tone.

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