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+.


I agree with Piecar 100%. The guffaws come about every 10 minutes in the show. For example, earlier in the season, the red-haired crazy woman was able to "get the jump on them" when they were chit-chatting in normal conversational volume and walking down the center of the street like they had not a care in the world. Riding loud dirt bikes everywhere for go sake! Mech armor that can be "melded down" and made into miracle bullets! The SPARKS the antenna lead made. The writers on this show have not the slightest clue on basic physics.


By the way, I love the accompanying photo for this review...without context, Noah Wyle looks like he's playing a mentally handicapped homeless person.


Mediocre. First hour was a waste. Second hour was disappointing. Bad writing. I love Pope. I like Maggie. The series has been too cliched and full of plot holes.


The show is cheesy....I can't imagine anyone arguing that point....but this was way over the top on bad. All the points mentioned are correct. The Aliens laid low by a crappy vacuum tube radio and a flagpole. Every battle talked about but not seen. Long winded speeches. A character brought in to be a tough zealous military man...Only to die off screen. A direct "Crimson Tide" rip off that meant ABSOLUTELY NOTHING because they get all touchy feely nine minutes later...But the worst was when the Mechs march on the school, first they UNLOAD on one Mech when one bullet can put a cannonball sized hole through it. Then they all talk about how they only have about 5 bullets a piece. Then Ben appears with the world's long set of jumper cables. Then we proceed to look at the GROUND while everyone stand up and shoots a hundred rounds at the Mechs until they run away? We are actually IN a firefight and are not allowed to see it? That's just garbage|! And the Rube Goldberg signal jammer than didn't have enough power to reach right outside? With the Super Flagpole it can jam the ENTIRE CITY? Implausible, you have to live with, in this kind of show...But that's just downright stupid. The concept of the series is actually really interesting. There are lots of things in the idea to love....The execution is just atrocious....How this piece of crud got picked up on the basis of this abysmal season, I don't know.


From Argentina: This Show sucks. There was no action at all, and what could have been an opportunity for TNT to make a great show like "Band of Brothers" became a joke no better than "V". They've wasted my time.


I'm just expecting exposition dialog next season premiere, when Tom shows up, somehow off the spaceship... cuz,... well... you know they would'nt go with the amnesia storyline... would they? this show is really not that good, but there really isn't an alien show on right now... so I keep finding myself watching it for some sort of charm in all the bad acting and pacing. Atleast the cast isn't whitewashed. remember back when there were so many you got confused which one you were watching? Threshold...where have you gone? ;P


Very bad CGIs, this is 2011! I do agree that the finale was very disappointing, i'm not an "action series" guy, but it makes it more realistic. Although, the problem here was that many things are still to explain, too much useless, boring... information, since ep8 it was more then obvious that Ben and Rick are evolving, so no big secrets where uncovered in the last 2 ep. Unfortunately, many hours of my time were wasted...


Do over: Falling Skies in 10 episodes (really 8 if you take out one Sanctuary and Mutiny that was of no use) has been a waste of TV air. You would think with the money they are spending the writers would be of higher caliber. The writers are leaving out a lot of information that should be given to us. For one we all know that you cannot trust the aliens as they have all ready killed off 80 percent of the human population. Shot and killed 6 children in front of Hal to make a point. They’re using out children for slaves turning them into Skidders. In one episode in the medical center the Doctor (before he was killed) is talking to one Skidder through Rick. The Skidder after being told he cannot leave tells them to kill him, as he will be punished. SOOOOO question, maybe the Skidders want to get away from the tall aliens who are using them. Maybe the Skidder’s can be used to over through the Humanoid Aliens. Pope, who I thought should have been killed off in his first debut, now is found to be one of the most complex characters on the show. Well done to the writers for getting this right. Also there is no why, Tom could have shot down the spaceship with a RPG, and two he should have shot the alien at the end regardless of the consequences. However in the end the show needs to have a two-hour DO OVER for the last season episode and fill the blanks they left out.


Argeed too much exposition. And just to raise the stakes, go mack on Moon! I was like, okaaaay. Really, the best part of the last episode is Margaret (Sarah Carter) who helped get Jimmy through the battle. She's got attitude and looks good with an assault rifle! I as satisfied though, overall, valid criticisms notwithstanding. The show did what it could on what was obviously a very limited budget. I mean, with Rodat, Graham Yost, and Mark Verheiden as your creative talent, they aren't lacking for decent writing depth; I hope that next season brings increased expectations and a larger budget to make them happen.


Tom going with the aliens made no sense..."in reality" however if you are writing the out-come I guess it doesn't matter. I kind of thought this series may be a snoozer when the first episode started with a child narrating "this is what the aliens did, with crayons." Hopefully it perks up next season, although I feel it will end up in the "been there, done that" file.

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