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Falling-skies

Falling Skies Review: Mass Attacks

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Falling Skies was juggling a great many balls on its Season 2 finale, "A More Perfect Union." And I'm not sure the series caught many of them successfully.

After last Sunday's arrival in Charleston, the drama set us up with a military coup and a looming Skitter attack. Early on in the finale, meanwhile, Ben returned, Tom was placed in custody alongside his former professor, only for the Second Mass to voluntarily go after the alien Overlord... which followed an Army-led attack against the Skitters and, oh, right, we learned Anne was pregnant.

A lot was thrown at the viewer in the course of just a few minutes; too much in my opinion. It made for a frenzied final episode of what's been a mostly focused, terrific season for Falling Skies.

Falling Skies Season 2 Finale Scene

The battle itself was impressive. The special effects team has been on its game from the premiere and it was no different here, as we witnessed Red Eye going after the Overlord and Karen deftly climbing up a wall.

She warned that the war was far from over and then proved to be prophetic when the episode concluded with the arrival of a new creature. My reaction to what the show intended as a significant, fascinating cliffhanger? Meh.

It's clearly impossible to actually judge until next season, but for now it feels like we've been here, seen this, done that. That's the problem with a series based around an alien invasion: where can it actually go? You either defeat the aliens and the show is over... or you don't and new ones simply continue to touch down.

It's an anticlimactic cycle of invade... retreat... attack... scramble... attack again.

Perhaps I'll be proven wrong. Maybe this new being has an agenda outside of ending the human race. But I can only react to what I just saw and it didn't make me especially anxious for next summer. We've spent two seasons watching the Second Mass go at it with their enemies. The tease of more enemies to encounter isn't one that leaves me wanting more.

I am intrigued by whatever is literally bugging Hal, however. Is he remaining human, yet going dark? Is there an alien presence inside of him, as opposed to one harnessed on his back for all to see?

Still, overall the final two episodes were a letdown. They were too scattered, with both the Army General and Arthur Manchester not really painted as good or evil or even anything in between. It wasn't clear what the viewer was supposed to be rooting for or thinking of the entire Charleston community. Ben went from abandoning his family in favor of the Skitter one moment... to eagerly sticking around and playing Monopoly the next. All in one episode.

It was all a bit rushed and jammed together. Let's hope TNT gives the series 12 episodes, as opposed to 10, next summer in order to let some of these storylines breathe.

Despite my criticism of the finale, I'll most definitely be back for Season 3. The good - Noah Wyle's performance, strong effects and action, unexpected alliances and pivots - far outweighs the bad.

What did everyone else think of the finale and season in general?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

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

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Although i would agree that it would be impossible for them to get inside the compound without any reaction. In the caves why do they talk crap (summarising another post) Maybe that is their way of coping with the danger they are about to face? There was 1 relevant comment to their situation when it was stated that those scorpion like bugs could be around. Also some have mentioned why cant the advanced aliens wipe out a few remaining humans. Jesus then there wouldnt be a show. Also if i recall correctly earlier on in the series it was pointed out that the aliens were not as advanced as first thought. I also was reminded of the skitters when looking at the new aliens. I think the episode made it clear that these are enemies of the overlords. Whether the enemy of our enemy is our friend remains to be seen and that makes me impatient for the 3rd season.

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Not the greatest last 2 episodes but i will still be back for season 3. People are complaining about the decisions some of the characters make and dont understand them, that is your opinion. Someone posted about why they would send their Dr. on the mission. Well why not, it is likely someone would get injured on the mission and may need the help of a doctor, plus its not like she is the only one; there is more than 1 doctor in Charleston. She didnt tell Tom she was pregnant. Well hes about to go on a mission why give him some news that would distract him. A distraction could get him killed. Its logical and by the way not all women find out their pregnant and tell the father straight away, they get used to the idea themselves first before revealing the fact. Gene why would you fire instantly on the skitters after you have been told some may be rebels? Soldiers wait for orders they dont act impulsively. Although i would agree that it would be impossible for them to get inside the compound without any reaction. In the caves why do they talk crap (summarising another post) Maybe that is their way of coping with the danger they are about to face? There was 1 relevant comment to their situation when it was stated that those scorpion like bugs could be around. Also some have mentioned why cant the advanced aliens wipe out a few remaining humans. Jesus then there wouldnt be a show. Also if i recall correctly earlier on in the series it was pointed out that the aliens were not as advanced as first thought. I also was reminded of the skitters when looking at the new aliens. I think the episode made it clear that these are enemies of the overlords. Whether the enemy of our enemy is our friend remains to be seen and that makes me impatient for the 3rd season.

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Here's an example: The only reason the doctor went on the mission to blow up the lins, was so that they could have a scene where the harnessed girl is about to zap her with the giant pixie stick and then somehow "senses" she is pregnant. No one would risk one of the only doctors left on a military mission. That moment is indicative of how the writers view the audience. Instead of working their asses off to develop a believable scenario - they take he easiest route an pot the pregnant doctor who hasn't told the father she is pregnant, in jeopardy. That's just lazy writing and a very ham handed way to create "drama." There were at least half a dozen others - in fact almost every plot point is about creating dramatic situation, instead of actual drama. Really, was anyone ever the least bit afraid they'd zap the pregnant woman? or that any of the people who actually have more than 2 lines an episode would die?

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Personally I love sci fi. I don't watch every episode of FS because the writers/producer/network broke the two basic rule of good sci fi. 1. They don't treat the audience as intelligent
2. They created a world without creating the basic rules of that world - or else they just break them. There is a way to make it believable that humans could survive an attack by aliens with massively advanced technology and then create a viable resistance (however unlikely in a real scenario), but the crators of FS didn't do that. They got lazy and took the audience for granted and that is offensive to me as a sci fi fan.

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Can't believe the amount of negative comments about this show. Very solid second season and I for one am glad it will be back for a third. I'm also intrigued as to what sort of person watches two seasons of a show they don't like. You know the fact your all still watching it might have something to do with it being renewed for a third?

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This is 2nd half of post below: On earth - in a city - people can't hide. Earth is large, but it is nothing like space. Small groups (2 to 10 or so) mnight be able to survive, but aliens capable of intergalactic travel could certainly track, find and easily destroy groups larger than that, no matter where they were. The characters talk about living on the razor's edge of survival, but they don't look or act like it even in the midst of battles where they usually enter without any actual plan or backup. The show is a family drama with aliens taking the place of high school bullies. That's bad writing and producing. This show shouldn't be called Falling Skies, it should be called My So Called Alien Life.

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I totally get the harsh criticisms. The networks spend tens of millions to create a sci fi show for fans of the genre and then fill it with tropes and cliches. BSG gave us a few human survivors hopelessly outmatched by a massive Cylon culture. They would, at times, push the cylon story to the background to focus on more internal and human issues such as politics, rivalries, sexuality, etc. But they did so intelligently and realistically. What that show got right, and this is something FS hasn't even considered, is that the survival trumps everything. It trumps politics, sexuality, factions, love, everything. First you fight to survive, then you go for the rest. In deep space the Galactica could hide in the enormity of the universe so they had time to explore other basic human necessities such as politics and sexuality. It also pointed to a theme in the show - humans are their own worst enemies. On earth - in a city - people can't hide. Earth is large, but it is nothing like space. Small groups (2 to 10 or so) mnight be able to survive, but aliens capable of intergalactic travel could certainly track, find and easily destroy groups larger than that, no matter where they were. The characters talk about living on the razor's edge of survival, but they don't look or act like it even in the midst of battles where they usually enter without any actual plan or backup. The show is a family drama with aliens taking the place of high school bullies. That's bad writing and producing. This show shouldn't be called Falling Skies, it should be called My So Called Alien Life.

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Oh heavens to Betsy @DeAnn! Why do those wascally wabbits watch for goodness sake? Why?! Oh why!? Maybe because we love the SciFi genre @DeAnn and there is precious little of it on tv and even less of the quality of BSG2.0 or SG-1. Shows like Mars Attacks, I mean Falling Skies are just about watchable because I like aliens and spaceships and stuff. But I dont like poorly developed characters or silly (as opposed to improbable) plots and this show has them in spades. It's sucking up my sci fi tv space like a great big black hole so I feel it is my right, nay obligation, to criticise it.

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I guess an inordinate number of the survivors are Hollywood hair and makeup folks. Who chose to save their makeup kits over their kitties. A similar thought struck me as I looked at Ben, just back from living rough with the skitters, and his hair looks all neat and nicely trimmed at the back. Maybe, I thought, the skitters have a few skilled hairdressers along as crew members.

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i loved the episode but why are they only in charleston for 2 episodes? these aliens conquered the whole human race but they cant guard an anti-aircraft gun? where are they going with all this and why arent they watching stargate sg1 to see how a real sci program builds characters and more importantly, factions

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