Show: Falling Skies
Episode: Season 2, Episode 10 - A More Perfect Union
Aired: Thursday 9:30pm, August 30th 2012
* SPOILERS – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS AND PREVIOUS EPISODES OF FALLING SKIES.*
A quick note: Hey guys, girls and little blue blobs, Bronzethumb isn’t here this week due to his adventuring in America, and so I (Libby Popper) will be covering the Falling Skies finale. When Bronzethumb returns from his travels, we’ll update this review with a short statement with his thoughts on the finale so you don’t miss his perspective.
Let’s get started.
Bressler locks Arthur up and Tom voices his dissatisfaction with the way Bressler is handling the situation. Bressler orders the 2nd Mass locked up as well but the alarms sound, signifying an alien breach. Fortunately, it’s the rebel skitters and Tom is able to identify Red Eye before the soldiers shoot. However, Bressler ignores Tom’s pleas for the soldiers to lower their weapons and the 2nd Mass take a stand between the rebel skitters and the weapons. Bressler reluctantly gives in. Ben translates as Red Eye conveys that the Overlord they captured supervises all military operations in the eastern part of the continent and if they had killed him it would have led to bedlam for the aliens in their corner of the world. Red Eye knows where the Overlord is, and his weapon of mass destruction, and wants their help destroying both. Bressler doesn’t want his soldiers involved but the 2nd Mass don’t give him much choice in regards to their actions. Alone with Sergeant Clemons, Bressler orders him and his men to attack the rebel skitter camp.
That night Hal visits Ben to apologise for the way he acted and they make up. Ben admits he’s found the place he belongs, Hal tries to convince him that his place is with his family but Ben decides he’s staying with the skitters. Despite Ben’s choice, the brothers part on good terms. In the medic area, it becomes clear that Anne is pregnant but she doesn’t want to tell Tom until after the mission. Ben calls Tom to the rebellion skitter camp, where many aliens and humans are dead, and Tom’s relieved to find that Red Eye and a few others got away. Ben didn’t see the attackers and Bressler pretends to investigate but admits his son was killed by a skitter and there’s no love lost over this. Bressler cancels the mission but Tom and Weaver make it clear they’re going to destroy the weapon with or without his permission.
Tector joins the mission, with Pope’s approval, while Weaver and Tom convince Jeanne and Matt respectively, to stay behind in Charleston. Ben leads the 2nd Mass group into the heart of the Overlord’s facility, to the base of the weapon. They split up to surround the weapon and lay down the charges to blow it up but they’re interrupted by the arrival of skitters. Dai is killed and the rest are bound to the wires of the weapon. Supervised by the Overlord, Karen tortures Tom for information before kissing Hal, who falls unconscious. Still unable to get the information she needs, Karen moves on to Anne. Karen recognises Anne’s pregnant and spoils the surprise for Tom. She’s about to torture Anne but Tom yields. He’s ready to tell them everything when the rebel skitters attack, freeing the 2nd Mass team.
Ever seen a mosquito do THAT?!
Red Eye battles the Overlord and is wounded, but the distraction gives Tom the opportunity to attack the Overlord and kill him. Karen escapes with a warning that this is far from over. Ben holds Red Eye as he dies. Escaping the facility, the 2nd Mass destroy the weapon and are welcomed home as heroes. Ben reveals he’s staying with his family as Hal is taken to the makeshift hospital. Anne can’t understand what’s wrong with Hal but promises they’ll keep an eye on him. Alone in his hospital room, Hal gets up and watches an alien parasite exit through his eye and enter his ear in the mirror. Hal smiles evilly before returning to bed.
Tom visits Arthur under house arrest and they discuss Bressler’s decision to restore civil rule, the condition being that Arthur will no longer be leader. Arthur suggests Tom should lead but Tom doesn’t believe Charleston is the place for the 2nd Mass – they need to be out fighting. Charleston begins shaking and everyone races outside to find stormy weather and hear a weird, high-pitched sound. Pod-like vehicles drop from the sky and they open to reveal a new alien, although it’s unclear whether they are an ally or foe.
It wouldn’t be Falling Skies if things didn’t fall from the sky.
Thoughts on the Episode
The final episode of the season was definitely a step up from last week’s ‘The Price of Greatness’ but was still a mixed bag. We had quite the information dump from Red Eye during his meeting with Tom and Bressler about the Espheni and the reveal of an alien weapon of mass destruction was a thinly veiled plot device to raise the stakes for the finale. I was also disappointed by Anne’s pregnancy but considering Moon Bloodgood’s real life pregnancy, there weren’t a lot of choices for the writers - I personally was hoping for an ascension and floating Cordy-head experience (a la Angel). I really wish we could have a pregnancy on a show that wasn’t introduced by a woman vomiting but at least they didn’t draw the reveal out. I can only see Anne’s pregnancy leading to stories where she’s forced to deal an overprotective Tom, not to mention possible kidnappings, etc. as that’s now Tom’s major weakness. Especially considering this episode and the fact that she’s not usually one to put her hand up for missions like this, but seemed to be there purely so Karen could attempt to torture her.
Another aspect that annoyed me was how quickly they glossed over the fact that Bressler totally betrayed them, leading to him killing human children – I understand they’re harnessed but when you reflect that it could have easily been Ben, I was expecting a bigger response. Also unbelievable, Karen’s final message to the group that this wasn’t over was awfully acted and written - coming across as stereotypical baddie-babble instead of something someone would actually say. I know Dai was a secondary character but I expected a bigger reaction over his death, glossing over any death reduces the impact death has in a show and isn’t usually a wise move. And why, if the all hell is breaking loose in a Learian storm, would everyone run outside to watch, unless of course you wanted a dramatic final shot for the season.
I wasn’t too thrilled with the introduction of this new alien species, I feel like it would have been much more constructive (plot-wise) to deal with the aliens they have, perhaps suggesting some weakness that the 2nd Mass would have to investigate and possibly construct to try to destroy them, rather than introduce a whole new species at this point. But hopefully I’ll be proven wrong and this will be the best thing that’s happened to the show so far.
Despite all this, there were moments that really worked and stood out for me. The emotional scene as the 2nd Mass stood in the way of Bressler’s soldiers to protect the aliens was executed perfectly, it’s always good to see these guys sticking together and supporting each other. I think Connor Jessup should be commended for his scenes with Red Eye. He’s completely believable when he’s ‘translating’ for the rebel skitter, but he’s also one of the major reasons that Red Eye’s death had such gravitas.
Speaking of the Mason boys, I was quite thrilled by Hal’s evil look. Even though the scene brought back my childhood watching animorphs (where aliens regularly crawled into people’s ears), it looks like Hal might make a better baddie than as a resistance fighter. I was most relieved though at the announcement that the 2nd Mass won’t stay in Charleston, keeping the fight going on the move. This group works best when they’re not stuck in one place, the civilian dramas were boring and it all felt a little too Hunger Games for my liking, so it was good to know they’ll be moving on.
The finale definitely opened up a lot of potential for season three but it’s all in the execution, which unfortunately means we’ll have to wait until 2013 to see whether any of it pays off.
What Did We Learn?
- As Red Eye was dying, Ben looked up at his father and then told Red Eye he understood. What did Red Eye say to Ben, was he telling Ben to go back to live with his family or was there something more to his message?
- Considering the weapon was pointed at the sky, and Ben stated it wasn’t for humans, who wants to bet the new aliens were the target and probably enemies of the Espheni? This doesn’t necessarily make them allies though. There’s nothing to say, even if an alliance is formed that once the Espheni are gone, they won’t turn on the humans. It did seem to have a friendly looking face, especially compared to the Slender Men but things aren’t always as they seem, especially in sci-fi shows.
- The Espheni have brains akin to a supercomputer and so they don’t back up any information on hard drives.
- The parasite from Hal’s eye looked similar to the one found in Tom’s eye earlier in the season. However, the one in Tom’s eye seemed to be there more as surveillance while Hal’s seems to be controlling his mind.
- With Red Eye gone how will we tell the rebel skitters from the evil skitters?
If you've got any opinions, questions or theories to contribute then feel free to leave your feedback below, but please don't post any spoilers.
Bronzethumb's Thoughts on the Episode
The opening scene of 'A More Perfect Union' encapsulated the problems with the episode: rather than capitalising on the momentum of the previous episode's cliffhanger, it faffed about, slowing things right down and wasting one perfectly good storytelling opportunity after another. Really, it was almost identical to the finale of season one in its structure and content, from the way so many of the side plots were tied up in neat bows to the pointless, unexciting mission the 2nd Mass is dispatched on, all culminating in yet another alien-related cliffhanger that comes from nowhere, with no bearing on the rest of the episode, purely as a way to get people interested in the next season. And it didn't really work, because other than their dramatic arrival, there's nothing about these new aliens to hold the audience's interest.
It's not an episode without merit. Jessy Schram's Karen continues to be the most effective villain on the show to date, even while sprouting supervillain clichés as she makes her dastardly escape; that said, Hal's parasitic turn at the episode's end seems to be setting him up as a far better antagonist, which is great because Drew Roy is the best of the show's younger actors. The death of Red-Eye had a surprising emotional weight, given he's a voiceless and mostly off-screen character, and the scene brought out the occasionally-solid acting skills of Connor Jessup, though he's still outclassed by everyone else on the show. Some of the action was fun, but so much more was done with bad, plastic-looking CGI that it distracted from what was going on. The big mission felt like a convenient set-up for a big set piece and the death of a regular character was too transparent in its purpose to be meaningful.
The nuggets of solid storytelling were few and far between, leaving the season finale to feel hollow, emotionless and by-the-numbers. At times it was a slog trying to get through season two, and the cliffhanger gives very little reason to tune in to Falling Skies next year.
An aside: Huge kudos to Libby Popper for taking over the finale review while I was off gallivanting around the United States. Hope you enjoyed her work.