‘Falling Skies’ Season 2 Finale Review

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Falling Skies A More Perfect Union Falling Skies Season 2 Finale Review

For a 10-episode season, the second round of Falling Skies sometimes felt overlong. It’s likely due to the effort by the writers to convey the emotional and physical strain that war can have on those engaged in battle – especially for the guys who seem to be horribly outmatched. But despite its gung-ho, pro-military attitude, Falling Skies isn’t, and can never be, your average war drama. It must (for one more season at least) perpetuate the climate of conflict and strife by sometimes tangentially telling the story of those fighting the war – which means not having them in it all of the time.

For the most part, that was the idea behind season 2. The writers set out to give the members of the 2nd Mass a goal that occupied the nebulous middle between the war’s beginning and its eventual conclusion (whatever that outcome may be). Though the goal was ultimately unfulfilling for Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) and the rest of the 2nd Mass, that’s often the way the cookie crumbles in science fiction. Whether or not the prospect of a new United States government or some secure zone was necessary at this point in the series is debatable, but it certainly has gone and provided storytelling parameters on which the series can build upon next season and beyond (if a fourth season proves to be in the cards).

For all the good the promise and eventual reveal of Charleston did for the 2nd Mass, it was a storyline that came with a healthy dose of ups and downs. On one hand, given the possibility of hundreds, maybe even thousands of survivors waiting for them in this somehow still productive city, Falling Skies didn’t shy away from cutting a lot of its supporting characters loose. This added some much-needed gravity to the situation, and created the kind of atmosphere that was appropriate for the show: One where the characters’ survival was made all the more spectacular due to the overwhelming sense it could be catastrophically over at any moment. So after losing Jimmy (Dylan Authors), Jamil (Brandon Jay McLaren) and Boon (Billy Wickman), the stakes for season 2 were appropriately raised. However, maintaining that element of drama has not been the show’s strong suit.

Falling Skies has a great handle on its basic premise, there’s no doubt about that, but the show often struggles to strike a suitable balance between intensity and personal drama. It’s a problem the series is able to overcome during the course of the season, where the knowledge that more action will come the following week can typically lessen the sting of weaker episodes like ‘Compass‘ and ‘Love and Other Acts of Courage,’ but where the season finale is concerned, piling on personal, dramatic elements don’t even out a lackluster and rushed episode.

The season’s penultimate episode ‘The Price of Greatness‘ left audiences to deal with the possibility of the 2nd Mass inadvertently inciting a coup – which saw the master of inaction, Arthur Manchester (Terry O’Quinn), supplanted by Gen. Bressler (Matt Frewer). As ‘A More Perfect Union’ quickly establishes, the people of Charleston have essentially replaced avoiding aliens at all costs will killing all aliens – regardless of such silly notions as rebellions and potentially advantageous infighting. Bressler then becomes the stock military villain who detains Tom, Weaver (Will Patton), and many other 2nd Mass fighters for not agreeing that martial law is the best course of action. After spending so much time setting up Manchester as a somewhat ambiguous obstacle (neither villain nor ally, but a problem nonetheless) Falling Skies tosses him in a cage and essentially forgets about him.

Moon Bloodgodd Noah Wyle Falling Skies A More Perfect Union Falling Skies Season 2 Finale Review

Following that, Bressler proves to be nothing short of a pushover with a bloodlust for skitters (considering he watched one kill his son) that once more throws a wrench into the possibility of Red-Eye’s rebellious group being of any service to the human survivors. The frailty of the chain of command, wherein Bressler can give the order to slaughter Red-Eye and his skitters and deharnessed human companions, and then allow Weaver to directly disobey an order and plan an attack on a new weapon the aliens are building is a convenient way of insinuating that conflict exists, without finding a plausible way of resolving the clash. As it stands, ‘A More Perfect Union’ goes from coup, to rebellion to raid on experimental alien technology almost in the blink of an eye. It’s so quick and seemingly random, in fact, that one hardly has time to register the fact that Anne (Moon Bloodgood) is now carrying Tom’s child.

The second season seemed to be at war with itself; on one hand, it was eager to develop the relationships of the survivors, and explore the possibility of what the future of the post-invasion world might look like – both personal and in the larger societal sense. It’s a notion the series touched upon when Tom questioned where all the formerly harnessed kids would fit in, once and if the war was ever over. With the prospect of bringing a child into the world now a certainty, Tom and Anne have to confront the question of whether or not that is the moral thing to do – it’s a deeper inquiry than one might expect from Falling Skies, but where the series frequently stumbles in terms of its depiction of actual human interaction, the character’s apprehension about the future is an aspect the program would do well to develop further.

On the other hand, however, the finale still has the issue of creating some sense of closure to the skitter rebellion and Ben’s (Connor Jessup) need to be a part of it. The majority of that issue is taken care of with Bressler’s men on skitter-killing duty, while the rest is apparently handled during the assault on the alien’s weapon.

None of the characters – harnessed or otherwise – have really questioned what the rebels’ end game was. Tom notices the weapon pointing to the skies and comments that the earth no longer has much of an air force, but brushes off the response about the exact purpose for which the weapon is really intended. The alien’s – Karen (Jessy Schram) and the overlord – actually seem more inquisitive about how Tom and the 2nd Mass came to know about the weapon in the first place. After Karen engages in some torture, which involves an alien cattle-prod, making out with Hal (Drew Roy) and breaking the news to Tom about Anne’s pregnancy, the rebellious skitters arrive so that Tom can finally best a surprisingly well-armed overlord in hand-to-hand combat and the 2nd Mass can destroy the weapon.

Drew Roy Falling Skies A More Perfect Union Falling Skies Season 2 Finale Review

The aftermath, however, is swift, and its ramifications little more than a resetting to the status quo. Red-Eye is dead, which puts Ben back in league with the 2nd Mass, Bressler allows for civilian rule as long as it’s not Manchester who is in charge and Tom and Anne wait for their baby. Perhaps the eagerness to get back to the status quo was so the writers could set up next season’s conflict in the form of Hal being bugged (literally) and the arrival of another, heretofore unseen alien that the weapon was clearly intended for.

‘A More Perfect Union’ was hardly more than a lead-in to season 3. In fact, the season finale was so eager to leave the audience guessing as to the identity and purpose of the new alien, it had little time or concern left for an actual conclusion to season 2. What is concerning is that even with the primary storyline, the question of deharnessed children, a skitter rebellion and a fragile, coup-prone new government to deal with, the writers still felt it time to introduce another new element to the series. How this will turn out is anyone’s guess, but in the interest of moving forward, perhaps fans might like to see one storyline reach a satisfying conclusion before another enters the fray?

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The third season of Falling Skies will air on TNT sometime in 2013.

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  1. i for one thought this season was way better than season one and cant wait to see whats in store for season 3. though i agree that this finale felt a little rushed. if they wouldve dropped one or two of those filler epsidose or even had a twelve episode run they couldve spent more time developing the charlston conflicts and the skitter rebelion.

  2. A decent season finale however far too busy trying to set up season 3. Leaving open ended storylines is fine-but this went way too far. New aliens, “Top Secret Weapon”, Tom’s kid getting bugged.
    And we won’t see it again until June ’13.

    • i agree it was last season s finale only left ont thing open .. and that was what the hell is gonna happen with tom .. this season i felt like they just had a hott mess going on ..

  3. I think the new alien creature at the end was simply the original form of the skitters. Which now will allow them to have an ally at least in the short term. I have to say I hate short seasons as well as filler episodes lets just get on with it, no need to drag it out.

    • Nope they are not the skitters previous form, that been ruled out by the show runner;
      http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/08/19/falling-skies-season-2-finale-burning-questions/4/

    • I thought they were a from of skitter too, like a higher species from the same world. Or the Overlords had changed the aliens to suit their needs. Waiting for the next season to see.

      • Seriously!? Pay attention people, the original form of skitters are the harnessed children, they touched on that in season two when they killed the captured skitter and the doc did an autopsy and found a harness on its back!!

  4. The road to Charleston lead to going back on the road. Considering the fact the main alien bad-guy and the rebels always found the main characters they may be better off wandering. But of course Karen not only got away, but “bugged” Hal, leaving yet another Trojan Horse to turn on the 2nd Mass sooner than later. The giant angry flounder is dead, but a meaner looking sea creature in armor showed up, with the tagline hyping the next season asking whether it was friend or foe. Considering the fact the Skitters were rebelling it’s odd there was no mention of these other aliens, whoever they turn out to be.

    If this is some ally that will help the humans fight one would guess there will be more battle oriented episodes next year. There will also be Tom’s impending new child and the constant trouble the one’s he already has still being a mainstay. One funny point was the youngest son was wearing a Star Wars shirt……..

  5. 1st of all no its not a skitter, an interview revealed that harnised species do not grow legs but an exoskeleton – writers internal name is crusty kids

    second, i read they wanted to make a big version of the rebell fighting which would been way better – here it looks like the hole rebellion is like 20 skitters.

    also the way the fihgt in the cannonrom went was very poor. they know than an ak47 and a handgun dont do much about a skitter and left the heavy artillery at home ?

    also the overlord wasnt really protected and where did the rebell cames from? they could not enter without us ?

    somehow this looks like “war of the world” the series, where big imprtant gihts where meade between a few actors – but that was ok it was a b movie series – but for a primetime its a bit cheap

    but its getting worse – with the new aliens – they run into a big logic hole and i tell you why –
    the way the sotry turns out looks like now the following
    1. assault on earth was just to sweep the ants (humans) away for having a strategic platform – so far so good.
    2. the wepon was one of the real reasons of the invasion and was agianst the new species

    so here is the problem
    1. why the new very capable looking species didnt help at the invasion
    or at least came by later to destroy the inactive weapons themself?
    2. why they comming now and not a week earlier
    3. why they need a hole planet for this tiny weapons ? an asteriod would have been way better , or moon or spaceship

    which comes to the new implant – why not using these frequently ?

    so they gonna have to be vey careful to not write themself into a complete nonsense

    btw nonsense – the size of the weapon with that little c4? sericusly ?
    not says his doorbreaker could not blow a hole in a 1 meter thick stonewall – even if it could it would not look so sharp like that

    • so here is the problem
      1. why the new very capable looking species didnt help at the invasion
      or at least came by later to destroy the inactive weapons themself?

      May be they did not know about the Overlord attack on our planet when the invasion first happen, perhaps they themselves had more important battles to fight. How do you know the weapon was in-active. I think Red Eyes and New aliens were working together. An that weapon been active for quite some time.

      2. why they comming now and not a week earlier
      May be they came as soon as they knew the weapon was destroy. Perhaps this is the earliest opportunity they had to deploy forces to our world.

      3. why they need a whole planet for this tiny weapons ? an asteriod would have been way better , or moon or spaceship

      We do not know, we still do not know why the overlords came to this planet or why they been conquering other planets.
      They are not problems, they are just points we lack information on, same as the characters in the show.

      btw nonsense – the size of the weapon with that little c4? sericusly ?

      The weapon was filled with what look like energy, it does not take a lot of explosions to set of a chain reaction, which is what cause the miniature nuclear explosion.

    • Whatdoiknow… that was the most annoying rant I’ve read on here in a very long time. Congrats. Now stop watching the show if you don’t like it.

    • 1. why the new very capable looking species didnt help at the invasion
      or at least came by later to destroy the inactive weapons themself?

      *We don’t know the weapon was inactive. It looked to me like it might have been some sort of super high energy beam weapon designed (as part of an array of such weapons) to prevent space craft approaching earth’s orbit. It’s very possible the overlords knew this new species was coming (perhaps it was only a matter of time), and the weapon was designed to keep the new aliens from approaching earth and joining the fight on the surface. The new aliens may not have been able to approach earth until the weapon was down.

      It’s also possible that some sort of interplanetary law previously prevented the new aliens from aiding humans until humans met certain critera…one of them being previous contact and cooperation with an alien species…alliance and cooperation with the skitter rebellion may have qualified the humans for aid from some sort of galactic alliance or governing body. The timing of the appearance of the new species seems a little coincidental for it not to have anything to do with the Skitter rebellion and the successful mission against the overlord weapon.

      2. why they comming now and not a week earlier

      *See above.

      3. why they need a hole planet for this tiny weapons ? an asteriod would have been way better , or moon or spaceship

      * The weapon is almost certainly just a means to an end for the overlords. It’s not why they’re here. And as I mentioned, it’s probably part of a larger array of similar weapons intended to defend the earth against the type of insertion/intervention we saw in the last few minutes of the final episode. The Overlords are on Earth for a reason. Perhaps an ancient interstellar war had simply finally reached our little corner of space. Maybe Earth suddenly gained new strategic importance for the competing factions of a million year old struggle for control of the galaxy or even larger regions of interstellar space.

      I suspect the overlords are rogue members of a galactic confederation and, the new aliens are a galctic police force sent to a) ensure that the overlords don’t gain control of the resources of the earth, and b) aid the human resistance.

      Just my thoughts.

  6. I yelled at the damn TV. WHY WHY WHY must we bug YET ANOTHER CHARACTER? Ugh. So tired of that plot line. And not ONE person thought “Hmmm the dad had been bugged and she kissed him and he went into a coma, perhaps we should check him out instead of WALKING AWAY FOR A DAMN GROUP HUG!”

    I know it was a set up for plot but I just… I just… UGH! It makes that group almost too stupid to live. Frustrating.

    I’ll still watch it in June though. I love me some sci-fi stories on TV. If only Eureka hadn’t ended *tear*

  7. This season was OK. I would like the focus in season 3 to be back on Tom, Weaver and Pope and less on the kids. I’d also like to see more fear and caution in the 2nd Mass. They shouldn’t be chatting casually with each other as they go through the tunnels under an alien stronghold. Nor should they travel at night in a long caravan with there lights on. Or announcing to anyone that they were going to Charleston.

    • Or bring aliens or people who have been compromised and infected by the aliens hang out at their base camps.

      • Where do you want them to take them, it not like the 2nd Mass have the resources to set up and man more than one base at a time. An you get your intelligence on the enemy somehow. The rebel skitters broke into Charleston and were not invited in.

        • It just became a running theme during the season that other characters even spoke on. They never got any information from Karen or the Overlord when they had them at the hospital, they instead found out about Charleston while “captured” by the 2nd Mass. Red Eye pretty much knew where they always were, and during the finale Ben probably helped the rebels find them.

          They also picked up that girl for some reason which caused another harnessed kid to follow them. Now they will have Hal giving away their position to Karen when/if they leave Charleston. It just made it hard to keep with the idea they were hiding when they got found by everyone weekly. I am expecting Weaver’s daughters boyfriend to pop up at some point next year if he’s not dead. They killed off a few regulars this season and they do tend to bring people back.

          • I am expecting to see her boyfriend again as well, I also would not be surprise if Maggie kid showed up alive and kicking, a gift directly from Karen, to f*** with Hal and Maggie relationship, in fact I got a feeling we will be seeing a lot of mind games in the next season, with the Overlord employing more psychological warfare. Expecting them to try and stop us from allying us with the new aliens using such tactics.

            Red eyes did give them some information, telling them that they were invaded themselves along with other bits and pieces. The girl they ran into, who I also suspect we will be seeing again spoke about some of her time with the skitters which gave us more light on the kids and skitter relationships.

            Even Karen and the Overlord told us some info, for example there a specific mission for the overlord need to carry out before they leave, they can predict future events. This episode we learn that they have such memory capacity that they do not use electronic storage devices.

  8. I would say the season was so / so. I had some weak points and some strong points. I did like this season just as much as I did season 1 and the series has me hooked. I think the new alien is likely to be a friend at first who will be introduced as ‘impressed’ the humans (second Mass) just took it to the overlord. Now that they view humans as worthy I think these new aliens are going to offer 2nd mass technology to allow for the show to allow bigger battles. However, I’m sure by the end of season 3 and if the show is renewed (which I believe it will be) the new alien may become an enemy fast.

    One random thing I loved from this season: When Arthur Manchester offered Pope Immunity and amenities to turn on Tom it didn’t go down. Instead Pope states his dislike for a pompous Tom Mason and the fact that nobody it taking Tom down but him.

    One last thing – my memory is foggy from the finale of last season. Did the season one finally leave us with a look at a new alien (the Overlord) or was the overlord shown before the season 1 finale? If he was kept for the finale of season 1 they are doing the same thing with us at the end of season 2 with a new unknown alien. However, I think we knew the overlords ran the show when they were introduced. Heck, maybe this new guy is the next step above the overlord now. Perhaps this series will have the 2nd mass go through the whole rank of different aliens before they find out the real masters are the bugs (now in Hal).

  9. I disagree with a lot of the negativity of this review. I liked this season, and the finale. The idea that they left too many open questions is silly – were they supposed to wrap up the whole story? No, instead they treated it truthfully from the charactr’s POV: things just keep getting thrown at them. I’m looking forward to next season.

  10. i thought the first season was better .. who ever is doing the directing should be fired in my opinon ..

  11. I am ashamed to have watched this show for two seasons and even more ashamed to admit I will tune into season 3. I felt this Season was atrocious. There were a few moments cool enough and interesting enough to keep me watching but otherwise it was painful to watch. The main issue with this show is the writing. There are some really cool ideas and some nice effects but the writing is terrible. The characters feel flat, the dialogue is corny, and there is no real emotional resonance in the storylines.

    This show is such a mish-mash of things that at times it is hard to determine what the writers are thinking. Is it a family friendly melo-drama “Father Knows best with Skidders”? Is it a “LOST” genre show that is engineered to keep you guessing? Is it an edge-of-your seat human survial story in the vein of “Walking Dead”? Is it “V” re-imagined? Is it a high action, high intensity show like “Battlestar”? I just can’t figure it out. It tries at times to be all those things but seems to never accomplish any of them well. The plot-twist are predictable, the situations are unbelievable, the portrayals of the characters are flat and lack reality. I hate that I dislike this show so much. It has such a promising concept, such good actors, such good effects, and even a lot of good ideas. The writers just fail to do it justice.

    I think they should fire every writer they have, find a laser-focus for the show and follow through with that focus rather than trying to be everything and winding up being nothing special.

    • Well said. I think the biggest issue of this show for me has been a frequent lack of a sense of danger. For most of the series it hasn’t really felt like the characters were under much threat (like it was rather successfully portrayed in Walking Dead). Even the parts where the protagonists are travelling from one location to another, there is no sense of tension and suspense. The characters have far too much time to discuss their romantic interests in one another. The plot line has been rather shallow and the writers have not given reason to get emotionally attached to the characters.

      I think that this series is going to struggle to maintain it’s presumably modest viewership when the more thrilling Walking Dead and others return with new seasons. Especially if they don’t cut down on the long and tedious soap opera style scenes which I rather highly suspect as a device to lazily fill out the time allotted for each episode. It’s bad enough they have made all the aliens relatively humanoid (third species included). But to rob the show of the tension and suspense it could so well portray just pushes it over the edge for me.

      Not sure I have the energy or patience to sit through a third season.

      Just my two cents worth.

      • Falling Skies is not in competition with Walking Dead they are on at different times of the year. An 5 million viewers is not modest for a cable show, many of which struggle to break the 2 million barrier.

        • Fair enough. I hadn’t looked at the figures of viewership and made a general statement of “modest viewership” based on an inaccurate sample (not many people talking about the show in my circles). This is why I preceded my statement with the term “presumably”. Thanks for pointing out that inaccuracy.

          That said, I guess my frustrations with the show stem from my feeling that the show could have done so much more with the concepts they have presented. It seems to me like they are constantly missing the mark. But that is just me.

          The fact that the show has 5 million viewers shows that they are perhaps doing something right, although I perhaps can’t identify with that. :)

  12. In SEASON 3 of FALLING SKIES….

    In season 3 we meet the ‘X’ians (generic name used here since I don’t know the formal name that will used for this alien species), the sworn enemy of the overloads who invaded Earth and that the 2nd Mass has been fighting against for 2 seasons.

    At first the 2nd Mass and Charleston see the Xians as their saving grace, a way to defeat the invasion of the overlords. Being the resident history buff Tom knows that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” angle is short lived at best and that once the common enemy is defeated you no longer are “friends”. This defeat of the Overlords by the Xians will leave the 2nd Mass and all of Earth to deal with an even deadlier alien invader then before and with no alien rebellion to assist.

    After several solid episodes followed by a few not so solid fillers, we see the 2nd Mass’s end game plan beginning to take shape; a plan where Tom and the 2nd Mass use the conflict between the Overlords and the Xians to not only end the Earths occupation by both races but to ensure neither race ever returns.

    How will the 2nd Mass defeat both alien races?
    Will Tom and Annes baby survive the coming war?
    Will Hal finally get to kiss Maggie?

    Stay tuned to FALLING SKIES Season 3 in 2013 for answers to these questions and more!

    • Hal and Maggie have already kissed.

  13. I just finished season 2 in 2 days when I borrowed it from a friend. Glad I didnt spend any money on it. Honestly, I love the general idea, but the soap opera deliver us leaving me numb. I really dont care for many of the characters who endlessly whine over their angsts (worse in season 2). Having spent time in a war situation you dont have time for that rot. I will persist, but honestly it lacks the drive of BSG that seemed to know how much character development was needed, and how much action was called for.

  14. Hey Kevin, get a clue. A ‘review’ of a TV series is to help us understand if it’s good or not. This is not a TV review, it’s a summery. And do we need a summery? I don’t think so, as if we choose to watch it, we can enjoy things without your back seat blather.

  15. This series is for 12 year old boys and like minded nerds. I admit, I like it.

  16. Quite captivating,cant wait for season 3

  17. This show’s dynamic with the aliens and the war is great, but the soap opera drama is so over the top it strains the everything else’s credibility. The acting and writing is so over the top it becomes comedy at times. Every single time people talk to each other they are yelling at the top of their lungs, and the parents profess their love for their families and children every 3 minutes… we get it, family members love each other and children are vulnerable.

  18. I may be foggy but the last thing I remember from Season 2 Finale was the new alien saying through the girl that he wanted Tom to “come” and Weaver telling him not to but Tom deciding to rather than have his son taken.

    Then season 3 starts and ??????? what the heck happened with all that? It’s like it never happened!

    • You’re mistaken, that is the season one finale.
      You’ve missed an entire season sir.

  19. Ehm… Not sure if you’re joking. Just in case: that’s the finale of Season 1 you’re talking about. So you’ve missed a season!