‘Falling Skies’ Season 3, Episode 7 Review – Meet the Picketts

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Maxim Knight Noah Wyle and Connor Jessup in Falling Skies The Picket Line Falling Skies Season 3, Episode 7 Review – Meet the Picketts

Although it has struggled to deliver much of a compelling storyline involving the Volm, choosing instead to keep the alien race mostly on the sidelines (or in the basement constructing a superweapon) Falling Skies has managed to fiddle with the usual episode format more than once in season 3, and while neither one has truly had much of an impact on the overall storyline, both have managed to highlight the series’ humanist approach to the series’ narrative with some positive results.

In that regard, season 3 has tried to introduce other new elements, as a way to liven things up, but that’s only produced strange subplots about half-alien babies and Mason children under the influence of the Espheni. Frankly, neither have managed to offer anything beyond an episode that burned too quickly through Hal’s “bugging” and offering an excuse for the Masons to gather as a family and head off alone in pursuit of Anne and Alexis. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as ‘Search and Recover‘ demonstrated not long ago, the series can greatly benefit from the opportunity to tell a smaller story within the larger context of what’s been going on in season 3 – which really hasn’t been much more than waiting to find out the secret behind the Volm superweapon and the identity of the mole.

So, good news; both of those questions are answered here in ‘The Pickett Line’ and Falling Skies finally feels like it’s cleared enough out of the way the only place for it to go now is forward.

Drew Roy in Falling Skies The Picket Line Falling Skies Season 3, Episode 7 Review – Meet the Picketts

In addition to having many of the more successful elements of ‘Search and Recover’ – which gave Tom Mason some time away from being a not-so-great president and offered an opportunity for Noah Wyle and Colin Cunningham to interact on an interesting level not asking for a handful of other voices to be heard – the episode here brings the Mason clan (minus Anne and Alexis, of course) together for the first time in a long while. Seeing the Masons all together, it becomes clearer why Falling Skies tries so hard to integrate the themes it does. These characters, and the actors portraying them, all work together quite well, and although they’re just riding on horseback, or bivouacking in the forest, the familial sentiment is strong, and, for a brief moment, the discussion of whether or not Tom plans on returning with his family to Charleston sounds like the opening of an interesting story opportunity.

Of course, all of this is interrupted when a group of thieves takes the Masons’ horses and their guns, prompting Tom and his kids to take action. Unfortunately, after an entertaining sneak attack that sees the Masons gain the upper hand on their assailants, the rest of the sequence at the farmhouse devolves into a series of familiar arguments about working together vs. just laying low – and this is after Matt shoots a man in the back.

To make matters worse, the audience is robbed of a true conclusion, as the Masons are seen leaving the farmhouse after a series of turnarounds show each family briefly gaining the advantage over the other, encouraging a clumsy discussion of morality in a world seemingly devoid of such a thing (at least from the thieves’ perspective) that seems to be a waste of the dramatic potential inherent in such a situation, and in the casting of the frequently-fantastic Christopher Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels) as the Pickett family patriarch.

Drew Roy Connor Jessup Maxim Knight and Noah Wyle in Falling Skies The Picket Line Falling Skies Season 3, Episode 7 Review – Meet the Picketts

‘The Pickett Line’ spends most of its time setting up the events that lead to Tom being captured by a group of skitters, after he exasperatingly heads back to the Pickett farm to warn them of the hostile force headed their way. But the episode isn’t just another display of the writers using Tom Masons’ poor decision-making skills to create conflict; it also reveals Lourdes to be the mole by having her assassinate President Hathaway, while he’s recovering from his journey to Charleston in Cochise’s company.

All of this plays out to create some interesting drama that gives Weaver and Pope something to do (as they both begin to suspect Maria Peralta to be the mole), and brings the focus of the storyline back to the Volm superweapon and the incredible risk that comes from using it. With just three episodes left this season, it would have been nice to see more time spent developing the stakes behind using the Volm technology, so that it felt less like a MacGuffin or basic plot fix. And although things are heating up now, the question is whether or not the consequences of whatever endgame the writers are cooking up will feel fresh, or if it’ll simply be a retread of finales past.


Falling Skies continues next Sunday with ‘Strange Brew’ @10pm on TNT. Check out a preview below:

Photos: James Dittiger/TNT

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  1. I swear I am gonna stop watching this show if they insist on introducing well known actors just to kill them off in a few episodes. First it was O’Quinn, then Frewer (aka max Headroom) and now we lose Collins? ARG.

    • Collins is a well known actor? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      • uh yeah, he is. Whether or not you like or even respect him is your own opinion however.

        And compared to about 90%+ of the cast who are relative unknowns, he IS a known and seasoned actor.

        • Being on a show for almost 10 years and a film career going back almost 35 means nothing to audiences these days. They want fresh faced CW graduates.

  2. ** Spoilers **

    I called it when Anne gave that medic pack to Tom from Lourdes before he boarded the plane.

    That had the tracker and now we see her true colors. But why does she have so many eye bugs? Is she supposed to give them to others?

    • Trying to drive home that she’s under more control than Hal was? (Since the fact that she just assassinated the true President might not have been enough for the lowest common denominator that executives think we all are.)

  3. I thought for most of the season the mole was Marina but last week it seemed too easy and since it was clear it was a woman that really only left Lourdes so i figured it was her, what i didn’t see was how they were going to reveal her and holy crap the writers did an awesome job. I’m glad its’ Lourdes it gives her something to do. it’s a pity they had to kill off Collins, but truthfully its for the better, there were too many moving parts and the story needed to centralize on 2nd Mass.

    • My question is how did Lourdes get bugged. All the scenes I can remember of her had her tightly in a group of people. And now that she is the main doc, seems to think she has even less time to get out.

      • @Patrick:

        I’m thinking that maybe Hal had more than one eyebug too and gave one to Lourdes. As we’ve seen, the eyebugs can leave the body and fly around so it’s easy enough for others to get infected.

        And maybe they also procreate (even asexually). Also seeing how Hal was able to sneak out to meet up with Karen, it’s possible Lourdes does too and that’s when she received more eyebugs.

      • Remember the one that supposedly flew out on the bus ride to Charleston? I think that’s where she got infected.

        • you dont have to guess, it has been shown in the scene!

  4. I am oft tired of the distracting, and poorly written and acted, sideline stories involving that knucklehead Pope. His reactions to situations that seem so awful and infringing on him and his own grow weary when he enforces same said similar situations on an entire camp.
    I’m continually hanging onto this series by a thread as it is, but this is one of the things that makes that thread all the more frayed.

    • You should be more tired of their ability to bring up a relevant question within the context of what they are trying to do in the town. Pope’s little hiccup fits well within the question of how much power a government should have, concepts of property and ownership vs the need / desire of the governing body (eminent domain) when said governing body is supposedly attempting to instill a government based of the principles of the collapsed one before it.

      That, to me, would have been a much more interesting side story than the forced morality debate posed by the Pickett family vs our illustrious “heroes”, an issue that was already dealt with at the beginning of S2 when Tom was trying to get back to the 2nd Mass and ran across the girl who’s mother was killed by a footpad and a morality debate on the necessity of stealing her transportation to get where he needed to go, plus her subsequent choice to run off an avoid a larger group and instead go her own way “because this is the world now”.

      They tend to bring up some interesting ideas that never quite come to fruition and instead retread old concepts that have already been explored in previous situations.

      • And that in a more apt nutshell is the crux of my watching problem.
        I did not have issues with Pope being the rebel thorn in the new regime’s side early on, but they continually write him as if “Hey we need someone to b**** at this other dumbass stuff we just wrote onscreen…POPE!”

        I try not to say writers are lazy cause I never know the what and the why of how they are throwing stories out. What will this seemingly filler pulp add up to down the road and so on, but Skies gets me to that point sometimes.
        Though I have held on for almost three full seasons.
        Revolution on the other hand made me leave after little over half a season. Nuff said about that.

    • I agree. What is Pope’s function in this. he is supposed to be a bad ass biker guy but he gets no mission other than hang around shooting at skitters. It is time to give him a mission. heck, he could use his little private army for better use..raid something, steal something. I could be a bad ass and hang around a bar getting fat too..

  5. i am not able to watch on sunday, so i went to the channel website, and have to pay to watch, i’m done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Ya ,Pope ? You can dump that turkey any Day. Some great ideas tossed in occasionally ,but Frankly have not had enough interest in the Show to invest much energy in thinking about who the Mole is. Who is the Mole ? The Mole….It’s like – enough already.
    If there was no Mole you could could on Tom’s exasperating decisions to screw everything up……Sheesh !

  7. My son and I reviewed this episode at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hqToHN67O4.

    In short, we were surprised at Lourdes and are puzzled as to when and how she got exposed to the Esphani to get bugged.

    • Lourdes got bugged when the device that came out of tom in the first or second episode of season 2, escaped from its bottle and went into her ear.

  8. I think it is time to get the 2nd Mass out of Charleston..take along that hot President too…I thought Lourdes was a nurse and now she walks around with a stethoscope like some hot shot(spy). get Pope and the Berserkers(?) a mission to blow up something..that word alone could stop people from watching this…

  9. I am just happy Matt is not remembering his mom in every episode..what a relief.

  10. I wonder if nothing really happened between the Volm landing and the beginning of Tom’s Presidency. There is a gap of 7 months and no one knows why Tom is such a strong believer in the Volm.