Plot: The Mason search team lead by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) to find Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) and Alexis is in full swing. Meanwhile, refugees are swarming the walls of Charleston and Colonel Dan Weaver (Will Patton) is doing everything he can to accommodate them, even if it means inconveniencing Pope (Colin Cunningham). Cochise (Doug Jones) and President Hathaway (Stephen Collins) also find their way back to Charleston right in time to talk with the newly elected President of the New United States Marina Peralta (Gloria Reuben) about the Volm weapon they’re constructing.
If you recall from my review of last week’s “Be Silent and Come Out,” I was a huge fan of that episode. The singular focus on Hal’s (Drew Roy) struggle to overcome the alien worm inside him and how that impacted everyone else was nothing short of amazing. I had even personally pegged that as being the best episode of the season. Then “The Pickett Line” comes out and everything changes. While last night’s episode of Falling Skies was definitely a bit low on the action compared to the episode prior, the emotional tension and not-so-subtle metaphors made this episode stand out pretty considerably. What brought it to the next level was the official reveal of who the true mole is within Charleston. It’s a reveal that is so shocking and unexpected that you can’t help but give huge props to the writers for being able to string us along a wild goose chase. All of this contributed to making “The Pickett Line” the real stand out episode of Season 3…so far.
When this episode started out, I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive. Bloodgood’s absence from the majority of Season 3 because of her maternity leave is public knowledge by now, which means that we all know she won’t be back until the very end. So right off the bat I was afraid this episode was going to be another futile attempt at rescue that wastes time like in “At All Costs.” Thankfully the show was able to avoid this by putting the Mason’s against the Pickett family, a small group of five lead by a Father and his brother. What made this plot great was the fact that the Pickett’s aren’t a ruthless family of bandits out to kill anyone that goes by. They’re a normal family like the Mason’s who are doing whatever they can to survive in this world. Sure what they do to survive isn’t lawful and they’re viewed as “evil” when they ambush our heroes, but it’s something you’d probably expect when you don’t have a whole community at your disposal. We also got to see how far gone the Mason’s are compared to people on the outside in regards to violence and youth. The youngest Pickett daughter has never killed someone or even fired a gun, whereas Matt (Maxim Knight) not only knows how to shoot a gun, he kills Uncle Gill Pickett. This naturally prompted Tom to take a hard look at what it takes to live in this world and if he steered his young, impressionable son in the right direction. Plus, the episode ended with Tom being ambushed by Espheni while trying to rescue the Pickett’s, alone I might add. That gives his detour far greater significance to the story as a whole than if he just left and continued on.
The show of power between Weaver and Pope back in Charleston was pretty entertaining as well, albeit a little childish at times. I really liked how this episode showcased beautifully the commanding power both Weaver and Pope hold over the people around him. For Weaver, he is the perfect representation of a lawman who knows what he needs to do to retain control. His arrest of Pope for sabotaging some of the vehicles was surprising but perfect. Pope has a similar amount of power except it’s over those who prefer to be lawless. His ability to rally his crew over what he viewed as unjust actions against him by Weaver was really cool. This episode also saw the two find mutual ground in both their growing distrust of the Volm and their protection from the still present mole. As it turns out, these two characters that butt heads frequently are more alike than once thought.
The big revelation into what the Volm weapon actually is brought the whole scope of the show to a whole new level as well. For the past two seasons, Tom and the 2nd Mass have been all about fighting the immediate Espheni forces around them with the hopes of someday driving them from the Earth entirely which seemed like a pipe dream. The humans were much weaker in comparison but were still able to win a fight here and there. The Volm have naturally helped them grow stronger and became a true force to be reckoned with over the past seven months, but that weapon was always a metaphorical elephant that Cochise refused to give more information about. Now we learn that the weapon is planned to be used against the Espheni defense shield that will both prevent more Volm from entering the Earth and will completely eliminate all life due to radiation. That’s right, the fate of the entire Earth is now in the hands of a small but growing resistance force in Charleston. This puts an innumerable amount of responsibility on Tom and The New United States as a whole, far greater than any of them could have imagined. The sheer scope of this excites me to no end and I cannot wait to see what comes of it.
All of the good from last night’s episode pales in comparison to the massive twist at the end with the revelation of who the mole really is. The writers did a phenomenal job stringing viewers along with the belief that either Hal or Peralta could be the mole while keeping the real truth perfectly secret. Needless to say, the unveiling of series staple and perennial innocent girl Lourdes Delgado (Seychelle Gabriel) as the mole was the biggest bombshell in Falling Skies history. Lourdes has been with the 2nd Mass since the very beginning with no conceivable motive to betray them, so how she came to working with the Espheni is a massive question that needs answers. Granted, the sheer amount of alien brain controlling worms inside her head certainly shows that she’s not doing it willingly.
The big reveal of Lourdes as the spy came with a huge price as she killed President Hathaway in the process. In regards to the show’s narrative the President’s death works wonders as both Pope and Weaver officially believe Peralta is the traitor, which I’m sure is what Lourdes and the Espheni want. Watching them go down the path of confronting Peralta about her potential involvement will be exciting to say the least. However, I can’t help but view Hathaway’s passing as a massive waste. His role as the President gave him far greater importance than almost anyone else on the show and there was so much that could have been done with him working with Tom and the New United States. We barely even got a chance to learn about his character and now he’s gone for good, which sucks even more considering this episode saw him and Cochise return from the wreckage of their plane crash. We really only had him around for two episodes. I’m as disappointed now with his death as I would have been if he died earlier. Gone too soon is really putting it lightly.
“Be Silent and Come Out” was a personal favorite of mine, but “The Pickett Line” officially dethrones it by becoming the current best episode of Season 3. Everything from the Masons fighting the Picketts to Pope and Weaver butting heads was really great with the big mole reveal being an unexpected but welcomed twist. It looks like Falling Skies is really kicking it into high gear as Season 3 starts coming to a close. I will however miss President Hathaway and the potential he could have brought to the show.
All photos credit: James Dittiger