Plot: The time for action has come. Using the Volm super weapon, Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) strikes a decisive blow against the Espheni forces to make way for the remaining Volm command. Once the Volm arrive however, things don’t go exactly as planned and Tom begins to wonder if he was right to trust Cochise (Doug Jones) this entire time. Karen (Jessy Schram) also has her own response to Tom’s attack though it’s not something anyone could have planned for.
Man, Season 3 is over already? These ten episode seasons go by way too fast. Over the course of these past ten weeks we have seen Tom and the New United States enter completely unfamiliar territory. They have allied with a new alien raced called the Volm and actually have the technology to possibly liberate their planet. There have been moles on the inside, hordes of aliens on the inside, creepy babies that are rapidly aging, and big guns being built in secrecy. People have come and gone and Tom has been pushed to the absolute limits of his psyche. Every single thing we have seen so far has been leading up to this finale. Was “Brazil” everything we hoped it would be, or is this a classic example of a season ender that really shouldn’t be a season ender?
It is hard not to feel a significant pang of disappointment within the first 10-15 minutes of this episode. You know that big weapon the Volm have been building this whole time? Surely you must, it was the subject of many episodes prior and the entire fate of the world depends on it. Its importance cannot be understated! Yeah that whole thing is wrapped up without issue in the blink of an eye. “Brazil” started off flashy and exciting with Weaver (Will Patton), Pope (Colin Cunningham), Anthony (Mpho Koaho), and Lyle (Brad Kelly) riding a crazy train right into enemy forces. They have Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) in tow to bait Karen into attacking them. It’s quickly revealed that the train is actually a diversion in Chicago while the real attack force is riding a ship up to Boston with the giant gun. The build up was incredibly exciting and fun, getting me really pumped for one epic battle. As it turns out, the “epic battle” was a single fighter quickly shot down by Hal (Drew Roy). The Volm gun fires, destroys the tower, defense grid is destroyed, Earth is saved. A massively epic battle that could have (and some say should have) taken the majority of the episode is wrapped up extremely quickly in a very un-epic fashion. Well so much for that!
The Volm mothership dropping down into Boston was really impressive, clearly pushing the special effects budget to its limit and setting the stage for the real conflict of the episode between Tom and the Volm command. Apparently Cochise hasn’t been too honest with Tom and the Volm have planned to relocate the humans from the start to Brazil. This is what the Volm have done to every planet they have saved thus far. Tom naturally resists this and is promptly put into captivity. This is exactly what I didn’t want to happen with the Volm. I’m sure this was just a pipe dream but I really wanted to see Season 4 as a big team up between the humans and the Volm. Now that seems exceptionally unlikely. The Volm taking over isn’t exactly a surprise though. They are a super intelligent race that has been fighting the Espheni for much longer than the humans. So despite my aversion to how everything played out…it makes sense that it did. If I was a Volm, I’d probably view the humans as weak too despite how much they have survived without us.
I did love Tom resisting the Volm command however and convincing him that humans are different. Isn’t that always the case? There’s a galaxy filled with different races with different personalities and yet the human race on Earth is different. I digress, it was awesome watching Tom stand up to the domineering Volm commander with a name I won’t even try to spell. Plus it was great to see the actual Volm leadership too. Cochise has been displayed as this real force all season and seeing his father as the real man in charge was cool. It looks like the Volm are sticking around too so expect a lot more of them in Season 4 (I hope?).
A lot of the episode plateaued in the excitement factor with everyone talking to each other for the most part. We had Hal talking to Lourdes again, Weaver complaining about leaving, and Pope being all “Yeah I told you so!”. The conversations were interesting but not what I expected from this finale. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the action? Hell, where’s KAREN?! Super Evil Karen who is supposed to destroy all humans is almost completely absent from this entire episode. It was all very underwhelming.
Everything picked up near the end though with Karen finally making an appearance. After Tom convinced the Volm command that the humans ARE a strong force (why they can’t just fight alongside the Volm is beyond me), Karen finally takes the Lourdes bait and brings in a ship. It was fun watching Karen bring out the white flag with some supposed plan of surrender. She then proceeds to tell Tom that the Volm are actually not to be trusted and that someday the Espheni and the humans will work together to fight them. For a second there I actually believed Tom was going to listen to her. Thankfully, he doesn’t, and he promptly shoots Karen in the chest without a second though. One badass point goes to Tom!
A little battle breaks out, the humans are victorious, and Karen is finally lying on the ground dying. Hal then apparently forgets how she’s been trying to kill them for two years and acts all sad that she is dying. Maggie (Sarah Carter), like Tom, isn’t buying any of Karen’s shit and repeatedly shoots her to death. I swear Karen better be dead now! For reasons that completely escape me, Hal is upset that Karen is dead and this growing rift between him and Maggie is now apparently irreparable. Maggie and Hal’s dreams for the future are revealed to be completely different now as well. It makes sense that different plans for the future can damage a relationship, but it all feels a bit sudden. Hal and Maggie went through a lot this season and have seemingly come out on top of it all. Now they’re not good and they’re relationship is probably ending. Did I miss something here?
The entire episode pales in comparison to the revelation that Anne (Moon Bloodgood) and Alexis are now alive. Sure that wasn’t a surprise at all, but now Alexis is at least 6 years old and Tom is freaking out because she was born two months ago. Clearly this is because Alexis has alien DNA and is rapidly aging. I’m not surprised she is now older, but I still share Tom’s reaction of “What the fuck?!”. The mystery surrounding Alexis grows even deeper as well which is where the episode decides to leave a nice cliffhanger to end Season 3. As Tom and his crew are preparing to return to Charleston and possibly find the still surviving forces of the late President Hathaway (Stephen Collins), Alexis pays a little visit to a caged up Lourdes. Lourdes has been going all insane now because she’s in her “controlled” state but can feel the worms inside her. Alexis then puts her hands on Lourdes’ chin and proceeds to draw the bugs out. Then she kills them in front of Tom, smiling the entire time. Cue “What the fuck?!” moment number two! This is without a doubt not the cliffhanger I expected or even wanted with this finale, but it does definitely intrigue me enough for Season 4. I’m officially excited to see what this super kid can do.
Season 3 of Falling Skies had some pretty amazing moments and some pretty dull moments. Everything we have experienced so far has lead to this finale, but ultimately it doesn’t deliver in the manner we all expected. The epic Volm weapon is used very briefly in the beginning and the rest of the episode is about how the Volm want the humans to leave. Not exactly exciting season ending stuff but important nonetheless. “Brazil” really picks up near the end though with Karen’s apparent death and the revelation that Alexis has some crazy alien powers. I’m looking forward to seeing what Season 4 will deliver, but I’m not at the edge of my seat like I was last year. The Volm making their grand entrance was really freaking awesome in Season 2, and this finale just doesn’t compare. It is, however, not a terrible episode.
all photos credit: james ditiger/tnt