TV Review: Falling Skies, Season 4 Finale

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Plot: It’s time for the Hail Mary play to ensure humanity’s survival. Can Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) successfully reach the Moon? What about the plan will change now that Lexi (Scarlett Byrne) has returned? Can the 2nd Mass survive another night?

To say I wasn’t a fan of “Drawing Straws” is a terrible understatement. The big issue was obviously how poorly executed the entire decision process was in determining who goes on this extremely vital mission. Plus, we all know that Tom wasn’t the best choice to go, so him forcing himself onto the Beamer was pretty lame. In a very wise move, “Space Oddity” retcons that entire hour with the revelation that Lexi is the absolute perfect person to do this job. She fully understands Espheni technology and can flawlessly pilot the Beamer. Basically any of that “drawing straws” shit didn’t matter. The sooner we can forget about that hour the better. What we got instead was truly great double season finale of “Space Oddity” and “Shoot The Moon” that successfully ended this season on a high note and left us with one crazy cliffhanger.

Photo Credit: James Ditiger
Photo Credit: James Ditiger

Despite her major role throughout this season, Lexi didn’t have much to do. Any focus on her story before the cocoon was all about why she was different. For a character with mixed DNA, she was very two dimensional. The past couple episodes didn’t change this either as she was still this “evil force”. “Space Oddity” finally fixed that, delivering one emotional hour that put Lexi’s burgeoning humanity in the spotlight. This episode was all about her deeply rooted personal issues which Tom, as her father, had to work through. In truth, with all of her flashy powers and emotionless voice, it was difficult to remember that she is still a human being. So finally presenting her as this scared little girl was a very wise move by the writers. Tom rejecting her for actions that she didn’t entirely understand justifiably hurt Lexi in a monumental way. As it’s core, this was a father/daughter relationship that needed to be worked out.

It’s Lexi finally discovering her humanity that made her big decision that much more tragic. If I’m being honest, Lexi’s sacrifice was easily predictable. She fell into the stereotype of a redeemed character desperate for approval by any means necessary. Yet after “Space Oddity,” it was especially painful to watch her go. For the first time in her brief life, Lexi was finally accepted by her father for what she really was. It may have taken an extremely unsettling dream world but Tom eventually realized that Lexi was as much his child as Ben, Hal (Drew Roy), and Matt (Maxim Knight). If Tom would risk everything to save them, he has to risk everything to save his daughter too. I’m sad that Lexi is gone from show as Scarlett Byrne did a solid job presenting her conflicted lifestyle, but I’m glad she went out in a literal blaze of glory.

Photo Credit: James Ditiger
Photo Credit: James Ditiger

If there is one thing Falling Skies has done right countless times, it’s representing women as badass heroes. Sure Maggie got shafted most of this season by being a shameless flirt stuck in a shitty love triangle, but Anne (Moon Bloodgood) and Sara (Mira Sorvino) were there to pick up the pieces. No matter how you shake it, “Shoot the Moon” was essentially all about the ladies saving everyone’s asses. Anne running around with a flamethrower reminded me a lot of Ellen Ripley from Aliens, and her rescuing Matt and Weaver (Will Patton) was classic action movie. Sara, in a predictable fashion, came back to save both Pope (Colin Cunningham) and Dingaan (Treva Etienne). Maggie finally got the action she deserves by using her super strength to save both Ben and Hal from a similar fate. Lexi had the biggest contribution of all, ending her life to give the surviving humans a legitimate chance to win. Tom may be the leader, but at the end of the day, it’s the women who get the job done.

Speaking of Tom, he went through a lot in this double-packed finale. “Space Oddity” was all about him coming to terms with who Lexi really is. You can’t blame him or Pope for hating her after what she did, but it was intense watching Tom finally admit his mistakes. That obvious, bizarre, but very well done dream sequence served the important purpose of opening Tom’s eyes. Because of this, he was able to work with Lexi to finish the mission. I didn’t expect Tom to stab the ghetto Overlord with the poisoned syringe but his actions were very symbolic. Hal gave Tom that syringe to kill Lexi in case she betrayed him. By using it to kill the Overlord instead, Tom proved that he finally realized Lexi isn’t a threat. In that moment, Lexi wasn’t a bomb that he was afraid would explode. She was a daughter who needed her father to save her.

Photo Credit: James Ditiger
Photo Credit: James Ditiger

Tom wasn’t the only one with a major revelation too. John Pope, the erstwhile asshole, finally admitted that he cared for the 2nd Mass. His rough and tough attitude is simply a cover to hide a fragile interior. Sara’s absence clearly hit him hard, and his rage against Lexi was the emotional center that kicked off this finale. Colin Cunningham isn’t always given a lot to work with, especially since Pope is frequently very two-dimensional, but “Space Oddity” let his deep rooted emotions fly and it was intense. His reunion with Sara in “Shoot the Moon” was great too. Giving Pope someone to connect with on a romantic level was a very smart move, and I sincerely hope he’s a new man come next season.

Then we have that cliffhanger. Tom, last seen hurtling through space, wakes up in some strange bedroom. The season ends with him declaring that an obviously alien creature is “beautiful.” We only see this new being in a mirror’s reflection, but I’m inclined to believe it’s a female Skitter/Espheni hybrid. The show already established way back when that the Skitters are actually slaves to the Espheni master race. Meeting their female equivalent isn’t entirely unreasonable. If it is a new race though, I’m torn on the writers introducing another alien species right before the final season. It seems like a really cheap way to drum up an exciting final story without working with the material already available. Plus, the reveal was very similar to how the Volm appeared, which gave me a disappointing sense of deja vu.

This season finale wasn’t perfect, but it was a solid two hours that went by quickly. “Space Oddity” was an excellent character focused episode that brought us into the pretty action packed finale “Shoot the Moon.” Where the show will go next is unknown, but it’s important to remember that next season is the last. That alien Tom meets is likely a game changer that will usher in the finale and the 2nd Mass is now rallying to victory. Their willingness to fight on is proof that they don’t actually need Tom anymore, but obviously he’ll be back. And it was nice to see Ben and Hal reconcile. Let’s hope that awful love triangle never comes back again.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.