‘Falling Skies’ Season Finale Review
Falling Skies closes out it’s first season with a finale that, much like the rest of the season before it, had a few great things and a few very boring things. The two-hour finale was actually two hour-long episodes not one double-length episode, and it sure felt like it. For this review, I am going to give each episode a score and then I am going to give the whole two-hours a score.
The finale started off with the episode Mutiny which dealt with the aftermath of Weaver’s breakdown last week and how Tom and the rest of the 2nd Mass react to it. This hour of the finale was incredible. It was tense and felt real with some great payoffs.
Early on Tom confides in Anne about the events at Weaver’s house. The episode ends up being a battle of wits between Weaver and Tom, and it is handled beautifully. Weaver has Tom imprisoned while all the other characters who know what’s going on choose sides. Tom’s escape is awesome by the way. This is the first time the show has given us a really desperate fight between two humans. We also got to see that Tom can hold his own in a fight.
The standoff between all the characters in Anne’s lab was great. My only complaint is that Weaver’s change of heart was a bit too quick for my taste. However, his reasons for changing sides made sense. It was definitely one of the best scenes of the season. The rest of the episode showed the 2nd Mass preparing for battle. The lighting and cinematography of this scene was epic, Lord of the Rings quality stuff. It was moving and a brilliant set up for the final episode while being the best episode of the show. (9/10)
Unfortunately, when you have a sequence that epic, the payoff needs to be equally so. But television budgets just really really suck (I felt this a lot when I was a Heroes fan). The second half of the finale, Eight Hours, only delivered intense drama occasionally and brought Falling Skies back a few steps in terms of quality.
The episode opened well enough. Rick attacking Anne’s father was extremely creepy. Seeing him finally admit to missing his father was properly dramatic. I have to say, Rick’s storyline finished very well.
But then, where there should have been action, there was more build-up to the action that would barely come. Weaver gave orders to roughly fifty men to take down the structure above Boston, but we didn’t get to see any of this. Even if they just showed a few people running and getting killed by something off-screen, that would have been fine. But no, we are told of their failure. Fifty men become five and Weaver orders Hal to go back and tell their story (Weaver watched 300 a few too many times).
Back at the school, Tom, Margaret, Jimmy, and others prepare to fight the mechs coming in. Watching them take it down with their new weapons was appropriately awesome. Then we see six or seven mechs coming in after the one they just killed. But a radio signal makes them go away after too short of a fire fight.
Then we got to the final climax. Just before Tom decides to go help Weaver he and Anne kiss. It’s a decent moment that would have been better had Noah Wiley and the drab Moon Bloodgood had any chemistry at all. Tom arrives in Boston to see that the fight is already lost (this is where I complain again about the lack of on-screen action). He finds Weaver and shoots one of the aliens’ flying ships with an RPG and hits it causing a decent sized explosion on the massive structure. Better than nothing? I guess so.
The season ends with Tom and Weaver being confronted by a harnessed Karen on their way back to the school. A ship lands behind her and one of the new aliens introduced last week walks out. Karen tells Tom and threatens to take Ben back. Tom goes with them and the episode ends. This scene is very well done and is a good cliffhanger to keep people talking until next summer, but overall the final episode was lacking in excitement (I won’t say action because there are ways to make things exciting without explosions). (7/10)
Together, the two-hour finale is incredibly uneven. The build-up to a largely off-screen battle is wasted but we did get some great character stuff early on and an enticing cliffhanger. Even though the finale was kind of a let down, the final scene has me anticipating the events to come. I am sad that we have to wait until next summer for season 2. Hopefully the show can get a bigger budget and keep up the good writing from the second half of the season next year. Look for my review of the full season tomorrow. (8/10)
photo credit: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00042535.html