Falling Skies: Reunion

The penultimate episode of Falling Skies, entitled “Reunion,” was something of a contradiction. On the one hand, it set up the tension for the finale next week. On the other hand, “Reunion,” disappointed in many ways, taking that tension in a direction that would cut very close to the line of a clusterfuck ending, all the while offing a beloved character needlessly and white knighting once again for the Masons in the process.

The episode picks up much where “Stalag 14th Virginia” left off, with Ben doing his best to infiltrate the Espheni communications. The problem is, it’s causing him to overheat and he constantly needs to dip into an ice-filled bathtub to cool off and break the fever he gets. Anne promptly tells Ben that he must stop, because his body’s homeostasis is shutting down, but he refuses and goes in again. He finds out what we knew from last week – the Espheni Queen is coming.

Tom is soon visited again by the Dornia, who leads him to the shore of a lake. A long conversation ensues about how she(?) is the only one left, and is working tirelessly to avenge her race’s genocide. She presents Tom with a weapon that she claims will destroy the Espheni forever – if it can be used against their Queen. It’s a capsule, meaning Tom will need to get very close to use it. Seems impractical for something with so much thought put into it.

Reunion Falling Skies
Tom and his Dornia friend (she’s not actually physically there).

It’s also a deus ex machina of the highest, yet cheapest, order. It’s a one shot magic punch that makes everything nice again after all the evil. To me, this is lazy writing, and dilutes all of the struggles that the people of Earth have endured in Falling Skies, as well as the Volm in their centuries-long war against the Espheni. Instead of a real struggle to final victory, a victory that signals such a struggle, that victory can essentially be obtained all with one lucky shot. You’d think that a highly intelligent race like the Espheni wouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket.

I suppose this is natural, because Falling Skies has been in large part directionless since season 3.

Meanwhile little Matt Mason meets up with his little friend (what was her name again? she’s still here?) and after some awkward teenage game on his part, goes on patrol with Maggie. There they uncover…drum roll please…Lexi?!

Lexi is taken back to base, where she is promptly imprisoned. Anne does not trust her and wants nothing to do with her. When Tom returns, Lexi maintains her frame, hoping for sympathy and saying that she has lost her powers and that she was saved before the explosion in the last episode of season 4.

While Lexi is in holding, Anne is testing the capsule that Tom brought back. It kills rats with astonishing ease. Lo and behold, here’s where Marty, our antagonist from “Non-Essential Personnel,” turns out to be useful. Marty is now revealed to be a biochemist – one that worked in a brewery, no less (asspull?). He says when the thing in the capsule bites (yes, bites) a creature, it releases a toxin that triggers such an intense inflammatory immune response that the creature dies. Anne wants to make sure that the substance is not dangerous to human beings, so they put in some kind of new enzyme, but wonder whether the capsule is still lethal to Espheni.

They soon find out. Lexi, when alone with Tom, discards all pretenses of being friendly and attempts to kill him. Ben confronts her and throws the Dornia capsule at Lexi, who is promptly on the floor gasping in pain, revealing the weapon’s effectiveness. Lexi, now revealed as an Espheni clone, warns Tom that they were on to him and burns to ashes.

The other major storyline to “Reunion” was that all the militias were gathering for the confrontation in DC. Part of this involved the 2nd Mass taking in a smattering of survivors that they thought was another militia, only to discover that it was Pope’s gang. A firefight quickly follows. Anthony ends up saving Anne’s life and Tom shoots some gas tanks that explode right into Pope’s cover, collapsing concrete all around him. Thus, it finally seems that Pope’s career has ended. We heard nothing from him for the rest of “Reunion.”

To me, this was an extremely disappointing way to end Pope’s character. It was almost like an afterthought. It had no importance to it at all, only accomplishing the aforementioned white knighting of the Masons. Pope was the best character of Falling Skies, and to have him die in this way, just before the ending, without doing anything important, really felt like I, the viewer for all this time, was cheated. If Pope went out in a blaze of glory against the Espheni Queen, that would be one thing, but to white knight for the Masons? Bad form, Falling Skies, bad form.

We’ll see if Pope gets miraculously resurrected in the finale, but it sure doesn’t seem likely.

After the stints with Lexi and Pope, Ben continues to monitor the Espheni communications and discovers them chatting about something they called “The Foot of the Giant.” Tom figures out that this means that the Queen will be at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. Maybe she’s a tourist.

It’s also been discovered that the references to the Nazca Lines were due to the fact that they were created by the Espheni overseen by the Queen, meaning that they have visited Earth in the past. How important they are remains to be seen.

Overall, this episode was a mixed bag, making me give it a score of…

5/10 – No cigar.

There were some good things, such as the intrigue with the Espheni Queen, but Pope’s death alongside the continual stalling tactics (how is Falling Skies going to have a believable finale with only one hour left at this rate?) knocked it down quite a bit.

Next week’s episode, “Reborn” will be Falling Skies’ last. Unfortunately, the series has put itself into quite a box. How will it emerge? All things are pointing to a rushed, mediocre finale, but let’s see if the writers can pull a hat trick.