Writers: Remi Aubuchon
Director: Greg Beeman
THE ONE WHERE: While Weaver leads a decoy mission to Chicago, Tom directs the attack on the Espheni grid in Boston. It’s a victory that’s soon soured by the revelation of the Volm’s plans for humanity…
THE VERDICT: Series overlord Greg Beeman returns to direct the season finale and it’s an episode with a fine sense of ambition. Falling Skies has rarely achieved the pure wow factor of the Volm superweapon making its grand entrace into Boston harbour, a moment matched for spectacle by the Volm ship descending moments later to crush the city skyline. There’s also a pinch of classic War Of The Worlds imagery in the shot of the Espheni tower falling, one leg twisting and collapsing like a wounded Martian tripod.
FX candy aside, it’s an episode driven by the drama: the revelation of the Volm’s post-victory plan for mankind isn’t an entirely unexpected twist, given previous intimations of their shifty nature, but it’s refreshing that it comes from a misplaced sense of paternalism rather than pure malevolence. Pity that it’s wrapped up so swiftly, particularly with that woefully milky scene of the Volm commander suddenly questioning his orders, which feels all too pat. It’s a narrative avenue that’s been closed all too soon, perhaps - there was real potential in the prospect of a fourth season where the 2 nd Mass fight a rebellion on two fronts, dealing with the last bastions of Espheni power while liberating themselves from the Volm and their containment camps. Still, Karen promises that there are more “unpleasant discoveries” about our uneasy allies to come, so maybe the next run of episodes will shake up the status quo in interesting ways.
The wider Espheni threat may have taken a back seat this year but this has been the strongest season of Skies to date. There’s a heart of darkness beneath the family-friendly frosting now – Tom’s point-black blasting of the treacherous Karen would have been unthinkable in season one. Just like its ragtag protagonists, this is a show that’s been hardened by battle.
HMM: Is riding a train into the heart of Chicago – or indeed sailing into Boston harbour in broad daylight – really the smartest example of military tactics? And is that crucial Espheni grid really only defended by a handful of fighter craft?
TRIVIA: Doug Jones also plays his own father, Volm commander Washaskabab (I’m sure that’s something you have with sushi…). Split photography allowed him to play scenes against himself, though another actor later revoiced the character.
DID YOU SPOT?: “Smile, you son of a bitch!” declares Pope, winking at the show’s Spielberg connection by quoting Sheriff Brody’s shark-busting kiss-off line in Jaws .
Pope: “Compared to the quiet desperation of the suburbs, I’d say an alien apocalypse is paradise on Earth.”
Falling Skies is shown on FOX on Tuesdays in the UK