Oct 16, 2014

[TV] Falling Skies: Season 4

When it comes to Falling Skies, there are three important questions that have to be asked. (1) How did this show get a fourth season? (2) Why did I watch all four seasons? (3) How did it get a fifth and (thankfully) final season? I really don't know how to answer any of these questions, but it's a little too late now. And with the confirmation that the show will end with the fifth season, the somewhat obsessive part of my personality is arguing that I should still watch that season once it comes out. I feel so torn.

Falling Skies isn't necessarily a terrible show, but as it has dragged on it's hard to really see much in terms of redeeming qualities either. If anything it just sort of wanders forward, with the overall meta-plot being a little thin.

And it's such a shame since the core premise of the show was interesting enough - following the human resistance in the middle of an alien invasion. And the focus on a single bad of rebel fighters was decent enough for narrative purposes, it also kept the scope of the show rather limited. And given some of the bigger plot points, it was harder and harder to appreciate just how much this one band of fighters was supposedly responsible for.

Synopsis: Falling Skies is an American science fiction drama series created by Robert Rodat Steven Spielberg acting as executive producer for the show. This Dreamworks Television production has been airing on TNT in the US.

The third season ended with the Volm weapon finally being unleashed on the Espheni and the war starting to shift. However the Volm are of the general opinions that it would be safer for humans to stand aside and let them fight. But of course our heroes of the 2nd Mass manage to convince the Volm that they're willing to take the risks to fight for their home. This fourth season opens up with the 2nd Mass finally returning to Charleston after nearly a month of travel, but only to get thwarted by the Espheni once more. They deploy passive metal obelisks that create an energy barrier around Charleston while Espheni mechs subdue the humans.

4 months later, we find Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) in some sort of solitary confinement - but he escapes regularly in order to gather more information. Matt (Maxim Knight) is at a Nazi-style re-education camp where they are being taught to comply with Espheni rule. Ben (Connor Jessup) wakes up in Chinatown to find a thriving community that looks much better than the rest of war-torn Charleston. Maggie (Sarah Sanguin Carter) tries to keep him calm long enough to meet his sister Lexi  (Scarlett Byrne), who is now an adult. Finally Anne (Moon Bloodgood) and the other members of the 2nd Mass who managed to escape the Espheni ambush

So once again we end up with a somewhat left field shift in the overall story in order to kick off this season. We've sort of seen this as part of the overall pattern as the series has progressed ranging from Tom finding his way back from his time with the Espheni between seasons 1 and 2 and the introduction of the Volm in Season 3. And while these are still plausible developments, I kind of wish they actually foreshadowed some of these developments during the regular season instead of cramming all these developments into the unseen period between seasons.

And now we have the Masons all over the place getting into mischief since that's what the plot demands of this family. The weirdest element will always be Lexi, who had already been a somewhat disturbing child in the third season. Now she's grown up into Daenerys Targaryen with an odd tendency to hibernate in cocoons of her own making. I kid you know, she somehow creates a cocoon early in this season and sort of takes a nap for a while.

So what happened to the Volm, precisely? We know they were supposed to seriously engage the Espheni by the end of Season 3, but we start the season learning that their battle with the Espheni has taken them to another world. And while they supposedly got a lot done on Earth, it doesn't really seem that way given Espheni forces seem as powerful as ever. And instead the Volm only leave scouting teams on the planet? What does that even mean? Who are they supposed to be scouting for?

So a lot of this season sort of degenerated back to the usual guerrilla actions against the Espheni as if nothing had ever changed from the prior seasons. Didn't they figure out strategies that were more effective against mechs? Why did so much of the season have to focus on the freaky Chinatown community? Why is Lex is so weird? And why are there still so many arguments within their ranks after all that they had gone through?

The list goes on and on like how they decided to revive quirks with the harnesses as a bit of a plot twist in this season including a character voluntarily getting harnessed leading to...a love triangle? So not awesome.

I finished watching this fourth season of Falling Skies just to get some sort of closure after watching the first few episodes. And man, things just get really nutty at the end. Thus the season gets 1.5 sad justifications for dragging Mira Sorvino into this show out of 5.

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