Alien Invasion

Falling Skies: "Brazil" (Season 3, Episode 10)

Pacing has been a problem with Season 3, and the finale was no different. Some of it was watchable, but the net result was an odd negation of the whole season.

Basically, they were clearing this season’s storyline out to make way for a new creative team, and it showed. We could have actually started Season 3 with this episode. The Volm could have landed and done exactly what they did in Episode 10 without nine intervening episodes of folderol about “the Volm weapon.” We were just marking time the whole season.

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Falling Skies: "Journey to Xibalba" (Season 3, Episode 9)

Xibalba, roughly translated as “place of fear” according to Wikipedia, was the underworld in K’iche’ Maya mythology. So there—who says you can’t learn something from watching mediocre science fiction TV? And mediocre it is this week, as we shift back to stories built around rubble and the magical Dr. Kadar.

Seriously, if you have a thing for rubble, this was your dream hour of television.

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Falling Skies: "Search and Recover" (Season 3, Episode 5) and "Be Silent and Come Out" (Season 3, Episode 6)

Sigh. Flaccid Skies drones on. The whole third season has turned quite strange at this point. It has characters, dialogue, things happening, etc. but it never actually feels like a story. It feels more like you’re watching outtakes from a story training course, as if someone filmed interns at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh executing various aspects of the whole story thing. This time out, I watched two whole hours and found only one or two moments that held any interest. And that was just because they had visual color compared to the normal washed out palettes of this thing.

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Falling Skies: "At All Costs" (Season 3, Episode 4)

The show still seems to be doing decent in the ratings, but from a creative standpoint, this episode felt like rock bottom. Some of it was actually funny bad.

Last week’s big cliffhanger? The attack the Espheni finally launched? It lasts all of about two minutes. The Volm shoot down five fighters in formation, a whole five from the Espheni’s ovewhelming attack, and “that’s all, folks.” In fairness, however, there were hints that more interesting carnage happened off screen. That’s an old pattern by now.

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FALLING SKIES: "Badlands" (Season 3, Episode 3)

Nice opening sequence this time. Some potentially intriguing developments wrapped in standard “humanity on the edge angst.” All in all, better than the stupid paint-by-the-cliches attack on that nuclear reactor last week, but it’s still not up to what better moments this show has had. They seem to be trying to find their conceptual footing this season.

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FALLING SKIES: "On Thin Ice" (Season Three, Episode 1) & "Collateral Damage (Season Three, Episode 2)

Well, that wasn’t so good was it? The whole thing felt drab and derivative, like they were trying to pack in as many clichés as they could into two hours. And they certainly packed those suckers, freely borrowing from superior sources. It didn’t have any of the energy the second season premier managed.

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Falling Skies: "Death March" (Season 2, Episode 8) through "A More Perfect Union" (Season 2, Episode 10)

The 2nd Season has been better than the first, but I won’t lie. These last three episodes, taken together, are a bit of a disappointment. It feels lazy and tired, like they ran out of gas. The first episode is simply bad, the second one okay, and the last one more dumb than not. At times the writing this season the writing really pepped up, but the home stretch ain’t one of them.

“Death March”

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Falling Skies: Falling Skies: "Homecoming" (Season 2, Episode 6) and "Molon Labe" (Season 2, Episode 7)

As far as TV goes, things are moving along fine for Falling Skies. It’s nestled nicely at TNT with good ratings, the last two episodes reviewed her are certainly exciting enough in a TV sort of way, and the ending of the latest episode was actually touching. The writing is also still generally better than the first season. So it’s on firm footing even if it’s not the more demanding type of science fiction some of us might prefer.

We had a genuine two-parter this time as opposed to two different episodes spliced together. And we’re off…

“Homecoming”

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Falling Skies: "Young Bloods" (Season 2, Episode 4) and "Love and Other Acts of Courage" (Season 2, Episode 5)

So how’s Falling Skies holding up?

Well, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say the last two episodes are a slight step back. Some of this stuff felt pretty formulaic, with a tendency toward talkiness and emoting for the sake of emoting. However, the plot is also moving forward and there’s still some momentum from the 2nd season premiere.

“Young Bloods”

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Falling Skies: "Compass" (Season 2, Episode 3)

So after last week’s narrow escape, the good old 2nd Mass is holed up in an airport hanger. With a lot of wide open space surrounding one big building, it doesn’t strike me as that great a place to hide. But then this is television, right?

Tom’s son Ben hates Skitters. We mentioned that last week, I believe. He kills a wounded one with his bare hands in the opening montage. It makes a nice squishy sound.

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