There's being low on gas. There's running on fumes, and there's also being out of gas. Then there's trying to remember what gas is as you stare at a junked out hunk of metal that might once have been a car. Welcome to "Falling Skies: The Final Battle."
That grandiose title for the final season becomes laughable by the time this episode is over. The budget is down, and the scale of this show has never felt smaller. But look at it this way--there's nowhere to go but up.
You may recall that our main protagonist, Tom Mason, was lost in space on an out of control Espheni Beamer at the end of last season. His hybrid daughter Lexi had just committed suicide to destroy the Espheni power source on the moon. As in "THE" Espheni power source. It seems every last spaceship and piece of hardware on Earth was powered by that one source, one giant single point failure. That's very convenient with only 12 episodes left.
Now we do have to get Tom back to Earth, though. Don't worry. That's accomplished in the opening pre-credits scene. Tom is hallucinating yet again that he's back in that darned house in Boston; he's hallucinating his dead first wife again, too. She tells him to find his warrior. He stares at a bronze bust of some guy. We'll find out later that it's Woodrow Wilson, and I am not kidding about that. This piece of information is critical to resolving tonight's pathetic excuse for a plot, sort of a deus ex Woodrow.
The house's windows break. Water rushes in. After we return from commercial, Tom is clawing his way out of the ocean on to a beach with some crashed Espheni ship in the background. Next we see him walking down a road into the dark. He runs into a winged Skitter. It tries to get away, but some voice in Tom's head says "find your warrior," so he chases it down and hacks its head off. Then he finds the 2nd Mass.
So much for that cliffhanger.
The intrepid humans decide they need to go out and destroy the deenergized Espheni tech before the Espheni somehow find another power source. Tom gives an impassioned speech about everyone finding their inner warrior, that it's time to crush the Espheni once and for all. The crowd is psyched, bloodlust is in the air, a mighty rebel yell seems all but imminent, these pissed off SOBs are cancelling the ****ing Apocalypse, and...
They send out three teams on foot with 4 to 6 guys each to blow up whatever they can find.
Huh. Per Deputy Marshall Samuel Gerrard, given an average foot speed on uneven ground of four miles per hour, I suppose we could cover random portions of a very small county. Hot diggity darn. It'll be a dew-damp time pretty much nowhere tonight.
That really is it. Look, I'm all for gripping drama about small unit tactics, but don't try to sell them to me as the ultimate struggle to the death between Nazi and Soviet tank armies at Khursk and Orel in 1943, the clash of titans from which all that follows must flow. We're talking about less than twenty people who happen to mosey a lot. Alpha Team spends more time with Hal and Maggie carrying on about their pointless relationship than it does killing two Skitter and blowing up a barn. The Soviets would not have been impressed.
Braveo Team, the one with Tom, gets surrounded by Skitters. It's a coordinated attack that's supposed to be frightening, except Tom and his four companions just start blowing them all away. The Skitters brought nothing to a something fight. And this was their ambush. What makes it even worse is that Charlie Team hears the shots and makes it to the end of the fight in less than five minutes. So these two teams were less than a mile apart to begin with.
Can't you just feel the epic sweep of it all?
Why couldn't the new aliens that saved Tom at the start of this episode kill off all the Skitters and Espheni? Maybe then they could do something interesting.
That coordinated Skitter attack means there must be an inept Espheni overlord nearby. Colonel Weaver starts sounding off all the buildings in a five-mile radius. Tom just listens until they hit... Woodrow Wilson High School. Yeah, that bust in the hallucination. It means the Espheni overlord must be there because why should anyone have to try to actually accomplish anything in this episode?
Did you guess what that also means? Basically, we're going to spend the last fifteen minutes of this low budget episode wandering around an abandoned building in the dark while pretending it's a high school. I can barely contain my excitement.
Second verse same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse: Skitters ambush our heroes in the gym. Our heroes just shoot them all again. I can't swear for sure, but I think at least one of the Skitters tripped over another and broke its neck. I'd be more certain if the whole thing hadn't been so dark.
Some token person whose name I can't even remember gets killed. I've been more moved by a dead goldfish.
Ah, but wait! There's a big exciting final moment--the inept Espheni overlord takes control of Ben. What an agonizing dilemma for Tom... who proceeds to just shoot the overlord in the head while it's still talking. Ben is fine. The inept overlord isn't.
That was a pretty scary three seconds, wasn't it?
Couldn't the 2nd Mass have just holed up for a couple of weeks? I'm pretty sure all the Espheni and Skitters would have starved to death by then since they no longer seem capable of doing anything.
"Find Your Disinterested Bystander." The Espheni will do the rest for you. But before we get too cocky, do remember that these losers actually conquered us once. That would be four seasons ago, when they had a budget.