What They Say:
Hatchlings – The 2nd Mass discovers the source for the supply of enemy forces; Tom’s leadership begins to spread to the remaining human militias around the world.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Falling Skies played things in a kind of traditional manner the last time around as it once again fell back to the old standby of having the 2nd Mass worrying about food supplies. Some of that came from stupid moments, but it made for some decent moments with a group that went out to get food and had some good encounters along the way. The episode also gave us a lot more time with the feral skitters that are out there and a good chunk of it all felt like watching a version of Starship Troopers as the 2nd Mass defended against what was trying to overrun their meager defenses. It gave us good action with some decent special effects to make a bland episode a bit more interesting than one might expect.
With the cold open here having them dealing with a different set of creatures that have been occupied with food nearby recently, it shows a good pushback in eliminating them before they come after the 2nd Mass again. What we also see as the episode gets underway is that with the help of Cochese’s people, Tom’s message is getting out to the other militias out there and their methods and plans are making an impact in the fight overall. Learning that the ‘Mason Militias” have destroyed over fifty percent of Espheni technology is a huge success. Tom hates the name and being the center of attention, but he should also know the value in it in organizing and pushing back against such a superior force. The change overall in the fight against the invaders has certainly been fun to watch after what Lexi and Tom did and he has to recognize some of the value in his role in it to inspire others.
While progress is being made, there’s a lot of other things going as there’s a growing number of aliens nearby that are coming together under the guidance of a hidden overlord. It’s a significant of them with a slew of skitters coming in that represents and overwhelming threat. One that they have to figure out where they’re coming from, which gives the 2nd Mass come focus and purpose here. There’s also a subplot involving the two that were brought back the last time around, one of them the transformed human kid named Brian and his human sister, who have now escaped. It’s interesting in seeing how Tom doesn’t care much about them and even says they can be shot on sight as he’s focused more on the overwhelming numbers coming their way. This continues to be another piece that has Weaver really wondering what it is that Tom’s becoming.
Surprisingly, the subplot with Brian ends up having him drawn to the Overlord and that leads to confrontation as he overwhelms Maggie to talk through her in order to get Brian to kill his sister. It turns messy very quickly, though at least the Overlord gets wounded and knocked out, but we also get Catie dead by the end of it, which makes Maggie far more emotional than she should be considering everything going on. It’s the kind of situation that doesn’t leave much positive at all on the human side, though the capture of an Overlord by surprise is a good thing. Bringing it back to the camp is pretty much expected and seeing the reactions there is certainly amusing to watch and what it could represent as both information and status gains.
There’s a few things in play with the episode in general and one of them has the subplot with Pope and Sara off looking to see where the skitters are coming from. When you ge Pope being all sentimental in telling her that she’ll make beautiful babies someday once this is all said and done, you know her time on the clock is running out. And it starts even more so when she gets stuck in some skitter fog that’s like cement and superglue combined that she can’t get out of. It’s a nice human moment for Pope that now has things to fight for, but it’s also something that plays very predictably. What makes it all even worse is that when Pope does go to get help, it conflicts with events at the camp and sets in motion a real problem that will put him up against Tom in a huge way since he loses Sara. Bad writing all around. Talk about babies? Die woman, die. A far too tired trope that wouldn’t even be salvaged by much if the positions were reversed and Pope died instead. That would have at least been a little different.
With the Overlord in hand, Ben and Maggie get creative in trying to get in its mind by combining together themselves. It puts them into a lot of pain and risk, but the payoff is there as they discover that the skitters and hornets have been engineered by the Overlord as part of a major offensive action coming up very, very soon. That has Tom putting together a solid guerilla action to deal with it all as they’re basically coming out of a vat when they discover where the place is. It’s a small operation put into play but they use big weapons to take it down as it leads to a whole lot of carnage and destruction to deal with what’s being grown there. It’s a quick action overall, though not one without its problems as Anthony ends up freezing up during the operation after all that had happened recently.
The epilogue aspect of the episode keeps things simple with some bad moments as Anthony goes to guard the Overlord, which he wasn’t ordered to, and ends up killing him because the Overlord had warmed up some rubble there and Anthony figured it was a weapon. Not that it lasted once he was dead and that has Weaver pulling him from the fight due to some serious PTSD. But really, who doesn’t have PTSD after all that’s happened since the Esphini arrived? Ben and Maggie get a couple of nice moments as they cope a bit with what they experienced by being in the Overlord’s mind. Add in a little time with Weaver and Tom talking briefly about the choice they made when it came to Sara and it has some somber aspects to it, particularly with Weaver saying that there was a time when they would have prioritized her over the bigger mission But times have changed.
Falling Skies essentially wraps up the first arc of the season now that their time in this camp is done and over with and they’re ready to move out. But they’re bringing a lot of baggage with them in the time to come as well as a time bomb in their midst as it’s clear that Pope has snapped, and rightly so considering his last connection to the good side of him is gone. There are some of the usual issues with the show in that things happen without enough depth to make it work well and it still feels closer to syndicated science fiction shows of the 90’s rather than a serialized science fiction series of today. But it’s the kind of summer series that I find myself unable hold it against it too much. Especially since it’s nowhere near as awful as the fourth season was. Which is damning it with faint praise to be sure.