A plan where everything must go right invariably means lots of things will go wrong.
What They Say:
Exodus – Tom and the 2nd mass plan to escape the Espheni ghetto while Matt tries to discourage Mira from her dangerous escape plan.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Falling Skies teased a bit too much potential last week with the Espheni leader talking about bigger threats it he universe that they’re focused on and how humanity doesn’t mean much to them if they can’t be used in the fight. That at least explained why they’re working on the hybrids, either through harnesses or breeding, in order to give them the kind of physical army they need to deal with whatever this threat is. If there eve is a threat, a question that Tom should be asking of Cochise at some point when the two have time together again. The idea of painting the Espheni in a different light because of this is interesting, but based on how the series has worked so far I don’t expect it to be used well, if it’s even really worked with again. I’m just too wary since any changes they introduce like this now makes it harder to understand why the Espheni did what they did during the original invasion.
With the first two episodes and most of this one focusing on the ghetto that the 2nd Mass and others have found themselves in, it’s been interesting in a light and superficial way to see how they’re resisting, what they’re doing and the plans being put into motion to try and escape. We get to catch up on the revelation that Ben discovered about Lexi apparently conspiring with the Espheni and we see another instance at the camp that Matt is in where we see what happens to those that are turned in by the students as a young girl, Sheila, thinks she’s doing the right thing in turning her parents. While her father accepts it and converts quickly for his own good, her mother is anything but compliant and can’t understand how her daughter could do it. You see how everyone is very pleased by this, though Matt and Mira are uncomfortable with the whole thing, but the re-education of the kids who don’t really know any better at this point is pretty blunt.
Each of the stories offers their own piece of the larger picture, but nothing about them is really compelling at this point. Particularly with Tom as it feels like we’ve seen shades of this before, though not in this exact way. His arc has been all over the map in the series and it really comes across as far too much when you get down to it. Tom at least tries to use a little of his professorial past here to come up with a plan to bait and ambush the Skitters so they can make their escape and find a bigger goal of revenge, but it’s hard to convince others of what must be done because there’s so much risk when it comes to the plan that’s being set up when there’s a potential for just one to sneak out and get away, something that Dingann has done a few times now and makes sense that he’d be thinking of it again in the face of such bad odds.
Matt’s time with Mira ends up causing a lot of trouble as she definitely gets it into her head that she definitely wants to get out of there after seeing what happened. Matt does his best to convince her otherwise since you have to play a long game here in order to survive as there’s so much at stake and so few opportunities not only to get out, but to get anywhere. While he’s seen what happened with Sheila before, it’s Mira’s first time and that has her panicking more, which leads her to doing something wrong that he covers for. Which, in turn, ruins his record a bit more and puts him into a very difficult position where his “training” is about to get a lot more uncomfortable, as the group leader so politely puts it to him.
Amid the exodus that’s being planned and all the things that goes into it on Tom’s side with Hal and the others, we also get a little bit of what’s going on with Anne. With the way she’s so singly focused on her goal of finding her daughter, we’ve seen her making sure others get her rations in order to keep them moving. But that’s finally caught up with her and she ended up passing out hard. The fun comes in the kind of surreal dream she’s having, which is a connection with the Espehni, as they basically set her up as an incubator for the hybrids. It’s certainly nightmare material that’s even worse for those that live in this world and have experienced what they have.
Tom’s actual action adventure here, which we got a glimpse of how badly it was going at the start of the episode before it did the sixty hour flashback, is a good bit of fun as we see him put into motion his history lesson with the way he makes a bold attack on the Espheni while drawing in all the skitters towards the ambush point. There are challenges along the way, from Tom making run turns to Dingann getting hurt which forces Pope into the suit to give him a comical chance to redeem himself after the way he’s been called out so many times on the way he basically is just divisive. But he is, at the core, interested in his own survival and that’s a big motivator for him so it’s not a surprise to see him take on the task even if it means vaporization since the alternative is being processed into a skitter hybrid.
Everything is given the kind of tense moments it needs in order to be exciting as everything that could go wrong basically does and it all comes down to Pope to save the day and bring down the fence. But even as hard as it is, the moments you see victory are just teased out of reach and you really end up just laughing at it because it is so expected and ridiculous at the same time. Pope’s moment is admittedly fun to watch, but then you laugh more at the awfulness of what Tom does where he draws the Skitters in but uses his bomb to kill them all while being thrown into the water from quite a few stories up. It’s so bad looking in terms of the CG that you laugh more at that than the way the whole thing unfolded.
Falling Skies still has the same problems its always had and episodes like this just remind you all the more. While it’s added more things to it with characters, aliens and settings, it’s just welding it on in ungainly ways. The stories going on outside of the ghetto will obviously come together and factor into things but none of it can really progress until Tom’s story gets them on the move again. And it was a long three episodes to do just that. The show at least puts a few changes into the mix here this time around so that there’s more uncertainty about what’s next, but you can guarantee that it’s going to have more goofy moments. There’s just a really, really loose internal logic and consistency to this series that it simply drives me nuts when looking at the big picture and various important threads of it.