Falling Skies' Season 2 Finale: The Skies Are Falling!

By Tim Surette

Aug 20, 2012

Falling Skies S02E10: "A More Perfect Union"

We all tune into finales for fireworks, and the best series light their fuses at least a couple episodes in advance, creating an air of tension that fills the audience with nervous anticipation in the weeks leading up to the final hour. This did not happen during Falling Skies' second season. In fact, the show didn't even go to the fireworks store until the after the opening credits tonight, and by that point the only thing left on the shelf were those little black tablets that turn into ash snakes. Thanks to a pair of dull episodes with no forward thinking leading up to the "A More Perfect Union," tension had to be artificially created and the result was sloppier than a 'sploding Skitter head.

As you may recall, I called last week's penultimate episode a big misstep for the series as it headed into the finale because there was such a lack of focus, and that's even more apparent now we know that everything that happened in "The Price of Greatness" was inconsequential. We ended the last episode with Tom and the 2nd Mass caught in the middle of a military coup as General Max Headroom (real name Bressler) assumed power of the Charleston Mall, and this swap of megalomaniacs proved to be completely pointless. I'm still trying to understand why the power struggle needed to happen or why Arthur Manchester (Terry O'Quinn, who's no doubt pretty pissed off at his agent) ever needed to exist if he was just going to get thrown in Mall Prison and released on house arrest to lend Tom an ear and give the same advice anyone else could have given.

Meanwhile, Bressler ascended to the role of spineless villain, rolling over multiple times when Weaver disobeyed his oh-so strict orders. Bressler: "You can't go meet with the alien resistance!" Weaver: "Sorry, bro. We're going to do it." Bressler: "Hmmph. Fine, but just this time." Later... Bressler: "Hey you can't go on that mission to blow up the Super Laser Space Cannon!" Weaver: "Sorry, bro. We're going to do it." Bressler: "Okay fine. But make sure you take plenty of our guns first." Tough guy! Now that's what I call martial law. Charleston was the show's Mecca, and it ended up being the biggest dud of the summer.

And about that Super Laser Space Cannon: It became the main goal/target/plot of the finale (and therefore the season, one can argue) and we just found out about it now? This really goes back to what I said at the beginning of this review: One surefire way to sabotage a season finale is to create the big battle and expose the enemy's master plan IN THE FINALE instead of using previous episodes to set it up. As viewers, we should be saying, "OMG OMG OMG IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!" instead of what we were saying during "A More Perfect Union," which was, "Oh, this is what we're doing now?" I've said this before, but it bears repeating: That's just poor storytelling. (← potential new catchphrase!)

So all our favorite 2nd Massers followed Ben to the Super Laser Space Cannon to blow it up, even though they didn't know what it does. All they had was the intel that the same overlord they previously held captive would be there, and this time they weren't letting him go. But after they planted a bunch of C4, they were ambushed by, oh I don't know, five Skitters and a blonde teenage girl? And they were instantly and completely overwhelmed by a squad that couldn't fulfill the minimum requirements for a game of full-court basketball. It seems like poor tactical strategy to engage in a mission that infiltrates the enemy's stronghold if you can't even take on half-a-dozen grunts, but what do I know, I'm no military strategist!

Cut to some of our heroes caught up in the Super Laser Space Cannon's electrical-wiring tentacles (???) while Anthony, Tector, and others were sitting up against a wall (???) while Karen delivered one heck of a smug speech. That was interrupted by a sneak attack from some of the alien resistance because the writers needed something to move the story along. And then it was ON. I may not have been a fan of the episode, but I sure was a fan of seeing Red-Eye bitch slap the Overlord (even though the scene looked like it was rendered by a PlayStation 2) and Tom Mason bludgeoning in the head of the Overlord with the blunt end of the Super-Tazer. Now we know what the aliens' weakness is: multiple crushing blows to the face! However, I would have paid $50 to have actually SEEN the action instead of an effects-saving close-up of Tom accompanied by the sounds of a mango being squished providing the aural imagery. Meanwhile, Karen got away by skittering up the wall because no one thought to shoot her during the hours and hours that she was vulnerable. Sure, whatever. It wasn't a bad fight, but does anyone remember the fight that opened the second season? That was legitimately badass. This was... not.

But that wasn't the end! Tom and company blew the Super Laser Space Cannon to smithereens almost as an afterthought (great job, guys), and the 2nd Mass returned to the Mall of New America as heroes while Bressler reinstated civil rule. But hey, Falling Skies is coming back for Season 3, so it was time to cram in some things to think about during the off-season. Hal got knocked out in the assault on Super Laser Space Cannon and woke up with a space worm in his eye and an evil grin on his face, which felt totally tacked-on. Maybe the eye worm will bring Tom, Ben, and Hal closer together since they've all been penetrated by aliens now. How long before Matt gets probed so the aliens can say they've had their way with all the Mason males?

And in the final minutes, the ones that TNT had been touting as THE MOST AMAZING MINUTES OF YOUR LIFE, lightning crashed and strange pods dropped out of the sky. Out of one of these pods popped an alien that looked kind of like the comic character Spawn, because when Falling Skies needs to take things to the next level, it does so by introducing a new species of alien instead of writing compelling stories. But by the time he (or she!) stepped out of the pod, so much had happened at a pace that was so jagged and sloppy that I'm not sure too many people cared. And just to keep things completely open, we got no information on the new species at all. Are they friend or foe? Was that Super Laser Space Cannon pointed skyward to keep these guys off Earth? We have about 10 months to ponder that question before Season 3, and the writers have about nine months to come up with an answer. I'm not sure it's enough time.

I actually enjoyed the Season 1 finale of Falling Skies because it felt like the story was finally opening up and a plan was in place. I can't say the same about "A More Perfect Union," which panicked when it realized that it was the last episode of Season 2 and tried to squeeze in everything it could. Did someone in the writers' room forget how to count?

If Falling Skies was a collection of standalone episodes, "A More Perfect Union" might have fared better. But this show is as serialized as anything out there, and the final three pieces—"Death March," "The Price of Greatness," and "A More Perfect Union"—fit together like a foot and a glove and a watermelon. After a promising start, Season 2 totally collapsed.


– Which of these is NOT a quote from Captain Weaver in this episode: a) "The Skitter talks through a human, don't ask me how." b) "... or this stylish, rugged size 11 boot will commence to kicking some ass!" c) We've been living at the razor's edge of death for so long we don't know any different, and besides, you know we're just going to be a thorn in your backside as long as we're here." d) "Yarrr... shiver me timbers!" e) "Let's roll, don't want to be late for our date with that Fish Head!"

– Is it just me or did the new alien have a grandpa face?

– When Hal got knocked out and was back at Charleston, Anne told Maggie," I promise we will keep an eye on him." And right after that they all left the room. That's Obamacare for ya!

– R.I.P. Dai, but way to live up to your name. You will always be the Asian T-Dog (The Walking Dead) to me. A man of few words, and even lesser importance, but somehow still a character in a show.

– R.I.P. Red-Eye. You were a very special Skitter because you were the only one we could really recognize due to your horrible disfigurement. Now that I think about it, how did the 2nd Massers know which Skitters were resistance and which were alien loyalists?

– We finally got a name for the fish heads, but I don't know how it's spelled. Ysfenni? Ifshenny? Eef-shen-nay? Spell check, you're no help!

– How far back did your eyes roll when Anne announced she was pregnant? It's a finale plot twist so classic that it's horrible!

– This show needs to spend less time on people trying to convince other people that they should be allowed to fight in battle. We expect this from Matt, but Weaver's daughter? Really?

– Ummm... how safe is Charleston if dozens of Skitters can simply walk into the middle of the food court without meeting any resistance? Bressler's army is THE WORST. And how hilarious was it that Ben just popped up from behind one of them like a jack-in-thee-box?

– So what happened to the story from early in the season about Tom possibly being bugged by aliens? Falling Skies Season 2 loved to make a big deal out o' nothing.

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

  • Comments (178)
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  • kok_warlock Sep 02, 2012

    The first season of this show was initally pretty bad, but then it pick up the pace and got better, however, the second was in it's entirely a piece of mediocre writing, artificial dialogues, clichs everywhere, not to mention that even with some decent actors, the performances have been almost unanimously subpar, this season was one big *roll eyes* moment.

    The ending was ridiculous, they enter some crazy weapon that nobody hear before, get ambush, then when other forces attack, somehow they get loose and then kill the most unprotected overlord you will ever meet, don't even get me started in Charleston.

  • Full_Bleed Aug 24, 2012

    I watch the show because it's sci-fi and has some decent lead actors in it. But the writing seems to be getting more wretched by the minute. The talent, budget, and premise is being squandered.

  • AjarnBarry Aug 24, 2012

    There are over 150 comments!

    TV.Com Staff: Can you do one of your clever graphic info studies??????


    Is there a connection between volume of comments (good and/or bad) and a TV shows renewal?

    I don't mean a direct connection as in the execs say "hey looky here!" I mean an indirect correlation.

  • safibwana Aug 24, 2012

    If there is, TSC is a pretty significant outlier.

  • smorbie Aug 24, 2012

    What is TSC?

  • BLacqWyng Sep 10, 2012

    Tim Surette Cronie?

  • stanking Aug 24, 2012

    So is Whitney.

  • mad-pac Aug 24, 2012

    I just read Falling Skies just began production of season 3. That's great news! Looks like quite a few people here will will have lots of reasons to feel annoyed. Or will love the chance of one more season of hate-watching...

    I don't know, no matter how strange that can be, people make use of their TV-watching time the way that pleases them most., I guess.

  • AyeDub Aug 25, 2012

    I gave this show a fair show. It was terrible.

    Then it got worse. I know I won't be tuning in to another awful season, just like I can't bring my self to watch anymore Grimm.

  • TrueTvWatcher Aug 23, 2012

    I enjoyed the second season and there were more revelations about the aliens but it did seem a little rushed and crammed and the lack of attention to detail is starting to make me worry about the future of this show. I love whats happening but we need to see more of the aliens and learn more about them too. This could be the best series ever if the writers do a little more planning and write more efficient episodes. I wish the season was longer, what happened to the 20-22 episode seasons of the past?

  • OscarGouveia Aug 24, 2012

    I agree maybe its because they are making a 10 episode series that they had to cram everything up.

  • tnetennba Aug 24, 2012

    Cram everything up? Half the time nothing is happening, at least nothing that's directly related to the fight against the aliens. It's like they're deliberately stalling, so that they won't have to use expensive special effects too often. This would be tolerable if they could at least write some good dialogue and character development, but that's what they're doing worst of all.

  • OscarGouveia Mar 01, 2013

    good point

  • Zelda_of_Arel Aug 23, 2012

    I thought it was an okay finale. Some parts I skipped over. What is it with some of these shows and talking so much? All the personal talks and stuff bore me. There was about 15 minutes action, the rest was talking.

    The pregnancy was kind of predictable. It's not like condoms and such are in abundance once you have an alien invasion. You have to keep up the numbers too, even though we reproduce painfully slow. Made me wonder how we managed to survive in the first place. However, I wouldn't have gone to battle in Anne's place. Pregnant, with humanity in jeopardy, and waving a gun around is more important.

    I think in the action part, the gun wasn't important. It was more about the rebel Skitters and fish-face, which was really the theme of the season. In that regards, the gun was a side plot. However, it was interesting how they then made the gun and it being pointed up the plot for the next season. It was stupid how they asked if the ones coming down were ally or foe. Of course ally. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all.

  • smorbie Aug 24, 2012

    I've thought a good deal about the pregnancy. I saw a show on NatGeo about how we would survive an alien attack. The documentary opined that the number one job of all humans would be to procreate. Now, I know that Anne and Tom weren't planning a child, but it does make sense that having babies would be a big deal in a depopulated society. Also, as someone else mentioned, prophylactics would be in short supply, so nature would tend to take its course.

    That said, the ways in which the announcement was made,both to the audience and to Tom, were dumb.

  • silverswan1 Aug 23, 2012

    well, since Terry has another show to start on ABC. Apt. 666 Sundays at Nine central. Likely do not want to build his character up too much unless ABC bails on his new one. lol Smart to keep a toe hold just in case and then strengthen his TNT character . Why did nobody kill Karen yet? Typhoid Mary is what I call her after the Hal worm incident. lol

  • tnetennba Aug 24, 2012

    She has a part in Last Resort, so I sort of expected her to get killed off here.

  • Kerkesh Aug 23, 2012

    Honestly, I just don't understand why it is important to comment on the reviewers and get all hostile. I myself skim through these reviews for the tidbit of information and their opinions as such don't interest me. I would rather respond to a comment or offer some insight that I think might encourage discussion.

    We are obviously all individuals and I am glad that we don't see the tv shows we comment upon in the same way.If by any chance I systematically dislike some commentator or reviewer, it's my privilege to ignore them, as I am sure I am being ignored by many. At the end of the day,I do feel that I got more insight when I leave the site than when I logged in, and if the day comes this will not be the case I'll seek another tv shows forum .

  • lostcause78 Aug 24, 2012

    I live in Denmark and we get shows later than they air in the states.

    I read this and other tv forums to get an idea if a show is worth investing my limited free time in.

    Therefore it does get frustrating to read reviews that have the reviewer clearly not liking the show, and spending a large portion of it, making rather un-funny punchlines.

    That works better when you can tell the reviewer actually enjoys the show, when they don't it comes off as patronizing and below average. I'd rather they used a more serious tone and explain which parts they didn't like and why.

  • stanking Aug 25, 2012

    It's too bad these reviews don't meet your needs, but then you're using them for a purpose other than the one they were intended to meet. That's not a flaw in the reviewing process, and I don't think the process should be changed to meet your different requirements.

  • lostcause78 Aug 25, 2012

    I didn't demand it should be, I pointed out my reasons for disliking the form.

    Other than that, I have a hard time pinpointing what the idea and intentions of this sort of review is. There is little to get from it in terms of appreciating the show. Should the focus be on the episode and not the reviewer?

  • Elizaa- May 24, 2013

    Couldn't agree more. it is tiresome when the reviewer wastes most of the column inches slagging off everything about the show rather than doing an unbiased account. Pity really.

  • silverswan1 Aug 23, 2012

    Thanks. agree. tired of hostility , it happens on Glue also and irksome. It is just TV. And I watch alot but it is not my entire life. I also knit. lol

  • stanking Aug 23, 2012


  • nankelleher60 Aug 23, 2012

    i disagree with is review i enjoy this show n look forward to it every week, it had me on the end of my seat each n every week , cant wait for its return.

  • efonsecajr Aug 23, 2012

    I would like to wish all human survivors (especially 2nd Mass) a Happy Harnessing! The worst finale I have seen in a while.

    Anne just surpassed Lori Grimes as the worst female character on TV. Lourdes gets honorable mention.

  • gk_terato Aug 23, 2012

    Fact: No one is worse than Lori. She is the WORST.

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