Falling Skies "Till Death Do Us Part" Review: Fly Me to the Moon

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Aug 18, 2014

Falling Skies S04E09: "Till Death Do Us Part" 

There was a lot to like about "Till Death Do Us Part"—even the wackadoodle cracktastic moon-mission storyline that was just ridiculous enough to work. 

However, there was also a lot to not like, including pretty much everything related to the Ben-Maggie-Hal triangle of awful and the utterly predictable scenes with Matt's little friend from Alien Hitler Youth Camp and the LOL SURPRISE WEAPONS CACHE! that the Volm just forgot to mention for half the season. There's good ridiculous and there's bad ridiculous, and there several moments during "Till Death Do Us Part" when the balance was decidedly off. 

Still: WYLIE IN SPAAAACE.

Also in the good column? Pope and Sarah's spat was a display of domestic drama that fit well within this season's efforts to showcase life in the 2nd Mass beyond all the cowboys-and-aliens stuff. Dealing with an addiction in the middle of an alien invasion is probably a total suckfest... but it's also the sort of suckfest that countless people are faced with in the real world, so it adds a colorful detail to the increasingly complex universe of Falling Skies. Sarah and Pope's relationship has been elevated to the same status as the series' other big romances, which hopefully means we're going to see more of them as a couple. Pope was already pretty interesting, and while we were already aware of the secret caring-and-sharing side of his personality, Sarah gives him someone to actively care and share for on a daily basis, which offers a nice respite from endless disaster-forcing-Pope-to-be-nice scenarios. 

The everyday mundane of the 2nd Mass makes for good storytelling even within less-than-stellar storylines. Ben-Maggie-Hal is terrible for a variety of reasons; Love triangles blow, and Ben is like a minor—if Earth still had laws against that sort of thing, I think Maggie would have some splainin' to do. The fact that Maggie wasn't reciprocating Ben's feelings until her spike transplant just adds another level of creepy rapeyness. However, Maggie's sudden fish-out-of-water status makes for some prime drama fodder, and there's nothing wrong with bestowing a few superpowers on her, either. The transplanted spikes raise some promising potential for life after the Espheni invasion (because, duh, the humans are totally going to win in the end) and the numerous applications for all the shiny alien tech that's going to be laying around are an unavoidable reality of how the world works now. As Falling Skies prepares to enter its fifth and final season, these are the considerations that have to be made. The end is nigh, and there's no going back.


Meanwhile, Tom and Annie's battlefield wedding was appropriately understated within the context of its surroundings, and the suddenness of it illustrates the constant threat of total annihilation that the surviving humans are dealing with. Watching Mommy and Daddy bicker about Lexie's potential for evil wouldn't've remained tolerable for much longer. Both parties made good points—and you really have no idea how thankful I am that Falling Skies' scribes wrote Tom as conflicted but pragmatic about the situation instead of just plopping him down the "Masons are never evil" bandwagon. 

Lexie had the potential to drive a very serious wedge between Tom and Annie, as we saw last season and at various points throughout this season as more and more people concluded that Annie was losing her shit; those growing sentiments culminated in the open animosity that was on display for the first half of "Till Death do us Part." Their wedding—which came at the end of an episode that saw both of them struggling to cope in the wake of "losing" a child—was one of the more modest, but no less important, victories our heroes have earned as of late.

On a show that routinely explores what makes up the thing we call humanity, Tom and Annie's marriage is a prime example of the compassion, cooperation, and love that can survive even in the face of overwhelming hardship and uneasy personal conflict. Their nuptials offered a very simple, very human moment in the middle of the alien onslaught. Life can't be the same as it was pre-Espheni, but these small bursts of normalcy ensure that our humans are still doing what they can to salvage the lives they've lost. 

Putting aside all the ridiculous and cringeworthy Ben/Hal/Maggie stuff, "Till Death Do Us Part" ended on a high note with a strong finish that established what the newest phase of the fight against the Espheni will be. You guys, we're going to the freaking moon.



NOTES

– LOL @ Matt saying "Don't make me regret this" because you knew—we all knew—that he would immediately "regret this."

– "Why do you think they built a power source on the moon?" Gee, I don't know Hal, maybe because you guys have a habit of sabotaging their weapons of mass destruction when they're on Earth? 

– I freaking love Cochise. 

– After mastering the cold, creepy camp counselor gig all season long, the end of Team Leader really sold us on how, at the end of the day, he was really just a terrified teenager. Bravo, Dakota Daulby.


What did you think of "Till Death Do Us Part?" How do you feel about all this moon madness?


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  • PauletteHamil Aug 31, 2014

    i agree the triangle is soap opera device and If I liked maggie one iota then maybe I would care but I have never liked her so please get rid of this plot device and have Ben fall for the other spike girl please.. Hal u rock confront the foolishness, and Gald that anne and tom are married because lets be real Lexxie is not a mason her DNA was changed while Anne was pregnant and prisoner on the espheni ship with karen. So sorry she is a lost cause and want her gone by season or series closing end because a Mason must die and I say the last mason to arrive should be the first Mason to die...

  • aktarian Aug 23, 2014

    Fly to the Moon on captured Espheni plane we have no idea how to operate? Sure, why not.....

  • cooj Aug 21, 2014

    Oh, yeah. How does Tom Mason, who can't be much older than 45, remember JFK's moon speech from 1962? "I thought he was speaking to me personally." Okay, obviously recordings of it still exist, but he said he heard it as a child. I don't think recordings like that were making the rounds in the 70s, and even if they were he had to have known that they already made it to the moon...


    It's frickin' winter wherever they are, snow and everything: if Espheni Prep can give their kids coats, why not decent winter shoes?

  • patrickflick3 Aug 20, 2014

    i so called it as soon as matt's friend showed up, i knew she would turn, i was really hoping a little romance between them tho, would have been cute, aww well, maybe they will save her in the end? and in the future they will marry? hmmm?

  • cooj Aug 19, 2014

    “Mawwiage…”

    It was quaint and cute to have Col. Weaver do the ship’s captain thing and perform the “wedding ceremony”; I assume that A) The 2nd Mass has no actual priests/ministers, or B) the show’s budget won’t allow any of the mill-arounds to have a speaking part. In one sense, the flippant, off-the-cuff vows kinda made a mockery of the solemnity usually associated with a wedding ritual. Why exactly did they get “married”?

    “Let’s get these weapons and equipment put away so we can get some shut-eye!” Wow. Col. Weaver has SUCH a command presence.

    The Espheni’s ability to freeze the moon’s orbit so that it’s always full is AWESOME! Of course, another explanation is that the 2nd Mass is kinda like Brigadoon: they disappear after a full moon, and reappear at the next one.

    It’s also cool that, although wherever the 2nd Mass is right now (kinda snowy for Charleston) is always gray and overcast, it clears up whenever they need to see the moon.

    “C’mon, Maggie, jump! Do you trust me? A whole ne-ew worrrrrrld…”

    Let’s leave the 13-year-old behind to keep an eye on the girl we suspect is an enemy collaborator, whom he didn’t want to tie up in the first place, and who told us very specifically what her plan was in case the audience couldn’t figure it out on their own.

    Why would the Espheni bother to make their beamer control look like Rolfe’s whistle? Wouldn’t a silent, discreet signal be more effective, and a screaming beamer dropping a very loud bomb sufficient to let the Skittler Youth know it’s time to move in?

    If the whistle could activate the beamer, why hadn’t the Espheni called the beamer back?

    “I gave my mother to them.” (If your mommie is a commie then you gotta turn her in). What was that? Dying confession? Last-breath f%#k you? Checking off the bucket list?

    Tom had the inspirational speech this week, delivered to Anne, who looked as bored as the rest of us. New drinking game: take a shot every time Tom says “hope”.

    Tom planning to fly a beamer to the moon is only slightly crazy. No one (including the show’s writers) considering the enormous logistics (oxygen, food, waste disposal, etc.) of riding an unmanned (unEsphenied?) drone to the moon is full-on insane/stupid. We’re getting closer to that shark every week.

    The Volm can breathe chlorine because putting on a gas mask (where’d THOSE come from?) over all that make-up/prosthetics probably would’ve been a budget-buster.

    Pope-Sarah, Tom-Anne, Ben-Maggie-Hal, Matt-Kira: I haven’t seen soap-opera writing of this caliber since Joanie Loves Chachi…

    Let’s empty a couple of clips at a where-and-when-was-that-built target range because we NEVER run out of ammo.

    “Oh, and BTW, Maggie, the spikes also make you a push-over for the Espheni.”

  • erickson55345 Aug 25, 2014

    LOL on the Brigadoon theory.

    I think the Rolfe whistle is audible just so the human blower and team leaders can hear it too. Though it's an odd tactic to have your team leaders close in AND call a beamer strike indiscriminately on the same area.

    I first watched the episode last night. The one other point of ridiculosity was this: "It's the team leaders from the Espheni Youth Camp!"

    a) How did you know? You've never seen them and they're all in gas masks.
    b) Who talks in such verbose and explanatory sentences when they come under ambush by automatic weapons? Oh, that's who they are? Well then in that case we should fire back! Thanks for being so explicit, President Mason.

  • DavidKnowles0 Aug 18, 2014

    Anyone think that we are going to find something on the way to the moon or on the moon or on the way back that will force us to work with the Espheni in season 5.

    I think the twist to this show might just be all the races having to learn to work together to fight the bigger threat that has been mention in passing. May be a couple of volm warships limping out of subspace, having be almost destroyed by this other threat.

    Personally I had no problem with Maggie, Hal and Ben.
    I hope the girl from the campget to redeem herself this season or the next.

  • aktarian Aug 23, 2014

    If this big threat exists then Espheni sure are confronting it wrong way. They got in war with Volm and then instead of contacting humans about it they wipe out 99% of Earth's population when they show up, harness kids, hunt down survivors and then decide that they should enlist humans as allies?

    As I said if it exist to begin with, sounds like some BS Fishead was trying to sell to Tom to get him to stop fighting.

  • bytesbull Aug 19, 2014

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  • bytesbull Aug 19, 2014

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  • ZeroCals Aug 18, 2014

    I hope they don't introduce another alien race.

    I mean, it's somewhat been implied that the Espheni are afraid of something else (other than the Volm), since Lexi and the Youth Camp leaders have talked about working together to overcome some threat; however, I think that would be a mistake.

    There's one season left, after this one ends, and the writers need to start tying together all the loose ends. Also, I'd find it highly unrealistic for the humans to eventually team up with the Espheni. They wiped out damn near all of humanity, and the Masons weren't even willing to listen to Lexi's (one of their own) ideas for peace.

  • DavidKnowles0 Aug 19, 2014

    They made a big deal of Tom be a pragmatist. He will sign up to work with the Espheni if they have no other option, he will just see it as another step along the road to victory. If they succeed the Espheni will be trapped on Earth and there army will be powerless. That would be the time when Volm ships arrive having successfully defended there hatchery and then suddenly being easily dispatch by this new Espeni enemy they spoke about.

    After all the hints they given about there being another big bad out there they can't ignore it.

  • ariellagunas1 Aug 18, 2014


    Falling has become car crash tv for toddlers. I must have switched off mentally several times. Even the acting seems half-assed now (except for Pope and Ben. What puzzles me the most is that Mira Sorvino ever won an Oscar. So bad it's hilarious.

  • cooj Aug 19, 2014

    Mira Sorvino CAN be good, even in pulp films like Mimic and The Replacement Killers. I think she just needs a good script and a fair director. Unfortunately, in FS her lines all sound like something written for a coy teenager, and it's hard to pull that off believably when you're 40-something.

  • bytesbull Aug 19, 2014

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  • irmah Aug 18, 2014

    Cochiiiiise!!!!

    But the "Moon" plot.... "Under the Dome" (or Independence Day) comes to mind. And I love this show.

    Let's see how it goes. Just ridiculous enough to work :)

  • cooj Aug 19, 2014

    Independence Day at least had the wisdom to make their alien ship pilot-able, and the human flyers were an actual pilot and and a computer engineer, played very well by Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. Noah Wyle's historian, apparently about to fly in a drone, carries no credibility whatsoever. None of the mill-arounds in the 2nd Mass are capable of carrying out a mission, apparently, in order to keep the ranking officers alive.

  • Hamsterdam Aug 18, 2014

    I'm conflicted about the love triangle thing. On one hand, it's not like Ben has a lot of options. He's pretty much got every girl in the world right there in town, there are no other fish in the sea. So if he's ever going to have a girlfriend, he might just have to take one from his brother. But on the other hand, I really wish every show on TV didn't have to devolve into a soap opera. This is a show about war against aliens and yet here we go again. I guess for any show that lasts more than 2 seasons it's pretty much inevitable. Eventually you need extra material to fill enough episodes for a season and pull out the soap opera scripts.

  • ZeroCals Aug 18, 2014

    I wouldn't have a problem with the whole Ben/Maggie thing if A) they looked closer in age and B) there had been even an inkling of Ben liking Maggie in any other season, since it's not like he never met her before (if anything, he seemed interested in that other harnessed girl who fights for the 2nd Mass).

    So, the whole thing comes off as lazy writing (imo).

  • Kevers68 Aug 18, 2014

    I don't understand why Matt's friend, (what's her name) didn't blow her whistle the minute she found them. Why pretend to be on their side and get herself tied up?

  • cooj Aug 20, 2014

    The writers clearly wanted to have a little puppy-love dialogue between Matt and Mira (I mistakenly said Kira in my post above). Apparently lacking the skill to manipulate the plot otherwise, the writers chose to have Mira behave stupidly and illogically - actually waiting until Tom and the others were not only out of sight, but out of earshot before she blew the whistle. In a nutshell, what bytesbull said.

  • bytesbull Aug 19, 2014

    its a tv show... hahah and this season ..a bad tv show...

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