Falling Skies Season 4 Finale Review: Strange New World

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Sep 01, 2014

Falling Skies S04E11 and S04E12: "Space Oddity" and "Shoot the Moon"

Lexie was redeemed! The humans blew up the Espheni moon base! Win, win, and... well... Lexie is presumed dead and Tom is missing in action, so of course, the 2nd Mass's celebrations will be tinged with just a little sadness. I say "just a little" because we all know that Tom is alive and well(ish) with some alien rescuers that he apparently knows(?) and while Lexie's kamikaze routine was convincing enough, I'm personally just not buying that she's a goner. After all, she can manipulate atoms and blow shit up; I bet with a little practice, she could probably put stuff back together too. 

I'm also totally selfish and I like Lexie and I just plain don't want her to be dead. So there. 

Of Falling Skies' two finale episodes, "Spade Oddity" had the most meat to its story, even if Tom's adventures in a perfect dreamland were predictable from the moment he woke up back on "Earth." Throughout Lexi's arc this season, the show has made every attempt to cloud our perception of her—and along the way, produced some believably organic family drama within the Mason-Glass clan. The concept of "unconditional love" gets thrown around a lot during discussions of family dynamics, but sometimes someone can do something that's really effing bad, that manages to crack that foundation and severely compromise the strength of the family bond. Pope put actual numbers to the destruction that Lexie brought to the 2nd Mass: Once over 200 strong, their ranks have been decimated to a few dozen survivors. Lexie herself admitted that she wasn't entirely under Espheni control when she acted against her kin. She was confused, and like so many regular, human-flavored teenagers, she thought she knew what was best. 

Unfortunately, murdering your No. 1 fan and causing the deaths of countless others is a little bit different than stealing your dad's soccer-mobile for a joyride. The debate within the 2nd Mass and the Mason family throughout "Space Oddity" raised painful questions that resonate even outside of a slightly-above-average sci-fi series, and like many of Falling Skies' strongest episodes this season, the first half of the finale restricted its purview to a very tight cluster of characters, allowing the narrative to remain focused at all times. 

That precision was lacking in the second half of the finale, "Shoot the Moon," which alternated between standard "humans vs. aliens in space" fare and the actual horror film that was taking place planetside. Everything concerning the 2nd Mass fighting the cement-fog and those things in the mist could've been a creepy and, even though Falling Skies never airs in October, delightfully Halloween-y. Can't you just imagine an entire episode devoted to the insanity, fully allowing the monsters to terrorize their targets a la Stephen King's The Mist?

When Falling Skies was forced to split time between the horrorshow downstairs and Tom wrestling with a dude in a rubber mask on his stolen spaceship, neither story truly got the attention it needed. The scorched-face overlord has been Tom's No. 1 nemesis for quite awhile now; paired with the dude's recent influence over Lexie and his newfound determination to totally kill her dead, Tom and Two Face's boss battle could have—and should have—been the culmination of a season spent dogging each other at every turn. 

Instead, we ultimately saw something along the lines of the end of Return of the Jedi, where as soon as the fight between Vader, Luke, and Palpatine was getting good, we were whisked back to the teddy bear picnic below—except in this case, if done well, the teddy bear picnic could've been a pretty good episode on its own. Both of the stories presented in "Shoot the Moon" could have been great as standalone adventures, but they were both weakened because they had to share a single, oh-so-important episode.

Like so many two-hour finales that came before it, Falling Skies' "Spade Oddity" and "Shoot the Moon" suffered from the fact that one episode was, well, just a lot better than the other. However, as a whole, the Season 4 capper left us in a good position us for Season 5.

The Espheni were, for all intents and purposes, defeated at last in "Shoot the Moon." However, as Weaver pointed out, there are still remnants on the planet, and even without their celestial wi-fi, they're still pretty dangerous on their own. This presents an honest look at what life on Earth in a post-Espheni era will look like: remarkably similar to a post-Empire galaxy far, far away. I know, I know, the Star Wars extended universe is no longer considered canon now that Disney is driving the Millennium Falcon (thanks for retroactively transforming everything I read in middle school that wasn't assigned by a teacher into a waste of time, Mickey!). And the Empire didn't end at the end of Return of the Jedi. Its limitless power ended. Its galaxy-wide influence ended. But there were still vestiges of the past, and the occasional fanboy/girl out to rebuild the glory days for, well, forever. 

I've touched on this in previous reviews: Earth can never really go back to what it was. The survivors can't just ignore the crashed spaceships and alien carcasses littering the ground and return to school plays and Little League. There will always be the threat of hidden factions, waiting for a chance to re-enslave humanity. There will always be the threat of a strong Espheni force returning. There will always be the threat of other threats: other aliens, even other humans. Falling Skies has only briefly touched on this in the past, but with communication so decimated and human leadership so scattered, there are probably other groups like the 2nd Mass out there, and there are also probably leaders who aren't as genuinely good as Tom and Weaver. With the Espheni having been the ultimate threat for so long, I think it's going to shock many survivors when they're reminded that humans can be bad guys, too—and that not all of them are secret good guys like Pope. 

Knowing that Falling Skies' fifth season will be the show's last opens up the opportunity to definitely end the story in a place where an ending feels natural and right. I was so worried, as the series progressed, that we would never actually get to see what the post-invasion world looks like—a trope that tends to get overlooked in favor of swashbuckling space heroes and lots of laser guns and explosions. Revolution actually did "life after the disaster" thing kind of well (it was everything else that was awful), and Defiance does a decent job with it, too, but lots of shows don't even touch it. I might be in the minority here, but I've always found the idea of evolving and adapting to be more interesting than blowing all the stuff up, and the fact that Falling Skies has given itself an entire season to explore that idea is genuinely exciting. 


– I love love love that Sara came back and saved Pope's ass. <3<3<3

– So does Ben and Maggie saving Hal mean that the love triangle crap can just be dripped when we get back? PLZ?

– Got any theories about Lexie, or Tom's new/old alien besties?

– Cochise and his daddy issues awww. 

– What's on your Season 5 wishlist?

What'd' you think of the finale, and of Season 5 as a whole? 

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  • timbham Dec 28, 2014

    Always love reading predictions. Here's mine.
    Perhaps the deadlier enemy mentioned by the Espheni is a superior skitter that not only enslaved it's own people, but enslaved them to dominate the Espheni. Perhaps the Espheni were given the deal to not be harnessed by working for the Elite Non-harnessed Skitters? Let the Espheni have free domain, yet under a war strategy directed by the big banker skitters? Maybe the Espheni had a mind to overthrow the banker skitters until the humans threw a wrench into it. They don't understand free will & now that's cost Espheni their possible freedom from the coming terror. idk! deuces

  • Fs123 Dec 07, 2014

    I think I know the mystery alien at the end is.!

    Hello, I think you guys are all over thinking this and u think that the new alien is a unharnessed skitter and I think that is a good guess but I think I have a better idea (not saying I'm better). That the new alien is a female skitter because I know that the skitters resemble spiders tho they are not arachnids because they only have 2 eyes not 8 and 6 legs not 8. But I know that female spiders eat male spiders and are more aggressive. So my theory behind this is that they are female skitters and the males and the fish heads are scared of the females and they are the "scarer enemy that was coming".

  • alcalde Oct 28, 2014

    And the Empire didn't end at the end of Return of the Jedi. Its limitless power ended. Its galaxy-wide influence ended. But there were still vestiges of the past, and the occasional fanboy/girl out to rebuild the glory days for, well, forever.
    Ok now I finally have a metaphor to understand the Soviet Union and Vladimir Putin.

  • GreyDraic5397 Oct 17, 2014

    The two hours special was indeed special.
    I got the chance to see an all new side of Lexie. Before I just wanted her gone from the show, but now I can see her has an important character, so I'm hoping that she managed to survive, somehow.
    I don't believe that she got blown to bits and can heal herself, but maybe she got enough juice to pull up somekind of shield or cocoon around herself so she could survive.
    About Tom... Well, things might have gotten more complicated than ever.
    The Espheni have hinted on some very powerful enemy that drove them from their galaxy and that all that they've done so far was to prepare for one final confrontation with this nameless enemy. In my opinion Tom has finaly met this nameless enemy in the season finale.
    Will they be humanity new enemy? If the Espheni feared them, and they also turn out to be enemies, then I can say without a doubt, that humanity is screwed.
    And if they are not enemies, then what part will they take on season 5? Will they help humanity to rebuild or will they just conquer Earth making humans their pets, starting with Tom.
    True that we don't get a good look at this new alien that Tom sees, but even so, through the blured image it definitely did not look Espheni or Volm. But the voice was feminine so there's always the chance that it might be an Espheni female. Although I'm really hoping that's it's something new.
    All and all, they have a lot of closing up to do in the 5th and final season, and that has me worried. Because I've seen in the past that when the end of a show is certain many times the producers cut corners just so they can deliver, not caring so much for the loyal fans that kept the show running all these years.

  • harryjacobs1217 Sep 29, 2014

    Season 4 was my favorite season, up to now i watched the show more because my wife really liked it, but this season upped the game for sure. Well done.

  • ianberg1 Sep 15, 2014

    I toured Vancouver, BC's Sun Yat-Sen Garden/Chinese Cultural Centre in May, 2014 and jumped off my couch in delight when I recognized it as the backdrop to Lexi's sanctuary in early Season 4 episodes. There's some still photos during production of those Falling Skies episodes over at yvrshoots(dot)com.

  • topofired3 Sep 12, 2014

    I Think that what Tom saw was Lexie accompanied by the alien that we all saw on the mirror. and He say you are beautiful to Lexie.

  • PutYHWH1st Sep 08, 2014

    You're Beautiful

  • alcalde Oct 28, 2014

    Forget Hal and Ben fighting over Maggie; now we're going to have Anne and an alien fighting over Tom.

  • jalka10 Sep 07, 2014

    I really enjoy the sci-fi and can't wait to see the new aliens they introduced us.

  • thisismetoo Sep 07, 2014

    So the two Espheni were killed, one by Lexi and one by Tom, but the whole planet was under the control of the Espheni, so where are the other ones?
    Was Earth jus being terrorized by two Espheni? I find that hard to believe.
    So I expect this to be the battle of season 5, the war against the remaining Espheni.
    Then there is of course the ship Tom ended up in the last episode. Who are they? Are the 'good' Espheni? Are they Cochise's people? A new race that wants the planet?
    If they are the good guys, I think the series would end with them assisting mankind to rebuild the planet, set up a government and help build good defenses. So I wouldn't be surprised if the series-finales final minutes jump 50 years into the future and show a new and beautifull Earth.

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