Falling Skies "The Pickett Line" Review: Civil Disobedience and Rednecks!

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Jul 15, 2013

Falling Skies S03E07: "The Pickett Line"

On this week's Very Special Episode of Falling Skies, Matt Mason wasted a mountain man who stole his horse (and tried to stab his brother in the face), and the Masons and the Picketts learned what it really means to be human.  I think we've reached so-bad-it's-good territory! So excited! 

Despite the fact that NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHERE ANNIE AND ALEXIS ARE, Tom and his flawless sons left Charleston behind in search of their surrogate mommy and creepy alien stepsister. Eventually, it was declared that Anne and and Alexis were in Mechanicsville... though based on what lead, I do not know. Along the way, the band of brothers (and dad) ran into a dying rebel skitter and I decided that I feel sadder when skitters die than I do when humans perish on this show, mostly because the humans are increasingly irritating and the ones who do croak are usually relatively unimportant outside of being plot points. At least the rebel skitters are kind of interesting. 

While on the run from some mechs, the Masons ran into the Picketts because no post-apocalyptic tale is complete without the obligatory reminder that the family from Deliverance will always, always, always be more dangerous and terrifying than the extraterrestrials. Before we met the Picketts, however, Tom voiced his decision that maaaaybe the Mason famdidly shouldn't return to Charleston after they find their women. After all, Ben gets enough flack for his spikes, and now Hal can never be trusted again ever, and Alexis isn't even human. Who cares if Tom Mason is Falling Skies' chosen one, the only human in Charleston who never makes the wrong decision ever? Can we talk about how eagerly Tom shirked his responsibility to the people he'd sworn to lead when he let himself be elected president? Ditching his office was bad enough, even if it was at least marginally understandable, and given his eternal emotional compromise, it might have been a very good call if not for the fact that Marina is SO OBVIOUSLY SKETCHY AND SNEAKY AND AWFUL AND OMG I JUST CAN'T WITH THE WILLFUL BLINDNESS FROM ALL OF THE PEOPLE ANYMORE UGGGHAKLJASKDL JASKLF!!!1!

Okay. I'm fine. I got it out of my system and I'm fine. 

Anyway. Tom ditching the presidency was kind of selfish, but not irredeemably selfish, if that makes sense. Sure, he stepped down to pursue his own wants, the state of the fledgling union be damned, but at least he was honest. He knew he couldn't be an effective leader in his current situation. But this new decision to not go back to Charleston at all seems like overkill. The battle is far from over, even with the Volm's help, which—surprise!—may not actually be help after all. Tom was the only guy in the entire city who had absolute faith in the Volm's plan, and Marina was at odds with him over the super cannon before he stepped down; he had to realize that she'd use her shiny new executive powers to enforce her own policies concerning the Volm, and that they'd certainly be drastically different than his own. 

Whining aside, I will say that Falling Skies has done a good job of keeping the nature of the Volm's true intentions pretty solidly ambiguous. I've gone back and forth on whether they're good or bad so many times I've developed vertigo, and this late in the season, that's rather remarkable and enjoyable. Picking up his "mouthpiece of the viewers" role yet again, Pope took a page out of Thoreau's book and called on the unwashed masses of Charleston to defy what he recognized as an increasingly totalitarian state under Marina's influence, only to have Weaver turn around and arrest him... only to have Weaver turn around and let him go because something's totally fishy in Chucktown and Pope is the only human in the city with any freaking common sense left. 

Also: Lourdes! You BAMF-y brainwashed mole, you! Look at you! Assassinating the president with the same gun that blew a hole in Manchester and everything. Admittedly, the actual assassination was kind of awesome. I was expecting arsenic in the IV lines or something. I guess that would have too quickly implicated her, though—and can we please not with the guppies swimming around in her face? I mean, gag. 

All in all, "The Pickett Line" was a good Falling Skies episode in that it confirmed some theories, raised some new possibilities, and kept us entertained. However, it was also very silly. It was only a matter of time before Matt Mason killed a person and forced us all to think deep thoughts about it, and I knew it was going to be as preachy as Sunday morning after you get caught streaking in your grandma's backyard, but that was just priceless. Self-righteous much, Mason family? 


– The inevitable problem with splitting the ongoing narrative into two distinct stories—The Mason Family Adventure Hour and Something's Rotten in the Town of Charleston—is that one is invariably more appealing than the other. Personally, I'm more invested in the goings-on in Charleston. Some of you might prefer to hang out with with the Masons. Unfortunately, the split makes for some disjointed episodes when you're forced to spend half the time waiting to get back to the group you're actually interested in. 

– Hey everybody! Lourdes is the mole! Congrats and confetti to those of you who called it! Marina is still totally a baddie though, right? Or am I just sounding desperate now? 

 Christopher Heyerdahl played Mr. Pickett. Hi, Alastair! <3<3<3

– On that note, does Falling Skies have some sweet guest-star action this season or what? 

– Here are the humans' options, according to Cochise:

1. Use the super cannon to overload the generator shielding the planet, or drop dead of radiation poisoning in about three months. 

2. Use the super cannon to overload the generator shielding the planet, accidentally kick the sucker into overdrive, and drop dead of radiation poisoning ahead of schedule. 

3. Use the super cannon and (maybe) win?

This plan sucks. 

– Will the Masons return to Charleston to save everybody with their sheer Mason-ness, or is Falling Skies setting itself up for a fourth season that eschews the "comforts" of Charleston in favor of a return to the migrant militia the show started out with? Is that something you'd want?

What'd you think of "The Pickett Line"?

  • Comments (92)
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  • Indru_mai Jul 31, 2013

    From all the great roles Heyerdahl had, why did choose a small one? He was Jack the Ripper (John Druitt) in Sanctuary, also Big Guy in the same Sanctuary (did two roles at the same time), Todd the Wraith in Stargate: Atlantis and he's Thor Mutherfuckin Gunderson aka The Swede in Hell on Wheels! I think those are better options.

  • Quidam Jul 20, 2013

    I've been an avid reader of tv.com reviews on several shows (those from The Following were hillarious) but I had to create an account because I wanted to point this out... How is it possible that in 91 comments, only the first one says that Mechanicsville had already been talked about in episode 6 final scenes?!

    This show might not be awesome as other sci-fi ones, like X-Files or Fringe, but it's a good one and it's coherent. Ok, some storylines are bad but if all shows were as good and compelent as the examples above mentioned (or some others, from different genres), I wouldn't do anything else but to be in front of the computer or television. And there are a lot of shows way worse than this... Under the Dome or Revolution -> facepalm.

  • bendylegsnick Jul 18, 2013

    I called that bitch Lourdes for the mole ages ago! Go me! *Gives himself many mental high-fives*

  • JohnPeterson5 Jul 17, 2013

  • JameelAboulho Jul 17, 2013

    After reading the comments here I love how incredulous I am that none of these idiots are able to follow story or have any experience watching TV shows. You don't simply cut out the main stars of a show for an entire episode, just to focus on the story around them. Name a successful show that has ever done that.

    It never happened in Eureka. It never happened in Galactica. Never happened in Stargate, or Star Trek, or Lost, or Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones (but everyone is a main star in that show until next season when the book introduces way too many characters).

    They aren't going to just cut out the Masons. Noah Wyle is the star of the show, and he has the best character. Colin Cunningham and Will Patton are the others. You could have an episode focus on Popetown, sure, but it would be just as boring as say the GOD AWFUL boxing episode of Galactica.

  • JameelAboulho Jul 17, 2013

    I love the hipster ass reviews of this show. Really? What show do you consider good? If this episode was bad then fuck, every episode of Lost, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Stargate, Star Trek, Tudors, Hyperdrive, X-Files, Dr. Who, Revolution, and any show I can thank of must just be terrible.

  • JohnPeterson5 Jul 17, 2013

    Revolution? Nuff said ...

  • klotensen Jul 16, 2013

    It must be hard to write reviews for Falling Skies.
    That is why I have to praise Mary-Ann to the sky for her effort.

  • bstolemyremote Jul 21, 2013

    Let's just say that we considered doing them, but realized it would be all negative, all the time. Mary-Ann does a much better job of balancing her dissatisfaction with constructive comments. And wit to boot!

  • Llostris Jul 16, 2013

    1. When I saw the masked guys armed with a shotguns I was like "WTF? What is IRA doing in Falling Skies?!" I think I watched one too many movies about the Troubles...

    2. I'm disappointed that Picketts' girl didn't join the Masons. Men to women ratio in Falling Skies is very uncool.

    3. Lourdes - the guppies in her face reminded me about Goa'uld queens. I wonder who will she infect first? When and by who was she infected in the first place? Also - guppies = ewwww!

    4. The sneak peak of next episode looked really interesting.

  • crenshawdk Jul 16, 2013

    Calling the show it's so bad its good is a bit unfair IMHO. Sure some of the plot lines are a bit stupid but overall I think its a good story and the acting is great and that's what I think keeps it above water. I for one enjoy the show.

  • crenshawdk Jul 16, 2013

    Ps. I guess you haven't watched Revolution or Under the dome. Now they're shows you can call ​​so bad it's good.

  • MikeUK123 Jul 16, 2013

    I would disagree a bit.....

    Falling Skies is good compared to the shows you mention (Under the Dome is so bad it's ridiculous), but it is not good when considering where the premise could have taken it, and what it could be.

    There are some good moments, and just enough personally that I watch it. But some episodes are not good, go nowhere or have silly moments or simply drama for the sake of drama. I think I actually finish watching about 60% of the episodes, the others I just change channel or do something else because I lose interest.

    Compared to good / great sci-fi shows of recent times, Falling Skies does not compare.

  • JameelAboulho Jul 17, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • MikeUK123 Jul 24, 2013

    Please let the adults discuss things without your trolling.

    I was having a good discussion with crenshawdk which you've just interrupted without adding even attempting to add anything of use or interest,

  • crenshawdk Jul 17, 2013

    Alright everybody stop having opinions at once, cuz this guy knows what he's talking about. He wrote two, count 'em two, sci-fi novels so it's obvious he's right and everyone else are wrong and have moronic opinions. Revolution IS IN FACT a good show. Good call there buddy. You had me at Really. Please PLEASE tell me where I can get a hold of your publishings cuz I feel I could become your biggest fan.

  • crenshawdk Jul 16, 2013

    I'd rank it somewhere in the middle.

  • MikeUK123 Jul 24, 2013

    I see where you're coming from...... I guess my argument is not helped by how bad Defiance and Under the Dome are becoming, and let's not forget the oddness of Revolution.

    Not sure I am going to continue with Falling Skies, but it certainly tops those three, and by some way.

  • bstolemyremote Jul 21, 2013

    Agreed. There's a lot of things that are definitely not working though I think we can all agree that there's enough to keep us coming back here to talk about it. But yeah, there's definitely better sci-fi out there

  • oveanh Jul 16, 2013

    Guess I shouldn't surprised to learn that Tom Mason has been body snatched on the ship he was onboard with the fishhead between seasons 1 and 2.

  • JameelAboulho Jul 17, 2013

    That literally has nothing to do with the current season or the show at all. He was never body snatched. He spent a few weeks on that ship, if that, they never specified. The majority of the time between season 1 and 2 was him getting back to the 2nd Mass.

  • oveanh Jul 17, 2013

    Just watch next week promo. And how would you explain Anne being pregnant with a hybrid?!

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