Falling Skies "Mind Wars" Review: Daddy Issues

Falling Skies S04E05 "Mind Wars"

Well, I mean, I think we all saw that coming. Annie's Espheni hostage with a weird affection for her hybrid daughter was revealed to be one of Lexie's daddies in the least mind-blowing revelation ever. After the general awesome that was last week's "Evolve or Die," this week's "Mind Wars" was a little bit of a letdown in places, but certainly not when it came to examining the longterm effects of life under the Espheni occupation. Matt struggled to be a good soldier while maintaining his humanity and whatever remains of his innocence. His philosophy lessons with Tom and Weaver contrasted sharply with Annie's more rigid view of "the enemy." Despite her daughter's pleas and even the 2nd Mass's past experiences with rebel skitters, unharnessed children, and the Volm, Annie is currently incapable of accepting that the Espheni that's tied up in her torture chamber could possibly be a good—or at least slightly-less-bad—guy. And while you can't really blame her, if it turns out that Lexie and her "father" are telling the truth about his intentions, Annie's unwillingness to accept any Espheni as possible allies could prove to be a costly error for humanity's leadership. 

Of course, the dude's totally (probably) lying his face off. Harmless allies don't essentially take people hostage, refuse to cooperate, and then escape with the help of their creepy science experiment of a daughter who may or may not be the target of endless manipulation from pretty much everyone. 

I'm just saying. 

On Friday, TNT announced that while Falling Skies will return for a fifth season, that season will be the series' last, which will force it to focus as the expiration date becomes a little more concrete and shines a different light on every episode that remains. "Mind Wars" was a very retrospective episode in terms of Tom and his sons. Time is a flighty thing on almost any television series, but we know that the humans have been resisting the Espheni occupation for years at this point. Food, fuel, and other supplies that have always been scarce are starting to disappear entirely. With the Espheni offering food, shelter, and a "future" in exchange for willing collaboration from the humans, what constitutes an enemy these days is complicated. It's true that we've seen humans fighting other humans in the past, but we've never seen humans fighting other humans for the aliens. This certainly complicates Annie's worldview—we've seen mind-controlled humans working for the Espheni, and we've seen manipulated and brainwashed humans doing the Espheni's dirty work, but we've only rarely (if at all) seen human beings rationalizing the situation and deciding that partnering with the alien overlords might actually be the better idea. 


Tom's comments to and about Matt add further credence to the idea that time is running out for the 2nd Mass. Matt was eight when the Espheni invaded, a child in every sense of the word. He's grown tremendously in recent seasons, especially this season, but he's still, for all intents and purposes, a child. While I was 90 percent sure that, despite the implications of "Mind Wars'" promo, Matt Mason was totally not going to waste another human, there was that lingering 10 percent that thought, maybe. There isn't a single prominent character on Falling Skies who hasn't lost someone or something precious, and in a world where there's seldom any time to properly mourn or cope, those losses add up and they mutate. In Annie's case, or that of Tom's bumbling captors or (almost) Matt, people have found themselves driven to do some pretty ugly things, and it seems that after several seasons of fighting the good fight and always being on the run, Falling Skies is prepared to explore that. The situation on Earth is getting increasingly desperate, for both the humans and the Espheni, and desperation drives some serious drama. 

Matt's innocence gets to survive another week, but Lexie's has been called further into question following her assist in Daddy Overlord's escape. For all of her talk about family and trust and her pleas for Annie to not make her choose between her human familyand her Espheni family, Lexie seems to choose the Espheni side a lot. She referred to the Espheni as "also" being her father, which I guess means she is actually Tom's kid, but has she ever asked about Tom, even once, in all this time? Or Matt? Or Hal? Her concern for the human cousins seems to only extend as far as keeping them in line with what the Espheni want. She may say she doesn't want to choose, but in actuality, she chooses between them quite a bit, and she's pretty consistent. 

After a pair of surprisingly optimistic episodes, "Mind Wars" favored the glass-half-empty philosophy regarding life in the trenches. Matt may not've had to shed any blood, but his experience in freeing his father was hardly a positive one. You can't win them all, right?  



NOTES

– Maggie and Ben aren't inching toward being a thing, are they? Isn't that a little skeevy?

– What did you think of "Mind Wars?"

 

Comments (31)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Aug 05, 2014
Couldn't stay awake.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2014
I enjoyed this episode more than any other this season and parts seemed to be getting back to its roots. I'm glad the Espheni/Nazi youth camp segment is done with, that was one part of season four I had no interest in. I liked the Tom, Matt, and Weaver plot line and the way they handled the two brothers. The Lexi plot line still doesn't sit well with me. It is maybe too far fetched and just kind of weird. This episode did get a bit more interesting though and I wonder about the Espheni guy who is Lexi's buddy/father. Where is that all headed? Someone in an earlier post asked if Ann was raped for this to happen. I don't think so, I think that little worm critter that was inside Tom was the culprit apparently impregnating his sperm with alien DNA as well. Who knows, only the writers.
Reply
Flag
Jul 25, 2014
boring boring boring! I started watching the episode on Monday, stopped watching and resumed some minutes ago! The plots are very predictable! I used to love this show! Very dissapointed!
Reply
Flag
Jul 23, 2014
The fifth will be the last? So sad... love that show... father/son bondin'... brother bondin' and aliens... some old Tom/Weaver bromance....everything to make me happy... now I want Pope/Hal bromance and I'm ready to let it go without having to kill anyone as retribution... I'm tired to see all the shows I like getting cancelled... especially when you see what they picked up as replacement...
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 23, 2014
The program is still worth watching bc there are some well written and well acted sections... but I am not really a fan of this whole human/alien hybrid idea... and the whole idea of the alien being her Dad... well doesn't that mean Mum was raped, or at the very least, experimented on like a lab-rat... so how on Earth can Dr Mengles Espheni be "good" or even trust-worthy?
this is one of the weaker points of the plotting and drama and I hope they can resolve this sooner rather than later - while at the same time avoiding a "V like" ending.... leaning toward MalboroMagpi's point of view but hanging in there...
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
I still love this show. It's as fun as ever!
2
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
Despite being a fan for the last 3 seasons, I am calling this season of the series the worst. It now tries to be TWD as it scatters everyone apart and I am sure they are all reuniting at the oriental garden with Lexi by the finale. The individual stories are just not that interesting or strong. I hope the 5th and final season will not be such a letdown as I really used to like this a lot.
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
“I didn’t ask for a definition of brotherhood, Dad, I asked why he killed him.”

So Tom and Dan BOTH get to give inspirational speeches this week. Poor Matt. He got fewer lectures in the Skitler Youth camp.

Matt, we’re told, was 8 when the Espheni arrived. That means, if Tom’s story is to be believed, that Matt kicked through a door at age 8 or younger! Day-um!! Move over, Ben. Your (apparently fading) super powers are no match for Baby Brother.

The series seems to be moving near Georgia (note SAVANNAH on road sign), a chance encounter with other humans on the road proves deadly, and tweenager Matt wants to kill; sorry, Falling Skies, it’s too late to rip off Walking Dead. Try to die with dignity.

Where TF were Col. Weaver and Matt while their sleeping bags were being shot up? They seemed to arrive back at the camp long after George and Lennie left with Tom. Long enough to give them a sizeable head start, at any rate. And where TF did they get sleeping bags?!? The Espheni gave the Dumb and Dumber brothers extras, in case of…what? “Here’s a whole bunch of camping equipment: go find Tom Mason. Oh, and here’s a couple of bottles of bourbon. That’ll help you in your search.”

Why did they leave all their equipment behind?

“What is this place? A rendezvous point?”
“Yep. We send up a flare [really?] and they’ll come for you. But first, we’re gonna set up camp for the night.”

The mech trip wire has to be the lamest guerrilla tactic since Annie’s failed-IED-let’s-use-a-molotov-cocktail-instead attack on the unsecured truck. Mechs can’t get up if they fall on their backs?!? Really?!? And it flew OVER the truck, instead of landing ON it?!? And they have no in-close defense – like, say, a dozen or so flying eye-worms – or secure access panels?

Volm don’t got sarcasm!

Lexi has been a completely alien-hybrid freak since she was born, Annie has had a vision of being alien-ated while pregnant, Lexi nearly choked Annie to death from across the zen garden, Lexi is clearly in league with an Espheni overlord, and yet Annie still wants to “protect” her? I prefer Noomi Rapace’s reaction to HER alien baby in Prometheus: “GET IT OUT!!!! GET IT OUT!!!!”

NOW will somebody please shoot Lourdes?

More+
4
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
I'll give a 'like' just for Skitler Youth Camp...
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 23, 2014
Back atcha for the "Lexi as afterthought" comments.
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
One glaring moment weakened this episode for me: Hal outrunning the Mech's fire.

1) Hal's Daddy complex aside, no one would let the team leader be the one to draw the fire in the plan

2) There was no need to lure the Mech anywhere - they knew he repeated the same path and could've taken him down anywhere on that path

3) There was no need for human bait at all - the second they raised the trip wire, the thing detected it and stopped, setting up Pope just fine (whether it was supposed to trip and Pope had to ad lib, or whether Pope's piledriver was part of the plan, I couldn't tell).

4) Last week the Mechs couldn't hit the fuel-laden pickup truck as it drove away at, what, 30-50 MPH? This week one couldn't hit a guy on foot, in spite of twin Gatlin guns.

I felt like the whole "close call for Hal" was totally unnecessary, implausible and just thrown in for cartoonish thrills.

They should drop the Mechs. First of all, they seem really ineffective in almost every situation. Second, they look like something a human would design - they are closer in shape and size to human dimensions, than Espheni. Skitters, on the other hand, look completely alien in their anatomy and are also really plausible as something genetically engineered to operate in many terrains.

I did really like one subtle piece of writing: on two occasions, various Masons described their family and tacked on Lexi almost as an afterthought (Tom: "I have three sons... and a daughter now, too.") It was always strange to me how the Mason men had about a month exposure to baby Lexi but feel this deep sibling bond with the obviously mutant hybrid adult Lexi, It's more believable that they don't consider her or Anne as truly "family" yet.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
Another mind numbing episode how about have the proclaimers playing in the background when our heroes do another trek , I thought Dany in GOT does the rambling LOL Matt battling his acne cue replacement actor and then shall I shoot the guy who obliterates sleeping bags at will or audition for Walking Dead. The Vorm shaq aliens could give a lift to tom's group I mean walking 30 miles is long they have a ship DUHH More stupidity in Chinatown Bonnie has headache too much warbling or the wind machine has packed up still has time to strangle her mum. Then we have the Rosemary Baby story line cue a weird porn film flashback running though the Mums mind. So after this still no major characters killed off but at least we have some closure next season Falling Skies dafter then the Under the dome !
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
Carl would of taken the shot!
2
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
At first, i was taken a little a back, by this season's change in Lexy's appearance. But with Ann sitting near her, their skintones look close. The blonde hair, makes her look lighter than she is. I guess that's Karen's dna, her "other mother".

I agree that this episode, was about what in desperation, humanity is turning into. And that things, are not looking too good for humanity. I thought it was a solid episode, and rated it an 8.0.

Overall, i'm enjoying this season, more than the last two. They're on the road again. The themes of what this war, is doing to humanity mentally and morally, are worth exploring.
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
Even the alien Shaq doesn't understand sarcasm. Fitting.
4
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
LET ME REMIND You all, that the episode before this ended quite nicely with the Espheni in chains, and the blondie grinning beside him after his telepathic 'videoconf' ended. So we did not know if she was controlling him or he was c. her. And now this episode was called ''Mind Wars''. I was expecting something in that direction. I was ready for ice-cream, and I got re-heated 50 years old pizza with clichees. And waaait! Did I also see some awful acting? Yes I did. Rushing much?
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
I did keep having an overarching thought, that Espheni kids' camp wasn't really teaching them any solider stuff, huh? I almost wish they had hardcore pushed Matt into an almost Ghandi mindset where he became such an uber Mason he was going vegan and abhorring violence maybe just to set him up as a counterpoint to Lexie who is using peace as a weapon.

I am so confused about the Espheni dudes, one is obsessed with Tom and one is trying manipulate Lexie (I am guessing the more Masons that arrive, the more their plan gets pushed forward, so Hal's arrival next week moves action along) but they do seem to be operating separate from the rest of the Espheni, doesn't seem like? The only comparison I have right now is the one obsessed with Tom is like Jalvert and the other one, I don't know.

I was hoping they would be dropping the weird Maggie/Ben thing once Anne showed up with his friend. Its kind of gross especially since we established like a season and a half ago that Maggie was like ten years older than Hal, and we were fine with it, especially since I imagine the actors are much closer in age, but if I have the timeline correct, Ben really can't be more than 16 or 17 and I think the actor himself is not that far off that age. But even though Hal and Maggie were on the outs, I am comforted by the fact that he will show up soon and maybe that knocks Maggie into her senses a little. Or hell, that Pope will.
More+
Reply
Flag
Jul 23, 2014
Maggie is 3 years older than Hal. Hal's about 19 et she's about 22. When they met, Hal was about 16 and she was about 19. Lourdes is the same age than Maggie. Ben is 3 years younger than Hal so right now he's 16 so yeah a love story between the two would be innapropriate. With Hal it didn't seem that odd because, yeah, both the actors are about 30 years old when Connor Jessup is 19 and Lourdes is 23.
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 23, 2014
I thought Maggie's story about her cancer was when she was nineteen and that was a couple years before the alien invasion.
Reply
Flag
Aug 06, 2014
I think she was still in high school when she had cancer and that's why she dropped out and never graduated...
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
During the Overlord "phone call" last week, i thought that maybe, they were just rivals. Ribbing each other about failures. Now i'm wondering if Lexy's "dad", was telling the truth more or less? And that he and the other OL, are actually enemies?

I too hope they drop, the weird Maggie/ Ben potential romance. Yuck.
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
How is it that the friendly aliens aren't interested in the dumb blonde's setup at all and so haven't, annoyingly, thought that maybe she's the power source to-be?
Weaver shooting the brother "Just in case" was hilarious.
Anne is ridiculous as a leader and interrogator. She's so blow hard (must avoid joke) one minute and then fractured in sympathetic reasoning the next and yet no one has seen best to say, "Are you nuts woman? Screw this. Let's 'X' instead". Sorvino's character is looking positively sane compared to her.
1
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
Lexie as the power source...I like that. Let's see if that's the plan.
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
Here comes the Maggie and Ben hook up and then i will have to stop watching that will just be way to nasty for me to watch its just not rite no matter how they write it
Reply
Flag
Jul 22, 2014
Yea, I'm not getting that. Must Maggie always have a man, and must that man always be a Mason. Surely, there is a girl somewhere that's more appropriate for Ben.
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
I think I can forgivevAnne for not seeing her alien rapist as a good guy.
3
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
Great show but this episode was one of the worst episodes of the show to date. Not one scene went down without either being stupid or pointless.

Oh and let's try to beat information out of the Espheni without an interpreter. Annie is a horrible leader.
Reply
Flag
Jul 21, 2014
Luke- I am your father. Geez, who didn't see that Ann was raped by the alien coming. I hate that I need to see how this ends because it is so lame. Hardly anything else worth noting in the episode. Nuke 'em all and start a new race.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook