Falling Skies: The Mall of New America

Falling Skies S02E09: "The Price of Greatness"

If the real goal for Falling Skies' second season was to get the 2nd Mass to its ultimate destination of Charleston, then congratulations, 2nd Mass! You made it! If the real goal for the writers of Falling Skies' second season was for the 2nd Mass's arrival at Charleston to be the big event of Season 2, then... whatever the opposite of "Congratulations!" is. "The Price of Greatness" was a big misstep for the series, introducing philosophy about rebuilding human civilization and history lessons when the show wasn't ready for it. What this episode needed to do instead—and this is quite a simple concept for this simple show—was set up some form of conflict with the enemies that we've been fighting all season. And those enemies are (everyone say it with me now) the aliens. Or whatever it is inside of us that compels to keep watching this show. Just so we're clear: I didn't fancy this episode.

The promise of Charleston as a refuge from all the hellishness that is an alien invasion could have gone many ways. The 2nd Mass could have arrived to find smoldering rubble and charred bodies, crushing all hope in a fist-shaking, Twilight Zone kind of way and re-emphasizing survival. Or they could have arrived and teamed up with the Charlestonians to form a united front that rained napalm and boiling oil and spoiled milk down on the alien bastards for a temporary victory before the start of Season 3. Or they could have showed up and discovered a half-formed society struggling due to lack of resources that represented just how far humanity has decayed since the skinny aliens arrived, which could have been a perfectly hackneyed and acceptable metaphor for overpopulation and putting Styrofoam in the right recycling container (good sci-fi always reflects reality).

Instead, Charleston was just full of dicks, which was probably the worst direction this story could have gone in. When the 2nd Mass arrived, everything was all sunshine and puppy dogs, complete with a fancy buffet and a slow clap celebrating the new arrivals. But it took fewer than eight minutes in television time for things to sour in Charleston, and once they turned, they turned HARD. So hard, in fact, that we were pummeled with scene after scene of some variation of a 2nd Masser whining, "I don't like this place!" and yesterday's jubilant citizens of Charleston shaking in their boots, fearful of their new masters and slopping what looked like white beans and ketchup onto the plates of the miserable and hungry. The celebratory underground Mall of America became a Nazi-run homeless shelter overnight, and the transformation had all the subtlety of the Kool-Aid Man. This is poor storytelling after a lot of buildup, and a big letdown. Welcome to New Dicksburg!

Dick number one: Arthur Manchester, a waste of a role for the talented Terry O'Quinn. Tom Mason's old college prof is a megalomaniac who's holding on to power thanks to a subservient military unit full of lesser dicks. He doesn't want to fight the aliens because he'd rather rewrite the history books and become a founding father. It's not that I agree or disagree with his ideals (in fact, I was shocked so many others were as bloodthirsty as they were when they could have enjoyed showers and clean sheets for a few days first), it's that his character—a character all of us Lost fans have been waiting for—came off as such a toothless villain, and his grip on power was so tenuous that by the end of the episode he was already overthrown. He was like a bad contestant on Bachelor Pad, assuming he held the cards when he didn't. This man couldn't handle a second-grade class, let alone the 2nd Mass, and nothing about him was satisfactorily established.

Dick number two: that jerk military man who had nothing better to do than be a jerk. Dick number three: some random bully kid in Matt's school. Dick number four: Dr. Dick, the heart surgeon who told Anne to take care of the children (Okay, I actually liked that guy). What happened to the overwhelming warm welcome from the day before? Quit confusing us, Falling Skies writers!

So how did the 2nd Mass react to the pinching of their freedom? Well, Pope and his men went directly to the armory and not-too-slyly plotted to steal some big guns which at one point were completely unguarded despite a heavy military presence EVERYWHERE. Tector (or Aloysius Murphy, as we learnd) saw fatigues and immediately fell in military line, turning his back on the 2nd Mass because someone saluted him. He even SHOT one of his former Berserker friends (and then insanely changed sides again later), and yes, he claimed it was because one of the others was going to kill the guy, but that's B.S. Colonel Porter, happy as a clam in Charleston, flip-flopped all over the place with his allegiance, telling Weaver that rules are rules but also saying, "Unless you want to break them, then I'm totally with you." Hal threw one of Manchester's military men down a staircase for a skull-crushing landing after Manchester didn't want him to meet with the alien resistance. And Maggie—sweet, hot Maggie—was only concerned that Hal showed some emotion over last week's confession that she had a kid pre-apocalypse, you know, back when stuff like that mattered. If you looked at all this stuff from Manchester's perspective, the 2nd Mass behaved like a group of lunatics.

Manchester's next move was to round up the entire 2nd Mass because he thought they were all potential threats, but General Max Headroom, head of the military, threw Manchester in jail instead and declared martial law... which was essentially what Charleston was under before, but with a different name. Presumably this is good for Tom and company since they're ready to kick some alien ass and Max Headroom is too, but they're not happy about it at all. The end.

Penultimate episodes are supposed to build tension for a rocking finale and even provide some thrills on their own, but "The Price of Greatness" ran around in a circle and ended up pretty much where it began: with the 2nd Mass semi-prisoners of a power-hungry asshole in an underground shopping center. The only difference is that this asshole will allow them to meet with the alien resistance, and if that's all we accomplished in an hour—the second-to-last hour of the season, may I add—then we done wasted our time.

The only thing that can save this story (and make some sense of it) is if Charleston is actually some alien stronghold manned by human turncoats who've been promised their lives by alien overlords in exchange for suckering other humans into thinking they're safe. Hey, if there can be an alien resistance, why can't there be humans who have sided with the aliens? Perhaps Charleston is like some giant Roach Motel that attracts humans and them spits them out right into an alien onslaught that's disguised as a meet-up with the alien resistance. What a twist! See? I can write this show, too!

I seem to remember Falling Skies being about aliens. Can anyone confirm?



NOTES

– Why did Weaver's daughter—if she knew the 2nd Mass was coming—wait until her dad was in line waiting for chow to come up and see him? Shouldn't she have been one of the first people waiting to greet the 2nd Mass? Why didn't she do one of those running-into-his-arms hug things?

– Dr. Anne always gives us a gem each episode, and this time it was: "Hold on, I'm the combat medic from the 2nd Mass who is going to have you walking bow-legged unless you talk me through each patient's chart!"

– I like the way Pope eats!

– Prisoner security in Charleston is TOUGH. Hal: "Hey, can I get a moment with Maggie?" Security guard: "Sure okay, whatever."

– First thing I would say when entering the Charleston underground safe haven: "You have all this electricity and you don't even turn on the escalators!? WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES!?!?"


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

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Also, while not much will EVER be able to live up to the awesome penultimate episodes that Breaking Bad graciously tosses our way (Half Measures, End Times) I still would expect something more interesting and tension building than the episode we got here. Disappointed.
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"I like the way Pope eats!" Also, probably one of the few highlights from this episode.



I don't understand how the writers are doing such a terrible job. If you can't pace a show then you shouldn't be writing for it! There are so many different ways they could have played this episode that would have been better than what we got. At least back in season 1 there was a two-part episode (Sanctuary I think) that slowly dragged out that the good guy was the bad guy. While that was still pretty easy to pick up on, at least we sort of watched through the eyes of Hal and others discovering their military leader actually is working with the aliens and wants to give them all the kids. This time, it was like, Look, it's Terry O'Quinn.... and then we're going to just make you all think he is a dick. I agree with you, what a waste of a part for a talented actor. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that the finale at least somewhat delivers.
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i like this episode because it frustrated me. that being said... it frustrated me because i sided high not with the "second mass". what a bunch of arrogant asses. what the hell do you expect? if it was me they wouldnt get half the crap they got, i would have greeted them with "shut the fuck up your in quarantine". aliens and such? thats beyond standard tv drama and i really dont think this show is taking is seriously enough
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I agree that the arrival in Charleston storyline was disappointing.

It was a missed opportunity to open up the storyline with some new characters.

Instead it looks like a temporary detour.



I have enjoyed this season more, mainly because it made some attempt to be less juvenile but I still have a difficult time connecting to any of them.



Falling Skies, compared to the Walking Dead, is Lite Sci-Fi geared to the Disney Channel demographics. I hope there is a season 3 where they add more edge to the story-lines.

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this was so bad... and maggie, idiot maggie, who first is scared that hal will react badly to her story and then gets pissed because he didn't react at all to her story. sweetie, make up your mind!
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I guess I must be the hugest masochistic sci-fi junkie ever since I continue watching this show... I still think the writing is "very uneven" if you want to say it politely... read between the lines!



In other news it was fun to see 2 Eureka alumni: Matt Frewer & Ty Olsson (Deputy Andy 1.0) in the mix...
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Aliens, aliens and then more aliens. Executive Producer Steven Spielberg has created a world that has the planet at the mercy of aliens and the resilience of the crew.

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The episode was okay. It wasn't great, it wasn't horrible. That's all I have to say about that.



Considering so many of the previous comments aren't necessarily about the show but the review, I would like to comment on that as well.



1) WHAT IS THE POINT OF SOMEONE WRITING A REVIEW IF THEY MUST LIKE IT AND MUST WRITE POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT IT? It makes NO sense, illogical weirdos. Please, try to think with some reason. This isn't supposed to be a love-letter, this isn't supposed to be promotion -- it's a review. It's not a BAD review just because it's a NEGATIVE review. It's just one man's opinion of a show and episode. If it's negative, fine. If it's positive, fine. Give your own opinion of the episode and move on. Which leads to number 2.



2) WHY DO YOU FEEL YOU MUST ONLY READ POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT SOMETHING YOU JUST WATCHED? Seriously... take a moment to think about this. After you watch, for example, an episode of Falling Skies, what prompts you to browse the internet and search for and read reviews about that episode? Are you just looking for validation of your own opinions? Or do you just want to talk about a show you just watched? For me, it's the latter. It SHOULD be the latter for most readers. I don't need and am not looking for validation from strangers on the internet. I post frequently on a site like this because I like watching TV shows and talking about it -- both negatively and positively.



Now, feel free to tell me I'm an idiot and that Falling Skies is awesome.
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I agree that he doesn't have to like the episode to review it; that would be silly. But if he doesn't like show at all, or even the genre apparently, he is unlikely to ever give an unbiased review.
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I also like watching TV shows and talking about it -- both negatively and positively. And I also totally love having my opinions validated by complete strangers:) I think most people who make the choice to put their opinions out in places like this, do too. I mean we all like having are beliefs and opinions validated, what's wrong with some of that validation coming from strangers?

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I would just like to say that I gave you a thumbs up, to signify that I agree with you and would like to validate your opinion.
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For those complaining, including the author, I suggest patience. The story is being unfolded. Allow it to do so before whining about nothing happening.
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The show is 1 episode away from finishing season 2...



On a good show more would have unfolded by now. They wouldn't just wait for the finale to cram all the action into.
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This was the second ep this season I liked. Often I share Tim's criticism towards FS but this time I think he's just ranting and his "suggestions" what would have made a better episode/season are ultimately resulting in an also boring and cliched series with no actual surprises at all.

In this episode no one acted out of character(first time), the dialogues were considerably better and almost every conflict made sense and even interested me.

I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have emptied the cough medicine bottle before, but I actually enjoyed this episode...
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I'm only replying to this because I found one point you made particularly interesting; "In this episode no one acted out of character(first time)."



This episode was actually the first of season 2 I decided to watch. I've since began watching from the first of this season, mainly because I hate myself and I can't afford cheap beer for the next week. But what struck me, after taking a break from the end of season 1 to watching the penultimate episode of season 2, I experienced no shift in character development. Not even a little. Actually? I don't feel like I missed a single thing. Everyone is the EXACT same.



Tom is still Tom, only now with less historical blather.



Anne is still hot. And seems only cut out to be in the ER. Oh, but now kitty's got claws! And it only took and alien invasion destroying your world to do it.



Hal...*yawn*



Pope...Yeaaaah, I think you see where I'm going. No one's changed from this viewer's perspective. And it is a unique perspective, considering I took a season-long leap. Now, does this mean changing characters is a staple of good story-telling? Not necessarily. But to me, it absolutely does. Is it reasonable to expect people to develop? Not always...not unless there's a world-wide catastrophe...
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No aliens. No Ben. *sigh*



But, I still like this show. I'm glad there's another season coming.
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Another Great Episode !
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Well wern't the aliens trying to talk Tom Mason into gathering all the humans together in one place for them to live in like a ghetto? (Nazi, jewish idea.. not some trumped up rap reject)



Then this comes a long? Might be a tiny bit obvious but considering the current calibre of the Falling Skies writing team.. I think we have a winner? Perhaps a double bluff.. too obvious no one would actually expect to go there. Explains so much military law and why the new guys want to meet the resistance. Manchester was actually an alright guy all a long and wanted to preserve the skitter resistance at all cost's.
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This show seriously xD



"He's been suspended for one week" Really? one week suspension with an alien invasion going on? seems a bit drastic doesn't it



and Weavers daughter (can't be bothered to remember her name): Watch out what you say, you'll end up with double shifts or worse...! (cue evil music)



Double shifts or worse? Right-O, we"ve been fighting an alien war for days on end now, I think we're set for worse...



This writing is just all kinds of bad
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Great to see Terry but this ep needed some bugs not philosopy. It was very 'America is great' theme this week.
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Hilarious. If you think about it. In a dictatorship usually the uncontent folks are kept at bay by the military. He who controlls the military has the power. Now, if the people who elected you don't like you and the military isn't on your side, i'd say your powerbase is week at best. I don't need to be a history professor to realize that.

Avatar: Legend of Kora played better with discontent citizens and a rising rebellion in a city than this. I think thats exactly what they tried to convey, except a show airing on Nick did it better. Think about that for a second.

I think this show is getting worse. And the thing that bugs me is that you can't quite put your finger on it and say why. The actors are doing the very best with what they are given. The writing is absolutely rotten, but it has been for almost always. So what is it? Right now i think its the squandered opportunities. The show has so much potential that you constantly get your hopes up and that trashes it. When i saw the preview for this ep. i was very much looking forward to it, thinking that they got something good.
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The episode was certainly... different. I'm not sure if I disliked it or if I'm indifferent. The show is about aliens, sure, but the argument can be made that it's about humans trying to cope with extraordinary circumstances, it can also be argued that the show is trying to deal with how human's interact with each other during life-threatening circumstances. You know, that whole line of thinking that humans will always be the most dangerous threat to each other even when faced with a bigger enemy? I think it's all fair game. That said, while the episode had its faults I'm sure it set up a bigger, better finale, with some twists. At least I hope so.
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I liked the episode, it did what it was supposed to and left me rather excited to see what happens next. I've got no problem w/ Tim but he does consistently rip on this show. Maybe someone who doesn't hate it as much should write the review/recap.

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Imo you should write alot of shows tim.. i can come along
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The way things developed in Charleston was quite surprising. I thought that it was a trap for any of the remaining survivors that were out of the aliens' reach, but this scenario is far worse. You're right; the writers forgot the aliens are the real enemy. If I were in their shoes I would make alliances with anything and everything if it meant the humans had a chance at victory. I wasn't home to watch this episode at home, but I saw most of it at a friend's house through the Dish Remote Access App on my iPad. I've been able to catch live airings and recorded shows on my DVR. I watched the last part of this episode on my commute to Dish this morning and was surprised how quickly the humans decided to rise up against "the leader." Next week's previews left me thinking nothing good will be coming out of season finale. The humans have a long road to go before victory!
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Read Tim's review, then head over to IO9 and read their review. It's like they watched 2 different shows. The TV blog guy (who thinks the show is only OK and nowhere near its potential) didn't like it and the sci-fi blog gal (who kinda likes the show but doesn't think it's anywhere near its potential) calls it the best Falling Skies ep of the year.



Now, different reviewers will often disagree. Nothing unusual there. But what I find fascinating is that many of the readers here like Tim's review while for the most part, the IO9 readers agree with Charlie Jane's there. Seems to me this says more about the kind of media consumers that frequent the sites than about the shows themselves.
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As far as drama & drivel in SciFi goes, this wasn't too awful IMO. Still, it was draggy quite a few times. They could have squished it down to almost half, and then showed some kind of alien battle.



"President" Lost guy reminds me of his Lost character in that he's so desperate to feel special that he puts everyone around him at risk just to stay special. And I wouldn't trust the flip-flopping sniper as far as I could throw him after this show. I believe the boy that Red-Eye sent was telling the truth, and think it'll be the little dirty girl that Noah's son blabbed to that'll bring the aliens to Charleston.
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All since Terry OQuinns role in Lost hes lost all my respect. I much prefer him in Millenium. The bad TV-shows /movies ruins actors for me, so when they are in a different show/movie I often dont watch it.
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And what? Every actor in Lost was a clinic of brilliant acting? Those who love Lost, love everything about it, including the imperfections. Terry O'Quinn (and I did watch the whole series) was not the best part of the show. In fact, he only had one good episode, and I think Lost fans know which one I'm talking about.



This morbid fandom extended even to Alcatraz's Jorge Garcia. The man CAN'T act. Nor was Hugo even the least bit interesting. Get over it! ... sorry, that's been bothering me for a time now. I realize that's not a popular opinion to have, but Jesus Christ, Lost was serialized melodramatic pornography. And now, before this becomes another Lost argument, this was the first time I could see Terry O'Quinn on the precipice of expressing legitimate emotion, as with the episode of Lost I alluded to earlier. All is not Lost. (HAHAHA!!! oh boy...)
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Blame the writers (Abrams/Lindelof/Cuse), not the actors. He did a great job on Lost. It's not his fault that the story didn't make sense.
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Sometimes I feel like we're watching two different TV shows. Well, actually ALL of the time...
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I don't think it was ever meant to be this way but one of the best parts of TV.com is coming on here to read late night or next day reviews about TV shows you really like and especially episodes you really enjoyed. Are any other shows trashed in the weekly reviews? I could understand reality shows being trashed but Falling Skies is actually great TV compared to most of what is out there. I guess I read these reviews for the same reason I find myself flipping over to Beck,Limbaugh, or Hannity on my morning or afternoon drive. It's an adrenaline kick at first, but it just leaves you feeling sort of lousy afterward.



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To listen to many of the commenters basically every show is being trashed by its reviewer. I think this says a lot more about the commenters than the reviewers. People only want to hear other people praising the things they like and get very defensive on behalf of their shows.
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To expound on what Safi just said, it does speak to the commenters. It's as if making a critique about a show is a personal jab at its fans. That's insanity. Why is it so impossible to like a show and accept that others have opposing view points? Why is it so necessary to expect every review will echo your own sentiments? Why not, instead, provide a poignant and strong counter argument rather than complain someone's being too harsh? Grow up.
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Well, I agree with your review, Tim. And I think you may have a point about Charleston: that's what I was thinking all the time: this looks like Manchester (and now the general) just want to leave the aliens alone and live peacefully in that "reservation" they called Charleston.... just as the alien warlord told Tom he wanted them to do.

Nonetheless, most interesting episode of the whole season. The whole thing had a certain gripping suspense to it.

Waste of great actors in Terry O'Quinn and Colin Cunningham.

There again: bring any harnessed kid you find into your secrets, tell them where your going, let them in... what the heck! Let's have a party!

Whatever cliffhanger they come up with next week, there will not be a third season for me.
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I thought the same, that Terry was doing what the aliens wanted Tom to do.
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This time I have to disagree with Tim. I admit many of the things described in the review were individually correct, but when it comes to Falling Skies, such small inconsistencies are to be expected. The important thing is that the show dealt with some interesting issues as how to organize a civilian society again in the name of the good old democracy (so preserving what we value as a society), at the same time dealing with the temptations of resorting to dictatorial attitudes if the leader can't get his way. Manchester wanted to build a democracy, but when push came to shove he lost control and democracy is the first thing to be sacrificed.



Then General "Max Headroom" took over and is apparently helping the Second Mass with their plans, so he's (again apparently) one of the good guys, right? But at the same time, we are left with the feeling that he may be much worse than Manchester. Not that he's involved with the aliens, but he can get to be a much fiercer dictator. Things are complicated enough to be interesting.



Well, Tim will have his wish and in the finale the humans will fight many CGI aliens, or so it seems.
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Usually, one reorganize a society AFTER the enemy has been eliminated. Well... unless one has decided to give up fighting and accept to live forever in that little limited space that the invaders were "so kind" to leave one with...
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People need some sort of sense of normalcy in their lives, and in many cases rebuilding and reorganizing can't wait for the ideal conditions. Still in the field of fiction, if we take Battlestar Galactica as an example, the war with the Cylons was far from over, but even so there was a civil power, elections, etc, even when they were on the run, and that made the show more interesting than just one battle scene after another with an absolute military organization. Yeah, but I admit that when President Baltar chose to settle in New Caprica, that was a bad mistake...
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"I seem to remember Falling Skies being about aliens. Can anyone confirm?"



I thought it was about people living in a post-alien invaded world. I really think you're trying too hard not to like the show, pushing bullshit thoughts like that.
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Umm, no, not post-alien invasion at all. During. This may be the tail end of the invasion, but the war is still being fought. It is about an ongoing alien invasion. Therefore, about aliens. If they wanted to make it about a post-invasion world, the humans would already have been defeated or the aliens would have taken what they wanted and left. I am reminded of George Bush and a "Mission Accomplished" banner back at the beginning of a decade-long war. He too, seemed to think everything after that initial push didn't count.
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What I just read: "Oh no, added story elements and character depth! Developments that aren't the simplistic plot I wanted! Why aren't they just fighting cg aliens every episode?!?!"
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Jesus, does no one read? He complained because they developed minor characters when they have still failed to develop the major ones.
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And you're right. Just because some people don't identify with the characters, it doesn't mean that there aren't many others who do. Considering all of the shows shortcomings, I think the episode was a good buildup for the finale.
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And of course when there is an episode where they are busy fighting the aliens, he complains about the lack of character development. Then it's "why should we care about this person"?

He doesn't like the show, period.
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It's not that he doesn't like the show. Jesus Balls! Someone offers opposing view points and it's all suddenly black and white. It's as if Falling Skies put out an objectively brilliant episode, Tim would still find faults in it. NO! That's the whole point. There are glaring objective faults with this show. And those who are contesting the majority rule in this comment section aren't "haters," we're disappointed. The show DOES have potential. We're just waiting for it. In the mean time, it's almost as if commenting on the negative is a waste of time, whereas brown-nosing something is the only accepted form of criticism? Get your head out of your ass.



I especially enjoyed a comment made earlier about watching re-runs of The Walking Dead, as if that was the pinnacle of story telling and character development. Here's to Falling Skies pulling through with a good, if not great, finale!
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adding character depth only works if the characters are interesting and don't act stupid. If you don't care about the characters why would you care if they're developed?
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No way. Tim? Hating on a Falling Skies episode? Didn't see that one coming, real shocker that one. I don't get it Tim when the writers take their time shaping a script about a small human community in a post apocalyptic world - The Walking Dead farm plotline - you complain. When they wheeze through it recognising we're not interested in sitting through 2 or 3 episodes of BS political mind games - you complain. There's just no pleasing you. In order for them to afford big budget (lots of aliens, big explosions) episodes they have to write in some 'human focused' ones. Sure it's not the best writing but must we take everything so seriously?! Don't get me wrong your reviews almost always make me laugh but I do wish you change your tune about this show from time to time. It's now way past the point of being boring (we get it the show has some really crappy writers) and frankly your plot suggestion improvements don't read so hot. All in all it makes for decent summer viewing and it keeps me coming back every week. Lets just enjoy it for what it is.
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I was thinking of getting into this show (and so I only take glimpses of the reviews and the comments, to avoid huge spoilers) last year, but decided to wait and see. Still doesn't seem like it's really worth the time investment, with other better choices out there.
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Yes, there are definitely better shows. This one is mainly for people who will watch anything with aliens and stuff.
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It shows he was raised in a very refined setting. There's a lot more to Pope than bad hygiene.
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The episode was very predictable. Other than that, I don't think it was too bad.



The teaser for next week's episode was more ridiculous than ever. "Next week on Falling Skies..." (then they showed images from next week...while reminding us that it's the season finale) "...and if that's not enough, just wait for the last five minutes..." (and then they actually showed us what's going happen during the last five minutes). Ridiculous. OK, the significance of that scene wasn't obvious, but it's still ridiculous to show that much in preview.
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I'm watching the finale right now. Hooooooo boy!
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I have taken it upon myself to become a serial contrarian, With regard to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING this man spews forth from his keyboard. For all I know and care, He could be watching the 72nd season of Falling Skies and his views would mean less than jack squat to me.



Time and time again, He has shown that he has an irrationally adversarial view towards this show. Absolutely no television series, In the history of television, Has been immaculately perfect, For many reasons, And yet, All Tim can do, Is find tiny little holes, And take incredibly oversized forceps to them, And make them into the equivalent of the US presidential election media coverage i.e. completely overstated and underinformed.



NEXT!!
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You can have your blind fanboy love of this show all you want...



...and we'll continue to point out all the ways in which this show is bad.



I find it hilarious that people have a real problem with Tim's reviews (reviews that I say gives the show too much credit) yet none of his critics legitimate counters to any of the very real problems he points out. They just believe he should blindly think a bad show is great.
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If that's how you want to fill your time, by all means, have at it, I won't say your time here is any less meaningful than anyone else's, but since you seem to be trying to explain it to us all, I don't think I understand your motivation. You say his views mean less than jack squat to you, but you have decided to follow his career and write a contrary opinion to everything he says. Since his job is to write opinions, you have basically taken on an unpaid full time job. That's not the sort of thing I would do if I didn't care about someone's opinions. In fact, it implies you care very much. It's like a priest saying he became a priest because he doesn't care very much about god. If you are that dedicated, that you are going to respond to everything tim says, you may be making the largest commitment in your life. Assuming you have a career and a family, we'll call it top 3. Thus, you care very very much. Man crush?
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Let me guess, you didn't like it.
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That good? Sounds exciting!
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Is the season finale good Tim? Please tell me it's good. Am expecting something major to happen. Third race of aliens I hope (crossing fingers).
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does it matter? if you thought this episode was actually good you'll like anything.
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Or maybe if you didn't like this episode you won't like anything...
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There are many shows that I love.
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I didn't think it was good, it was good. If you didn't like it, that's fine and dandy. I say this, whatever it is that people find wrong with the show in its entirety, I have one question for you, can you do better?
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If I don't know how to do anything at a very highly talented level and I don't excel in any particular field, am I not allowed to have negative opinions about anything?



I've always hated the argument of "I'd like to see you do better!" when someone voices displeasure of something.



Just because I would completely blow as a president of a country doesn't mean I have to like the idea of President of the United States: Mitt Romney.
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@Jaden84

"Oh I can't get you the gig of show runner but if I could the studio would probably fire you day one for the lame ideas you put in front of them"



Crushing retort, to be sure. You really put me in my place.



If that's the best you can manage, I'm not at all surprised you like this awful show.
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@AyeDub



Of course you'd say you would do a better job with show and let me guess you think you would win an Emmy for it to huh? Oh I can't get you the gig of show runner but if I could the studio would probably fire you day one for the lame ideas you put in front of them
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Can I do better than a team of writers, a director and crew? Probably not, I wouldn't have enough time.



Ok, ya got me! *eyeroll*



I do know could run this show better, and identify writers that are more capable, and cast actors better (there is maybe 5 people on this cast I'd keep if it was up to me)...but you (and anyone else who casually tosses out the LAME "lets see you do better" retort) seem to act like 1 person made this show. That's simply not the case, but from top down this show has been abysmal and I could do a better job without question.



So, can you get me the gig as show runner? I didn't think so.
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And most of those people will say "given the same budget, yes, of course".
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I had so much hope for Falling Skies. The last two episodes have been seriously wtf?
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When Pope was eating i was so intrigued by it, good thing I'm not alone. I hate this Charleston plot, i hope they leave, it was a meh episode
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For those who hate on Falling Skies every single week. Get a damn grip. Great episode as always (Yes I said got a problem with that). I knew it was a bad idea to go Charleston in the first place. The season finale looks like its going to be serious. Found it cool that Matt popped some kid in the mouth for talking about his pop. I mean who wouldn't
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I like this episode too. I've liked all of them this year.
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I have issue with this episode. And with the series in general. I think there shtick is to be a show that teeters between good and sucky all season and then lets us get a glimpse at something great with the season finale. Which makes us want to come back to the show, and then it goes back to teetering on the brink again. f



When I first watched the show I thought it could be a great philosophically based show about two different ways to resist a superior force in the aliens. Tom's way which would be more cerebral and academic based on his knowledge of history and his intellect vs weaver who would go at it from more a militaristic aspect, his training and his instinct and them slowly coming together to see that a combination of the two is what is required in order to defeat the aliens. But they didn't. So there is that. One of the reasons is exemplified in Arthur Manchester.



I don't think he is as much of a dictator as he appears. I think he is merely an academic that loves the revolutionary war and can speak very intellectually about it. But that is where it ends. He simply is too academic, I see it in my colleagues all the time. They spend too much time in their ivory towers and have little to no idea or can't relate to the real world. In Arthurs case it is the combat aspect of the resistance. He is too focused on the philosophical debate that he has always longed for in government where Intelligence takes place of the buffoonery that you see in the media reporting on the morons in government now. So he really needed to deposed. He was looking at Tom as a combination of the two but someone that would invariably back him because of his academic past. Not knowing what Tom has been through he expected something else. But Tom is better, he knows strategy better and knows that it is a ever fluid way about engaging in war. Arthur is scared and he thinks leaving things as is is ok. Tom knows better.



However, I agree with you tim. Terry O'Quinn is being wasted in the character. If it doesn't turn out that he had a deal with the Aliens to keep people there and they wouldn't bother him. Like the deal that they offered Tom. Then I am going to be disappointed. Because Terry O'quinn is a great actor and the character is more than a little lame at this point.



As for the rest. It was same ol' same ol'. And it was kind of boring. But the previews of the season finale look great. Which is what led me to my first paragraph.
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I have issue with people who can spell 'philosophically' correctly, But in the sentence immediately following, Misuse the word 'there' and use 'shtick' to describe 'idea'
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This show is quickly becomming the worst kind of bad, "boring bad". Imo they can only save it by making it worse (because I have zero confidence it will get better at this point), so atleast it will become "hilariously bad" giving it some value again....you know...like those Syfy movies ^^



An alien invasion should be scary...dinosaurs should be scary...wtf are TV writers thinking!!
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I loved Pope's comment when he called Charelston Mayberry. LOL It was nice seeing Porter again.
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Haahahahaha! Lol! Tim, you make me laugh!
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Probably the most boring episode in Falling skies so far.
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I LOVE Falling Skies. But I HATED Lost and stopped watching after Season 1 Episode 8.
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You said "I LOVE Falling Skies. But I HATED Lost and stopped watching after Season 1 Episode 8."



I read "I have poor taste. I would like to reaffirm my poor taste."
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Hoo Boy...Lost sucked, too. But I still like you because of your avatar. Now that's a show!
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I will not deny the decline of Lost, but season 1 was very well liked by a pretty diverse cross-section of TV watchers.
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I agree with you there. Season 1 was the only one I could tolerate.
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As always great review Tim!



For all those who criticize Tim I can only say: that Tim is a television critic, and he does his job well. I'm good too in writing a recap of a previous episode, but reviewing an episode is another thing. Think of this: he made us discuss a show that probably is not worth even watching.



When the first season came out I thought: finnaly a post-apocalyptic SciFi with aliens... but at the end was just a 9 filler episode season with a good shoot at the end.
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Sucky episode. Very poorly written.
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I didn't think it was so bad, but very frustrating!

We, as people, Americans, have this desire and drive to form governments, like we can't exist if we dont have a government, even a bad one!!!

I liked that way it went, I think it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities and story lines!

So there!
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Why didn't Jeanne run to him in one of those slow-running-into-his-arms things? Because you would have screamed about how trite and overused that scene has become, that's why.

There's no pleasing you with this show. You should ask to be reassigned to write about something you might actually enjoy. Does bass fishing still air anywhere?
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I didn't read that as Tim wanting it to be slow motion cheese.
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Tim, once more I find myself keep watching a show more or less only so I can enjoy your reviews of it. Your Falling Skies reviews aren't as hillarious as the ones for The Event were, but still very enjoyable.

Then again, Falling Skies isn't anywhere near The Event in Terms of stupidity, uselessness and time-wastiness. So cut the show some slag ;)
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^This.
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I am shocked at the shots being taken at Tim for an intelligent and insightful review. This was a poorly manufactured and written human conflict filler episode, which tells me they were saving their budget blowout for the final episode of the season (CGI skitters, explosions and all; or maybe more awesome mech spotlights conveniently obscured behind trees and fog. One can hope!). And it came immediately on the heels of the horribly boring driving and talking filler episode.



Back to this masterpiece. None of it made much sense. Why did Tom almost get in a physical altercation with Dick #2, then back down so quickly - even after the General told Weaver, if you're not okay, I've got your back? Okay sure, I guess Dick #2 is right, let's immediately give up all of our guns and any sense of security or community the 2nd Mass has and let them split us up all over the Mall of New America where we can't look out for each other. No big deal. We don't need to ease into anything, do we? What could happen.



And there was no earthly reason for the entire might of the remaining military to be kowtowing to a History Professor from Boston College (what is it with all these people from Massachusetts, btw?). A very scared professor, at that. Was it because he knows about the American Revolution and wrote a book once? He obviously couldn't remember what he wrote, since his position is now the exact opposite of that and Tom used it against him almost immediately after receiving the book. But hey, in times of alien invasion and facing extinction, the military will always let the nerdy History Prof call all the shots, right? I mean look at Tom, he's in charge of the 2nd Ma.... oh.



So Pope and his berserker team agreed to surrender their weapons and then immediately tried to steal them back. Why surrender them in the first place? Why not just keep them and leave? And who was it that thought they had 5 full minutes before the guards would be back? There just happened to be a perceived 5 minute gap in security for the most important place to guard in the entire mall city? Because if there's one thing the military doesn't know how to guard properly, it's obviously the armory. I mean who doesn't know that.



Even the schoolyard bully stuff was poorly manufactured. Tom's reputation proceeds him to the point of cheers and a standing ovation from the entire city, yet the scuttlebutt in the entire school population is that Tom's an alien sellout? Where's the trickle down? Kids believe what their parents believe. If you want the town to doubt him, by all means do it, but don't celebrate him and call him a hero the rest of the time. At least show some kind of vocal, dissenting opinions. No they don't all have to believe the same thing, but for all of the kids to believe something completely different from all of the adults is not plausible.



I occasionally (extremely occasionally) see seeds of possibility in this show and want so desperately for them to rise to the occasion, but they continue to disappoint. Only a change in showrunner and writing staff can turn this show around. Perhaps someone who would know better how to spread out a budget over a season, instead of the first, middle and last episodes. And perhaps several someones who can write a 10 episode season without any of the crap filler usually reserved for 23 episode seasons (for a good example, see: Teen Wolf). Think about that, only ten episodes! Every one of these shows should be non-stop drama and excitement!



One thing for Tim, I know it's hard to remember, but we already had a human group that worked for the aliens in Season 1. Camp SendUsYourKids. It was great. They played soccer, ate big family-style meals, and were about to be sent off to the skitters to be harnessed. So, if they do the "working for the aliens" thing again, it will be yet one more example of extremely lazy writing on their part.



If anyone should be fired, it's the disappointing writers of this show. Not the person who accurately and knowledgeably reviews it.
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Hooray. Logic does exist.
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There is so much fact and truth in this comment.



Another thumbs up for you, sir. You deserve all the thumbs up.
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The mechs, these ones and the ones throughout BSG, could be made on home PCs with the help from a rendering wall, or two. This and that CGI is and was neither expensive nor masterful, but it probably costs a pretty penny. One of those could be rendered with Adobe.
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Great review Tim!
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