Reviews: Falling Skies - Season Five Episode Five - Non-Essential Personnel

Willing Falling Skies go out in a blaze of glory? Read our review of the latest episode.

"I'll make you love me!"
After five years, Falling Skies has done something they haven't done since the first season. They gave viewers two episodes in a row that were similar in tone and remained focused on accomplishing the cohesiveness that the show has always lacked. The human on human dynamic between Mason and the now crazed Pope finally comes to a head with the heavy weight of two men that literally hate each other. With that, Falling Skies finally grows some sharp teeth with a gritty episode that seems to be pushing towards a monstrous conclusion. Despite a few minor stumbling blocks, Non-Essential Personnel doesn't borrow as heavily from other genre shows and is tighter in the momentum department. 

The last two weeks have done more for the characters long running arc than anything they've done in the entirety of the series. Through steady pacing, sharper writing, use of tension inducing music, and the abandonment of corny family melodrama, Falling Skies may just end on a high note that will at least define the latter part of a show that faltered heavily after season two. At last, Falling Skies is giving viewers something to latch on to. Strangely, by minimizing the action scenes between the now dwindling alien invaders and the 2nd Mass, the focus has shifted to the always teetering dynamic between Pope and Mason, offering up some of the hardest, most calculated, brutal moments of the whole series. And for once, it's back to square one with episodes cut from the same cloth as the first episodes of the show. 

With only five weeks left, Falling Skies seems to finally be on a battle worn path to freeing the planet. Despite some lingering story lines and this latest introduction of a "new weapon", it's my hope that the writers do the right thing and wrap up it all up tightly with no loose ends. After low viewership and fans bailing midway through, it's their duty to give the ones that stuck around a conclusion that not only wipes the slate clean of John Pope but one that finally stops the Mason kids from getting kidnapped and puts the kabash on any post-series Tom Mason solo missions. If he sacrifices himself for the "greater good" at the end of this show, I may just burn my blu-rays of the first couple seasons. 

To conclude this embarrassingly short review, I tip my hat to the writers and directors that came in to save this last season. They're doing a bang up job of trying to save a ship that sunk two years ago. If they had arrived on the scene a bit sooner, Falling Skies may have had a longer run that didn't lose focus so quickly. Let's just hope the last five episodes deliver the goods.