Reviews: Falling Skies - Season Five Episode Eight - Stalag 14th Virginia

As Falling Skies comes to a less than dramatic end, can anything be done to save this show?

"This show is a prison from which
I cannot escape!"
My meandering episodic love/hate affair with Falling Skies is going to wrap up in two weeks. After five seasons, fans will finally be given a reprieve from a show that never stuck to one theme and continually promised greatness but consistently failed to answer the questions it was always asking. 

This last season has centered too much on the human aspects while leaving barely any trace of the feud between man and Espheni intruder. To say these last few episodes have been a disappointment is a vast understatement when thinking about what could have been. With a decent budget, this lineup of typically good actors, and a dedicated story about man versus alien, Falling Skies should have been much better. Taking into to account the first two seasons, the last three years have been a blundering televised mess that ripped off every genre show under the sun. Those of us that have followed despite the shortcomings will be fine bidding it farewell. And after this week's poorly executed action sequences and terribly rendered thematic shifts, it's easy to say that the next two episodes have a lot to make up for. Sadly, that's just not going to happen. 

While the writers should have been focusing on drawing the story to a close, we've been handed a steaming pile of televised fecal matter, ripe with the stench of aimless plot devices and character assassination. This week, Stalag 14th Virginia did nothing else to draw the story to the conclusion we need, but ends up continuing on the path of human dramatics instead of moving the 2nd Mass towards a viable and rewarding face off with the dwindling alien invaders. Why on earth we're worried about court marshals and firing squads two episodes out from the final week is a wounded flaw so deep that there is absolutely no way we're getting any type of conclusive ending. In all honesty, I'm only continuing to watch because I swore I'd review every episode of the final season. 

Falling Skies should have taken the high road and ended with season two. For some reason, TNT continued to renew this battered piece of melodramatic serial television for far too long despite a continued drop in viewership and ratings. However, the two bright spots of the fifth season gave me renewed hope that there was a possible light at the end of the tunnel. I guess I was wrong. Every week has slipped further down the rabbit hole of failure with abandoned ideas, character threads left unwound, and a lingering tension that should have been building between Pope and Mason instead of waiting nearly a full month to even make mention of it.

Truth be told, I stuck by this show despite the naysayers and the constant feeling of disappointment. The story of Tom Mason and his family had some initial qualities that spoke to me. Now, while the series draws to a close, it continues to become more apparent that these writers never had a clue where to take this thing and they never had the guts to kill a main character. With this eighth episode and the way they were going, I had hopes that they would finally take a chance and show some follow through. But no, we get one more week of outright stupidity.



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