Before the season started I said the Steven Spielberg-produced, alien invasion program was “a special kind of show,” and I still stand by that statement ten episodes later.
This entire season has been spent with the Second Massachusetts trying to achieve one goal: survival. With every passing episode, we watched as Tom and his rag tag group of soldiers tried to keep everyone breathing, all in hopes that it was building up to something. And the best part? It did.
I like to compare the season finale of Falling Skies to the last two Harry Potter movies. Like the films, the single story was split into two episodes, and the pay-off of the show was better for it.
Thanks to a massive amount of build up that starts in the first episode with the Second Mass building what I’ll call Skitter Bullets, a mutiny at the hands of Tom against Weaver and the ongoing question of what exactly the Skitters were, the pay-off in the final act of the second episode was made that much more beautiful in its simplicity. That simplicity takes its shape as Tom accepting that the tide is turning and deciding to shoot down a single Skitter ship instead of taking out the giant base.
But then just as everything seems ready to being for season 2, the show opens up the door to take the audience to a new place next season, in a very Close Encouters kind of way…
In the final scene Tom, in hopes of learning the true motives of the aliens and why they are so curious to understand humanity, steps onto the alien ship, leaving behind Weaver to wonder what the hell just happened.
This is the most important scene in the entire finale, as it should be since it’s the last one until summer 2012! Instead of the show just being a standard “run from the aliens” program, it has suddenly become a much more complex story in one single shot.
Maybe next season could begin with Tom waking up in the desert with no memory of what happened (ala Cowboys & Aliens), or the aliens betraying him and Tom being forced to battle a gang of ETs on their ship before escaping into the arms of another group of resistance fighters. The point is, this ending has expanded the show’s scope.
After the finale aired I posted to twitter “Oh, and Walking Dead, THAT’S how you do a season finale. #FallingSkies” I dare anyone to counter me on that point. The ending of the The Walking Dead, which is all this show gets compared to, left us with a sense of “how is any of this going to pay off?”
It seems very reasonable to believe that the writers of Falling Skies have a plan and know where Tom is going to land the next time he steps off that ship.
To sum up the finale, it’s spectacular. It’s no surprise with the level of quality the show has maintained since episode one. The question now is where we go from here, and all I can say is I’m down for any journey the show is willing to take me on.
To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.