This week’s episode was more exciting than most, specifically because it delivered a shocker, at least relative to typical developments in ‘Falling Skies.’ More on that later, and be warned that this review is not spoiler-free.
On the Mason family adventure front, ‘The Pickett Line’ presents a family that parallels the Masons, kind of a ‘what if we just stayed at home and hid.’ A cool concept, and it was nice to see the two families go at it. (All that high school lacrosse sure paid off – Hal is quite the fighter!) Though there were too many lead changes- changes of who held who at gunpoint. It dragged the scene out and was also unrealistic, especially when team Mason failed to realize that there was a shotgun under the bed….really? And hand-to-hand fighting scenes are not this series’ strong point; they are ok but many are only at the Walker, Texas Ranger level. Matt’s shooting of the patriarch’s brother did make a strong impact, and showed, even though the other family members were thieves, how similar the 2 families are.
As demonstrated again this week, a recurring theme is the importance of family, and the ways in which how different kinds of families- friends, military, survivors, outcasts – measure up when contrasted to the traditional, pre-invasion family. The youngest, Matt, is still super sensitive to any mother-related stories, as shown by how disturbed he was by hearing that the other children witnessed their mother’s murder. Humanizing touches, like Matt’s reaction, work well.
Pope and Popetown’s general vibe are getting pretty ridiculous, and again they are using Pope’s leadership of the ‘misfits’ to create a secondary conflict within the episode. But at least this week, from the storyteller’s perspective, there was some logic behind it; it was so he could be arrested and then aligned with Captain Weaver. Which could prove interesting, especially as they keep an eye on the New, New President.
About the Old, Old President. His assassination scene was well done. I had no idea that Lourdes was the mole, and no idea what she was doing underneath him. Will she become “de-moled,” or will Seychelle Gabriel’s character, that has managed to stay fresh for the length of the series, be killed off? In nay case, it was a cool and creepy scene, and as I said, atypically shocker-like, especially since it happened so quickly. It was made even more effective by the President’s kind words to her right before it happened.
The reasoning and explanation of the Volm’s device is getting a little muddy, i.e., that the grid must be destroyed or life will end on earth. That’s the kind of artificial tension builder that only works if you are really trusting the logic and have faith in the overall story. Another artificial construct was the argument between Pope and Maggie, the “We’re the same, you and me, we’ll never change, stop pretending (Pope used the term Pantomime).” Pope’s words somehow seemed to affect Maggie, which was a bit surprising.
Overall, “The Pickett Line” was a entertaining enough, and again showed that the characters can hold their own without any large man vs. alien battle scenes. My bet is that this seasons’ remaining episodes will only get better.