* Duck! Beamers above you and spoilers ahead of you if you dare*
There was a lot of gazing at the moon in this week’s episode of Falling Skies, and in marked contrast to the title which seemed to promise the sort of wholesale death and destruction we’ve become accustomed to in the new tougher, apocalyptically-aware and reflective season 4 incarnation of the show, it had a lot to do with faith, romance and hope, three qualities in short supplies in the post-alien invasion environs of plante Earth.
Now granted Tom (Noah Wylie) wasn’t exactly fronting up with a bunch of bright red roses to Anne (Moon Bloodgood) – although he was impossibly romantic at one point which produced an expected “Awww” moment if you’re inclined to enjoying warm and fuzzy declarations of (possibly; its longevity is all down to the Espheni) everlasting love – and Hal (Drew Roy), brother Ben (Connor Jessup) and Maggie (Sarah Carter) fell deeper into their soap opera-esque triangle o’ love and healing Spikes of Power and Healing (which really went nowhere of interest) but there was definitely a sense of possibility in the air.
And it all had to do with moon.
Yes Falling Skies got a touch of lunar madness or inspiration, following last week’s revelation that the moon was glowing at the exact same time as the buried Beamer started to come alive, leading Dingaan (Trev Etienne), Tom and Weaver (Will Patton) to surmise that that is where the power for not only the spacecraft but every last Espheni device down to probably their iPads and iPhones (because of course Apple is everywhere) is coming from.
This naturally enough, because why would it not, led to the idea, by Tom that rather than going ghetto by ghetto, and Human Skitter factory by Human Skitter factory trying to give the Espheni a case of the occupier conniptions, that the 2nd Mass. should simply fly to the moon, blow up the power plant in the sky and be done with it.
Huzzah! Just like that.
Now depending on where you stood on the issue, it was either an INSPIRED! idea that Tony Robbins himself would applaud with fulsome praise and positive thinking affirmations (Tom and oh, EVERYONE ELSE), or it was the STUPIDEST idea ever that only hope-filled doofuses would even begin to countenance (Anne in her petulant kingdom of one).
While everyone enthusiastically dove into the piles of twisted metal and burnt wood to free the Beamer, which Dingaan and the Volm king of deadpan Shaq (John DeSantis) would of course make fly once they found the manual – um guys is who had the manual? Anyone? Anyone? – Tom and Anne had a conversation that ran something like this:
“We will go the moon and it will be glorious and I will now quote John F Kennedy while standing atop garbage:
‘We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.'”
Anne was having none of this, lambasting Tom for lead everyone down a yellow brick road of false hope, accusing him of harbouring romantic notions and stars in his eyes, the kind that Frank Sinatra might once have committed to song in an attempt to woo the woman he loves:
Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a-Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss me
Fill my heart with song
And let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you
Now admittedly she didn’t actually quote the song and was more pre-disposed to going on and on about saving Lexi (Scarlett Byrne) who, one would think was more apt to BBQ her mother than embrace her at the moment, than quoting ’50s love songs in her argument with Tom but it was pretty much how the conversation ran with Anne none too happy about crazy ideas like flying to the moon (because saving her crazy arse daughter is so much more achievable … or not EVER).
Her perspective changed quite markedly though after she and Tom, along with Cochise (Doug Jones), Matt the Impetuous Teen (Maxim Knight) and Weaver headed off to retrieve a gigantic heap of Volm weaponry and cool tech stuff such as compression mines that would clear the rubble from over the Beamer faster than Pope (Colin Cunningham) leaping to conclusions about Sarah’s (Mira Sorvino) possible Vicodin habit (trouble in lovers’ paradise already).
It was here that the writers really stepped up their game with the recurrent theme through this season of humans fighting humans really coming to the fore with a now well and truly brainwashed Mira (Desiree Ross) trying out her best Rolfe Gruber from The Sound of Music, appearing out of nowhere, lulling Matt into releasing on the basis of his unrequited puppy love and then blow that damn whistle and summoning the collaborative undead from the re-education camp.
While the the 2nd mass. inability to hot the strung out line of Team Leaders With Big Guns was a tad laughable, it was chilling watching them, true believers to the end, advance Tom and Anne, who nearly died in the firefight, believing they were on the right side.
It’s been an interesting angle for Falling Skies to follow, given the obvious references back to Vichy France and World War Two as a whole, a welcome added layer of complexity to the simply Us (humanity) vs. Them (the Espheni) paradigm that pretty much ruled, and was exhausted as an ongoing narrative device in seasons 1 through 3, and the idea of it was well executed, even if the battle that gave it breath was a bit dark and muddled at times (no thanks to the fetching gas masks).
Anne’s near death, the result of an attempt to save Tom from a fiery death initiated by avowed Espheni buddy till death Kent Matthews (Dakota Daulby), concentrated her mind a little better and she and Tom, in one of those “Awwww” moments so beloved of Spielberg-ian dramas, reconciled, and yes, got married.
And their wedding present?
Why a fully-functioning Beamer, powered by the moon and controlled by Mira’s discarded whistle which functions, wouldn’t you know it, as a tracking thingumabob for any and all Espheni craft.
Away from the main game of Tom and Anne and love and marriage and Beamers, the storylines were desultory at best with Maggie testing out her new spike powers with Ben (which include, rather messily, sharing emotions), Ben thinking they were in love, Maggie, confused by the spike-induced emotional sharing thinking they were too for a milli-second, and Hal seeing them kiss which was of course all a big mis-understanding, but Hal doesn’t know it and there was punching and …
Yep, all so Disney teen drama and a little too much like the Hal and Karen (Jessy Schram) and Maggie love triangle-esque for my tastes but then I suppose the characters need something to do in-between taking it to the Espheni so why not some high school-grade emotional angst?
Pope and Sarah too weren’t exactly off to a flying start with the redneck lover in full jerk mode accusing his new beloved of popping pills and threatening to cast her to one side before they’d even picked out china patterns together.
Not exactly the best start to love and marriage in an episode that was surprisingly full of it.
Not the strongest of season 4’s episodes to be honest, with some B plots that really didn’t need to be there, and even a A plot struggling for relevancy apart from the big moon revelation, and Tom and Anne tying the knot with apocalyptically-appropriate marriage vows to boot, but still far stronger than anything season 3 gave us, underlining the fact once again that Falling Skies have re-found its storytelling mojo, which all bodes well for the final three episodes of the season and the upcoming and final season.
And behold the promo trailer for episode 10 “Drawing Straws” …