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Monday, 31 August 2015

Falling Skies S5


Falling Skies
Series 5.



(Contains spoilers.)

So, Falling Skies is over, and not a moment too soon. In fact, about two series too late, if I'm being entirely honest. Long time readers of this blog will remember that I did Falling Skies' fourth series as an ongoing last year, and good lord it was a slog. This year's offering hasn't been any better. In fact, I'd warrant that it was worse.

In the aftermath of blowing up the power core on the Moon, Tom awakens on Earth, having been saved by the Dorniya, a telepathic species who were almost wiped out by the Espheni. With telepathic guidance from the last remaining Dorniya, Tom and the 2nd Mass make a push to take out the last of the Espheni occupation on Earth - a task only made more difficult when Pope betrays them, and when the leader of the Espheni arrives on Earth.

I don't even know where to start with all the things I hated about this series. The dropped or mangled plot threads, perhaps? The last series hinted that the Espheni were a client species of a greater power, with mentions of how the Espheni's children were being used as leverage - but that never went anywhere. Last series also made mention of the Espheni's Great Enemy, who had been pursuing them across the universe - that enemy, in an odd and rather hurried turn, is revealed to be the Dorniya, of which there is a single member left (and which the Espheni enslaved a very long time ago). Not exactly the great, terrifying force they were set up as.

Ah, a lovely seaside scene.

I might forgive those problems, if the actual plot we were given this series was at all interesting, but it wasn't: The central plot of the series involves something mysterious going on in Washington DC, and trying to get there to find out what it is. It turns out to be the Espheni Queen, who dies in the most lacklustre and bland confrontation ever, after giving a short monologue about how she came to Earth once before, and her daughter was killed by humans. Because we - needed a personal motivation for the Espheni, whose whole modus operandi consists of taking over planets and enslaving their species, I guess? It's a wholly unnecessary addition, forgotten almost as soon as it's mentioned.

Other subplots in the series include 'a woman gets fridged, so Pope goes off the rails', 'a woman gets fridged, so Anthony goes off the rails', and 'Hal and Ben fight over Maggie as if she's an object, then Maggie reveals that her bodily autonomy is less important to her than what Hal wants, and then she apologises to them and several other men for Hal and Ben fighting over her.' 

I'm not kidding - I would very much like to be, but I'm not. It's like the series was written by a meninist, and that's terrible. Every scene involving those three made my skin crawl, and that's not - good. That's pretty terrible, actually. Falling Skies' inability to write anything other than white men in a way that isn't awful is well documented, but this series takes it to entirely new heights.

The Espheni Queen, who does not resemble the Espheni at all.

The whole series gives the impression of being a rush job by people who didn't really care about what they were making, who were banking on as many tired tropes and cliches as possible to try and rouse any interest from the audience - and they failed, because there's really no amount of 'Pope is evil no really this time' or 'love triangles enrich the plot' or 'kill the alien queen and you'll kill them all' that will distract from the fact that there's nothing interesting going on. It's just dullness, misogyny, and more dullness.

There are actually entire swathes of this series that I can't remember, because they failed to make any impression on me.

The series ends on a very odd note, too. Falling Skies has always been deeply jingoistic, from its very first episode - any show that compares humans struggling against genocidal alien invaders to the American colonists (who, let's not forget, were genocidal invaders) fighting against the British (who were not exactly much better - the only remotely innocent party in this war was the Native Americans) was always going to be - but the final episode's epilogue takes it to new levels by revealing that a) The head of the statue of Abraham Lincoln was apparently restored before things like, say, electricity, b) By having suspiciously long applause for the sentence 'There was once a nation called ... America!', and c) By having Washington apparently now being capital of the world.

Pope, now bald to symbolise being evil, I guess.

It's a small thing, but it really hammers in how this was a series obsessed with America and Americana, and it's a bizarre way to end the series, creating the impression less of a world rebuilding itself from war (especially when the epilogue takes place less than nine months after the end of the war) and more of some kind of horrifying dystopia where statues, champagne, and pretty uniforms are considered more important than basic infrastructure. 

All in all, I'm glad that this show is over. It got off to a good start in its early series, but its decline was rapid and horrific to watch. But it could be worse, it could be Supernatural. 

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