TV REVIEW: Falling Skies Series 1 Ep 9 & 10: “Mutiny” & “Eight Hours”

So, we reach the end of the first series of Falling Skies and its big chance to pull everything together for a big, question-answering, niggle-redeeming finale. So, does it?

No. Not as such.

All along I’ve said that what I find attractive about this show is it’s back story and the hints it has dropped about a maybe-slightly-different alien agenda, and the harnesses, and, if I’m being totally honest, the fact that it’s trying to tell a story from a very dark place without being a very dark show. It’s meant a fair bit of happy-clappy scenes shoe-horned in, but on the whole mass-audience friendly post-apocalypse isn’t the worst idea ever to get a TV series.

What Falling Skies has struggled against though is heavy doses of cliché and some weak character writing, and the finale sadly has a lot of these problems and not a great deal of strengths. “Mutiny” is the poorer of the two – for a start one of the central characters we’ve never heard of before despite being one of the 2nd Mass. officers, which is lazy writing in the extreme – and as a follow-up to Weaver’s story from the previous week is just a little odd. A bit like the “collaborators” story, a “mutiny” story a little too easy, and largely cops out at the end with hugs and speeches all round.

“Eight Hours” is much better, but not totally problem free. I think it’s biggest problem is that after setting up a big finish, with some sort of big attack, too much happens off camera back in Boston, and the confrontation at the school is a little too brief and a little too easy to feel as “high stakes” as it should. I’m left wondering how tight the budget for the show was, that we didn’t get at least one bit action set piece worthy of the name after the very first shots of the pilot.

The actual ending was a mix of promise and frustration, which I guess I should have seen coming. The show is holding back a lot of its secrets; it feels like it has coherent answers but doesn’t want to spill them, which again I can get behind, but I feel we deserved something in this last episode to answer some of the many questions about the invaders. The promise of these answers next series isn’t enough.

In conclusion – and for all I’ve seemed to spend more time complaining than applauding – I’ve quite enjoyed Falling Skies and will be back with more thoughts next season. I’d like to see it deal with some of it’s issues, I’d like to see it focus more on it’s properly interesting setup and not on it’s less-then-interesting characters. Here’s hoping, eh?

GS Reviewer: Matt
GS Score: 3/5

Overall Series Score: 3.5/5

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