Five seasons is not to be sniffed at for a TV series nowadays, and Falling Skies can be proud of itself for lasting this long. That being said, Season 5’s effectiveness as a culmination of the series will likely garner mixed opinions from fans.
Things kick off by returning resistance leader Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) to Earth post-Moon mission with a more optimistic outlook and ruthless approach to battling the Espheni. Frequently directed by incoming showrunner Olatunde Osunsanmi, the series somehow becomes more action-packed, if that was even possible, with the invading aliens defending every inch of land while they fall back in the face of renewed human assaults.
However, it all feels a little too easy. As one character points out, all the Masons are still standing, and while the final season usually represents to the best opportunity to both ratchet up the tension and off major characters, you never really get a sense that Falling Skies’ first family are in any danger. The usual range of supporting characters get bumped off, and there are a few sad moments for semi-regular characters, but the lack of high stakes is sometimes at odds with the series’ tone.
Even so, there are also some good attempts at injecting something new into the mix – which again are hit and miss. ‘Everybody Has Their Reasons’, which sees the 2nd Mass encountering an army unit who might not be what they seem lands squarely in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers territory (we mean that in a good way), while ‘Pope Breaks Bad’, as the title suggests, turns the show’s popular antihero into an unambiguous bad guy.
Colin Cunningham’s performance sells it, but it’s still a shame to see one of our favourite characters go down a route that there’s no return from, especially considering the development of his personality in the preceding seasons.
Coupled with the rushed ending, and you get the feeling that this is a show that finished just as it ran out of ideas. Even so, it benefits from the resolution that many shows don’t get, and sits comfortably and competently in the Spielberg TV pantheon.