Here it is: the scene where Falling Skies basically abandons any notion of having a coherent plot. It's sort of fitting that Falling Skies' slide into illogic began with Tom Mason randomly getting on a spaceship, and it ends with the same thing. Spoilers ahead...
The good news is, after this, Falling Skies can just feel free to go nuts and have fun. There's no point in trying to have a coherent plot any more, so why not just throw in weird shit? There could be an episode where everybody randomly speaks Mongolian and they ride on giant angora rabbits. You could splice in random bits of footage from other shows and movies, like Mysteries of the Organism. Or music videos. Really, the sky's the limit.
At this point, I'm enjoying Falling Skies as much for its total randomness as for any other reason. Plus this show still has a pretty solid cast, in spite of the fatal story meltdown.
The thing is, you can't blame new showrunners David Eick and Carol Barbee for this state of affairs — like I said, this show has been heading in the direction of total randomness ever since Tom Mason stepped on the alien spaceship at the end of season one. That led to the eyebugs and a bunch of other things the show didn't know how to handle, which in turn led to the Volm and Charleston and Karen the Overlord and the half-alien hybrid baby. And now, here we are.
So what did we "learn" in last night's episode? (The quotation marks around "learn" are important, especially given this show's proclivity for retconning and undoing its own plot developments.)
First of all, it's confirmed that the Espheni invaders have completely abandoned all their previous strategies. Harnessing kids? We gave up on that because a vanishingly small percentage of harnessed kids got rescued and were a minor inconvenience afterwards. In fact, instead of using kids, now the Espheni have decided to turn adults into their new elite "strike force" against some new, undefined threat. But some of these adults — but not all — will be stripped of their free will. What?
That whole scene, in which some harnessed kid delivers several mouthfuls of exposition, designed to sweep three seasons of previous plot development under the rug, is just a masterpiece of confusion. I watched it a few times and I still can't quite make sense of it. Among other things: the Rebel Skitters are no more, turned into mindless flying bugs. Also, eyebugs are over because flargle barble.
I get that they're trying to raise the stakes by claiming that the Espheni are actually fighting against some bigger, badder Big Bad. But the slippery thing about why they suddenly want adult humans as their "strike force," and whether these grown-ups will keep their free will, is really confusing. If they plan on turning their human strike force into zombies, why do they need Tom Mason's leadership? Why would they ever trust Tom Mason to be their puppet leader in the first place?
Also gotta love the comedy subterfuge which Tom uses to spy on the Espheni aboard their warship, figuring out the incredibly simple diagram that shows how the barrier around the camp is powered, and where the Skitter reinforcements are coming from. Also, the Espheni can't comprehend that "Ghost" could be more than one person — because the concept of a pair of goggles and head scarf being an easy-to-copy outfit is really beyond their alien comprehension. I still don't get why they were so worked up about one guy on a motorcycle anyway. (And where is Tom getting gasoline for his motorcycle?)
The other big head-scratching thing in this episode, of course, has to do with Lexi, Tom's half-alien daughter who has a full-blown cult around her. Lexi has magic telekinetic powers, and a captured Skitter tells Lexi's mom Anne that Lexi is "the future." (At least, I assume that's who "the hybrid" is. God forbid there's more than one.) But Lexi is rapidly aging to death — like every other magical baby who magically grew to adulthood overnight — and for some reason Lourdes is being a psycho about it. Oh, and Lexi is sneaking out at night to talk to a random Espheni.
In the episode's other main subplot, "Mad Dog" Matt Mason is still in the Nazi reeducation camp, where his buddy just got "graduated" early and they're keeping an eye on him. But Matt's found a girlfriend, which is kind of awesome.
Also, Pope is still being written as just kind of a one-dimensional creep, which saddens me. Anne Glass has the leadership abilities of a three-toed sloth, but everybody is still following her. The random South African guy, Botha, is still just a walking plot device. Hal is trying to step up and show more leadership, which is nice.
I still think this show has a terrific cast, and they can do a lot with the right sort of material. Sadly, this show has doubled down on weird plot devices and mythos and general silliness, instead of sitting down and thinking "how can we give these actors a chance to act?". But on the plus side, this show is getting more and more entertainingly random.