Falling Skies: “Find Your Warrior” (S5, E1 review)

"Hey 2nd Mass., this Skitter head followed me home - can we keep it? Huh? Huh? Can we?" (image via YouTube (c) TNT)
“Hey 2nd Mass., this Skitter head followed me home – can we keep it? Huh? Huh? Can we?” (image via YouTube (c) TNT)


Be warned aliens of the universe! (And those very annoyingly still on Earth; yes that means you Espheni, half-hearted Volm and whoever the hell you new guys are.)

Tom Mason (Noah Wylie) is mad. Very, very mad.

So mad in fact that at the encouraging hand of the mysterious new alien arrivals – yes for those of you keeping track at home on Falling Skies Bingo, a third race has appeared! Prepare the welcome packs! – who rescued him from a certain death in the depths of space after he and his late daughter Lexi (Scarlett Byrne) successfully blew up the Espheni’s lunar power station, he’s begun channelling his inner Howard Beale from Network (1976).

You know the guy who at the end of a very long speech famously declared “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”?

Yeah that guy. He was angry. Very angry.

And now, so is Tom, who, after four long years of fighting the Espheni’s violent gazumping of Earth’s real estate and near extermination of its people, has finally found his inner furiously angry warrior, and like the newly-converted everywhere who feel the need to spread the glorious details far and wide, has arrived back home to the 2nd Mass., at Rubble Sweet Rubble to encourage his fellow would-be warriors to do the same.

One teeny-ting snag though in this rage-filled plan.

Everyone thought good old Tom was dead. Very, very dead.

Yes the same people who have witnessed him be kidnapped not once but multiple times by the Espheni, who have seen him emerge from explosions, bomb blasts, survive bug implantations and return from near-suicidal missions, actually though Tom Mason was dead.

Oh ye of little faith, 2nd Mass!

This is Tom Mason we’re talking about, a man who has singlehandedly led the fight against the tall, gangly Espheni aka “Fishheads”, who has kept the flame of liberty and freedom alight while lesser, more combustible, easily-swayed souls have faltered.

The same Tom Mason who appears to be coated in narrative Teflon, impervious to the slings and arrows of the kind of misfortune that fells mere mortal men.

Even his beloved wife Anne (Moon Bloodgood) and sons Hal (Drew Roy), Ben (Connor Jessup) and Matt (Maxim Knight) had given up hope, gathering with everyone else to mourn the loss of Tom …

Who it turns out was NOT dead.


Tom ain't playing nice in the galactic sandpit anymore shooting dead an Overlord mid-threat without even hesitating .. . and then shooting him again ... and again  and ... you get the idea (image via TV Equals (c) TNT)
Tom ain’t playing nice in the galactic sandpit anymore shooting dead an Overlord mid-threat without even hesitating .. . and then shooting him again … and again and … you get the idea (image via TV Equals (c) TNT)


So there non-believers! Tom has triumphed over death once again, and behold everyone rejoiced; well apart from Pope (Colin Cunnigham) who greeted his reappearance with some customarily hilarious snark, which Tom simply ignored – he’s mad, damn mad, you see – and the Espheni Overlord he shot and killed in one of many rage-percolating moments.

And now he is back, all bets are off as far as fighting back against the Espheni are concerned; in no time flat, three separate groups head out to attack the Espheni before they can regroup and repower – apparently quite a lot of them just got the hell out of Dodge while the going was good – blowing a nest of Skitters and a spaceship to kingdom come with the kind of jubilation only those sniffing the sweet smell of victory can muster.

Discovering in the process that Skitters can only be controlled by Overlords within a 5 mile radius – clearly no one in the Espheni camp has invested a great deal in mental telepathic R&D of late – that powered-down Mechs aren’t much of a foe at all, and that there are 317 militias worldwide from Capetown to Sao Paulo to good old Tucson, Arizona.

Tom and the others seemed surprised anyone else was actually fighting; it was unclear if this surprise stemmed from shock that the Volm only just decided to reveal that particular piece of pretty pertinent info – you have to wonder who wrote their Helping Other Races Fight the Espheni manual which seems to be missing entire chapters – or that someone else actually had the idea to fight back too.

Either way, it emboldened them to take the fight up another notch or three thousand, a good decision since Tom is mad and everyone else should be mad and all that raging madness has to go somewhere.

While not the most energetic of episodes, with a rather undeveloped plot that seemed to mostly centre on Tom being angry, really angry, eager to take the fight to their enemy rather than the other way round, “Find Your Warrior” did a reasonably good job of getting us back on the alien-fighting wagon (and giving us unexpected deaths such as that of Denny, played by Megan Danso).

The main thrust of the narrative seemed to be that humanity hadn’t been active enough in taking the fight TO the Espheni, possibly out of fear, overwhelming odds, or whatever, and that it was high time it got its rage on!

The proponents of this idea were the unnamed, unseen new aliens who saved Tom, represented thus far in way beloved of sci-fi and fantasy shows – a grandly invasive mind f**k where they pretend to be your mother/father/dog walker/long lost wife with breast cancer and speak in gently (and often annoyingly) poetic ways.

It’s all very literary and meaningful yes but if used for too long simply becomes overbearing; you can only hope that we will see these new aliens before too long in their true form and find out if their agenda is to help humanity or simply to wipe the decks with the Espheni so they can take their own crack at poor old beleaguered Earth.

Logic alone would suggest that the Espheni can’t possibly be the only self-interested alien bad guys in the business and you can only hope the producers of Falling Skies, who showed a marked improvement in storytelling ability in season 4, can represent that sort of galactic realpolitik with the subtlety and nuance it deserves.

I very much suspect they will in a season which showrunner David Eick has promised will be like “Apocalypse Now on Crystal Meth”.

No more Mr Nice Guy then Mr Mason? I suspect not.

Check out the trailer for episode 2 “Hunger Pains” …


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