Falling Skies - Non-Essential Personnel Review

Tense human drama provides for an engaging detour.

SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers for episode 5x05 Non-Essential Personnel.

This week's episode found Pope putting together a new band of misfits, while Weaver got caught up in a dangerous hostage situation.

New Sheriffs In Town

Seeing Pope and Anthony ride to the rescue in their hijacked sheriff's truck was a satisfying moment, even if I'm still not thrilled with Anthony's abrupt turn to the dark side. It was interesting and realistic to watch desperate people flocking to any perceived bastion of safety, even one led by a crazy guy. Colin Cunningham deserves props for portraying Pope as convincingly unhinged.

Pope and Anthony

I rolled my eyes when the new female character, Isabella, was introduced as a nurse, but the revelation that she was just posing as one to seem useful was an unexpected twist. Ordinarily I would rejoice at the addition of another woman, and Isabella seemed okay. But right now? With only five episodes to go on a show that already has more characters than it can deal with? No, thank you. Especially when her sole purpose in the story seems to be as a new love interest for Hal. Perhaps the show will surprise me by letting her be friends with Maggie or Anne, but I'm not holding my breath.

Weaver's scenes with the crazy dad (Marty) were emotionally satisfying, even if it was a bit implausible that one guy could pin down the entire 2nd Mass so easily. Weaver and Anne are my favorite characters, and their friendship is one of the relationships that has grown the most. Seeing them working together, supporting each other, and remembering the children they'd lost was awesome. I loved Weaver's speech to Marty towards the end:

The people with us aren't going to be our blood, but they're going to be family.

That pretty much sum up the heart of the show.

Isabella and Pope

Shifting Focus

I'm of two minds about this episode. On the one hand, it was the sort of human-centric, character driven drama I love best about Falling Skies. There was tension; there was character development; it was the closest this show ever gets to "gritty". Taken in isolation, I really enjoyed the story.

But with only five episodes left in the final season, is this really the right thing to focus on? Introducing new faces while our main characters sit on the sidelines? Shifting attention away from the war effort? As good as it was, it felt like an unwelcome detour.

Random thoughts:

  • I appreciated that the show didn't wrap up the Tom/Pope conflict in a neat bow.
  • Weaver's still got his car. Awww. The exchange with Cochicse about its lack of tactical value was cute.
  • I'm not a big fan of Hal, but seeing him stand up to Pope was awesome.
  • The Dorniya are driving me nuts with their cryptic and entirely unhelpful messages.
  • Dear 2nd Mass: If you want to sneak up on someone, perhaps you should turn your flashlights off.

Ratings

  • Princess Power: 3 Stars
  • Overall: 4 Stars
  • Bechdel Test: Fail

Learn about my Ratings System.

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Mom. Writer. Gamer. Geek.
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