So far, the opinions about the finale reveal two things the fanbase seems to agree on:
1. Everyone hates the upcoming pregnancy plot.
2. No-one liked Dai getting killed.
While there are few things that can be done to prevent the dreaded pregnancy, it is really easy for the writers to avoid another character death fiasco. I have made my points why Falling Skies needs to develop the characters that aren’t named Mason or involved in relationships with them and no, I’m totally not getting tired of doing so.
A leader is only worth something if people follow him for good reasons.
Only a dictator is followed by a crowd of yes men that agree with him for the sake of agreeing with him. A good leader, and I assume Tom Mason and Dan Weaver are supposed to be exactly that, need people to follow them for good reasons. Their own reasons. With Weaver, I have no issues in that regard. He is a “father to his men”, as the interlude with Tector has shown. Weaver cares about his men and tries to bring the best out of them. That’s why they follow him. But all Tom Mason is doing is motivated by the desire to protect his sons. I cannot come up with a reason why someone who has no sons or children would go all “yay, that’s my man” about him. Those people have to expect to be sacrificed by their glorious leader for the sake of his family any moment. That is why these people need own reasons to follow him. Reasons Tom may not be aware of or care about. Maybe he seems trustworthy despite his radical attitude because he looks like someone’s old neighbor, who happened to be a nice guy. Maybe he’s someone’s father in a metaphorical sense; one of his men did grew up without a mother and sympathizes with Tom because he knows the other side of the story; being the son of a single father with way too much going on in his life. Maybe there’s someone with a deep mistrust of the military or bad experiences while serving, and therefore he picks Tom over any other available leader just because he’s a civilian. Maybe there’s a woman whose family was torn apart after her father didn’t return from the war; she remembers the suffering of her mother and therefore sides with Tom because he struggling to not let his family be torn apart. There you have options, writers. Many options. No big deals, no elaborate backstories that require seasons to tell. And all are better than nothing and leaving characters’ pages blank regarding why they follow Tom Mason, Dan Weaver or both. We know why Hal, Ben, Matt and Anne are with Tom. But I want to know why people like Anthony and Lourdes and the rest of the non-military 2nd Mass accept him as leader, despite his tendency to put everyone at risk for his sons.
A Case For Crazy Lee
This is a show about an alien invasion. We have a post apocalyptic world where survival is the top priority. Shows like that need an action girl. Falling Skies has none. Why that is so notable? Let me run down some of other shows with “aliens” and “apocalypse” as premise: “Survivors” has Abby. “The Walking Dead” has Andrea (and Michonne coming in season 3). “Babylon 5” has Susan Ivanova. “Star Trek”, though all it’s incarnations, has many, and Kira Nerys, Jadzia Dax and B’Ellana Torres are the prime examples. “Farscape” has Aeryn Sun. Stargate has Vala Mal Doran and Teyla Emmagan, and even SGU had a tough chick, even though she was merely background cleavage for the most part. “Lost”, if you count it as a show about survival beyond civilization, has (arguably) Kate and later Anna Lucia and Alana. The list goes on and on and that’s why it is so obvious that Falling Skies lacks of this character archetype. And that potential candidates for the position always flip a reset switch if they show promise: Maggie is introduced with a gun in her hand and degrades into a whiny over-dramatized-past broken bird. Lourdes shows understandable anger and hopelessness after losing everything, then just goes back to girl-next-door as if nothing happened. The only female character doing anything resembling “action” is the hostile Karen. So here is the case for Crazy Lee, the female Berzerker. Build her character up. Give her some spotlight. Let her kick ass and be tough, to contrast the soft, feminine characters. Nearly all the action girls listed above are fan favorites, proving that shows in the relevant genres need characters like that. It’s alright if you want Maggie as the broken bird in denial, it’s alright if you want Lourdes as the friendly girl-next-door and it’s alright if you want Anne as the epitome of understanding. You have someone left to step up and fill the much needed action girl role. Hell, if you really have to, re-unite Lee and Tector as Battle Couple, but give her more lines and more development and more action.
The Racism I Do Not Believe In
Well, as the sub header says, I do not believe the writers of Falling Skies kill characters because they aren’t white. But to be perfectly honest, I start to see why people bring up such accusations. The redshirt list, counting on-screen deaths, contains Jimmy and Boone (and being generous, Dr. Harris) as white dead guys, and Mike, Rick, Jamil, Click and Dai on the non-white side. Boone, Harris and Click were pretty minor and only appeared on screen for a few scenes/episodes. So yeah, writers, while I see your good intentions in these deaths from a storytelling point of view, I can also see why people start to think you don’t really want non-white characters around. But that’s not what viewers want. Do I need to give you a rundown of shows in relevant genres with well liked main characters of other skin colors again? Walking Dead, Glenn (along with Daryl one of the few characters people don’t hate); Star Trek, Uhura, Sulu, Harry Kim (yes, you could argue he was an advertised extra, but the reason he was not killed to be replaced with Seven of Nine was the actor being voted on the “Sexiest Men Alive” list that year, and I would argue that counts as “popular”), Worf (popular enough to bring him back for a second show, an achievement no other main character can put on his achievement list), Hoshi Sato, the list continues. “Lost”, several, but I want to point to Jin Kwon here (Daniel Dae Kim also scored on the “Sexiest Men Alive” list during the run of Lost, just like fellow Asian Garrett Wang during ST Voyager, and I really wanted to mention that because you idiots just killed the only Asian you had). So, no, you guys, viewers do not only care about white heroes. And you killing your racially diverse cast one by one really makes it hard for people like me – who genuinely believe you just tell a story without a secret racist agenda – to counter the arguments of the folks accusing you of having said agenda. So if not for us fans, do it for your own good: Defuse that bomb and just develop the characters you have, regardless of skin color. Just like I believe you kill them regardless of skin color. It becomes harder and harder to argue you do just that if your equality only concerns the body count, but not the development of those that don’t die. You know what saves TWD from the racism accusations, despite their comical underuse of the black character? That their Asian is a well developed character who gets decent screentime. Think about that for a moment.
Don’t Let Your (Dark)Horse Run Away
Who do even the worst critics of Falling Skies like? If they hate the very idea of the show, the writing, the effects and each and every character, there is one exception and that is Pope. Yes, in this regard, he is really “the Daryl Dixon of Falling Skies”, the saving grace even your haters agree on. I will keep this complaint short because S02E09 did bring him back to the right path of being a loose canon. I’m not getting tired to mention that the writing of him has been seriously slacking after he returned though. He’s back on his old path – the path that made him the ensemble darkhorse in the first place – but there is still some room for improvement. For once, I would really really like to see him interact more with Anthony. I’ve been saying that since Pope saved his life: That’s a development meant to go somewhere. The constellation of a cop becoming friends, or frenemies, with the ex-con who killed his cop buddy, is the stuff character depth is made from.It’s the foreplay of Mollari saving G’Kar and vice versa; of Quark standing up for Odo and vice versa. Yes, I admit, the stakes were slightly higher for Londo and G’Kar (and their writing is the most outstanding exception in scifi history; drawing straws to decide whose character is the ‘bad’ guy and having fans riddle who drew what 20 years later proves that), but the comparison with Quark and Odo holds up on all accounts: Quark was not quite on the legal side of things, but did the right thing when it came down to that – like Pope. And Odo was the personified law and order; the alien version of a guy destined to become a cop – and, in case anyone forgot, Anthony is a cop. So it’s all there. I was overjoyed when you actually did what I hoped for and had Anthony leave with Pope. I was telling some friends that you renewed my belief in awesome writing in TV shows (and no, I do not write it off as “I was desperate and grabbing for any straw because I still felt the aftermath of watching Stargate Universe”). I’m still sure you had a freaking bright moment there and possibly some good ideas where to go with that. And then you didn’t. But it is not too late; you still have Pope and you still have Anthony. It’s simple math and following through with what I assume was your initial plan when you put them together. You see, I know you can do it. You did that very thing with Tector. You took him out of his usual surroundings for a few episodes, let him bounce off his developing personality on a more established and fleshed out character; Weaver, and then – though admittedly a bit awkward – put him back in his normal enviroment. Now all you do is take Anthony, imagine he is Tector, put him in a car or something with Pope (while you imagine Pope is Weaver), polish the dialogue a bit more, and voilà.