‘Falling Skies’ Review: “The Pickett Line”
‘Falling Skies’ season 3 rains down its 7th episode of the year with “The Pickett Line,” as the Masons encounter a thieving family out on the road, while Pope's dissension with Marina Peralta's presidency causes unrest among the civilians, and leads to the identity of the true mole.
Previous ‘Falling Skies’ episode “Be Silent and Come Out” saw Hal’s bug finally revealed in taking Tom hostage, while Pope created a dangerous situation for the group, and Marina Peralta shared her suspicions about the Volm weapon, so what does the latest episode bring?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Falling Skies’’ newest episode, “The Pickett Line”!
Traveling at night, the Masons arrive at the rendezvous point for the rebel Skitters, as Ben questions if they should even return to Charleston upon finding Anne and Alexis. Suddenly, one of the rebel Skitters appears wounded, and warns the Masons of an incoming patrol. Elsewhere, Hal and Matt reminisce about past experiences camping, before Ben and Tom return and prepare to flee.
Back in Charleston, Pope laments that his business’ success means little without another community to trade with, before soldiers arrive to move his entire establishment on Marina Peralta’s orders. Weaver defends her choice to an angry Pope, before Cochise appears on the edge of Charleston carrying President Hathaway, and both collapse. Out on the road, the Masons find themselves confronted by four masked figures with guns, who take the horses and supplies, shrugging off Tom’s suggestions of taking them to Charleston. After the robbers depart, Tom vows they get their things back.
President Hathaway recuperates and recognizes Marina Peralta from an old colleague, before the talk turns to Marina’s growing unease with the Volm weapon secrecy. Weaver concurs that too much about the project has been kept hidden, though Cochise reminds them they still likely have a mole on the loose, and Hathaway insists completion of the Volm weapon to be vital to the resistance.
Using Ben’s abilities to track the robbers, Tom and the Masons slowly make their way to the family’s farm, surprising and overtaking the members of the thieving group. Hal struggles to subdue Gil, the lead patriarch’s brother, before Matt shoots the man in the back to save Hal the trouble. Back in Charleston, Pope and his crew make it known to Weaver that a recent rash of equipment sabotage comes from his outrage with Marina’s dictatorial behavior.
The Masons tie up the Pickett family, as the father, Dwayne ('Hell on Wheels' star Christopher Heyerdahl), insists they only steal in the interest of protecting their own family. Upstairs, Ben desperately attempts to treat Dwayne’s brother Gil. Back in Charleston, Pope riles the citizens of his bar into allying against the Volm and Marina Peralta, before Weaver arrives to disperse the crowd and place Pope under arrest for endangering the safety of Charleston with his sabotages.
Tom learns from Dwayne that their entire family had been raised in the house, as the alien invasion never came to their isolated location. Meanwhile, the boys upstairs learn that the family’s mother had died during the invasion, but by men who came to the house to rob them, rather than by aliens.
With Gil likely to die soon, Tom allows Dwayne upstairs to say his goodbyes, unaware that Gil has been hiding a shotgun beneath the mattress. The tables quickly turn as the Pickett family get back the guns, and Dwayne orders the Masons down in the basement. Dwayne insists he has to kill them in order to protect his family, but when the youngest daughter protests, Tom manages to retrieve his gun, and the weapons change hands once again.
Cochise shows the Volm weapon to President Hathaway, Marina and Weaver, explaining that the Espheni will soon launch a worldwide energy field that will decimate the planet, and leave only the aliens to survive. The weapon uses its inordinate energy surge to destroy the grid and allow Volm reinforcements to arrive, but the potential decimation of the planet causes Tom to agree with Cochise that specifics of the plan be kept secret from the general public.
Weaver meets with Pope in a cell, and explains that the man may have a point in his suspicions of the Volm, but riling up civilians won’t do any good. After being released, Pope has a run-in with Maggie in the hallway to warn her of Weaver’s words, though the shared history between the two prevents the discussion from taking on a friendly tone.
Lourdes changes the President’s IV, receiving some comforting words about her role in rebuilding the world’s future, before she leaves and heads downstairs to the room directly below. After carefully setting up a gurney aligned with the room above, Lourdes shoots a Volm weapon directly into the ceiling, killing President Hathaway above. Minutes later in the chapel, Lourdes prays with alien bugs all over her face, before a nurse alerts her to the news.
Observing the scene, Anthony, Weaver and Marina all agree to keep the matter quiet, and step up their search for the real mole. Outside, Pope points out to Weaver that Marina had the most to gain from President Hathaway’s death, a thought neither can bring themselves to ignore. Meanwhile, the Masons leave the Pickett house behind, but soon observe Skitters and Mechs headed in the family’s direction. Noting that the family ultimately didn’t kill them given the chance, Tom elects to go alone and warn the family, sending the children onward.
By the time Tom arrives to the Pickett household however, the family is nowhere to be found, as Skitters and Mechs step out to corner him.
And so, the mole is finally revealed! Of course, they made the real traitor to be the most disposable character of the cast, but we're at least happy to finally put the mystery to rest. It was good to see Cochise and the President had survived as well, if only for so long. Not only that, but we seem to finally have answers to the Espheni ultimate plan, and the Volm's supposed role in stopping them. Answers all around!
The abundance of explanation aside, "The Pickett Line" gave us another largely diversionary episode with the Masons confronting a sort of dark reflection of themselves, with plenty of shades of 'The Walking Dead' and survivalism thrown in for good measure. The drama lost a bit of effectiveness with the guns so repeatedly changing hands between the two families, but the story ultimately succeeds in raising questions of how different choices might have impacted the Mason family.
Only three more episodes in the season remain, and however intriguing, "The Pickett Line" leaves a great many more questions hanging in the balance before the season finale.
Did you get your fill of Skitter-y ‘Falling Skies’ action? What did you think about tonight’s episode? Join the discussion in the comments, and be sure to check back next week for another recap when ‘Falling Skies’ returns with “Strange Brew” on TNT! Don't forget our Comic-Con 2013 coverage in the meantime!