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‘Falling Skies’ Review: “Exodus”

Falling Skies Season 4 Exodus Review
TNT

Falling Skies’ season 4 rains down its 3rd episode of the year with the “Exodus,” in which Tom and the others put to action their plan to escape the Espheni ghetto, while Maggie forces a confrontation with Alexis (Scarlette Byrne), and Anne comes to a shocking realization of her daughter’s origins.

Last week’s ‘Falling Skies’ installment, “The Eye,” saw Tom playing a desperate gambit to learn more about his Skitter enclosure, while Ben searched for answers to Alexis’ mysterious condition, and Matt’s efforts to rebel within the reeducation camp hit a snag.

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Falling Skies’ season 4, episode 3, “Exodus”!

Tom rides his motorcycle through the Espheni ghetto streets, luring Skitters at every turn before detonating the bike on his way into the solitary building. Returning to his room upstairs, Tom observes outside that the energy wall has yet to come down, before turning his flamethrower in the aliens pouring through the door.

Some 60 hours earlier, Tom and Hal go over their plan, while Dingaan Botha grimaces over the volatility of their explosive charges, considering he will be the one to don the Faraday suit, scale the obelisk and destroy the tether outside the fence, all in a window of 90 seconds. Meanwhile in Chinatown, Ben brings Maggie up to speed on Lexi’s meeting with a Skitter overlord, for which Maggie retrieves her guns from a hiding place and prepares to confront the girl. Maggie breaks up a meeting of Lexi and her followers, though Lexi claims to meet with an Overlord as a bridge between the two species, breaking Maggie’s wrist for drawing her guns in their non-violent way of life.

Over in the reeducation camp, Matt and Mira watch as a young recruit is celebrated for turning in her parents, and ensuring they’re sent to a camp of their own. Mira worries that the leaders will eventually break her, and alludes to a pair of wirecutters that she and Matt might use to escape, though Matt urges her to remain strong for the moment. That night, Mira attempts to ditch the wirecutters under one of the empty mattresses in their bunk. Elsewhere out on the road, Anne marches with her group of survivors, but passes out from exhaustion

Tom and Dingaan overlook the electric fence and debate the many possibilities that might go wrong with their plan to liberate the camp. Dingaan ponders leaving the camp behind altogether after he scales the fence with the suit, until Tom reminds him of the family he’d lost, and asks that he join the 2nd Massachusetts family. Tom relays his plan to Weaver, Hal and Pope as well, admitting the danger to himself in leading the Skitters to an unstable building, which they intend to bring down on their captors. Back at the reeducation camp, team leaders find the wirecutters and demand the guilty party step forward, but when Mira prepares to surrender, Matt claims responsibility and gets taken away.

While Hal leads groups of survivors into the sewers from which to escape, and Tom and Weaver rig charges around the building, Anne dreams of her time in captivity with Karen. Anne recovers a memory of an alien umbilical cord hooked up to her womb, while Karen and an Overlord claimed that the baby would be theirs.

The following morning, Tom meets with the Overlord and his human mouthpiece, but turns a flamethrower to both rather than accept the deal, drawing the ire of pursuing skitters in the process. In the chase however, Skitters accidentally knock loose a beam that cripples Dingaan’s hand, forcing Pope to be the one to don the Faraday suit and scale the fence. Meanwhile, Hal continues ushering survivors into the tunnels, though a slow elderly couple draws the attention of the few remaining Skitters on the streets.

Pope drops the bomb on his way up the fence obelisk, but surprises everyone by going back for it, rather than escaping to freedom. Scaling the fence once again, Pope wears out the suit and accidentally falls to the ground on the other side, knocking himself temporarily unconscious. Meanwhile, Tom continues to lead the Skitters around the compound on a chase, while Hal and the survivors in the tunnel fight off the remaining Skitters, losing the elderly male survivor in the process. Finally, Pope awakens and plants the bomb, but is forced to sever the tether himself after the weakened blast, finally bringing down the fence. Fighting off Skitters by the skin of his teeth upstairs, Tom sees the fence go down and activates charges to bring down the building, landing himself in the river below.

Anne awakens refreshed, sensing Lexi nearby before sending out a team of scouts. Meanwhile, Cochise finally locates Matt at the reeducation camp, and Ben reluctantly agrees to continue supporting Lexi, despite her unorthodox methods to bring peace. Shortly thereafter, Anne and the others arrive to Chinatown, where the mother is shocked to be reunited with her continually-aging daughter.

Tom finally makes it back to the escaping survivors, thanking Pope for his efforts and comforting Hal on the losses sustained in the effort. Weaver spies something in the distance, what momentarily appears to be a Skitter following them, though he and Tom brush it off.

OUR REVIEW:

Understandably, ‘Falling Skies’ season 4 faced a few stumbles in its path, not only in transitioning to showrunner David Eick, but also revamping a few aspects of the mythology while crafting at least four separate story arcs for the core cast. Only two or three of the differing threads have been able to bear much weight, the strongest of all proving Tom’s time in the Espheni ghetto, which also provided the A-story for Exodus and made Sunday the best installment of the season to date. That isn’t solely to say that the excitement of the escape dominated the hour, as all-around the stories moved into more fertile ground with some surprising momentum.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the tense cold open, followed by the “X Hours Earlier” cliché, but it was at least nice to be given a sense of some strong action to come in the wake of Tom’s escape plan. The overall scope of the plan seemed rife with complication, from Tom’s merry dirtbike chase (seriously, who’s gassing that thing?), to Dingaan’s Faraday shimmy over the wall and Hal’s leading people to safety underground, though however predictably the different sides fell to chance, the action was reasonably clear and tense throughout. In particular, Pope earned a small step toward redemption after Tom rightly called him out for sowing discontent, while Tom himself had some nice moments in recounting the historical basis of their plan and inviting Dingaan to join their new family.

As per usual, less effective were the Chinatown and Anne side of the story, though it was at least refreshing to see certain characters maintaining their faculties, as Maggie returned to her gun-toting ways and rightly called out both Alexis and Lourdes for their treachery. Even Anne’s tale in the woods had a few entertaining moments of self-awareness in calling out the “too quiet” cliché, while Anne recovered a gruesome, if intriguing memory of Alexis’ true origins. If nothing else, the two stories have dovetailed for our first reunion of the season, which will undoubtedly strengthen their effectiveness next week.

Elsewhere, Matt’s adventures in reeducation brought up the rear this week, as we were treated to some very ‘Orange is the New Black’ style-drama of Mira’s missing wire-cutters. Seeing one of the fellow cadets turn in her parents proved suitably creepy, as with Mira’s fear that the leaders would eventually break her, but it was good to see Cochise popping up by the end to add a little punch to the straggling story. All in all, it’s taken a bit for ‘Falling Skies’ season 4 to truly get in gear, but with the ghetto camp liberated and our first reunions in motion, “Exodus” made for a strong springboard to launch us forward.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of Skitter-y ‘Falling Skies’ action? What did you think about Sunday’s latest, “Exodus?” Join the discussion in the comments, and check back again next Sunday for another all-new episode recap and review of ‘Falling Skies’ season 4′s latest, “Evolve or Die” on TNT!

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