Examined: Falling Skies – “A Thing With Feathers”

Seriously Tom, be more careful where you stick your arm.

Seriously Tom, be more careful where you stick your arm.

Whether it was the episode itself or maybe I was just already upset about more fake documentaries for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, this week’s episode of Falling Skies was actually decent! Was it perfect? No; but it gave us one of the most heartfelt and compelling stories we’ve seen season – though that isn’t saying much. Either way, this episode gave our characters depth and set the stage for some new developments that are sure to change everything.

Exploring New Character Depth:

As I just mentioned, this episode was great at giving some character focus to this seasons two new characters, Dingaan and Sarah. Though while both were deep and powerful, only one actually made sense in the long run. From the moment we met Sarah, she seemed a lot like Pope. Though as we saw last episode – and got confirmation on in this episode – Sarah is almost exactly like Pope but not in the ways we though. Yes she is a lone wolf; but she doesn’t dream of killing Skitters and fighting the good fight. Pope’s funnels his anger and rage into his fighting – like a Berserker – but Sarah uses drugs (uppers, downers, etc). At the end of this episode we saw her toss them away and acknowledge that the lone wolf idea doesn’t work, and now she wants to be with those who matter – a transformation we have seen Pope slowly admit to this season as well.


Dingaan on the other hand showed us his pre-invasion self and how he actually lost his family. Because he took his eyes of his kid for one second, the child was buried alive, which later led to his wife taking her own life. This man racked with guilt seems totally different from the brilliant escape artist who can barely break a sweat in his death defying escape plans. Then again, maybe he was only able to pull off these escape plans because he doesn’t fear death anymore. Even so, Dingaan has ping-ponged so much between perfect calm and completely shutting down way too much in the past few episodes. Thankfully there are more important things going on in this episode, so I won’t dwell on this inconsistency.

The MINOR Seeds of Lexi’s Redemption:

Lexi as per usual is still in La La Land. After more than half a season of seeing her so brainwashed by the Espheni, it’s hard to imagine her changing sides. Her strict adherence despite clear evidence to the contrary – as well as the small matter of her killing Lourdes while she pleaded for her life – has been annoying and doesn’t bode well for a chance at redemption. Though despite all these cues, she’s going to get her redemption.

Lexi and Ben

I mentioned this in passing last week – and we all know it’s coming – but this episode gave us our first sign at Lexi’s redemption. While speaking with Ben, we saw her thinking back to what Ben just said and to what the Monk Espheni Overlord had told her. This is meant to show that she is having doubts. Why she’s having doubts all of a sudden when her entire pleading family wasn’t enough to dissuade her before, I’m not sure. Perhaps she realized something when she invaded Ben through his spikes; but regardless, this was meant to show that there is in fact hope for Lexi. Again, it’s not really believable; but hey at least they’re trying. Though I’m very happy that when Anne tried to continue with the ‘let’s go after Lexi’ plan, Tom reminded her that they have a responsibility to everyone else who stayed with them first.

The Espeni’s Plan:

Or maybe Lexi is changing her mind because she realizes just how horrifying the Espheni’s ‘evolution’ plan is. Whether it was in the food – as I originally suspected – or via harnesses, we knew it was going to be bad; but upon a close watch/listen to this scene, you realize that it’s going to be far worse than any of us could have imagined. We see a bunch of people on the ground – either tied or just paralyzed – being gassed by something. This is the mode of evolution the Espheni have been working on. Now I’m not about to try to figure out how the Espheni’s bio weapons work – especially since tom was ‘bitten’ by a ship’ – but we do know what this gas means, especially after Lexi’s choice of words.

You can even see a newly mutated human skitter in the upper right hand corner.

You can even see a newly mutated human skitter in the upper right hand corner.

A few episodes ago, when Lexi said “she’ll always need her family” or “her father is coming” we could tell there was a deeper level to those words – such as how ‘my father is coming’ could have meant Tom but actually is The Monk in Lexi’s head. Well when Lexi says that the new mutation device can be delivered anywhere, it means that there is no need to bring people in for mutation anymore. The gas can be brought to them. I hope I’m wrong; but I have a feeling the Espheni are going to drop one – or a dozen – of these gas bombs on the survivors of the 2nd Mass. Before the season started, we saw Hal with fangs so we know something horrible happens at some point. In all honesty, that could be how the Season will leave off and set up for it’s final season.

Ben and Maggie:

It’s nice to see Hal back to his former calm and ‘I love Maggie’ self; but his actions this episode are going to come at a huge consequence for him. When Maggie begged Hal to just let go and not go through with the spike ideas, we knew Hal should have honored her wishes. Though what would you honestly do in his shoes? We would do anything if it meant holding onto those we loved; but sometimes there will be repercussions for the methods we take.

Last week I pointed out that the idea of Harnesses and Spikes have changed since this episode made them look like individual beings. The Spikes are the remnant of a sole harness and shouldn’t be able to be removed and transplanted and act like that; and that is EXACTLY where this medical miracle is going to go wrong. This isn’t another possible continuity error about to form. Bens Spikes were a unified set that remain from his harness. Just because Maggie has some in her doesn’t mean she now has several Spike life forms in her.

Ben and Maggie

Ben and Maggie are now sharing one life form, which is going to lead to some very close moments. These spikes are going to want to be one again, and Maggie and Ben might be pulled along for the ride. We know Ben is already on board with a romantic idea; and that might speed things up even more. We have never seen two people with the same set of spikes interact. Will they be able to speak mentally to each other and be closer than normal spike-survivors are? We’ll find out soon, and Hal might have just sent into motion a series of events that is going to drive him and Maggie apart.

The Moon:

The moon has been constantly referenced this season; but two episodes ago Hal noticed something strange with it – a green light that flickered momentarily before fading away. I had hypothesized that this was in fact the new Espheni power source Cochise had been going on about earlier this season. Well the end of this episode seems to have answered that question beyond a shadow of a doubt. Right after Hal and Tom noticed it, the rubble around them began to glow as if something turned on by getting energy from the moon.

Now as for what turned on, I’m not entirely sure since the downed Espheni ship should have exploded due to the bomb that went off inside of it. Though one way or another, something turned on. What will this moon power source lead to? Are we going to find out that Lexi is actually a Saiyan – DragonBall Z joke – or does this moon base simply power everything the Espheni have around Earth?

The Moon Falling Skies If you’re wondering about this episode’s title – ‘ A Thing With Feathers – and why there was no bird-like monster in this episode, that’s because you missed the reference. This is actually a reference to “hope”, which is an Emily Dickinson reference; and that is actually what this episode gave us: hope. Again, was this episode perfect? No. Did everything make sense and seem absolutely in character? No. Were things still a little contrived and forced? Of course. Though despite all of those points, this episode moved the plot forward quite a good bit and set up what is sure to be the final plot points for the rest of the season: Lexi’s redemption, Ben and Maggie’s relationship, Go to the Moon, and Evolution via chemical warfare.

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