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‘Falling Skies’ Review: “Badlands”

Falling Skies Season 3 Review Badlands
TNT

Falling Skies’ season three rains down its third episode of the year with “Badlands,” as Tom discovers both Anne’s fears about the baby and an external human force looking to mount an attack on Charleston, while Pope works to save a wounded member of his team.

Previous ‘Falling Skies’ episode “Collateral Damage” saw Tom and the others work to bring down a nuclear power plant without contaminating the area, while Anne continued to worry about the baby and Matt began acting out with his friends, 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, “Badlands!”

Matt runs along the perimeter of Charleston, changing out walkie batteries and delivering refreshments to the soldiers on patrol, unaware they’re being watched by a sniper. Meanwhile, Tom observes Hal’s continued therapy before overlooking Jeannie’s welding project for a ceremony that night: a new sculpture to be named the “Liberty Tree.” Back on the front lines, Crazy Lee (Luciana Carro) goes to use the bathroom before sniper fire rings out. Pope rushes over to see that Lee’s vest protected her, but knocked her over onto a piece of rebar, now embedded in her still-conscious brain.

Having heard the news, Tom and Weaver race to the skirmish and take out one of the enemy snipers, shocked to find it a human soldier with no evidence of alien control. Matt arrives to Lee with a hacksaw for the rebar, while back inside the compound Anne takes a sample of baby Alexis’ blood for analysis, continually unnerved by the baby’s advanced ability to speak and stand. Lourdes finds Anne in shock over the incident, and continues to worry over her mental state.

After attempts to negotiate fail, Tom and Weaver manage to smoke out the last remaining sniper with a bazooka, finding her unconscious inside the nearby building. Meanwhile, Pope continues to saw through the rebar to transport Lee, as the still-conscious woman remembers a family dog that had to be put down. The blinded Lee begs Pope to let her go, but Matt pleads for him to keep sawing.

Tom returns to his office to find Lourdes waiting, and she explains her fears that Anne may be suffering from postpartum depression, as all the tests performed on the child turned out to be normal. Nearby, Maggie finds Hal packing to leave, believing himself to be the mole under Karen’s control and a threat to the resistance. Maggie initially storms out before returning and declaring her intent to work through the problem with him.

Tom pays a visit to Anne to apologize for his absences of late, and offers to hear her side of the outburst with Alexis. Assuring Tom she isn’t crazy, Anne reveals her belief that Alexis may not be human. Tom changes the baby’s diaper and finds none of Anne’s claims to be true, urging her to not let the enemy diminish the happiness their child has brought. Meanwhile, Pope and Lourdes look over Lee’s x-rays, learning that the rebar prevents her brain from hemorrhaging through its arteries, but only for so long.

Now awake, the captive sniper identifies herself as Catherine Fisher, but refuses to give any more details of her mission. Tom correctly surmises that she observed Charleston for several days and assumed them to be enemy collaborators based on the rebel Skitters and Volm. Catherine remains unmoved by the revelation of their new allies, to which Weaver urges her to show more respect to the President of the New United States. Confused, Catherine finally reveals she works for the actual surviving US president, Benjamin Hathaway.

Lourdes goes to Anne to comfort her over the recent baby stress, but Anne soon realizes that Tom tasked Lourdes to keep an eye on her, lest she hurt the baby. Meanwhile, Tom finds Matt waiting by Lee’s bedside and says his own goodbye to the unconscious woman. Outside the triage area, Pope insists that Tom caused Lee’s fate by placing the Berserkers on patrol with no rest, and no explanation for the Volm device they’ve been helping to protect.

Later, Pope comforts Lee in her final moments as she dreams of the two of them taking Matt to Disneyland, leading Pope to joke that he’d been banned for fighting Goofy. Lee finally passes as Pope finds her necklace clutched in his hand, and places it on Matt as he leaves. Meanwhile, Hal insists on confessing to his father that he might be the mole, but Maggie warns that Tom won’t be able to protect him from the wrath of Charleston’s citizens.

Tom appoints Marina to be his new Vice President after Arthur’s murder, before addressing the crowd to commemorate the dedication of the Liberty Tree. Tom puts aside his speech and urges the public to continue fighting and remembering those they’d lost, including Lee. One by one, the citizens of Charleston hang metal leaves adorned with the names of lost loved ones, as well as other mementos. Hal prepares to tell his father the truth, before the Espheni invasion begins with beamers flying overhead. As the crowd scatters, baby Alexis looks up at the ships and smiles. Roll credits!

Poor Lee. Perhaps even poorer for my having thought her name to be “Maggie” all this time, given her similarity to the historical “Hellcat Maggie,” and in spite of the presence of an actual Maggie among the regular cast. And yes, poorer still for not realizing Lee to have been played by ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ vet Luciana Carro, who met a similarly tragic end as an equally strong and well-liked character.

We pour one out for Crazy Lee, another victim to ‘Falling Skies” propensity to kill off ancillary characters as a source of drama. We’re looking at you, handsome guy from last week, Terry O’Quinn, and probably Matt Frewer. Come on, that actor lives to be killed off genre work. In any case, Lee’s death did provide an exceptionally emotional farewell for ‘Falling Skies,’ giving us some fantastic scene work from both Carro and Colin Cunningham’s John Pope — from a particularly gruesome death absent any alien involvement. The death’s accidental nature across multiple levels made for a particularly strong gut punch, effectively earning the emotion of the final “Liberty Tree” montage.

Interestingly, not a single alien actually appeared over the course of the hour, save for whatever we make of baby Alexis or the beamers flying overhead. “Badlands” offered up a nice reminder that ‘Falling Skies’ can stand on its own two legs with the drama inherent to its human characters, regardless of the six-legged creatures crawling every which way. Not much movement on the mole plot, but we’re definitely intrigued by the reveal of a surviving US president, and the other small developments from tonight’s uniquely effective episode.

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 its next episode, “At All Costs,” on TNT!

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