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In this 20th episode of Berserker Cast, Darrell and I (Emilee) take a look at Falling Skies Season 5 Episode 5, entitled Non-Essential Personnel. This was quite an interesting discussion as Darrell and I found ourselves literally on opposite sides of the same coin.

Interestingly, a feedbacker mentions they were wary about this episode due to the synopsis, which sounded a bit like the episode last year where Tom, Weaver and Matt encounter the brothers in the woods on the way back from rescuing Matt. It just so happens that episode was the fifth of season four, just as this is the fifth episode of season five. Both episodes felt like they stalled the overall progression of their respective seasons. They did little to advance the storyline, and instead provide an extended commentary on the state and nature of humanity.

Neither Darrell nor I have been shy about how much we enjoy the commentary Falling Skies has on various philosophies. With its parallels to history, I think the two features nicely sum up the reasons I like this show. The problem for me, I believe, is that we know this is the last season. Last year, with Mind Wars (episode 5), we were still trying to understand how the humans would fare against the new Espheni weapon and some of those discussions about loyalty and not betraying your own people were useful in order to expose just how necessary it is for humanity to literally stick together. I know I will have a different perspective on this episode when the season reaches its conclusion, but right now I’m frustrated with the repetitiveness of content and lack of resolution to storylines that seem unnecessary.

But I’m not the writer! So who am I to deem a storyline unnecessary? At least for now, I’ve got to readjust my expectations to account for another element that must be necessary in order for this series to reach its conclusion. That said, I am very critical of this episode and even as Darrell sticks to his guns about enjoying the drama aspect to the episode, even if we don’t get any new information, I cannot get past the details.

In the end I think it will be to my, and possibly our, benefit that my criticism is what it is. I’m not saying I’m right (in fact, I hope I’m not), but trying to be intentional about where the story is going within the context of the Tom/Pope feud seems essential to understanding what kind of future awaits mankind in a post-Espheni world. The writers have been very intentional about bringing Pope along this path of redemption, since we met him in season one, and yet it seems that in the last two episodes he totally nullified any progress he made. And yet, is he less redeemable than the Espheni? Is that who I’ve equated him to now? I don’t see how Pope can redeem himself now, because his actions have been totally disproportional to the pain he suffered at Tom’s hand.

Hopefully next week we’ll see the story move forward, and I’m committed to watching it through a better lens! Let us know your reactions to our thoughts about this episode, I’m super curious to see if anyone else had the same response as I did. Overall, I think I am in the minority… Which is a good thing, for once.

Next Week
Season 5 Episode 6 “Respite”

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