The last season of TNT's Falling Skies premieres June 28, and the military science fiction series has been an interesting conversation in the apocalypse subgenre, following a world where Earth is not invaded by one species, but several, as seen through the eyes of Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), his family and their fellow survivors of the 2nd Mass. Regiment. Blastr caught up with Doug Jones (Cochese), Sarah Carter (Maggie), Drew Roy (Hal) and Colin Cunningham (Pope) at WonderCon, where the mood in the room was a mixture of excited at what's in store, bittersweet knowing their show was ending, and reflective on what Falling Skies leaves behind in the end.
Season five promises more action, especially in the early episodes. Despite their forces dwindling and their leaders being killed, the Esphenis are still the main antagonist, and sure to be answered is the question of who the mysterious aliens that saved Tom are. Is it the Great Enemies that conquered the Esphenis' planet? Also, Cochese fans who have been patiently waiting for a spotlight on the alien will be happy to know that at episode four, he gets that moment.
"He's having his teenage rebellious moment," said Jones. "You will laugh and you will cry. The writers knocked it out for Cochese and my father Waschak-cha'ab (who I also play) will return in that episode. We learn a lot about each of them and they finally have that father and son thing that teenagers have to go through. It will be a defining moment for Cochese."
Jones teased that he'll be seen with more characters this season since most of his scenes have been with Tom Mason. "I'm interacting with more characters on the show, like Col. Weaver (Will Patton). We almost become Abbot and Costello; the writers have written a lot of humor this season for Cochese, the culture clash, the misunderstandings that can occur. They've given me a more comedic muscle to exercise this year, which I'm very happy about. I interact with Maggie, who has developed a growing hatred for her spikes, which caused a love triangle with Ben and Hal. With that hatred comes some camaraderie with Cochese."
To jog everyone's memory, last season, we saw the 2nd Mass come to Maggie's attention when she was paralyzed and, to treat her, Hal implanted a spike into her without Maggie's consent, along with one of Ben's spikes grafted onto her spine. She winds up gaining super-strength as a result of this and becomes a valuable asset for the 2nd Mass.
"She gets to work side-by-side with Ben and they have a good rhythm going and she also gets to work with Hal and work out that anxiety and tension by doing what they need to do," said Carter. "The love triangle is there and everybody feels it, but the drama isn't really there until midway through the season. From there it's about Maggie wanting to feel her real feelings, aside from these foreign magnetic spikes' influences. She has some hard decisions to make, but she knows she loves Hal and that's all I can say. It seems whenever there's true love, there's heartbreak (in the way)."
But in the end, what will the series have to say about humanity? That they're resilient for one thing -- or, as some would say, stubborn. With every season of Falling Skies, there has been a change at showrunner, leading fans to worry about its fate year to year. There seemed to be a major shift in the series' direction with each change, and yet it's survived and at the core never strayed far from what it wanted to be. The fallout of season four should dovetail into the direction of season five; once the 2nd Mass figures out what is ahead of them, all of the focus shifts toward that one goal. As Roy puts it, "It's go-go-go!"
Considering all of the shows that have explored an apocalypse lately, Falling Skies can always be commended for its ambition and for its "oorah" military-strategy angle, but behind the science fiction dressings it did put important questions on the table.
"It tests every audience member watching it, to ask themselves, what would I do in this situation?" said Jones. "California is about to run out of water, what are you going to do? How am I going to behave if guns go to the streets? This is one of the shows that put out that possibility in a world where we have lost electricity, our creature comforts, what do we become? Would I hold onto my morals, my ethics, and integrity?"
Cunningham added, "The neat thing about Falling Skies is that as much as you're battling aliens, it's also battling for humanity, for food or space for whatever. There's rogue elements like Pope and his band of merry men. So there's nothing ever smooth sailing, even under the best of circumstances."
"If all the systems went down, if it was complete chaos, how would human beings organize themselves and how would we deal with keeping the peace," asked Carter. "Does that human hierarchy of power naturally form out of necessity?"
One thing to keep watch for this season is when the show takes a slight diversion this season when Tom Mason stumbles on a farm where a family has managed to maintain peace and normalcy in this world. Carter described the scene as a surreal -- but cool -- exploration, because they kept their kids in a bubble. "Tom poses the question: do you think it's right to not teach your son how to use a weapon when we're at war, or shelter them from reality and let them participate as they should?"
Falling Skies has always been a harsh look at surviving the apocalypse and through the many directions, showrunners and many plot twists, the life of the show mirrored the story. It persevered and managed to keep the light on long enough to tell a alien invasion tale that has, at times, abundant share of complexities, but will find a proper closure this June. Tune in to see if the humans save the day, who leaves and remains on Earth.