Falling Skies producer reveals the alternate ending that would've changed everything

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Sep 1, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT

As has been well chronicled already, TNT’s alien occupation drama Falling Skies was an absolute mess. Turns out it could’ve been even messier.

Spoilers ahead for Falling Skies’ final season!

The series finale of Falling Skies aired Sunday night and brought the confused narrative to a close with some easy cliches and a heaping bile of deus ex machina. Basically, the 2nd Mass. decides to make a surgical strike on the alien queen, which looks like it’s not going to work but (of course) works in the final minutes, with Tom Mason delivering the death blow to the Espheni queen.

But during the final battle Anne is fatally wounded and dies. Except, this being Falling Skies, Tom carries her to a river, where he meets a new race of aliens and yells at them to save her. Which they do, using weird tentacles that drag her dead body underwater, and she shows back up alive and well during a flash-forward coda scene.

Speaking of that coda scene, TV Line chatted with executive producer David Eick about the finale, and he revealed that they planned a very different ending from the one we saw play out. Yes, they had the big speech and humanity celebrating the victory, but in the original draft you apparently would’ve seen one alien scurry off into the night — leaving a hanging thread that there’s still an alien threat lingering on the fringes.

Here’s the excerpt from Eick’s comments:

“In the original outline, after Tom crushed the vial to release the Dorniya critter to kill the Queen, we see the critter scurry away. Later, after Tom’s big speech, the camera soars to the heavens — “We are not alone” — but then it zooms back down, all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial, now deserted, as that little Dorniya critter patters off into the night. However, we ultimately decided to end on a hopeful versus ominous note …”

Obviously, this would’ve been a terrible way to end a show that is known for its sappiness and over-sentimentalism. The whole show is about having hope, and seems to have promised a happy ending since the very beginning (since it was always too afraid to dig into the real harshness of war). The ending we got was schlocky, sure, but it fit the schlocky tone of the show.

Eick also touched on the direction they took Pope's character in the final season, essentially turning him into an antagonist and having him die from his wounds after a brief conversation with Tom. The scene wasn't terrible, but it was still an awful way to wrap up Pope's arc. So, so short-changed. The final chat with Tom was too little, too late. Here's Eick's breakdown of that final Tom/Pope scene:

"There was a great deal of debate about allowing Pope’s 'death' in Episode 509 be his final curtain, but I felt strongly that we needed to see a final Tom/Pope standoff in the last episode. After all, they’ve always symbolized the black-and-white nature of human beings at war ... In addition being a critical component (to me) of the final episode, it did seem that Pope — despite giving in to his darkest impulses this season — could be ever-so-slightly redeemed by offering his gun to Tom. But of course he’s too late; as Tom says, 'I’m done killing.'"

What do you think? Could this alternate ending have saved this alien-filled mess?

(Via TV Line)