Post Mortems
Falling Skies Series Finale

Falling Skies Boss Weighs In on Series Finale's Big Twists (Including a Very Final One That Didn't Make the Cut)

The following contains out-of-this-world spoilers from the Falling Skies finale.

It was back in May, during Upfronts week and more than a month before Falling Skies‘ Season 5 opener, that Noah Wyle spoiled for me the outcome of the TNT series’ finale.

“I don’t want to give everything away, but… we win,” he let slip with a wink. Even so, “We thin the herd along the way,” he warned. “Not everybody makes it to the finish line.”

As the alien-invasion drama’s final hour unspooled, Tom, wife Anne, sons Hal, Ben and Matt, and the rest of the 2nd Mass — plus a few new biker pals led by Jeff Fahey — made tracks for the Lincoln Memorial, where the Espheni were guarding something big. Traveling through an access tunnel, they stumbled across a nest of glowing (they’re always glowing, aren’t they?) eggs FallingSkies_Queencontaining super-extra-nasty Espheni. It was down there, during a blast, that Tom get separated from the rest of the troops, and forged ahead alone, coming face-to-face near Lincoln’s severed head the Espheni queen.

The queen pinned down Tom with a spritz of goo, leaving the Dorniya bioweapon just out of his grasp. But just as the queen went to suck Tom dry, he grabbed the vial and let its contents run through his body and into his attacker, promptly exploding her into smithereens, along with all of her minions. (That the hornets’ bursts resembled fireworks above the Washington Monument surely was by design.)

Tom’s thrill of victory would be short-lived, however, as upon reuniting with his unit he discovered that newly pregnant Anne had died,FallingSkies_DeadAnne from wounds suffered during the subterranean blast. Flashing back to his own miraculous apres-moon trip salvation at the hands of the Dorniya, Tom carried Anne to the water, beseeching his onetime saviors to bring back his wife. There at the shoreline, Tom also had a final face-off with a worse-for-wear Pope, who breathed his last breath after agreeing on a certain peace with his years-long frenemy.

In a brief coda, we flashed forward to a ceremony commemorating humankind’s victory, seeing Tom, an alive Anne, Weaver, Hal (with fiancée Maggie) et al scrubbed clean and in their Sunday finest. Now the professor emeritus at the new United Nations University, Tom gives a speech, closing with the feel-good takeaway from the five-year skirmish — that “We are not alone.”

In the wake of the Steven Spielberg-produced series wrapping its run, executive producer David Eick emailed TVLine the answers to a few burning questions, revealing some flash-forward “RSVPs” that got lost in the mail as well as the final twist that was deemed too ominous.

TVLINE | How long ago did you come up with the Espheni queen’s motivation for the attack on Earth? It was ratherFallingSkies_Daughter Spielbergian, her having a (semi-)tragic past and all.
I pitched this idea to Steven during our off-season meetings and he loved it right away, challenging me to have our audience question if maybe they’ve been rooting for the wrong side. In the end, we didn’t push it quite that far, but indeed, it always seemed to me that Falling Skies was a family drama first, and what better way to explain the motivation of the enemy than to suggest that we’re not the only race capable of experiencing pain and loss?

TVLINE | Are we to infer that Tom’s idea to bring Anne back FallingSkies_Finale_Waterto the ocean waters/those who “helped” him, worked?
Yes, the Dorniya save Anne in much the same way, we suggest, that they saved Tom (off-camera) in the moments between end of Season 4 and opening of Season 5.

TVLINE | Was there any discussion about leaving Anne dead, as the one great price Tom paid for humankind’s ultimate victory?
No. Between the losses the 2nd Mass had already accumulated, plus the fact that we were killing off our new regular Demarcus Wolff (played by Daren A. Herbert), as a cautionary reminder of the life or death stakes that have always been a hallmark of the show), nearly killing Anne and definitely killing Pope… it seemed the body count was sufficient for a finale.

TVLINE | Was there anyone else that cheated the Reaper, that was at one point offed in earlier drafts?FallingSkies_Pope
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.

TVLINE | Regarding that last face-off, was Pope truly expecting that Tom would put him out his misery?
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.”FallingSkies_MaggieHal

TVLINE | Was there anyone you wanted back for the festive final scene but didn’t get?
In many drafts, we had return cameo appearances by Scarlett Byrne (who played Lexi) and Jessy Schram (Karen) planned, but budget and page count proved too much to overcome.

TVLINE | Was there any temptation to offer a final sting as we looked up to the skies? Maybe show a “star” ominously zoom away?FallingSkies_Finale_DC
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…

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. fayedigi says:

    Anne coming back from the dead with no explanation was somewhat of a turn-off.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      But she looked so good at the ceremony, we will allow it.

    • Rachel says:

      I completely agree fayedigi. They’re at war for five years and somehow Tom, Anne, Hal, Ben, Matt, Weaver and Maggie all make it? I was in the middle of commending the show for killing Anne when they suddenly pulled the most cowardly trope in television (but wait… they’re not REALLY dead!) It left us with NO emotional impact.

    • Jdjd says:

      They brought her back with alien tech the way they brought mason back before the season started. Not that hard to follow. I was more concerned with the way they kind of left the middle child hanging. He lost his girl to his older brother. Still has the spikes… What’s next for him?

      • MelindaB says:

        Actually, Maggie was Hal’s girl first, and they were only attracted to each other because of the spikes…at least, on Maggie’s part. But I wondered the same thing about Ben and his spikes. It would have made for a bigger impact if Ben had died from the spikes when the Espheni were defeated, and would have made Tom a tragic hero. It is rather unlikely that the whole family made it through the war intact.

        • Russell says:

          Oh wow, you’re right! Ben has Espheni biology in him! Yes, he should’ve disintegrated, if not at the very least, his spikes. Those things are alive! And they shouldn’t be anymore.

          And Pope was right, the Mason family always survives…

          • Tom says:

            And what’s wrong with that? Why does everyone have to die? It’s pretty morbid for us to want characters to die just so it can be “real”. What’s wrong with characters we’ve invested five seasons in surviving? Silly us for wanting them to live.

      • Mike says:

        Ben Mutates in to some out of this world cyborg. Ben Really marries Maggie and their kid is born with spikes too. “They’re Back! New show Title “Falling Skies : Echoes”
        They didn’t kill them all………Good spinoff……….they should have showed some advanced little critter slithering away in to the darkness to leave you wondering…
        (always leave yourself an opening to continue the story)

    • RobMF says:

      It depends on your definition of the word “explanation” because I saw a very well thought out way for them to do it. I mean honestly I wouldn’t have cared either way. Anne was kind of annoying at times but Tom realized they had saved him in that water and there had to have been something there that allowed for that to happen. Said creature took her into the water. I think that pretty much explained everything you needed to know. We don’t need to know the hows and whys of the way it works. I mean its silly either way. People who die are generally always dead.

    • Devi's says:

      But there was a very clear explanation… the brings that brought Tom back to life after the moon trip (he came back to life in the ocean, if you recall) brought her back to life when Tom pleaded with them. How could you have missed that? Maybe you were in the bathroom? You need a dvr, dude!

      • Sethos says:

        if you notice the flashback Tom was never really shown to be dead. all that happened after said moon trip was tom and the spaceship he was on was drifting in space.and he was dropped back on earth in an ocean he crawled out of. unless i missed the part he was shown dead. Anne on the other hand was actually dead. she stopped breathing. and the part of the ocean where Tom last meets the almighty being that has power over life and death is quite far.
        i found the ending to be BS.
        i was expecting Tom to die. taking the aliens with him.
        but NOOOOPE. Masons always have to live . Q.Q

  2. Allen says:

    one of the worst series finales i’ve seen. it felt very lazy.

  3. Tom says:

    I was satisfied

  4. Mike says:

    Just a terrible finale. A slow and meandering final season ended with a rushed and anti climatic finish. Felt like the writers just said, meh whatever just get this over with. Could have been such a better season

  5. texmike says:

    I thought it was a great ending to the long journey. It was the beginning of a new start for the world.

  6. Brad says:

    It was okay I figured one of the masons kids would have died but I like happy endings

  7. Dave Mittner says:

    Wow… good move having a spoiler right in the URL…

  8. Jim says:

    It was a great show wish the season finale was longer. What happened to all the harness kids and people?

  9. Frank Longo says:

    I thought it was an excellent finale. I particularly liked that Cochise and the Volm were there in the end listening to Tom’s speech as he said that we are not alone. After all of that horror, it’s nice to know we have friends in the universe.

    • I thought it was great how they implied that the only reason we didn’t have peace before in the world was because the other countries didn’t realise how great the American Way was and relinquish their sovereignty and fall in line with what DC wants.

  10. nick says:

    I wonder why i wasted my time with this show. Ah well it was about the journey I guess. Clearly they long ago let on that they had no idea where they were going with the story and making it all up as they went.

  11. ? says:

    I can vaguely remember liking this show once, a long time ago. Such a disappointment. Oh well, at least it’s over now.

  12. ron says:

    Last season was rushed, and cut sorry lines short just to finish the show, it needed another few episodes so things didnt feel rushed

  13. Kailani says:

    One year too long, it was a real cop out to have the so-called big scene in dark and just Mason alone with the Queen (really really anticimatic)…could’ve/should’ve been SO much more, and simply wasn’t. Made the whole season feel like the complete waste that it was. Glad it’s over. First 3.5 years; great stuff. Got weaker and weaker every eipsode after that.

  14. Big Mike says:

    Everything Pope said was right. NOTHING happens to the Mason clan. Nothing.

  15. Jim says:

    The series started out great and progressively got worse. This whole season was just awful, lazy writing by people who were out of ideas. This show runner should have listened to everyone else who wanted to leave Pope dead. That scene was just stupid. No one checked the rubble for Pope’s body? How did Pope track Tom down through the tunnels of DC to the Lincoln Memorial and down to that particular spot on the water? It was just ridiculous. Then, having any sort of “redemptive” moment for Pope was absurd…..they just spent the last several episodes showing us that the guy was beyond redemption. Also, how did they get 4 seasons into the show before they came up with a reason for the invasion? Shouldn’t that have been something the show’s creators thought up when they created the show? It just demonstrates how there was a lack of vision beyond Season 1…..they just winged it after that.

  16. justsomeguy says:

    Never thought I’d see a TV show end worse than Lost after such a great start, but Falling Skies rose to the challenge. Good riddance.

  17. Cleo Norris says:

    I’m sorry to see it end :o( I hope for a follow-up? Wonderful series

  18. nick says:

    The only bad comment I have is that this wonderful show ended tonight. It will be a loss to all of us that adored the show! Cheers to the Mason Family!!!!

  19. nick says:

    I read the comments and just laugh. If you hated the show so much then why did you watch it? People just like to complain when they are hurt losing a show they liked.

    • ? says:

      Because we once liked it, and we kept watching in hopes we would find what we liked in it again. But in this case it just went from bad writing to worse writing and ended up at thoroughly lazy writing where it seemed like no one involved with the show even cared anymore.

  20. Garry says:

    The whole last season was disappointing. I was expecting them going into a full on war, joining up with allied forces and finally winning by sheer force, determination and good fighting, taking heavy losses along the way.

    Instead what we got was the same boring stuff they did the last seasons, with the 2nd mass stumbling around hopelessly like chicken with cut off heads and at the end coincidentally tripping and falling onto a big pile of I-win buttons. Boom.. war won. The end. We are all alive and happy now.
    Totally wasted last season in my opinion.

  21. Greg says:

    so why didnt the middle child with the spikes not die.. all the alien stuff was meant to die off but he lived.. and if it has to do with the alteration of the vial to not hurt humans, when why didnt all the humanized skitters live too??
    Was a great show, it could have gone on another season to come to a great conclusion.. TV Shows lately are just getting lazy.. they all (if they even make it a full season to be able to have a finale) run right up to the last show and then BAM, they try to make it all make sense and end within 40mins.. im disappointed its not continuing, but more so the rushed ending

  22. asdsfdsfsd says:

    David Eick never got Falling Skies. This is why Season 4 and 5 were a huge quality drop from what this show originally was. As someone who religiously watched every week, but last night I was just ready for it to be over. I would have quit watching, but I hate leaving things open ended. Probably should have though because the finale was bad even by this show’s current standards.

    • MelindaB says:

      Ditto here. We had stuck it out this long, so we were going to see it to the end, but TBH, most episodes from the past few seasons have been instantly forgettable. Every season premiere when they’d show the “previously on” scenes, I’d spend part of it saying, “I don’t remember that at all.” And during the finale, I found my attention wandering due to the inability to see much of what was happening. I did say that they’d better not pull an “It” and make the creature a giant spider, and it essentially looked like a giant spider. Best of luck to the cast and crew in their future endeavors.

  23. Mark says:

    All I ask is for fans to go and re-watch the first two minutes of the pilot when matt mason is drawing a picture at the very start and then get the writers to explain how they went to Washington in the first place when it was established in the first 30 seconds of the show it had been destroyed didn’t look that bad in the finale. And to make it worse they start the finale with children s drawings as a homage to the pilot — should have watched the thing before writing this cop out.

    • Denis says:

      Honestly, it didn’t look that good in the finale either. Lincoln literally lost his head!

    • Why would the aliens even use DC as a base anyway. It makes no sense whatsoever. It’s not like the capital has any strategic value. Surely Hawaii would have been far easier to defend as HQ of an invasion force.

  24. The Espheni were Cylons all along, I knew it!

  25. My guess about Anne would be that she’s a duplicate, like Katie and Lexi, but Tom didn’t care.

  26. yurie says:

    “But just as the queen went to suck Tom dry”
    Sounds like the beginning of a perverted fan fiction…

  27. blob says:

    I cannot state just how bad an ending that was, I enjoyed the early series, at least I think I did! that was really a frantic lets wrap it up sham and such a weak end… maybe should have ended a few seasons back while there was a spark of grit left…

  28. Mr. Smith says:

    I realize the show hasn’t always maintained the best writing or creativity, and it has jumped so many sharks it might have a chance to be in the next Sharknado movie, but last night’s finale was horrible! I cannot believe this came from Spielberg (peripherally or otherwise).

    More to the point, I can’t believe I wasted five seasons on this show.

  29. maregolden says:

    I like happy endings. There is enough sadness in real life for me. It is actually a trope that someone close to the hero dies in the end, so I was satisfied. Like many others though, I fully expected Ben to die because of his spikes.

  30. Alicia Gray says:

    It was just disappointing. I honestly didn’t expect much … this show really took a dive for me a long time ago. I expected though some repercussions. A familiar/family death. For everyone to have survived was ridiculous. Anne should have stayed dead. That’s what Tom should have gone on for … to make the world better because of her sacrifice for the cause. This show drove me nuts. I’ve honestly relieved it’s over, but I’m sorry to see it end.

  31. Jenn says:

    So, if Ben has Espheni spikes…that pretty much made him feel everything the Espheni felt, how come he wasnt affected when the queen died?

  32. Dale says:

    Not much there in the finale, in my opinion. The best part of the show has always been a terrific cast and that was true of the finale. But, I agree that bringing Anne back to life was kinda gutless. Also, I must say, the whole “kill the queen and the hive will all die” was just too cheap and easy. It’s a cliche. And how exactly does the queen’s death cause, for example, the hornets to explode a few seconds later?

  33. Mike says:

    This has been one boring mess of a show led by one boring actor who has no life in his performance.

  34. Maryann says:

    THANK YOU!!!! I absolutely loved that ending! I would just have had a sick feeling if one of those critters had gotten away or if there was the implication that it teally wasn’t over.

  35. ayeah14 says:

    Why wasn’t Tom’s Son effected by the bio weapon it he has the Espheni spikes?

  36. danoregon says:

    Thought it was cool the way they thanked fans in the final credits.

  37. Honestly I only liked one thing about the finale that Hal and Maggie ended up together they were only two characters I liked the rest of it sucked I would have had Ben sacrifice himself to save his family because his the only one who can go after the queen cause of his spikes and die in Toms arms. Hal and Maggie get married Maggie and she tells she pregnant with a boy and Hal stays I have the perfect name for him Tom becomes president and gives a speech and it ends with Ben Hal and Maggie son as a elderly old man reading the last war war by those fought it to grandkidz

  38. Angel Summer says:

    I liked this show, and I have been watching since the start. I think they should have went with a longer finale, instead of just an hour. It felt a little rushed, but I liked it.

  39. Horrible Ending! I followed these characters for 5 seasons and this is how you end this?? I think a film student could have came up with a better story line then this nonsense with the queen coming back for revenge.. It made no sense. So 1500 years ago with nothing but spears, the humans beat the almighty Espheni and all their technology? But it took wiping out more then 80% of humanity to beat them this time and that was only with the help of the Volm and the Dornia. How could a show that was so well written and had such strong story lines end this this badly?? Leaving nothing but lots of unanswered questions….Where was all the overloads and skitters when Tom just waltzed into the queens area? Why would they just disappear when the queen died? The war was over on earth for now, but the Espheni are still out there on countless other worlds and could come back to earth very easy. Speaking of which..What about the Volm? The wars not over for them.. It would been nice to see something in the ending rapping up the Volm storyline , maybe showing some of the humans leaving with them to continue the fight throughout the galaxy to assure the Espheni never return… and that whole thing with Anne dying and then coming back., Cheese factor 20!! Lame!!!!

  40. I also cant believe David Eick from Battlestar Galactica was working on this, esp after how fantastic that series finale was. This Falling Skies ending was worse then the X Files series finale and I thought nothing could top how bad that was..

  41. N9 says:

    I thought it was a good ending to a really entertaining series. Sci Fi TV shows are few and far between and tend to get cancelled early on in most networks so I was pretty happy that TNT stuck it out with this worth series. So, despite the avalanche of medical/cop/reality series that are dominating television now, I’ll still miss this cool little show.

  42. Bearoness says:

    I felt like the writers had just watched Aliens… The baby Espheni in the eggs on the floor, and the giant queen with the plate behind her head were straight from Aliens. Otherwise, I thought it was okay, but nowhere near the ending that the show deserved.

  43. Rick says:

    Ending was crap!!!

  44. Shelly says:

    I feel like the finale was structured only to tie everything up and not to deliver a great and engaging storyline. To me Falling Skies has always been really about Tom and his boys with an Alien War around them. But, Tom hardly had any one on one time with his kids. So what I found so doecial about this show was missing. And I never really felt there was a great love affair between Tom and Ann, so when she died and Tom saved her, it really didn’t have an impact on me. Finally the 2nd Mass which was another great character of this show, well the crawled around tunnels for the entire big final battle. Really, did they use all their budget up in season 4 because that was a crime how they didn’t get to engage. Pope should have gone down fighting because he hated aliens more than Mason. But wait, a skitter couldn’t take him out because we didn’t see any. How could they not include Skitters the best known Alien creature of the series. I want a re-do, with the Masons, the second Mass and skitters all fighting.

  45. Kevin says:

    Matt, can you explain why on every spoiler this site publishes a story, the spoiler HAS to be mentioned int the URL? I hope I’m not sounding rude, because I’ve carried this curiosity for some time now. Really, this question haunts me. I know you’re quite busy, but would really love to understand what I don’t.

  46. Andy says:

    I agree with all the expressions of disappointment but cannot believe no one seems to have been annoyed by the total cop out cliché “kill the queen and the others all explode”. How could that happen. What if the queen had an accident…the whole race explodes. Very poor.

  47. Lina says:

    I was satisfied with how the series ended, did it have its slow spots, yes but overall the journey of the Mason family and their amigos were very exciting and crazy ride. This was one of my favorite shows on TV and it will surely be missed. I do wonder what happen with Ben’s spikes. I seems like the writers should have gave us some sort of closure with that story.

  48. Snaiper says:

    The ending was just utter disappointment.

    The suggested alternate ending would’ve been far better off with how the entire episode was going.

    Everything was rushed, Spielberg didn’t seem to know who he wants to kill and who he wants to keep alive.

    The Queen was also a disappointment and her reasoning as well. The all-great Espheni, the force that traveled through galaxies couldn’t take on prehistoric humans with spears?

    So, Lieutenant Wolf did the dumbest thing ever for absolutely no reason just so Tom Mason could have his one-off with the Queen? Really?? That was so pushed I laughed.

    Anne should’ve stayed dead, too much playing with miracles. Pope should’ve stayed dead or just show up when he showed up and actually killed Tom Mason. Pope was just a flat out disappointment – from range infused maniac to a little puppy apologizing to the one responsible for his beloved person being a sacrifice… when a day before he was almost killed by the person who he is now apologizing to?!

    Everything about this episode was rushed… suddenly a hornet attack, kills Martin, no more hornet attack. Why did the hornets leave? It was a suicide mission anyway, so why did they leave?

    And how come the entire army in the D.C. did not notice Tom or his squad going through tunnels? Why was the Queen so blind to a weapon Tom was reaching for and that Tom had? Why did she speak like a human and looked so CGI-fake? It was just a mess… I was expecting an epic battle, or at least something more than a 1v1 that made no sense. The entire army put there to protect the Queen and yet the Queen apparently is not protected.

    Also, why was the Espheni-manufactured Lexi saying the truth? She uncovered more plans than anyone and is solely the reason they managed to make this last push, at least make it so soon and so easy. Why? She could’ve lied, but, nope, behind all the masks, the Espheni were telling the truth. And instead of just trying to kill Tom Mason in front of a bunch of people.. why didn’t the Espheni continue to play the role with Lexi and ultimately lead all of them in a trap?

    And then we come to the tunnels: apparently shining your flashlights directly doesn’t disturb them, apparently noise thus… and oddly just looking at them causes them to come out. And then when one comes out and makes loads of noise, when a grenade launcher is fired, when half the roof comes down – they’re not disturbed? Everyone’s ears are buzzing from how loud that was, and yet they keep whispering not to wake them.

    I loved the series up until somewhere half through the final episode. You dug yourself too deep, and you still had a chance to get out… but, nope, let’s dug ourselves even more with no explanations.

  49. James says:

    I guess I am exception to so many of the posters here. I thoroughly enjoyed the series finale. When you consider all that the Mason family endured throughout this series (spikes, worms, loss of a daughter, loss of friends), I believe they suffered quite a bit. No need to kill off any family members.
    There were a few loose ends and parts that did not fit well, including the Pope redemption scene (there is no redemption for Charles Manson lookalikes), Ann’s mysterious resurrection (explanation left to the imagination), why the Volm could not carpet bomb with their space ships (I suppose it had to be the human beings to win the war against humanity), but these were minor things that are easy enough to dismiss.
    Noah Wylie, Will Patton and the rest of the cast did a great job throughout the series.

  50. Joyce Rowland says:

    So, what’s next for Noah Wyle??