Sarah Carter on Season 5 of ‘Falling Skies’: Maggie Is in Her Element

The final season of Falling Skies is upon us, and Sarah Carter chatted with us about the upcoming episodes, especially Maggie’s role in this journey. Read our conversation below, and then tune into the Season 5 premiere tonight at 10/9c on TNT in the US, or on Tuesday, June 30 at 9pm on Super Channel in Canada.

What can you tell us about where we find the group when the season begins, and Maggie’s role in the events following Tom and Lexi trying to save the world?

Well, some time has passed and we’ve had to hold our own. Off the top, as you may have seen through the trailers, Tom does come back. We, as a group, go through a process of “Do we trust him or don’t we?” Maggie — typical Maggie — is skeptical at first but faster than ever, and motivated to win this war. Tom is stronger than ever. He’s got a “take no prisoners” attitude. He wants to take back the planet. He encourages everyone to dig in to their rage and win this war. There’s a different tone off the top. It’s war and there’s no question about it. Maggie’s in her element.

The other thing is that she’s got these spikes. She’s got super strength. She’s coupled with Ben and they’ve become a great team. The 2nd Mass values them as a team. Hal has had to accept that, and not only does he accept it, he appreciates it. At the end of Season 4, they were working together as a threesome and that continues. Then you get to the middle of the season and essentially it becomes important for Maggie to deal with her heart — not just does she want to be with Ben or does she want to be with Hal — she wants her own feelings back. She wants to know what are her feelings and what is this alien force running through her.

I recall the online reaction to Maggie and Ben, especially for the fans who are so invested in the Maggie / Hal relationship and how it’s been a hopeful element in the show. Maggie and Ben bonded because they had this common experience. What was it like for you watching that storyline unfold?

I found it fascinating and ultimately appreciated the writers’ idea to take Maggie and Ben to that place. What I like about this show, and sci-fi in general, is that it uses these extreme circumstances and makes them relatable to our own human experience with our limited sensitivities. I think that everyone can relate to that moment when you meet somebody who really understands you. All of a sudden you bond because you have the same life as somebody else and there’s an attraction there. A lot of shame comes up, and in the case of Maggie and Ben, they absolutely cannot control it, whereas human beings have a responsibility to have more control, be more aware and conscious, and make peaceful, loving decisions. Here’s two characters who don’t have that option. What happens when you have to go with the flow and make the best of what’s true for you? It’s a controversial discussion, and I think people reacted appropriately. What I was surprised to see was how positive a lot of the reactions were, because I know how much people loved Hal and Maggie. I loved the Hal and Maggie romance, and I think the Ben and Maggie romance scared me. As an actor, it scared me, and I think it did that for other people, too. It caused an interesting divide, that’s for sure.

I had a chance to see the Season 5 premiere and there were some nice, happy moments with Maggie and Hal. These little moments that happen in between all the chaos are always a welcome sight.

That’s testament to Hal’s character. He always comes back to being a good man and a hero. It’s nice that he has the opportunity to show that on every level, just seek acceptance and unconditional love. This is his brother and a woman who he cared for more than any other woman in his life — arguably Karen — but he decides he’d rather choose love and he’d rather make the most of the fact that there’s a bigger problem at stake. This is a war that they all have to win. Why not work together with these two people who he trusts?

I think for Maggie, her truth is that she absolutely loves Hal. It’s very, very clear to her. Even throughout Season 4, she knew that Hal was her true love and that didn’t go away. It was shocking that she could have these strong feelings for Ben and not have it affect how much she feels for Hal. She tries to articulate that, but that’s not an easy pill to swallow.

You mentioned that most of the 2nd Mass group has embraced Maggie and Ben as this fighting duo, and what they’re able to accomplish working together. Do Maggie and Ben still encounter some people who are suspicious because they’re “enhanced humans”? There’s always been a little undercurrent of mistrust, so I wasn’t sure if that’s something that’s still going to play out.

I think you’re right. It’s there, but that particular aspect of it doesn’t affect Maggie that much because she always feels like an outsider. Now she’s an outsider with more of a purpose and she takes comfort in that. I don’t know if it’s her destructive nature, or self-sabotage. She doesn’t like being in the limelight. She’d rather know that she is who she is and nothing and no one can control her. She’s got dominion over her own life. This season really is all about her and her own feelings about herself.

With this being a final season — especially in a story like this — everyone is fair game and you never know who’s going to make it to the end. Was there some apprehension from the cast each time a script arrived as to who might make it to the next episode?

Oh, yeah. I read every script thinking out this is the one I was going to die. But that started in Season 1, to be honest.

Going into this season, was it helpful to know that the series was ending and that you were going to be able to give it a proper sendoff?

Everyone on the cast agreed it was a blessing to know this was our final season. We thought we would be able to read our side of the story closer to the beginning of the season, but the writers held the story points close to their chests and continued to reveal them a week before we go to camera. It was no less thrilling than any other season. We had no idea how it was ultimately going to end. We did trust that they would come up with a great way to close the whole story.

These episodes are so strong. It has a different look, all of the actors are so solid in their roles, and the overarching themes are a lot clearer. It’s more unified than ever. Last season, we were literally split and that was great in terms of shaking up all of the story lines. But this season, we’re together and we are rebuilding America and it’s got momentum.

Photo Courtesy of TNT

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