Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Terra Nova: The End of the Beginning

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

So this is the potential end to this series. 13 episodes in. A ton of money poured into it. Some good, talented actors and a bunch of smaller folks. And... a bunch of plot holes. Like, a ton, folks. If you've been watching since the beginning, there's no need for me to start pointing them out now. Some things don't add up, while poor explanations of others have tried to cover the concerns. It doesn't really matter, though. The very end of the first season potentially traps the show into another corner... why, exactly, is a ship from the 18th century in Terra Nova? Are you going to feed me a Bermuda Triangle story? They might not even need to... the show has not yet been renewed, and many are skeptical of what will happen. Such a costly and time-intensive program needs big numbers... and they aren't really there. And, to top it off, these last two episodes were NOT as exciting as I had hoped. At least a dinosaur ate a bad guy...

Terra Nova "Occupation" (S01E12): We see Lucas in 2149, so it's clear that he made it back okay and that his reverse-portal works. Everyone in Terra Nova is preparing for the arrival of the 11th pilgrimage, but they're worried about who/what might come through so everyone is on high alert. Josh wants to be out at the pilgrimage site, but Jim tells him to stay home and care for his sisters. They're expecting fighting and warn the kids to hide if the fighting gets to the colony. The pilgrimage begins, and each person coming through is checked. Cara comes through, and Jim greets her. But, immediately afterward, a suicide bomber appears. In my first major gripe about the "finale," we lose three days and don't know what happened at all, except that there was fighting, Walsh eventually surrendered after 26 deaths, and Taylor and a bunch of soldiers got separated from everyone else.

Jim is among the injured. He suffers from ringing in one ear, and we see that there has been a lot of damage to the settlement. Mira and Lucas are in the main building now, and we learn that Cara was killed in the blast. [well that just is the crowning touch on it, isn't it? Josh committed treason for no reason at all. sucks.] The colonists are pretty much hostages - curfew is at 8pm and all of the weapons have been taken. Boylan's place is taken over by men of this new Phoenix group. They brought a new terminus (the bomb broke the first one) but it was damaged by dinosaurs and Malcolm is fixing it. Jim talks Walsh into trying to take control again. Mira comes to see Jim at the medical center, but he's not there, as he went to talk to Malcolm about the terminus. For whatever reason, Malcolm got spooked by Mira killing his assistant, but Jim calms him into taking his time fixing the device. Jim plays deaf when Mira comes around, and Malcolm hams it up by customizing Jim's crutches.

Then, some tidbits happen which don't really add to the overall story. Lucas tells Skye that she better not betray him again. [don't worry, she will.] Jim suggests that Josh try to get his job back - he might overhear something from the Phoenix guys at the bar. [but he doesn't.] Then, in an extremely cryptic and unlikely fashion, Elisabeth discovers that the bullets are hand-etched with map coordinates, courtesy of Taylor. [Why Mira doesn't have one of her goons stationed at the medical center in case this sort of thing happens is beyond me.] Malcolm, Josh, and the wheelchair guy stage a distraction so that Jim is able to secretly get OTG to meet up with Taylor and the soldiers. They have to defuse a bomb, but get torched with a bunch of smaller missiles anyway. [why this made it into the episode, I'm not sure. it didn't do anything but play up the old bomb cliche.] Jim makes it back and was "found wandering near the perimeter" and brought to his family. The ol' opossum-like routine doesn't last much longer, though. Jim rushes to Josh's aid when he gets beat up for defending Skye at the bar. Jim wails on the soldiers and Lucas shows up, knowing that Jim has been in contact with Taylor AND that he isn't that injured after all. 

Terra Nova "Resistance" (S01E13): Josh and Jim are both being held somewhere, and Josh apologizes for screwing up and for not understanding why Jim clocked that population control officer back in 2149. [I guess that's a good realization? It felt forced, though.] Josh is released and Jim is questioned. And by questioned, I mean tortured, of course. Elisabeth strikes a deal with Weaver, a Phoneix guy, to find Jim. We finally learned what happened to Lucas' mother when he tells Jim that there was a situation in Somalia where each soldier could only save one person, and Taylor chose Lucas. Weaver waltzes on in, sends Lucas to deal with something else, and brings Jim to Elisabeth's house. Elisabeth gives him a "parasitic cute," but since the guy is a hypochondriac, he takes the sedative immediately. [this was funny and quite well done on Elisabeth's part. Weird the way Josh acknowledges it, though.]

The Shannon family is on the run, and Walsh tells them that they have five minutes to get past a down area of the grid. She was supposed to go with them, but sacrifices herself instead as a distraction. And, when she won't disclose Taylor's whereabouts, Lucas kills her. Mira asks Weaver when she'll get to return to 2149, and is told that she and her "people" are free to go as soon as the terminus is repaired. [sounds pretty fair. In the next scene, when Zoe is hugging Taylor, she refers to Walsh as "Washington," LoL. I wonder if nobody noticed or if they couldn't re-do it or what happened there...]

Jim finds Mady and Reynolds making out in the woods. [this scene didn't do much for anyone. especially if the show isn't renewed.] Jim tells Taylor about a phrase Walsh said to pass on, and it is deciphered to mean that they need to blow the bridge so that nobody else from 2149 can send anything or anyone to Terra Nova. [well that is a gutsy move...] Because the damage must be done to Hope Plaza in 2149, Jim is the best candidate to destroy it, as he's snuck around that building before. Skye talks to Lucas, telling him that she knows Taylor will never trust her, so she might as well take Lucas' side now. [how the boy didn't see through this is beyond me.] Skye tells Lucas that she knows how to get in touch with Taylor, so he pulls over and gets ambushed.

Lucas gets loose and hurts Skye. [why did they leave Skye alone with Lucas??] He then tries to warn his men, but the interference from the terminus screws up that plan and he takes off on foot. Malcolm temporarily messes with the terminus to buy some time after the shipment is sent through. Skye regains consciousness and radios Taylor that Lucas is on the prowl. Taylor stops Lucas and tells him that his mother would be so ashamed at who he became. Lucas fakes being sorry and hugs Taylor, but when Taylor embraces him back, Lucas stabs him in the thigh. [saw that coming!] Skye shoots Lucas twice, but he still manages to drag himself off.

Cr: Brook Rushton/FOX
Jim is hidden in the hijacked cargo, so nobody knows that he's in it and headed to 2149.  When he arrived, Weaver brags about the delivery. Taylor's crew packed some dinosaurs as a distraction, and while things get crazy, one eats Weaver. Jim makes it back to Terra Nova. [how do the Phoenix guys know that Hope Plaza is gone?] Mira is pissed. [well, we need multiple reasons to love/hate her if the show continues, right?] Boylan soon gets in touch with Taylor and fills him in on the fact that the Phoenix folks are headed North, toward "The Badlands." There's very little there, but apparently they had found part of an 18th-century ship. [how did they know that was there? when was there time to find it?] Taylor takes everyone back to the settlement and retakes command. Taylor wants to keep the ship under wraps, so few know, though Jim and Elisabeth are in the loop. The episode/series ends with the family watching a meteor shower that Mady predicted.
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