I’ve noticed something. When Fox advertises for their upcoming week of shows, it goes a little something like this: “NEW HOUSE! NEW BONES! ALL NEW! ALL AWESOME!…..alsoterranovaisnewthisweektooBYE!” Even FOX is ashamed of this show! And this is a network that is now hyping up a new sitcom called ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter’ (seriously folks, it’s real – look it up)! You want to know something else? I agree with them! They should be ashamed of this show! I know I’ve ranted about this show in the past for being stupid, insulting, boring, and just an all-around bad show. If you’re hoping for something different from me this week, learn to live with disappointment. Here comes another rant about another idiotic episode.
[Be warned, this recap contains spoilers]
First I’ll start with some good news. That pet dinosaur that was introduced at the end of last week? It is nowhere to be found this week. Perhaps they’re showing the episodes out of order. It wouldn’t be the first time Fox has done that. I’m still hoping that somebody read the pet dinosaur scene and thought it was so ridiculous that they ordered the writers to just sweep that little tidbit under the carpet and pretend it never happened. Regardless, we are spared any pet dinosaur scenes in this episode, and for that I am truly grateful. What we get instead is a silly opening scene where the Shannons are all busy getting ready for their day. Jim is preparing some surprise for Zoe and is trying to rush her out of the house. Josh is getting ready for a day at Boylan’s, Elizabeth is getting ready for a day in the infirmary and Maddy is acting suspiciously. She says she’s just going to stay home and do homework. She’s enough of a geek that nobody really questions it. What struck me with this scene was just the inhuman level of bickering going on. It’s like the writers and the actors are really trying to cram the idea that this is “normal” family down our throats. Sorry, folks. We’re seven episodes in, and I’m still not believing this family for one second. I’m not going to start now.
So eventually the family all goes their separate ways, and we see that Maddy is secretly going to…have a date. Yes, Lieutenant Milquetoast McBland (okay, his name is Mark Reynolds, but who cares?) and Maddy are having some clandestine dating relationship despite the fact that Reynolds and Jim actually work together and get along pretty well. I’m not sure what all the sneaking around is for, but whatever. Their relationship is too forgettable to even care.
After that, we have a scene between Malcolm and Taylor where they ponder the mystery box that Mira wanted. Malcolm points out that it has some genetic readers on it, so that means that it’s meant for a specific person to open it. Taylor assumes that it’s for Mira, and tells Malcolm to lock it away.
On his way to Boylan’s, Josh runs across Skye and her friend Hunter. We’ve only seen this guy once before, and that was in the premiere episode. Hunter is on his way to the infirmary because he drank some unfermented nectar and has been suffering from a dreadful hangover for a whole week! I never credited the teen characters on this show with an abundance of intelligence, but that’s a special kind of stupid right there. At the infirmary, Elizabeth takes a look at him after giving him a stock “drinking is bad” lecture, and quickly discovers that he has a thirty foot prehistoric tapeworm residing in his intestines. Oh those kids and their hijinks!
We then see the surprise that Jim had in store for Zoe. He takes her to an underground vault (WHAT?!), where he shows her a strange computer encased in some sort of aquarium. It’s called the Eye. It’s a supercomputer that holds a holographic representation of all of human history. So…I guess they were able to reconstruct the library of Alexandria in the 22nd century and fill in that little historical gap. You can punch up any place on the planet at any time in history and take a look at what it was like. I just have one little question here: WHY IS THIS MIRACLE OF SCIENCE SITTING COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN IN A VAULT UNDER TERRA NOVA?!
So Jim fires up Google Everything Ever, and tells Zoe she can go anywhere in history she wants. She chooses to first see where she was born, so Jim brings up a dilapidated house in the middle of a desert. He then goes on to tell her just what he and Elizabeth went through to bring her into the world. Nothing creates a stable childhood like saying “Mommy and I broke all sorts of laws to give birth to you.” After that future therapy session, Zoe decides she wants to see a roller coaster. Untold man hours and technical revolutions to create this wonder, and we’re using it to show a little girl a roller coaster. Good job, science!
Maddy and Mark go on their date in some field. It’s so sappy and uninteresting, it’s not even worth going into detail over. The only interesting part is that they see a meteor plunging toward them.
The meteor is seen by Terra Nova too. It looks like it’s going to impact nearby, but rather than brace for it, everybody just stares at it. The speed of it generates an EMP that knocks out everything in the colony, and everybody takes a minute to ponder their own idiocy for tying everything they have to computers. It’s only when the meteor actually hits that Taylor realizes that…it creates a shockwave. Did everybody in Terra Nova just wake up and decide today will be Idiot Day? So, only as the shockwave is approaching, does everybody begin to run for cover. Mark and Maddy see the shockwave coming too, and they avoid it by…ducking. In a field. I may not be all that knowledgeable about how shockwaves work, but I’m pretty sure that just ducking in an open space won’t help you. The shockwave hits, and tons of people get injured. Maybe if you didn’t stare blankly at the incoming meteor, you might have avoided at least a few of these.
So, everything is plunged into darkness. Elizabeth now has to go old school on Hunter and actually cut into him to remove the tapeworm. Jim and Zoe are trapped in the vault, and nobody knows they’re there. Mark and Maddy are also trapped outside the gates with nobody knowing they’re out there. Taylor tells his team that all the circuits for everything are fried along with all the replacement parts in storage. Malcolm says that he has a solution: a circuit fabricator that can quickly build all the fried circuits in the colony. But, you guessed it, the main circuit on that is also fried. In fact, the only thing in the entire colony that was shielded from an EMP was the Eye. The supercomputer that nobody knew or cared about is the only one that gets EMP shielding while all the equipment in the infirmary goes unprotected. Clearly they had enough forethought to know that an asteroid EMP might happen, but they never thought to use it on really crucial systems. You know what, Terra Nova? You deserve to be plunged into the dark ages for that.
So Taylor comes up with a solution he doesn’t like. The only man in Terra Nova who can fix the circuit on Malcolm’s fabricator is Boylan, and Taylor really doesn’t want to go to him for help. I’m going to say this again so that the idiocy can really sink in. You have a colony that is 100% dependent upon computers, and of the hundreds of hand-picked residents of this colony, you have precisely one person who can actually do circuit repairs. And that guy is a shady bartender. This is the dumbest colony ever made!
Mira’s spotters tell her that Terra Nova has been knocked out by the EMP, and she decides now is the time to make her strike. That’s a solid plan, but one of her men tells her that Taylor’s troops still outnumber hers. She has a contingency plan for that. Can you guess what that plan is? Herding a dinosaur up to the gates. And not just any dinosaur. Somehow she manages to wrangle a Spinosaurus, best known from its appearance in ‘Jurassic Park III: Sam Neill Was Upset That Golblum Got a Sequel All to Himself.’ This is one of the largest dinosaurs on record. This thing is so massive that it makes a T-Rex run away in fear. And Mira had access to one this whole time?! Why didn’t she use it earlier?
Mark and Maddy have to walk back to Terra Nova, but they won’t make it before nightfall, and they just happen to also be in raptor territory. Nice choice for a first date there, Mark. So they slather themselves in some ultra-smelly mud which supposedly acts as raptor repellent, but that doesn’t do anything, since a group of raptors come up on them in a matter of minutes. The two of them are forced to climb a tree and wait until morning. Maddy gives some speech about how she wants to know what it’s like to kiss him in case they die in the night, but my instinct to not care about this plot thread at all kicked in. So enough about them.
Jim and Zoe try to find a way out of the vault, but the only thing Jim can find is a maintenance tunnel that is too small for him. In true movie fashion, if there’s a locked door, the manual release for it will always be on the other side of whichever one you happen to be on. So it’s up to Zoe to crawl through the tunnel and get to the other side. But she’s afraid there might be spiders in there. That’s a sudden and random worry, but okay. To help with this, Jim begins singing some made up “Go Away, Spiders” song. Zoe makes it through the tunnel and opens the door. It’s just been one wonderfully traumatic day for this kid.
In the infirmary, Elizabeth has used a local anesthetic to cut open Hunters guts and start spooling out the tapeworm. Hunter is still fully awake while all of this is happening, and Skye has to take over for Elizabeth so that she can tend to the dozens of people who were injured in the shockwave. While Skye is spooling out the tapeworm, Hunter confesses that he’s in love with her. Like we really needed that extra teen drama.
Taylor and Washington try to negotiate a deal with Boylan to repair the fabricator circuit, and after some sleazy grandstanding on his part, finally agrees to do it when Taylor threatens him with violence. Good old violence. It really does solve everything! So after that pointless bit of posturing, Taylor goes back up to find the Spinosaurus rushing toward the colony. He and Jim light a river of fire to keep it from busting through the perimeter. I’m not even asking how they anticipated that at this point. Taylor notices some Sixers herding it and realizes that it’s a distraction, and that Mira is going after her box. She has the ability to herd and control one of the largest and fiercest dinosaurs ever known, and she uses it as a diversion? I give up. So a group of Sixers break into Terra Nova and make off with the box. We get an intensely overblown fight and chase scene as Jim and Taylor try to stop them.
Meanwhile, in the infirmary, the tapeworm suddenly snaps and bores itself deeper into Hunter. Elizabeth tells Skye to get over to Boylan’s and tell him to make a chip for the biobed as soon as he has the fabricator up and running again. It doesn’t seem to take long, and Boylan gets her the chip she needs. Once that’s done, Boylan hears about the Sixers invading, and for some reason rushes to help Taylor. I’m not even sure why at this point. The two of them have had nothing but animosity for each other this entire time, and we already know that Boylan is working with the Sixers. Regardless, he still comes to Taylor’s defense and uses the one bullet in his old school handgun to kill the Sixer attacking him. Despite that, another Sixer makes off with Mira’s box. Putting the new chip into Hunter’s biobed, Elizabeth discovers that the tapeworm has died, and it’s going to be no problem getting the rest of it out. Well, that was easy.
Morning comes, and Terra Nova is getting back to normal. We never really see what happened to that Spinosaurus. It just kind of left. Maddy and Mark are able to sneak back into the colony without being seen. Malcolm, Jim and Taylor have a discussion about Mira’s box. Taylor believes that somebody inside the colony told Mira where it was. Only three main characters knew where it was, and only one of them seems a bit shady. I wonder who it could be!
Finally, in the woods, we see what the box was all about. The box wasn’t intended for her. She was delivering it to Lucas, Taylor’s son. This was apparently the entire point of her and the Sixers coming to Terra Nova in the first place. She meets up with Lucas, and he activates it. It displays a bunch of equations and diagrams that mean absolutely nothing. Lucas makes some grand speech about how Taylor will have to choose between the future of Terra Nova and his own flesh and blood. It seems that somebody went to the J. J. Abrams school of storytelling. Show a few intriguing things and then quickly shroud them in mystery with a couple canned lines of ambiguity. I just don’t care anymore. That box could hold the secrets of the universe, and I wouldn’t care.
This show is so unbelievably bad that watching it is becoming real torture. With all the terrible performances, contrived plot devices, and ridiculous distractions that go nowhere, they have the audacity to try to give us some kind of mystery? I’m just counting the weeks until its inevitable cancellation. The only positive thing I can take away from this episode: at least there was no pet dinosaur.
If you missed last week’s episode and for some reason want to know what happened, you can read our ‘Terra Nova: Bylaw’ recap to catch up.