Who is my favorite character from Terra Nova up to this point? When given that question, I initially had to give it some thought. I quickly discarded the “main” characters Jim Shannon and Commander Taylor – while very important to the show, they were too bland and straightforward for me to pick them as my favorite. I also quickly discarded the rest of the Shannon family – there were one too many “ugh moments” there. (Spider song anyone?) When I considered the course of the season and with the benefit of hindsight, I realized I only had one choice for my favorite thus far…Lucas Taylor.
Although the character of Lucas has only been physically present onscreen in the show during three episodes (“Nightfall“, “Vs.” and “Within“), we now know he’s cast a shadow over the entire season. The formulas that we saw written on the rocks from the beginning of the season and the sporadic comments about “Taylor’s son” added a much needed air of mystery and intrigue to some otherwise lackluster episodes.
Unlike other characters on the show, the emotionality displayed by Lucas was, in my opinion, not overdone, smarmy or ridiculously melodramatic. I felt as if some of the other characters came off this season as one dimensional. For example, Maddy’s scrambling in the previous episode to get a core for her plex because she “hadn’t done any homework in 24 hours” left me rolling my eyes. Yes, I got it…she’s a very intelligent over-achiever. I got that point, repeatedly, much earlier in the season.
Lucas, on the other hand, displayed a complexity that was interesting and engaging. From the hints he dropped to Mira in his first appearance in the episode “Nightfall” about the Sixers needing to “do what they were here to do,” to his intense interaction with Skye in this week’s episode “Within”, Lucas was hardly as straightforward.
Instead of falling into the standard villain archetype of providing a monologue about all of his dastardly plans, he initially simply told Skye to “wait and see” what would happen when the portal was reversed and only told her more when he warned her to stay away from Terra Nova for her safety when his employers arrived. When he mentioned August 2138, he also only told her to ask his father if she wanted to know more. These things kept the pace of the show moving.
His other exchanges with Skye became increasingly unbalanced, unhinged, nuanced and, in my opinion, became positively creepy. As evidenced by him calling Skye “Bucket” (her mother’s pet name for her), his behavior spoke not only of his conflict with Commander Taylor, but of a conflict within himself. This intensity was refreshing, especially when compared to many of the attempts from other characters this season. Lucas is clearly not a one-note character and I’m interested in seeing how it will continue to play out.
Whether onscreen or off, revealed or not, Lucas’ character framed much of the happenings of the Terra Nova season thus far. Lucas and his actions provided motivation for other characters and drove the plot line throughout the season. In my opinion, Lucas was the much needed spark in the season.
Don’t forget, the two-hour season finale of Terra Nova is this Monday, December 19th. Check back here for a for a recap of the episode and to comment on what you thought.