[Major Spoilers Ahead!]
The episode begins with a flyover of 2149, where the dome-filled land is desolate and the sky is yellow. We zoom in to see Lucas speaking with his rich benefactor, Weaver, discussing life in Terra Nova. Lucas assures him they’ll achieve their goals because they have the best army that money can buy.
At Terra Nova, Jim and Taylor are at the portal preparing for the Eleventh Pilgrimage and a possible invasion of hostile forces. They remind the soldiers that people can only come through the portal two at a time and they can use that fact as a tactical advantage.
Later, at the Shannon house, the family discusses the possibility of tomorrow’s events. Maddy philosophizes about war strategies based on a book given to her by her soldier boyfriend and Zoe asks if she can shoot the sonic cannon while Elisabeth seems slightly amused by it all. Josh asks his father if he can help tomorrow, but Jim tells him he needs Josh to stay at home with his sisters, but Jim will be sure to look out for Kara (Josh’s girlfriend who’s scheduled to come through on the Eleventh Pilgrimage).
The next day, the Shannon children say a heartfelt goodbye to their parents and Maddy’s boyfriend and Taylor says goodbye to Washington, leaving her in charge of Terra Nova in his absence. In the jungle, with a transmission from Hope Plaza, the portal goes live. First a family comes through and things seem fine. Then, Kara comes through and Jim goes to hug her and welcome her to Terra Nova. The next person traverses the portal, pauses as he enters, says “Help me!” and opens his jacket to reveal he’s strapped with bombs. Everyone runs, but it’s too late for anyone to get far. The bombs detonate and the next thing we see is Jim on the ground and looking up at other wounded people scrambling through the chaos.
We then see Jim wake up in the med center disoriented and unable to hear. He wanders outside to see a wrecked Terra Nova with strange soldiers posted everywhere and new red and black flags flying across the compound. When he attempts to approach them, he’s violently knocked down with the butt of the soldier’s gun. Just before the soldier moves in to do more damage, Elisabeth arrives and throws herself on Jim and explains to the soldier that Jim is with her and that he’s just disoriented from his injury. As Elisabeth leads Jim away, he looks up to see Mira standing with Lucas and Weaver and talking on the central landing surrounded by more of the enemy soldiers.
Elisabeth brings Jim to the med center and repairs his hearing. Since he’s been unconscious for three days, Elisabeth explains the new situation to him. The explosion at the portal untethered the time fracture, which was then re-tethered at encampment. Once the fracture was tethered to Terra Nova, the enemy soldiers transported in and immediately attacked. Washington and the remaining soldiers held out as long as they could, but eventually had to surrender. No one has heard from Taylor since the explosion at the portal.
At the Shannon house, Maddy and Zoe greet their father and Jim helps Josh deal with his grief and self-blame over Kara’s death. That night, Elisabeth fills Jim in on the other consequences of the enemy occupation. The colonists are now basically hostages – there’s a curfew, search lights shine throughout the night and anyone who fights back is thrown in the brig or worse. No one is fighting back much anymore and Wash is kept around as a symbol of the colonists’ defeat.
Jim goes to Boylan’s bar to find Wash drinking forlornly alone while the rest of the bar is filled with loudly boisterous enemy soldiers. Wash tells Jim that the soldiers are members of the Phoenix Group, an elite mercenary group hired by Lucas’ employers in 2149. They have the camp locked down – nothing comes in or goes out without their knowledge. They brought another terminus so they could begin to send materials back to 2149 immediately, but they were attacked by a pack of carnos and the equipment was damaged and they won’t be able to begin their stripping operation until it’s fixed…by Malcolm. Jim proposes they make life as difficult for the Phoenix soldiers as they can and Wash, who feels guilty for loosing the camp to them, agrees.
Jim goes to the science lab to confront Malcolm about collaborating with the enemy. Malcolm says he had no choice because they killed his assistant when he refused, but he’s working as slowly as he can. As they’re talking, they’re interrupted by Lucas, Mira and some Phoenix soldiers. Jim pretends to still be deaf and disoriented from the explosion at the portal and is given crutches by Malcolm in order to throw the enemies off his trail.
The next day, Mira, Weaver and Lucas are discussing recent events and Weaver confirms that the operators of Hope Plaza think the explosion at the portal and subsequent moving of the fracture was only an accident, so their actions remain hidden for now. Weaver then orders a less than happy Mira to go investigate and retrieve something from the Badlands. Meanwhile, Skye is brought before Lucas and he confronts her about betraying him to his father. He says he understands though, because Taylor must be like a father to her, which makes them like siblings. He then strokes her cheek and warns her to never betray him again because next time he won’t be so forgiving.
The conspiracy of those resisting the enemy occupiers grows. Josh takes back his old job at Boylan’s bar so he can try and overhear any useful information spoken by drunk soldiers. Elisabeth notices that all the bullets she’s been extracting from the enemy soldiers have hand etched numbers on them and Jim realizes those numbers must be the map coordinates of a rendezvous location left by Taylor. With the help of Malcolm and another conspirator, Jim manages to sneak aboard an outgoing transport vehicle and meet with Taylor and his soldiers.
In the jungle, they manage to dismantle a sonic charge that Lucas and Weaver had brought as a trial run for their strip mining operations. The device would strip the entire area of all wildlife and foliage so the ore mining could begin. When Lucas realized that his father’s people have foiled his plans, he becomes furious and tries to destroy them by firing with a giant missile launcher-type gun, but failes, leading him to become more frustrated and angry.
Back at Taylor’s jungle camp, the commander gives Jim an untraceable communication device that will allow Jim to report to Taylor where the enemy soldiers are and what they’re doing. Jim enters the camp by allowing the Phoenix to “find” him in his supposed disoriented state. They bring him back to the Shannon home and tell the family to keep a better eye on him or the next time they’ll bring him back in a body bag.
Next we see a montage of the conspirators’ successful attempts at making life difficult for the Lucas, Weaver and Phoenix Group: Jim puts a tracer on a rover and Taylor’s soldiers complete an ambush; Wash flirts with a soldier at Boylan’s bar and puts a tracer on his collar; Weaver receives another report of an ambush; Lucas becomes increasingly frustrated with every passing event..
Later, at the bar, Lucas is sitting at a table, drinking alone. Boylan tells Josh to bring him another refill. Josh sullenly does so and Lucas makes a comment about “Shannons being everywhere” and snidely asks if he lost a friend in the recent fighting, then gives him a coin to “buy a new friend.” Skye enters the bar and Lucas greets his “beautiful sister” and tells Josh to go away because “three’s a crowd.” At this point, Lucas reverts into full-fledged intense, unhinged creepy mode from last episode. He asks Skye what Taylor said when she told him she’d been spying for the Sixers. When Skye tells him Taylor hasn’t said anything as of yet and that he just needs time, Lucas tells her not to count on it because he’s been waiting his whole life for Taylor to forgive him “for the unforgivable sin of being born.”
Throughout the conversation, Lucas calls her “dear sister” and strokes her cheek” and ends by holding her hand and refusing to let it go. At this point, Josh can’t take it anymore and punches him. Lucas get’s up from the floor and has the soldiers hold Josh and begins hitting him. Both Skye and Boylan beg him to stop to no avail. Skye runs to the med center where the rest of the conspirators are meeting and tells Jim what is happening. Jim runs to the rescue and puts up a good fight, but is eventually overcome by the soldiers. During the scuffle, Lucas finds the transponder and puts both Jim and Josh in the brig.
Later in the brig, Lucas lets Josh out, saying he’s been “persuaded” and looking at Skye. He begins torturing Jim, trying to get him to reveal Taylor’s location. Jim asks him why he hates Taylor so much and what happened in Somalia? Lucas said that they were captured and each soldier was allowed to choose one person to save. If Taylor would have chosen his mother, Lucas would have only been executed instantly. But, with his mother, “they took their time.” He didn’t save Lucas’ mother and Lucas hated him for it ever since.
Meanwhile, in the med center, Weaver was being seen by a nurse for some bug bites. Elisabeth tricked him into believing she had injected him with a particularly nasty and lethal parasite and would only give him the cure if he went to the brig and saved Jim. He did, telling Lucas they found his Father’s location. Lucas leaves and Weaver brings Jim back to the med center. Elisabeth gives Weaver the “cure” which is actually a sedative, telling him he’s a highly suggestible hypochondriac before he passes out.
Wash sets off an explosion and then allows herself to be captured and killed as a diversion so the Shannon family can escape and be picked up by Taylor and his soldiers. At Terra Nova, Mira returns from the Badlands and wants to know when Weaver will live up to his end of the deal and let her and her people return to 2149. Weaver says they can go as soon as the terminus is prepared. A soldier unveils the cargo Mira brought back from the Badlands and Weaver and Lucas look on in shock.
At Taylor’s jungle camp, Zoe approaches a pensive Commander Taylor to express how sorry she is over Wash’s death. She tells him about the things she learned from Wash in her Survival Training course and then gives him a hug telling him “if you need another hug, just ask.”
Before Wash sacrificed herself, she asked Jim to remind Taylor of a certain mission they were on together. When Jim does, Taylor explains. They were on an island, outnumbered two to one. They decided to blow up the bridge (the only way on or off the island) so the enemy couldn’t bring more troops and make a stand. After some discussion, Taylor and Jim decide they should do the same thing to Terra Nova i.e. blow up the portal in Hope Plaza. Even though blowing up the portal would mean cutting themselves off from more technology, medicine and colonists, it would also mean the people in 2149 that want to strip their world could no longer access them.
Back at Terra Nova, Lucas tells Weaver that the terminus is ready. Weaver, who at this point is rather sick of this pre-historic world, decides he’s going to take a trial run back to 2149 right away. Skye walks in to talk to Lucas, saying maybe he was right about having misplaced loyalties. If Taylor is never going to forgive her, maybe she’s being loyal to the wrong person.
In the jungle, it’s been decided that Jim will be the one to go back to blow up Hope plaza since he’s already infiltrated it once. The soldier that disarmed the sonic cannon in the jungle previously shows Jim how arm them. At Terra Nova, Skye tricks Lucas into an ambush by telling him she knows where his father is. They steal his transport vehicle and the cargo vessel (with Jim inside) is put through the portal. Meanwhile, Skye tries to jack the starter to bring the rover, and a bound Lucas, back to the jungle camp. However, Lucas manages to escape and knocks Skye unconscious before running to the terminus to try and warn his people. Skye wakes up in time to warn Taylor. Taylor intercepts Lucas and proceeds to beat him up. Lucas however, lures Taylor into a hug by begging his father for forgiveness and then stabbing him. In a move that was foreshadowed by Taylor’s comment about her in the last episode, Skye showed up just in time to shoot Lucas and save Taylor. Skye went to bind Taylor’s wounds and when they looked up, Lucas was gone.
Back in 2149, Jim left the cargo vessel and overheard Weaver talking to his cronies about how they were all going to be rich and about how they found what they were looking for in the Badlands. They opened the container and out popped a carno (?!?…how that got in there just got skipped I guess!). Jim runs and gets into a gun fight with security, but is able to set the charge. On his way back, he’s confronted by a gun-toting Weaver who gets eating by the carno just as he’s about to shoot. As Jim is heading back to the portal, the explosion blows, but he makes it through. Jim and Elisabeth have a happy reunion.
Back at Terra Nova, the Phoenix commander tells Mira that the portal is destroyed and they’re all stuck there permanently. The look on Mira’s face is devastated as she realizes she’ll never see her daughter again. .
In the jungle, Taylor get’s a call from Boylan saying the Phoenix soldiers and the Sixers all cleared out heading north once they realized the portal was closed for good. The next day, Taylor’s people return to Terra Nova to much applause and celebration. Taylor stands on his platform and overlooks his wrecked community and realizes there’s much rebuilding to be done. Jim mentions to Taylor that he heard Weaver talking to his people in 2149 about the Badlands and about some cargo that was brought back. They all go and look and see that it is a statue of a lady…a prow of an 18th century ship. Why was that in the Badlands? How did it get there?
The episode ends with Shannon family watching a meteor shower with renewed hope for there future and their own renewed second chance.
In my opinion, this episode was much stronger than previous episodes – it seemed more grown up somehow. As with last week, I thought Ashley Zuckerman gave a really great performance as Lucas. The intense interactions really get the point across. The show did a nice job of tying up some storylines while also opening up some new ones.
The complaints I have are the same ones I’ve had all season. The emotionality of the show continues to be a miss in my opinion. For example, the tone of the Shannon family the night before the Eleventh Pilgrimage/Invasion just seemed off to me. Overall, the family seems surprisingly peppy despite being paced by an impending invasion. Also, what are supposed to be “aw moments” are just “ugh moment” to me. For example, when Zoe was consoling Taylor over Wash’s death I kept thinking “ugh!”…but, someone else in my house thought it was effective, so maybe I’m too cynical? What do you think, readers?
Here’s one for the Dr. Who fans. Did anyone else think “Weeping Angle” when you saw the statue from the Badlands? The first thing I thought was “don’t blink people!!” Haha!
Check back next week for a more in depth analysis and discussion of the entire Terra Nova season. Until then, share your comments and opinions on this week’s season finale below!
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read ‘Terra Nova: Within’ recap.