New shows often stumble out of the block, searching for their balance and narrative. ‘The Tomorrow People‘ has been successful from day one establishing both aspects. This week, it went a step further, providing the audience a much deeper look into Cara and showing the imperfections of our heroes in the best episode yet.
Five years ago, Cara was far from the confident badass she is now. In fact, she was a deaf mute with the reputation of “never saying no”. At a high school party, a boy strikes up a conversation with her and, being a bit naïve, she falls for the dreaded “let’s go somewhere quiet so we can talk” line. Said line deliverer tries to take what’s not his, forcing himself on the poor girl who, after trying to fight him off for a few moments, gets the first taste of her TK powers, shoving the creep off. She hits him one more time for good measure.
Fast forward to the present and a disoriented Cara, unable to block out her fellow passengers thoughts, finally makes it back to the hideout. John sees something’s not right but she brushes his inquiries off, instead asking about what he and Russell were discussing. With the help of TIM, they’ve put a sub-routine on a flash drive that, when integrated into ULTRA’s systems, will alert them of any potential breakout tomorrow people ahead of Jedikiah and his agents. But they need an inside man for the job; they need Stephen.
Stephen and Astrid are having their fun at a party when Stephen gets his first experience hearing others’ thoughts. He finds the new experiences fun and entertaining until Emily, a fellow student who’s also had some issues, thinks on her death in 48 hours. He’s floored by it and, after John explains what they need from him, Stephen goes to Cara about what he should do with to help the troubled Emily. Cara’s answer is surprisingly calloused and bitter, basically telling him that normal humans are beneath them, not worthy of helping.
At the ULTRA complex, Stephen is working with Darcy, seeing if they can trigger his time-stopping powers, though she can’t get them to manifest in the lab. Using his genuine fear at her pointing a gun at him as an excuse, Stephen makes his way out of the lab and deeper into the ULTRA complex. He navigates to the supercomputer drive, with Cara mentally showing him the way, and links the flash drive to ULTRA’s system. Unfortunately, Cara’s abilities spaz out and Stephen runs into his uncle. He covers by mentioning Emily’s predicament and Jedikiah’s response, while not positive, in much more understanding. “You can’t save everybody,” he tells Stephen, and not unkindly. When Stephen leaves, Jedikiah orders a search of the same floor he and Stephen met.
Stephen covers for Cara’s lapse and she tells him about her ‘episodes’. When he shows a bit of compassion for her inability to experience the world above, her resentment and bitterness return and she proclaims her satisfaction with not being a part of our world. A second flashback shows her in police custody, charged with the murder of her attempted rapist. Her father tries fighting for her and, when she’s about to be locked up in the hole, she teleports for the first time.Stephen shares his concerns with Astrid
At school, Stephen casually follows Emily and picks up her notebook when she drops it. Astrid is a bit miffed at his sudden obsession until he tells her his concerns on their fellow classmate. After school, both talk to her, Stephen telling Emily they know about her sister. She’s surprised but the self-loathing returns when she tells them how she’s responsible for her sister’s death. During the talk, Astrid’s antennas are raised when Emily busts Stephen in a lie on how he discovered Emily’s secrets. Not one to give up, Stephen asks TIM to analyze a string of numbers he’d read in Emily’s mind. The defensive and bitter Cara, with John in tow, catches him in the act though TIM’s notice on a new breakout interrupts them. It’s Emily and she’s hiding out at the dock. Everything about this screams set up and it’s just that; during the fight, Darcy captures Emily while Russell and John escape back to the hideout.
John tells Stephen about Cara, including her almost-rape this time 5 years ago and Stephen promises to get her back. He goes to the ULTRA labs and asks Jedikiah not to kill her. Giving her the shot to make her human, he suggests, would be far worse as it would make her useless to John. Jedikiah—who’d earlier given the shot to a captured tomorrow person—agrees. He tells Cara what he has to do and she freaks, begging him to kill her instead. She fights but it’s no use as he gives her the shot. Her body convulses from the cure before she quiets, not completely human.
On the train back to the hideout, she teleports next to Stephen and we get a quick flashback of his time-stopping abilities at work. John and Cara talk, with her realizing she can never show her powers in front of Jedikiah or Stephen will be toast. TIM interrupts Russell and Stephen, patching Stephen in to Astrid who tells him that Emily has disappeared. With the help of TIM, Stephen realizes Emily’s plan and he, John, and Cara teleport to the suicidal girl’s location. Having some experience with guilt and abandonment, Cara literally talks Emily off the tracks, telling her that killing herself won’t “settle the score”. Stephen is more than happy with the result, watching the girl a bit too long because, when he ends up teleporting, Astrid, who’d just pulled up to the tracks, sees him blip out into thin air.Cara and Stephen bond
Stephen and Cara watch from afar as Emily and her parents reconcile. The intimacy of the moment has Cara sharing her own painful abandonment by her father, a memory she hadn’t even shared with John. The two continue to form a very special and real bond, one that may help cleanse Cara of some of her bitterness.
When he gets home, Stephen’s surprised to find Astrid waiting for him. More jarring, however, is when she confronts him about his teleportation. He offers a lame excuse, one Astrid does not buy and she vows to do everything she can to find out the truth.
- Fantastic episode. ‘Girl, Interrupted’ offered welcome insight into Cara’s back story, giving her a legitimate excuse as to her disdain for humans. Also, the fact that she has a younger sister will hopefully play a part in future episodes.
- Despite his placement as the villain of the show, Jedikiah once again offers insight into his purpose and the reality of the situation. He tells Stephen the truth about, if people were to find out about the new species, so many would die as a result. Whereas Cara shows more bitterness from personal experience, Jedikiah’s thoughts come from a position of logic and, sadly, fact that goes beyond a personal scale.
- Speaking of finding out about tomorrow people, how about Astrid stumbling onto her best friend’s/crush secret. Stephen’s going to have to sit down with her before she alerts the wrong people and is permanently silenced. Well, at least with her knowing, any potential relationship between her and Stephen will not be derailed by him hiding his true identity.