One of the many things ‘The Tomorrow People‘ does well is the relevant integration of flashbacks into the main story for episodes. This week’s aptly titled “Rumble” delves more into Cara’s past and how it bisects with Julian, the episode’s antagonist.

Cara running from ULTRA

Six years earlier: Cara’s alone on the streets, recently kicked out of her home and nowhere to go. Running afoul of some ULTRA agents, she’s saved by Nelly and the charismatic Julian who take the frightened teen under their wing.

At casa de Jameson, Luca and Astrid are hanging out in Stephen’s room when their mother’s new paramour is mentioned. After kicking Luca out, Stephen confesses to Astrid about Peter’s telepathic ability to boot Stephen out of his mind. Astrid suggests it could be a good thing, considering he could have someone to talk to about his abilities. As if on cue, Uncle Jed rings in and tells Stephen it’s time to report to the office. When he does, he and two other junior agents (one of which is the extremely intense Hillary) watch a fellow junior agent who Jedikiah deemed as not having what it takes to be a true ULTRA agent getting depowered. Once more Jedikiah shows his teachings from the Darth Vader school of failure. He then brings up the perfect incentive for the three junior agents; Julian Masters, a less than savory Tomorrow person who revels in the pain and misery of others. If they were to capture him, well, it’d go a long way towards them making the grade. As if on cue, we catch up with Julian and his cohorts assaulting a well-to-do individual almost to the point of death and the headache Julian receives from beating the guy is almost like a drug high.

Julian; he’s not a nice guy

At the lair, Cara’s running a tight ship with her stress and lack of confidence bleeding into everything she’s doing. She shares the others’ lack of faith in her to John and he offers her sage advice. ”As long as you don’t doubt yourself, everyone will eventually fall in line.” The pep talk is interrupted by a psychic earthquake, courtesy of one of Charlotte’s nightmares. With no one else really knowing what to do, John leads her off, ready to take the young girl under his wing.  When Stephen gets back, he shares the info on Julian and Cara casually admits to having a passing knowledge of the guy, though John looks as if he knows she’s holding a bit back. When Cara doesn’t want to get involved in taking Julian down, Stephen makes things a bit uncomfortable when he asks for John’s opinion. Though he doesn’t take the bait, John does provide the suggestion that if they can have a chat with Julian, tell him to back off, it would be good for all involved.

Cara’s not keen on the idea and another flashback of him giving her tough love highlight the early signs of a psycho in the making. Along with John and Russell, they meet up with Julian on the train and he’s more than a little hostile towards Cara, though his attitude towards humans may be a bit worse. He continues insulting Cara until Russell jumps in his face and then Julian’s goon squad flashes onto the train. He wants Cara and the others to know that he runs the city, ULTRA be damned. Though the meeting didn’t go as planned, Cara realizes they need to keep dibs on the unstable Julian. Though she original thinks to go, Russell makes a good point that, as leader, she needs to be on site. He takes the duty of tail though, based on he and Julian’s previous interaction, things probably aren’t going to turn out all hugs and puppies.

In a one-on-one sparring session at ULTRA, Stephen gets taken down by Hillary after she uses his hesitation to her advantage. Speaking of advantage, Cara’s flashback of Julian and Nelly leading her to partake in some B&E is interrupted by another one of Charlotte’s psychic nightmares. It takes some time, but John’s able to reach her but the girl’s horrified and unable to control herself. Morgan relays the mood of the group to Cara and John, namely that some people believe Charlotte needs to go. Cara lays down the law, pointing out that each of them had their own difficulties before they learned to control their powers and the girl stays. John eventually volunteers for babysitting duty and starts instilling confidence in her. He relates to her fear and tells her she can turn it into something powerful by “taking all the darkness that’s trapped inside of you and using it as a weapon.” He takes her through a visualization technique that she’s able to harness his lessons. Cara watches all of this from the shadows before getting an update from a less than supportive Russell on Julian’s plan; the guy has a serious grudge against the wealthy and plans to attack one of the downtown buildings and take some aggression out on the well to do. Cara gives Stephen a head’s up on it and he’s there, ready to take Julian down but Hillary shows up  and gives them away, allowing Julian to escape. The untimely escape is doubly bad because he catches Russell back at the mansion he and the gang are using for their HQ. Things don’t end well for Russell as he’s badly beaten by Julian before the entire gang takes to the curb stomping. They get Russell back to the lair but he’s in bad shape and Cara knows it was a message to her.

We see Julian and Nelly going further into the house while Cara’s forced to watch over the tied up home owner. He begs her to let him go and Cara does so but instead of running, the guy comes back with a shotgun and kills Nelly, taking the only person Julian’s ever loved away from him. His anger towards Cara is unending and he leaves her but not before reminding her that “You will die human, Cara. That’s what you deserve.”

Stephen comes to check in on Russell and when Cara tells him she wants to confront the madman, Stephen tells her she’s playing right into Julian’s hands. But something he says sparks an idea and she’s going to play her strength, something Julian doesn’t believe she has. She and the others confront Julian and his gang in a WWE-style Royal Rumble, one that looks like Julian’s goon squad is winning until Cara pulls out the big gun—Charlotte. Her psychic attack puts Julian’s crew down for the count and just as they teleport out, Stephen and his ULTRA squad come in, cuffing the incapacitated crew with D-cuffs. Unfortunately, Julian gets away after he uses his girlfriend as a distraction. He’s a real man…not!

Hillary apologizes to Stephen…though methinks she’s still going to be trouble

With the dust settled, Charlotte gets a round of applause for her contribution, Cara’s ready to accept the leadership mantle, Jed congratulates Stephen and his crew, and Hillary admits that Stephen’s pretty decent. Maybe she realizes that cutthroat isn’t the only way to be successful. “We can survive this,” he tells her, “all of us. But only if we do it as a team.”

Speaking of team, Stephen checks in with his underground crew and Cara shares some of the details of her past with Julian. Stephen’s ready to give her a “see, you got this” pep talk but she lets him know that John beat him to it. “I guess he cares about you, too,” he tells her and goes to check up on Russell. Cara’s left alone and openly wonders “If I’m such a great leader, why can’t I get the two of them figured out?” Rhetorical as it may be, TIM kindly answers that maybe, just maybe, she likes being pursued.

Stephen and Astrid share some levity with him joking about using some telepathy to pass Calculus and the two of them teleport to school. Stephen never sees Hillary watching them.

A young girl, hungry and alone, uses her TK abilities to steal some food and runs into Julian. “Want to learn some magic?” he asks her and they walk down the street together.

Tomorrow’s News

  • This episode shows just how people are not necessarily born to be leaders. While she knows logistics and is smart and decisive, Cara learned that those aren’t the only things required of a leader. She has to inspire with both words and deed, something she truly learns from John during her crisis of faith. Not only does he give her the requisite push in the right direction, he’s able to reach Charlotte when no one else is even willing to try. Though John is the better overall leader, it does look like Cara may be on her way to being a good one as well.
  • ULTRA Vader: that’s Jedikiah’s new name. Fail and get depowered (though it’s admittedly better than being force-choked to death). And speaking of ULTRA, I had the distinct feeling that Hillary was going to be trouble the first time she stepped onto the scene. She’s going to severely complicate Stephen’s life and those around him.
  • We all know that ULTRA’s the big bad the Tomorrow People have to worry about but now there’s a new baddie on the block. Julian Masters is a psychopath who thrives on causing pain to others. Not only is he pretty much a bad ass, he also gets off on beating people nearly to death; the headache it gives him like a drug.  If done right, Julian should be used as a recurring villain over the next two seasons before John or ULTRA sends him to that pie in the sky…or ditch in the dirt.
  • Who would’ve thunk it? Meek and tortured Charlotte is the BFG used to take down Julian’s crew. It looks like she’s going to be a major asset going forward.