Television & Film

TERRA NOVA Action! Too Little, Too Late?

banner_recapTERRA NOVA
Season 1, episode 11: “Occupation” and episode 12: “Resistance”
(Two-Part Season Finale)

Watch out for those spoilers!

Part 1: E12 “Resistance”
FINALLY we go back to that wonderfully imagined bleak future of 2149 Earth and see Lucas Taylor confabbing with his partner-in-crime, Head Honcho Bad Guy (sorry, I never did catch this guy’s name) discussing their plans for the 11th pilgrimage to Terra Nova. They revel in their evil plans to strip mine the heck out of the past and chuckle over having the “best army money can buy.”

Back in the past, the Terra Novans are preparing “for either 100 colonists or an army bent on destroying their home” to next come through the time portal.

The Shannons’ family dinner discussion that night centers on the expected upcoming war. Dad promises to look out for Josh’s girlfriend Kara if she shows up at the portal. Reynolds and Maddy kiss a sad goodbye and he walks off with Jim, Liz and the rest of the soldiers to go defend the colony from whatever is on its way, while Matt stays behind in the compound to take care of his sisters Maddy and Zoe.

The scheduled portal transfer begins and the first 3 pilgrims check out as an ordinary family folks. Kara pops through next and is warmly greeted with a hug by Jim. But the very next pilgrim is a suicide bomber, who promptly explodes! Mayhem! The portal is destroyed!

Jim (Jason O’Mara, L) encounters a dangerous surprise that goes BOOM! during the arrival of the 11th Pilgrimage in the two-hour season finale of Terra Nova. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Brook Rushton/FOX

Jim awakens in the infirmary, disoriented and with some hearing loss due to the explosion. He wanders outside to find that the Terra Nova compound has been heavily damaged and Sixer Mira strutting around as if she is in charge. Turns out he’s been unconscious for 3 days, during which time the 2149 army came through the portal and 26 Terra Nova residents were killed before Wash was forced to surrender the compound to the invaders. And yes, Kara was killed in the blast as well. (Wow, that was a short guest spot, wasn’t it?)

So now the colony is being ruled by the paramilitary “Phoenix Group” under the command of Head Honcho Bad Guy and Evil Lucas Taylor, and the residents are being held hostage so that Commander Daddy Taylor will not attack. The bad guys want to clear out all the dinosaurs in the immediate area and strip mine the valley so they can send all the resources back to the future and get rich beyond their wildest dreams, but (oops) the new 2-way terminus that they brought with them was damaged by some hungry dinosaurs en route. Scientist Malcolm has been pressed into service to help them fix it. (You think they’d have brought some of their own scientists, wouldn’t you?)

Although virtual prisoners now, Jim and Wash plot out some guerrilla resistance tactics. When Mira and Lucas show up to question Jim he pretends to be more physically impaired than he really is so they will leave him alone, but Mira is still suspicious of him.

Evil Lucas chats with and threatens Skye and shows his pervy side by calling her his “sister” (she’s not, but Daddy Taylor treats her like a daughter) and caresses her cheek. In the infirmary Liz removes some hand-etched bullets out of a couple of Phoenix soldiers, and Jim deduces that the etching must be map coordinates to a rendezvous sent by Taylor. (Good grief!)

Jim locates Taylor while the Phoenix Group soldiers plan to use a Pyrosonic charge to blow stuff up, but Taylor has Reilly quickly disarm it.

Lots of nasty rebel vs. helpless colonist stuff follows. Yacketa, yacketa. Back in the bar Lucas makes a few more weird sexual advances to Skye who is definitely not interested, and Josh gets beaten up trying to defend her honor. Dad Jim comes to his rescue, that is, until the Phoenix soldiers arrest him and take him away for some painful torture. Lucas really, really wants to know where his daddy is.

Part 2: E12 “Resistance”

The Shannons (L-R: Jason O’Mara, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Alana Mansour and Shelley Conn) anxiously attempt to escape. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Brook Rushton/FOX

Liz helps Jim escape the jail (that was quick) and the Shannon family sneaks out of the compound, with the help of Wash, who stays behind to create a diversion to allow this to happen. However Lucas captures Wash and shoots her in the head when she refuses to tell him where Taylor is, an incident that Taylor and Jim witness from behind cover outside the gate. Daddy is really pissed off at his son now.

R.I.P. Wash, we hardly knew ye. *sniff*

Out in the Good Guy camp, little Zoe gives Taylor a hug to help him deal with Wash’s death. In another part of the camp Maddy and Reynolds take the time to make out, but are interrupted by dad Jim traipsing through the jungle on his way to a chat with Taylor.

Taylor decides that blowing up Hope Plaza in 2149 is the only way to prevent the future bad guys from sending even more soldiers through to Terra Nova, and Jim agrees. Skye uses some diversionary tactics of her own against bad boy Lucas to separate him and his vehicle from the rest of the bad guys in order to get Jim into that vehicle’s container which is being sent back to 2149. (whew) Jim plans to somehow destroy the time fracture. (But I guess it’s supposed to be a surprise as they don’t tell us exactly how. Except that I saw the preview for this ep last week which outlined pretty much everything. So, yeah.)

Lucas is far trickier than Skye thinks he is, however, and later manages to get free and knock her out and almost contact his bad guy soldier buddies, but the radio interference is (suddenly) too great for the soldiers to understand his shouted orders to shut down the portal before Jim can get through. So Jim’s container is sent back to the future, and Malcolm promptly sabotages the portal, delaying any transfer of additional containers.

In 2149, Jim releases a (surprise! not!) nasty dinosaur stowaway from his cargo container, and the creature proceeds to eat two of the bad guys, but Head Honcho escapes and sets his soldiers out hunting for Jim. Of course Jim eludes them and readies a bomb to blow up the portal equipment on the 2149 side.

Taylor (Stephen Lang, R) reunites with his son Lucas (guest star Ashley Zukerman, L) in his usual fashion, by beating him to a bloody pulp. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Brook Rushton/FOX

Back in the jungle Daddy Taylor catches Son Lucas and they fight it out for a while. Daddy is tougher and beats son to a bloody pulp (his answer to everything). Lucas seems to break down and show remorse about being responsible for his own mom’s death (this plot point has never been made clear and I don’t know who is really to blame and I wish they’d sort it all out), and so son and dad embrace as Taylor forgives him. But of course Lucas’ emotional outburst was all a ploy and he stabs Daddy. Luckily Skye shows up on the scene in time to shoot Sonny Boy (just not quite to death as he soon scampers off unnoticed) and so saves Taylor.

Jim watches Head Honcho Bad Guy get eaten at last and escapes back through the portal to Terra Nova while the future portal equipment is exploding just seconds behind his departure, presumably taking out the guys chasing him, the dinosaur chasing him, and the entire Hope Plaza portal terminus.

Jim (Jason O’Mara) prepares to drop the pyro-sonic inside a ventilation shaft on the 2149 side of things. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Brook Rushton/FOX

The Terra Novans are now cut off permanently from the future that they came from, and must now exist totally on their own in the prehistoric jungle of the past. Both bad guys and good ponder this development. Mira realizes that she has permanently lost her daughter back in 2149 and looks REALLY pissed off. Josh and Skye realize that with Kara now dead there may be a future for the two of them as a couple (after they get over the massive guilt, of course). Bar owner Boylan contacts Taylor via radio from inside Terra Nova to inform him that all the Phoenix soldiers have pulled out and headed north towards “the Badlands”, so Taylor and company can march home to the compound again.

Taylor surveys the compound’s damage from his now burnt-out balcony perch. He and Jim wonder what the bad guys were sending back to the future and open some of those cargo containers left behind. They find the wooden figurehead of an 18th century ship! Everyone wonders how it could have gotten there if not through their now-destroyed portal, and why the Phoenix soldiers immediately headed out for the Badlands when they found out they couldn’t get back to 2149… I’d guess those are questions around which season two will be built.

The Shannon family collects to sit and watches a pretty meteor shower and we pull out and CLOSE for season one.

But will there even be a season two to supply us with the answers? According to AdAge, Fox executives are not yet decided if they are willing to invest in a second year of this dino drama. I suggest they take my advice and just say no. At least until they hire some better scriptwriters.

More of these, please.

My take? This 2-part finale was more action-packed than ALL of the intervening eps combined since the pilot. In fact, there was enough going on to actually hold my interest (well, almost, as I did also write a couple of emails and do some work while the show was on). It did feel as if they stuffed all of the action into the first episode and the last, with a ton of drawn-out filler and boring exposition in between. Somebody needs to take hold of this show and chop out the extraneous plotlines and toss in LOTS more action and dinosaurs per episode if they want to make a long-term go of it.

As it is, Terra Nova is an okay show for kiddies, and practically non-offensive (except for a rather excessive amount of people beating each other up in order to solve every problem. They might wanna re-think that in an 8pm time slot.). I guess it comes down to ratings in the end, and whether or not Fox wants to gamble on the show’s appeal to the family audience it is trying to attract to this show. All I know is that I’m certainly not interested enough to continue watching.


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