Episodes101 and 102
"Genesis Parts 1 & 2"
There is a lot to unpack in the 2-hour series premiere of Terra Nova, the long awaited (and ridiculously expensive) new sci-fi series from the mind of Steven Spielberg. A full accounting of the premiere after the jump. Let's go.
We begin with a shot of Earth, as scene from the moon in the year 2149. The Earth looks ... sick. Like something from Al Gore's worst nightmare sick. Police Officer Jim Shannon and his family (doctor wife Elisabeth; oldest son Josh; middle child Maddy; and illegal daughter Zoe - in this time period, the government has instituted a "Family is Four" policy) are visited by the Population Control authorities and Zoe's existence is quickly discovered. Also, Jim is sent to prison for 6 years after he attacks the officers. Two years lapse and Jim manages to escape from Golad prison (through the help of Elisabeth). After some bribing and scheming and ass kicking, Jim and his precious backpack are able to get through the time portal (Elisabeth and the 2 older kids have already passed through) as part of the 10th Pilgrimage to Terra Nova (Latin for New Earth or New Ground). After a misunderstanding involving weapons and some fresh air body shock, Jim and the family are reunited (including Zoe who was in the backpack, aww) and hey, welcome to Terra Nova.
We meet Commander Nathaniel Taylor, leader of Terra Nova colony and who has been here since the first Pilgrimage sever years ago. He isn't to upset about Jim's fugitive status and assigns him to work in the agriculture section (though Jim clearly wants to be a cop again). Everyone begins to acclimate, Elisabeth is doctoring, Jim is weeding, Maddy is being a nerd (who helpfully exposits that the time fracture they entered through actually brought them into a parallel time stream and not strictly the past of their own time line (which will help avoid paradox issues like crushing a butterfly in the past and erasing your existence in the future), Zoe is feeding herbivore dinos and Josh is being a teenage prick; angry at his father for being gone 2 years and then returning to their life as if nothing happened. This angry teenager attitude leads him to running OTG (these future kids and their acronyms) with hot girl Skye and her band of misfit teenage friends. Outside the Gate, the kids drink moonshine and explore some forbidden falls where there mathematical equations scratched into rocks in some kind of golden colored writing. They also run into a band of Sixers (the rebel faction that splintered from the Terra Nova colony and kind of act like pirates -- their full purpose remains unknown. They are called Sixers because they all came over on the 6th Pilgrimmage). While they are hiding from Sixers, they also come under the attack of Slashers, hard core dinosaurs that can do serious damage with their razor sharp tails. Meanwhile, after taking Elisabeth hostage for a brief time, a rebel Sixer is running through the colony looking to assassinate Taylor. Jim, using his keen cop sense runs down the Sixer and aborts the assassination. Taylor promotes Jim to his security detail. Hooray for Jim!
Taylor takes Jim for a lookey loo of the colony and in the process spies a band of Sixers coming in hot and heavy. Turns out they are headfing to the colony but also trying to avoid some Carnotaurs (Carnos) which are pursuing them. Taylor and Jim manage to get everyone back inside the compound before too much dino munching goes down and we meet the a Sixer leader, Mira. After a very brief negotiation, Mira exchanges some iron ore (which the colony needs for ... something) for the rebel being held (that tried to kill Taylor) and some medical supplies. The implication of this to be explored later is that there is at least one mole inside Taylor's colony. The group of kids missing are finally noticed as sundown hits and a search party is sent out to retrieve them. Both Skye, who is a pretty badass, natural leader (and super hot), and Josh, who acquits himself fairly well in shooting Slashers, manage to survive long enough to be rescued by Taylor, Jim and the cavalry (the cavalry, by the way, are using these awesome Borg-like eye pieces which illuminate their targets green, very cool!); their three companions are in much worse shape but seemingly alive. Saving his ass has seemed to thaw Josh's resentment of his father. There is a mea culpa scene between Skye and Taylor (interested to see the backstory on these two's relationship), wherein Taylor is clearly warning Skye off from going by the falls again in that sinister warning voice people use on TV.
We close on Mira and a fellow Sixer at the falls (where the kids were earlier); they can tell people have been there recently (and know Taylor won't be happy because he is trying to cover the writings up). They deliver some show mythology exposition about how Taylor's son (who has been missing for years at this point) is responsible for the mystic writings (and is maybe a crazy bastard and is maybe a Sixer leader?). he writes new equations every time he figures something out (as to throw it in Taylor's face -- what happened between those two, huh?). The writings are apparently the key to "everything". The key to controlling the past to control the future which is maybe the real reason for Terra Nova's existence? I dunno, its all very mystic and mythology heavy (we aren't supposed to know what it means yet). Last scene features the Shannons marvelling at the giant moon (which is significantly closer to the Earth 85 million years in the past than it is now).
Terra Nova stars Jason O'Mara as Jim Shannon, Shelley Conn as Elisabeth; Landon Liboiron as Josh, Naomi Scott as Maddy; Alana Mansour as Zoe; Stephen Lang as Commander Taylor; Allison Miller as Skye and Christine Adams as Mira.