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Originally Posted on November 3, 2011

Terra Nova
Episode 106

Hi Show! We missed your regular programming the last month with all the baseball.  Tonight's excursion through the time portal takes us to our first murder in paradise.  Good thing Taylor appointed Jim as a cop way back in the Pilot (even though he has a standing militia army to do all of his law enforcement). 

At Communication Relay Station 19A, a red shirt comes to investigate why the station has stopped working.  Oh hi Mr. Dinosaur. You look nice. Oh Noes! Red Shirt gets eaten by Mr. Dinosaur.  Bad dinosaur. Bad! Meanwhile, over at Boylan's Felonious Pub and People Smuggling Enterprises, Boylan informs Josh that there has been a complication with bringing Kira (you remember, his girlfriend we saw for 10 seconds through a chain link fence back in the Pilot) on through to the Dino-side. 

Elisabeth has been asked to autopsy Red Shirt, who's name was Foster. While she gets ready, Malcolm shows her his giant egg that he's discovered and Zoe decides to play sick from school because she misses her mom. In a solid parenting move, Elisabeth sends her to go play in the corner where I am sure there all sorts of dangerous medical supplies. I can tell you now, I don't know that I will mention these three again this episode because the plotline is laboriously boring and unless they decide to pull the trigger on Elisabeth cheating on Jim with Malcolm, I don't care.  Anyway, Foster was eaten by a Nicoraptor, vividly described as a two-legged shark with three rows of incisors. Ye-ouch!.  The autopsy shows two types of blood; some from Foster and  some from Gallusaur, basically, a prehistoric turkey (and a Nico's favorite food). Policeman Jim thinks its … murder DUN DUN DUNNNNN! All it required was bait (the prehistoric turkey) and some knowledge if Foster's schedule. Taylor tells him to investigate and it its murder, find out who, fast and quiet. Also, Lt. Washington will help … because she's Taylor's favorite. 

Wash and Jim find Foster's friends doing the Irish wake thing for their fallen comrade. Jim peppers them with some questions including if he was seeing anyone.  They say he was but that he never mentioned her name. They do know that he used to stare at her picture on his futuristic dog tags.   

Turns out, Malcolm's egg has some life in it. Elisabeth decides to save it after Zoe makes her feel bad about it. Now, seriously, that is the last time I mention them.

Taylor, Jim and Wash are chasing the Hungry, Hungry Nico since it turns out he ate Foster’s tags. Nico is a fast bastard. And smarter than the average bear.  Even though he’s forced into a choke point in the woods, he is able to improvise by bounding hardcore up a tree.  Taylor, being a vicious predator of his own, is able to take him down when he reveals himself further down field a little later on.  Wash opens him up and recovers Foster’s dog tags. Taylor doesn't recognize the woman but Wash does, she works at the mess hall. Rebecca Milner, a/k/a the mess hall floozy, led Foster on (Foster seemed to think they were more than friends) but you know how it is, her job is to be nice. Also, turns out the mess hall floozy is married to Howard Milner.  Howard is a dumpy, older guy who is also completely cuckold.  The marriage was one of convenience so that Rebecca could get through the portal in the “portal lottery” (not sure we’ve heard of this lottery before?), but he’s grown to really love her and he stupidly though she loved him too; clearly she was only using him.  He also confesses to killing Foster. He says he knew about the affair and he’d do it again. OK , then. That was easy. How are we going to fill the rest of the episode?

A problem with the airtight case starts to surface when Cuckold Howard can't answer even the most basic of questions. When asked how he did it, he comes up with this ingenious plan: I tailed him for a week and I trapped him inside the room with the Nico. Sure, it was an elaborate scheme but he loves Rebecca. Then he sings this classic from Bryan Adams. He doesn’t really sing that song, but he should.

Taylor tells Jim about Terra Nova’s “Memorial Field.”  Its like the Terra Nova Arlington Cemetery, but maybe its open to everyone, not just fallen soldiers? Not clear. Anyway, Taylor is a little shaken because even though they’ve had losses and missteps, they’ve never had murder. And, unless he commutes Milner’s sentence, the Terra Nova bylaws (“Bylaw? What’s a bylaw? – White Goodman, Dodgeball) require he be banished. Suffice to say, Taylor is not looking forward to making this decision.

Skye and Josh are talking about how Boylan is making Josh meet with Mira outside the gate. Skye thinks its suicide and that bringing his stupid girlfriend here is not worth the risk of getting himself killed.  Josh says that she doesn’t appreciate how bad it is in 2149 (she can’t be so old as to not remember what a shit hole their old world is, can she?). Skye says fine but that she’s coming with him.

At Foster’s funeral procession, we learn that this is not something that happened in 2149-era Chicago. What did they do with their dead?  Elisabeth says that what Taylor (and Jim) are doing to Milner is “frontier justice” … like that’s a bad thing. Jim’s in total favor of a swift trial. Elisabeth (sounding like Malcolm is in her ear) thinks we shouldn't have a barbaric one-man justice system. Jim doesn't understand her hesitation; Milner confessed and they didn't beat it out of him. Done deal.  Elisabeth puts a bug in his ear that sometimes people have reasons for giving false confessions.  Like true lurrrrve maybe?

At the “trial”, Reynolds and Maddy are talking about he wants the banishment and she isn't so sure (just like her mother). Taylor pronounces Howard Milner banished … to Bogeyland!  Just Kidding.  The cripple from the marketplace tries heckling Taylor's decision, says that this is a death sentence … uh yeah, that’s the point wheelchair guy, now hush.  Taylor tells the crowd that moving forward to their dream of a better future than what they left behind demands this decision for Milner. He also notes that Milner will have a better show than Foster was given so boohoo for you.  And then he's banished. Wow, no appeals process here at Terra Nova. Nice!

Milner is washing up when Jim sneaks up on him. Jim is doing his fishing for information cop thing’ says he was surprised at the sentence and he think Howard was surprised too. Seems to Jim that Howard and Rebecca exchanged some looks that makes Jim think Rebecca killed Foster.  Howard … appreciating the harshness of his sentence for maybe the first time, seems a little less happy about falling on the sword for Rebecca.  Back at the mess hall floozy’s place, Rebecca gives a plausible denial with respect to killing foster. Hmmm, now we have a pickle.  Taylor is not pleased. He put a large chunk of his reputation on the line by going through with the whole banishment thing .. on Jim’s shitty police work, for Jim to turn around now and say they got the wrong guy.  Taylor, being a much nicer guy than I would be, tells Jim to follow his leads and hunches BUT if this doesn’t work out and fast, he is bouncing Milner right back outside the gate.  

At Boylan's Felonious Pub and People Smuggling Enterprises, Jim is unpleasantly surprised to learn that Josh works there (where does he think he goes all day? Way to be a dad that’s present in the life of their kids Jim!)). Also, they're taking Boylan in for questioning. You see, Foster’s financial records show that a lot of gambling goes on at Boylan's Felonious Pub and People Smuggling Enterprises and Foster is owed lots of money.

Boylan confesses to taking a cut of the top of the gambling schemes but he didn't kill anyone. Jim tells him that they’re going to find Boylan’s paper ledger since he strikes Jim as being old school like that. By the way Josh, you’re totally not working at the bar anymore. Josh does his snot faced teenage rebellion thing. He says that Jim bitched about him not taking responsibility for anything and then he complain when he  gets a job. Yeah dumbass, but you got a job … at a bar … run by a criminal.  Did Marketplace Wheelchair guy not have any openings?

While they are looking through the bar for the paper ledger, we find out that Boylan escaped, obviously with the help of an insider. On the way to look for Boylan, Taylor calls in to Wash for her to check the security logs to find the insider that helped with the escape. Hey! Wait! Boylan is sitting with Wash eating and not being a chased escaped prisoner. Shut the front door, what’s going on here.  And Wash>? She’s not scanning for anything?  Taylor, Jim and a Red Shirt named Curran track Boylan to where he should be but he's not there.  No shit, he’s back in the mess hall .. with Wash. Eating!

Ahh, I see the plan now. Turns out at that the soldier that owed (and killed) Foster was Red Shirt Curran. The whole Boylan arrest was staged to set up and get Curran alone for a confession. When he tries to shoot Taylor, he finds out that Taylor did not give him  a live gun (gun seems so inadequate for the awesome killing firepower they haul around) He also gets to experience a Taylor ass kicking all over the forest. When Taylor pulls the stolen paper ledger from Curran’s jacket, he takes the opportunity to smack Curran with the rolled up ledger like he was very bad dog.  Taylor banishes him then and there and without the benefit of a gun (even Milner got a gun). Taylor's not going to lose sleep over whatever happens to Curran. Red Shirt Curran is kind of a pathetic pansy with his whining about wanting (and not receiving) a trial. Suck it up DinoMeat.

Wrap Ups. Rebecca and Milner are in love. Boylan tells Taylor that this will be the only favor he does for Taylor free. Jim finds Josh playing his guitar with the a longing plucky tune on the strings.  Jim relents on Josh working at the bar but reminds him; in this family, there are no secrets.

At the gate, Boylan protests then relents on Skye coming along with Josh to the Mira meeting. Also, he gives Josh a gun "just in case". And a map to the rendezvous. Walking through the jungle, walking through the jungle, walking through the jungle when all of a sudden, there are Sixers everywhere! Mira wastes not time and sets her price for allowing Boylan to talk to 2149 to get Josh’s girlfriend through.  Mira then puts on a fat suit, a thin fake mustache and a tuxedo and puts a cat in her lap which she pets absently, and tells Josh that one day she will ask him for a favor and this favor, whatever it may be, he will comply with, without hesitation. Skye thinks this is BS but Josh agrees readily. Of course he does.

Then, the stupid Ankylosaur hatches and Zoe wants it for a pet. I hate myself for following on that storyline. 

Originally Posted on October 20, 2011

Terra Nova
Episode 105
"The Runaway"

For the second episode in a row, I feel like the show has (i) taken a nice step towards fleshing out the complexity of the more interesting characters (e.g., Taylor is both paternal and fierce, open and guarded like a vault, good and bad; Mira is doing what she's doing to be reunited with her family; Malcolm has got some Occupy Wall Street in him) and (ii) revealed that though we might be 85 million years in the past, that doesn't mean that the creepy hand of 2149 isn't maybe still turning and manipulating things.  In a nutshell, tonight's episode focuses on Mira's manipulative use of a little girl (Mira is holding the girl's brother hostage which is ironic based on what we learn about Mira and her recruitment into her Sixer role) posing as a runaway to access a hidden container in Mira's old house and how Jim and Taylor view the use of children as weapons in the ongoing skirmish war between the Sixers and Terra Nova. Also, Reynolds thinks he is in a television depiction of 1950s era courting rituals. Lets unpack the episode and see what we see, mmm k?

I like this Commander Taylor voiceover opening; reminds me of Person of Interest with its efficient explanation of the show's basic premise. Dying Earth, portal, new beginnings, danger.  Boom, you newbie are now caught up.

We’ve got a Sixer inbound and all hell breaks loose on the wall. A chaotic manhunt through the jungle reveals the rogue Sixer to be a little girl. Oh dammit, we still have the Shannon Family-Astronaut Walk into Pangaea title sequence?  Totally not necessary with the Taylor voiceover opening. Note to producers, you don’t need to introduce the show twice.  I won’t even bill you for that little advice.

We return from redundant opening to Lil’ Sixer being treated in the clinic, "This won't hurt" is the oldest lie told by medical professionals.  When nurse tries it on Lil’ Sixer, she gets kicked for her trespasses and Lil’ Sixer takes off.  She doesn’t get very far as her tactical maneuvering has landed her under a desk.  Elisabeth gets Taylor to back off with the military pressure and tries simply talking to Lil’ Sixer.  Elizabeth finds out her name is Lea Marcos and both her parents are dead, mom by cancer, dad by Slasher attack.  Ah, she’s Angry Orphan Annie Lea.  Lea mentions she lost her bag during the chase and she’s generally pretty bummed. 

Lea says she ran away because she was hungry; Mira doesn’t feed her much beyond scraps.  Her grand plan was to make it back to the portal, back to 2149 and to her Nana who always has food and lives in New West Texas. Taylor gets nostalgic and tells Lea he remembers her from when she was a little peanut. He also remembers she had a brother, Sam. Taylor is wistful as he remembers when knew everyone's name in Terra Nova.  Good story grandpa. Can we move along now?  Lea knows Taylor as the bad man. Also, Mira will hurt her for running away. The Shannons have the unfortunate task of telling Lea that the portal doesn't go both ways. You’d thinks portals would be more open minded and experimental in the future.  Taylor admires her moxy and immediately sees her as a tool to be used in the fight with Mira.  Jim is less gung-ho.  But, she kind of hates Taylor right now so they are going to need to gain her trust.  Taylor is basically waving a sign that says “Volunteer your house for Lea to stay in Jim” when Elisabeth sees the neon blinking lights and steps up to offer the house herself.  Jim … is not pleased.  Josh … is even less pleased since he is going to have to move to the couch during her stay. What a douchebag that kid is.  Angry Orphan Annie needs some love you tool.  As Elisabeth introduces the family to Lea, she exposits to her (us) for no apparent reason that Maddy (I am abandoning my campaign to spell her name with an “ie” at  the end) is starting an apprenticeship at the infirmary with her tomorrow. Ok, YAY Maddy!

Before Elisabeth and Maddy are even done making up her bed, she climbs into it, throws a blanket over her head and passes out.  Though, not before playing with the light as if it’s the first time she’s ever seen such a thing … which maybe it is considering the Sixers live like animals in the forest?  Next day, Lt. Wash and a Red Shirt are out looking for her bag. Just as they find it, an Ewok nun-chuck thing knocks Red Shirt over and drags him out of sight and then Wash is down. However, this is not the work of Ewoks, but rather, a Sixer attack. Wash uses super sonic blaster on one of them while on her back and then magically levitates herself back into a standing position (that was a very in the Matrix move). A main feature of the Sixer attack plan seems to be screaming. Not sure how effective that is going to be in the long run.  Wash and a Sixer are running for the gun, running for the gun, running for the gun. Before they get to the gun, Wash takes them all out prehistoric ninja style. That is, until Mira shows up and bashes her in the face. That's the second week in a row we've had a punch to commercials.

The next morning, Lea has slept 14 hours and refused to bath. Lea is my three year old son as it turns out.  Maddy has dressed her in a yellow dress (now, if only her eyeball were completely white, she’d look just like Orphan Annie) but drew the line at brushing her ‘do. She’s also very hungry again. Since the primary caregiver in the family, Maddy, has to start work today, douchebag Josh is tasked with babysitting. God, they’ll all be dead by lunch. 

As we check in on Maddy’s first day rounds, we see her almost vomit as her mom undresses a festering wound. Outside in the compound, Taylor is filling in Jim on Mission: Bag Retrieval.  Suddenly, a Sixer inbound call comes up and hall breaks loose again. Lea hears the commotion back I the Shannon house and zombie girls the following line, "they've come for me." Josh reassures himself Lea that no one gets through the gate without Taylor's leave. Outside the gate, Mira is in full war paint … and there are lots of Sixers. In fact, I think this is the most we've seen of them at once. Taylor and his many sidearm guns parley with Mira right there outside the gate. You know, they have a very civil relationship for two people intent on killing each other (which makes me suspicious that there’s hanky panky, double cross going on somewhere). Mira wants Lea back. Taylor agrees to let Lea choose where she goes but won’t bring her out until Wash and the Red Shirt are freed.  Mira agrees (causing a heckle from her subordinate) and Taylor sends for Lea.  Josh runs to tattle to his mom and sister that Jim is bringing Lea to the gate.  No one likes a tattle tale Josh.  So Lea? What say you?   Lea pretty defiantly says she wants to say and that Mira can kiss her grits (I might be paraphrasing).  Mira’s very mature response is that they can keep Lea, she’s dead to Mira.  Man, that kid is going to have some time on the couch when she gets older.  As they're leaving, Taylor warns Mira that she’s come upon his gate twice; if there is a third time, Taylor is going to war. 

Taylor is now really super totally convinced they have a mole in the colony because how else could Mira have figured out they has Lea so fast?  Well, it’s the only colony in this time period so … if she was anywhere, that’s as good a guess as any but I digress.  Taylor wants Jim to find mole (they should task Anderson Cooper with helping him). Meanwhile, Taylor makes some inroads with Lea and gets her to reveal that Mira moves the Sixers around a lot. They make a playdate to look over some maps and figure out where her camp is. Hopefully, Paddington Bear is invited to the tea party portion of the gathering.  As Lea walks through the marketplace (that’s a generic term I use for downtown Terra Nova), the townfolk are putting on the full Magical Kingdom kindness tour of happiness; Lea is clearly loving the attention and affection. The “Lea is Awesome” tour ends with a family toast at the Shannon dinner. They also toast Maddy as the future Dr. Shannon.

When Jim uncovered link between a scientist named Stanley who was OTG (those damn kids have got me saying it now) during the suspicious mole-leak time period, Taylor pretty much wets himself  You see, Stanley came over to Terra Nova on the 6th Pilgrimage (you’ll remember that the Sixers are so named because they all came from the 6th Pilgrimage) but didn't leave with Mira when she rebelled (Taylor tells us that only about half of the 6P people did). Jim and Taylor find Stanley out doing science things and Taylor begins a third degree interrogation.  Malcolm comes to Stanley’s rescue and uses his shield of incredulity to protect Stanley from the fascist regime beating upon him.  He makes a cheeky remark about the lack of lawyers and denial of rights. When Jim steps in to just say they were asking some basic questions, Malcolm makes an allusion to his father, saying that “they” just began with some questions at the 2119 Edinburgh Hearings. I cannot wait until the Terra Nova encyclopedia comes out with the full mythology of the 22nd Century filled in (and the latter 21st Century too for that matter).

Maddy is prepping Lea on her placement test which will determine her proper level of schooling. As soon as Elisabeth and Maddy drop her at the schoolhouse door, Lea is outta there.  On the other side of Terra Nova, Reynolds works up the nerve to approach Jim and begins with, "as you know, I've begun the initial stages of the courting of Maddy."  Very nice approach with the dad-cop.   Before he can shoot Reynolds, Jim is called away by Wash to investigate a home break-at the McMillan’s.  Turns out the thief had a very specific destination; they’ve ripped up the living room floor and exposed a hidey hole (which is now empty).  The McMillans didn’t even know about the hideyhole; hey, who used to own this house?  Yep, you guessed it – Mira!!!  Anyone seen Lea lately?  Ruh-roh.  Jim and company track and corner her in the woods and ask her what she took. 

When we return, we learn she took some kind of container, which does not appear to be able to open in any way shape or form (perhaps its like a Snitch and it will open at the close? Harry Potter? Anyone? No? ok.). Anyway, Taylor and Jim are incensed that Lea was a plant and that Mira played them like a fiddle (I hope the art of the fiddle has not been lost in the 22nd Century or that its at least been rediscovered in prehistoric times.) Lea isn’t up on too much knowledge about the container or why Mira wants it; she only really knows that Mira is holding her brother hostage and she’ll hurt him if Lea doesn’t retrieve the container.  I am refraining from making Se7en references and jokes about what’s in the box because that movie is scary ya’ll and you should not joke about it … though Brad Pitt yelling in his whiny man voice about what’s in the box is pretty effing funny. Anyway, I digress more.  

Back at Bad Job Choice Central, Maddy is about to toss her cookies as her mom goes t drain a pustule that looks like a ginormous white pimple.  Gross. Thanks for the nice interlude.

Jim has doubts about not believing Lea; what if she is telling the truth this time. Jim is the character in the Boy Who Cried Wolf that kept schlepping out to see what the boy was crying about every freaking time, well past even the boy finding it funny. Dumbass.  Taylor only sees a trap (which is probably why he’s a Commander and Jim doesn’t even have his own rover). Go home and be with your family Jim, let this one go, says Taylor.

Back at the Shannon’s, Josh snits about how maybe Maddy is just perfect and not super perfect or some shit. Dick. Even numnuts Jim tells him to for the love of god, be quiet. When Josh snits back to his room he finds a note left behind by Lea that says, "I'm sorry, I had too" followed by some eyes crying. Jim immediately accepts this as indisputable proof that she was telling the truth about Sam the Hostage; the pre-mediated sadness of it all really sells it for him I think.  Of course, he doesn’t stop to think that If she was clever enough to infiltrate the camp and steal the container, isn't it possible that she picked up on unbelievable collective gullibility of the Shannon family and is still playing them? I think Taylor would agree with me here.

Maddy and Reynolds are in the marketplace and he wants to try out some more of his romance prose; he’d like to formally declare his intentions for her and then repeats her full name in case she is confused.  He clarifies that wants to "court" her. Heh, is that what the kids are calling it these days. *Rim Shot* Reynolds explains that father figure Taylor has specific rules on courting rituals. I find these Many Faces of Taylor to be Fascinating and I hope they really explore them. 

Jim has snuck out into the jungles to find Sam. Because Jim sucks at forest survival training, he gets caught up in a hunter's trap and loses his gun in the process. Its all very Luke in the ice cave except its dinos about to eat him instead of a Wampa.  Something sonic blasts the dino that's nipping at Jim's head. Oh hi Mira!  After freeing Jim from the trap and bringing him into her forest canopy lair, she tells Jim that Sam was in no real danger, she only threatened Lea with his safety in order to motivate Lea to do the very best she was capable of.  What’s in the box Mira? No answer. Ok, let's talk about Taylor and Jim instead. Mira knows Taylor likes Jim; though it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, Jim, reveals that he knows she knows he knows she’s got a spy in the colony.  Then, they rehash how Jim saved Taylor’s life in the Pilot when the rogue Sixer tried to assassinate him and Jim left weeding duty to flying tackle him.  I guess Jim owes his job to Mira. So … what's your job Mira? Well Jim, its complicated. You see, Taylor has really pissed off some powerful people back in 2149 AND they want him gone. Gone?!? Jim sucks on his Kool Aid and clutches his pearls at the thought, why its Taylor that makes Terra Nova work, you can’t make him gone.  If you are smart Mira, then what's Terra Nova really about, hmmm? Mira says she wants Jim to be on the right side if history. If not for him, then for his family. There’s going to be a reckoning soon and when its comes, she warns him that he doesn’t want to be next to Taylor.  Mira’s motivation is that “they” (presumably the powerful people in 2149) have her family and if she completes her job, she gets them back.  You can see how she knew the kidnap and threaten Sam thing would work on Lea … pay it forward Mira.  Who's “they” Mira?  Instead of answering him, she sets him free. Looking back on it, that was a maddeningly vague and unsatisfying conversation in which more questions were raised than answered. Jim is not a good investigative cop.  If this was happening in 21st Century Virginia, Gibbs would have made Mira spill her guts already.

Wrap Ups! Back at camp, Jim has brought Sam to Lea. Taylor wants to know if Jim was convinced by the Sixer lifestyle. Jim non answers by saying he was too distracted by them breaking his ribs.  Taylor also asks Jim if there's anything he should know … Jim doesn't say anything of note, especially not about the powerful people putting a bounty on his head. Taylor sends him to get his broken ribs taped and its clear that some of the sheen has come off of his Saint Taylor statue. We learn from Elisabeth that she has freed Maddy from her epic fail of an apprenticeship. Taylor is having Malcolm try, unsuccessfully, to open the container. No luck so far. We see Malcolm put it away in a rolling cabinet … given his political views n the state of democracy in Terra Nova, Malcolm has rocketed up my list of suspects (though that list contains everyone who’s last name isn’t Shannon). Lea gives Jim big hug and says thank you. And we close on that happy scene.  Oooh, I feel trouble’s a brewin’.

Dear producers, I understand her storyline is tied to Josh having plot but I am not happy about the 100% less Skye featured in this episode. Please correct this situation.

Originally Posted on October 14, 2011

Terra Nova
Episode 104
"What Remains"

We open on a clearly crazy guy playing "gonna getcha" with a prehistoric cockroach in what looks like a subterranean science lab, which has been ransacked.  Crazy Pants gets up to follow the cockroach and we follow Crazy Pants outside (past a room of screaming people - did I imagine that?) where he acts like he's never seen fresh air and nature before; he's also bemused by the snarling dinosaur that hollering right next to him. That is, until dino chomps down on him. Crazy Pants for lunch, yummmmm.

Taylor and Elisabeth are preparing for a trip out to Outpost: Crazy (Outpost 3 is the technical name I guess) because they haven't made contact in some time.  Seeing a chance to get in the good doctor's pants since Jim isn't coming along, annoying Malcolm insists upon coming along with them; Cmdr Taylor assures them its going to be a tech problem and not a science one.  Before she leaves, she realizes her wedding ring is missing and asks Jim to fetch it from the hospital on his way home.  What an odd thing to mention, I am sure that will not become important later ... as they drive away, Jim bemoans the fact that even Malcolm has his own rover (as chief science officer) and he doesn't (even though he's the only cop in town -- yeah, but there is a full on military presence so your copness is a bit redundant, no?). Malcolm does make a funny about where Jim puts his siren. 

Out at Outpost: Crazy, red shirt military guy discovers that the power lines have clearly been eaten by some dino and Taylor is on red alert because the gate to the outpost that shouldn't be open, is.  The begin to explore the outpost and I faintly reminded of Star Wars with what sounds suspiciously like R2D2 *beep beep* noises playing in the background.  You know what you don't want to find at a prehistoric Science Outpost Station? Post-it notes that say "This is not a dream!" and "DO NOT goes outside".  This is not confidence inspiring but its exactly what Elisabeth finds laying on a desk.  What kind of wetlands research were they doing?

Hey, I didn't imagine the screaming; red shirt finds a room with some seriously deranged/sick people chilling inside.  Obviously having not ever having watched episodes of Sci-Fi shows with sick people, Cmdr Taylor orders the door opened and head inside to check out the situation.  The head crazy girl babbles on about running through some snow and asks Elisabeth if she's with the Red Cross, no.  Crazy Girl thinks she's in 2137 which is 12 years in the past (or 85.002137 million years in the future).  Cmdr. Taylor rightly asks why she and her two colleagues have lost her memory.  Elisabeth accesses a computer file and finds a "Dear Diary" from Dr. Jonathan (f/k/a Crazy Pants from the beginning of the episode). he is detailing the memory loss stages and states that he doesn't remember the 3 people in the infirmary. Also, he is pretty sure he needs to tell someone about the pathogens and what he was working on to cure it.  Taylor hopes Elisabeth can finish his work because he's not letting them go home until she does (QUARANTINED!).

Back in the colony, Jim has retrieved Elisabeth's ring and sees that Maddy has brought Zoe in cause she's getting a cold.  Jim takes her to see if she can get some meds.  As night falls, the OTG kids have reconvened a drinking session while Josh plays his guitar (nice continuity from last episode show!). It appears they have remained inside the gate this time -- who says teenagers don't listen or change?).

Taylor breaks it to Elisabeth that Dr. Jonathan was eaten by a dinosaur (they found his legs in his boots, ick).  Elisabeth and Jim video chat about her project and family crap about Reynolds coming over to court Maddy. We also learn that Jim's caught Zoe's cold.  After they hang up, Elisabeth reflects for a second and asks herself who Zoe is? OH NOES!

Reynolds and Maddy finish dinner and she nerds out and Reynolds looks just uncomfortable.  She does explain the joy of cooking as "chemistry where you get a treat at the end" so, you know, I'd bolt too I think.  Jim dads to her about the worst first date ever was really by him with Elisabeth so, no worries Maddy, Reynolds will still want to sleep with you.

Next day, Wash breaks it to Jim that Outpost 3 is under quarantine and no contact until Taylor says so.  Jim ... is not pleased. He agrees to not doing anything and then immediately goes to commandeer Malcolm's rover; but not without Malcolm forcing himself to come along.  Meanwhile, in the land of plucking guitars and hammocks, Josh and Skye have an awkward kiss while he babbles about the golden equations at the rocks and then buzzkills the moment by talking about his girlfriend.  Skye, clearly under her own mental illness not related to the Outpost 3 contagion, tells him she might know a guy that can help bring his girlfriend on through to the other side. 

Back at Outpost: Memory Loss, Jim and Malcolm find some velociraptor-like things chewing on the remainder of the cables.  Malcolm nerds that the nickel is like catnip to the dinos ... well I guess its like dinonip?  Jim and Malcolm enter the lab of doom to find Wash trying to raise Taylor on the video chat.  She handles Jim's direct disobeying of her orders fairly well and he explains to her that Cmdr Taylor does not seem to be around.  As he hangs up on Wash he looks up to find a suspicious looking Elisabeth eyeing him warily.  When he says hi, she responds by shooting him and Malcolm with a giant effing sonic blast gun.  You've got some splaining to do Lucy!   In Jim's worst nightmare come true, Elisabeth clearly remembers Malcolm and tearfully embraces him. Not so much Jim. 

When we return from commercials, Malcolm has learned that Elisabeth has lost about the last 20 years and thinks she is at university, when she had just begun dating Malcolm. How convenient for him. Jim, once again is not pleased.  He explains that the first stage is short term memory loss which eventually leads being unmoored and stage 2, catastrophic  memory loss (where Elisabeth is now). Stage 3 is straight up catatonia.  Jim only cares that Malcolm can cure .. whatever this is.  He thinks so, with Elisabeth’s help. Oh yeah, it would be better if we didn't confuse Elisabeth with the whole married and kids thing.  He denies any personal value in this approach. What a saint. Jim agrees. Reluctantly.  Jim is reintroduced to his wife.

Skye introduces Josh to her guy, Tom.  He acknowledges that he can get people through but its expensive, more expensive than a kid could have. When Josh points out he's got time to earn the required cash since Tom could only send the request message through on the next pilgrimage when the portal is open (and bring the girl on the pilgrimage thereafter), Tom tosses away a line that seems to indicate he knows messages can travel to 2149 not only when the portal is open (that such a rule is only according to Saint Taylor).  Intriguing but not at issue right now.  Tom has concerns about Josh being "the cop's son."  This somehow leads to Josh getting a job with Tom; since he can be trusted to keep secrets.  I guess.

Back at Outpost: Memory Fueled Indignation, Elisabeth is outraged that Terra Nova time travelled to before the ice age, which is a valid point that I hope they address at toms point).  Malcolm begs her to not get bogged down in those details but to rather, focus on the pathogen.  She thinks Malcolm has been smoking doobies but is forced to believe her own recorded words describing the effects of the pathogen.  Just then, the power blows (cue RENT theme song).  No really, it was the velociraptor things and not Benny come to turn off their power (RENT? Anyone? Not a Broadway crowd? ok).  Jim goes to scare them and finds Red Shirt dead (see 'ya Red Shirt who's name was Brady).  And there's Taylor to kick some Jim ass.

After the break, we have Taylor manhandling Jim, asking what Terra Nova is a code name for?  See, Taylor has the sickness and thinks that he is in Somalia in 2138 (glad to see the region improves in the next 120 years) and that Jim is maybe some Ruso-Chinee or Axis-Side Ops; either way he thinks Jim knows where they took "her"? The her in question is Taylor's wife (Ayanye, sp?).  I guess his son is missing too (but we know he eventually returns, right). Well, he makes Jim a deal. If he doesn't find his wife and son, he's going to come back and slit every throat in sight so, good talking to you. He then decks Jim in the face. I like Crazy Taylor as much as I like regular flavor Taylor.

Elisabeth discovers that they are dealing not with a pathogen but with some mad scientist-type gene therapy mutation/manipulation.  Malcolm is confused because any such experiments should have come through him but clearly someone at Outpost: Mad Scientist is trying to keep it a secret.  Malcolm is very turned by this news and tried to do Elisabeth right there on the lab table. Luckily, Jim comes in to toss him around and helps him refocus that he is at a Terra Nova research outpost. Jim also reminds Malcolm that Elisabeth is his wife ... but clearly in a bit, that's not going to matter to Malcolm cause he won't remember it. The funniest part of this scene is that Elisabeth keeps calling him Jack.  Weird, Jim hasn't been infected yet ... hey, turns out that Red Shirt isn't dead, Jim takes Malcolm to get see if he can be helped.

Back in Terra Nova, Maddy is freaking out that her parents have disappeared and Reynolds reveals that he knows what happened to them but that he can't tell her.  But, he clearly will tell her because he wants to get some. Taylor is riding a future motorcycle which has a nice GPS screen which says Terra Nova in big letters and a red blinking light. He stops to watch a dinosaur; he thinks dinos are funny. 

Malcolm's memory checks out just as they're moving not dead Red Shirt, Jim drops him on the floor to make him moan as proof (HA!). Just then a velociraptor drops in from a skylight and Jim saves Malcolm's ass by getting through an air-lock door. Of course, Red Shirt is definitely a goner now. 

Wait! Jim has an idea; he bashes up some cables to release the nickel and the velociraptor immediately forgets about Red Shirt and goes after the nickel. Jim opens the door and traps the dino on the other side ... who is very happy with his nickel crack.  Now that he's safe, Malcolm starts having a full-on meltdown and Jim helpfully knocks him out to calm him down. Jim convinces Elisabeth that she doesn't need Malcolm and she is clearly turned on by his bravado.  Way to be faithful to unconscious Malcolm you amnesiac hussy.  She senses they are at least friends but then breaks the moment to get back to work.  Jim awkwardly walks through his marriage and having kid status and Elisabeth clearly thinks he's some kind of lothario weirdo.  Anyway, lets hack some computer files and find out who the Mad Scientist was! Meanwhile, Taylor has arrived at the outer Terra Nova gates and begins taking out his own men.  Back at Outpost: Computer Hacking, Jim has gotten into the files of a Dr. Douglas Jocelyn, who was suffering from Gorman's disease (a worse form of Alzheimer’s and not the same as Gorham's disease which is a real disease). Apparently he was working on a cure and screwed it up. He also made the delivery system viral which explains the contagious aspect.  Just then, she finds Memory Loss Post It notes that she had prepared for herself with Jim's name as well as her kids. She puts it all together and Jim tells her they are indeed married.  He then replaces her wedding ring on her finger.  She's worried they'll both forget and Jim reminds her that he's fine. Elisabeth figures out that the medicine Malcolm gave Jim has some medicinal quality in it preventing infection.  While they go to work on a cure, Maddy is preparing to go storm Wash's command post to demand they get her parents back. Reynolds is a bit worried that he'll get in trouble for posting guards outside Zoe's bedroom and you know, spilling the military secrets to his girlfriend. 

Unfortunately, Maddy and Reynolds walk in on Wash dealing with Crazy Taylor, who then sneaks up behind Reynolds and takes him hostage with a knife to his throat.  Why was Wash turned in the opposite direction from the door if that's where Taylor was. That made no sense, unless Taylor told her not to look at him?!? he doesn't strike me bashful, especially in Crazy Taylor form.  Wash starts trying to catch Taylor up to speed and tells him that Reynolds (first name Mark) came here on the 5th Pilgrimage, to follow Taylor; that Taylor led them all her. She also pledges her fealty to him and informs him that his wife died.  Wash in clearly a good and loyal soldier, she also knows how get shit done when she shoots Taylor with a stun gun in order to prevent him from taking his own life (why would he want to remember his wife dying?!?).  Badass! I like Wash, I hope they develop her a bit more. 

Back at Outpost: Spit Swap, Elisabeth realizes that its Jim's cold that is preventing the spread of the pathogen to him and wants to engineer a replica cold virus. He wants to suck her face off and infect her that way ... and so he does.  She does not object. 

WrapUps!  Taylor wakes up groggy but with his memory restored. He's also strapped to a couch/bed which seems like a good precaution. they release him.  Taylor praises Wash for shooting him. Man, he's hardcore!  Ugh, they fixed Malcolm too. he can't explain the source of his headache. Elisabeth does not inform him its due to Jim's fist.  Back at the homestead, Jim walks through his house to find his older children all wrapped up with their current flames and finds refuge in little Zoe's room. Elisabeth comes to join them and they bond over stuffed dinosaurs.  Final Scene.  Tom (the Smuggler) comes through some weeds to deliver some contraband to Mira and some of her Sixer soldiers.  In exchange, she gives him a bag of some ingredient that helps him make the "best hooch." He asks that when she next makes contact with 2149, he needs to get a message through; seems the new sheriff's kid wants to smuggle his girlfriend through the portal and he's given Josh a job in his bar to keep his friends close, enemies closer. Mira just about wets herself at the news and says that this is an opportunity, one she plans to use. Oh Josh, you stupid idiot, you're going to get us all killed.  

Originally Posted On October 9, 2011

Terra Nova
Episode 103

We're back with the Shannon family travels in the Terra Nova colony.   Just a side note/rhetorical question, but how long do we think it'll be before the interactive Terra Nova ride is unveiled in Orlando?

Some people are giving the show flack over its CGI and rubbery looking dino birds but, c'mon, the show is still light years beyond what TV has traditionally put out in this genre. Also, we're not talking about a Summer blockbuster release, we're dealing with an episodic endeavor on broadcast television. A little suspension of disbelief is in order.  Let's discuss the episode after the jump...

Overview.  The Terra Nova colony is being overrun with little pterosaurs (I guess they're miniature Pterodactyls?) who have returned to get their sweet, sweet love bird making on only to find the colony has been built on their breeding ground.  And they're pissed about it.  After attacking and killing the members of a returning supply truck, the nasty birds really wreck the mojo of Jim and Elisabeth who are trying to get their freak on any chance they can get nuisance Zoe out of their bed.  Stupid kids.  Anyway, nerd scientist Malcolm Wallace is working with Elisabeth to engineer a secret love potion for the birds which will drive them crazy and allow them to be led away from the colony.  Badass Incorporated (made up of Cmdr Taylor and Jim) drive the pheromone concoction out into the woods, well away from the settlement and some how make it back without being pecked to death by the horny birds.   

The Adult Shannons.  Jim has been tasked by Cmdr Taylor to ferret out the Sixer mole(s) in the colony.  He also is trying to return to normal marital relations with Elisabeth, who is willing, but is being stymied but Zoe constantly crawling into bed.  After the screeching birds interrupt his Al Green CD for the second night in a row, Jim, followed by Josh, trying scattering the birds with yelling scat like their cats on a fence from an old cartoon) and throwing rocks.  This rock throwing really pisses off the birds and seems to serve as a catalyst for the birds becoming aggressive from this point on. Elisabeth meanwhile is dealing with Taylor's demands to figure out what these birds are, what they want and how they can be stopped.  I thought she was a medical doctor, not a dino vet person? Shouldn't they have brought one or two long during one of the 10 pilgrimages?  I guess Dr Malcolm Wallace qualifies. He also is an old flame of Elisabeth's and, as Jim learns later on, specifically recruited Elisabeth to Terra Nova. Jim deduces that Malcolm thought Jim would still be in prison and Elisabeth would look to Malcolm for some rekindled romantic comfort.  Jim is at first jealous but clearly moves into an "amused, I can totally kick you ass" place over the course of the episode.  And he's right, Malcolm is a total weenie and I don't think we're going to have to worry about Elisabeth being tempted.  At the episode's wrap-up, Jim's triumphant return from the pheromone race with Cmdr Taylor serves as just the right kind of turn on for Elisabeth; when they return home to find their kids sleeping all over the living room, she takes him into the boudoir for a little bow-chicka-bow-bow which, I think is fine but it is the middle of the day and the walls of the house are translucent and your kids are going to totally hear you doing it.  So, nice Jim and Elisabeth. Just get a room at the Terra Nova Sheraton and do your business there.

The Shannon Kids.  Josh is still a weenie teenage but he's better this week. He is totally responsible for tipping the dino birds over the edge by throwing a rock at them. On top of that, he is also trying to score a 21st century guitar from the Terra Colony flea market but (i) has no money), (ii) doesn't understand the Terra Nova economic system; and (iii) has only his super special necklace from his super special girlfriend who he abandoned in the 2149 year wasteland.  Super hot Skye continues to like Josh, for some reason, and even tried to engineer a cheesy bet which would allow her to front the money for the guitar without damaging his angsty teenage boy honor.  She's hot but clearly has issues.  Maddie is still a nerd and is a total gunner during survival training led by Cmdr Taylor's right hand woman Lt. Alicia Washington (who is referred to as "Wash", we will too) and Maddie's crush, Reynolds.  If Reynolds is some kind ranking Terra Nova military officer, his Maddie googly eyes are a little creeper, no?  Zoe ... is a kid that plays with dangerous Venus fly trap plants and ruins her parents sexy time.  She also almost gets her brother killed when she doesn't get hide in the bedroom at the climax of the episode thereby forcing her brother to out and get her and fight off the attacking dino birds.

So, this was an example of what I think most episodes will be like; a crisis of the week driven by a dino threat or Sixer attack, with light mythology reveals (I think most meaty mythology reveals will come in mythology explicit episodes), that will be reflected in the individual story lines of the Shannon family (e.g., bird attack while Josh is with Skye, or Reynolds with Maddie, or Zoe playing with the killer animal or Jim having to fight it or Elisabeth cure whatever ill it brings forth).  There has been a lot of talk on other sites about the lack of show me, don't tell me storytelling with respect to some of the purported action scenes.  I can see where people want to see Jim and Taylor dropping off the pheromone payload in the forest with the dino birds in hot pursuit but I am not so worried about this issue. I think the show did a did a decent job of conveying the worry in Jim returning from the mission with Elisabeth's body language and creepy Malcolm trying to comfort her.  And as far as action scenes go, I think the show proved in the pilot that it could do action scenes (e.g., the Slashers attack against the idiot teenagers while they were hunkered down in the rovers).  And I think the dino bird attack of the colony (while Josh and Skye were discussing how his future girlfriend is kind of like Skye, smooth move Josh - girls love being compared to other girls) was pretty well executed (they should have avoided the up close shot of the dead dino bird since it looked so Halloween decoration rubbery).  I can deal with that level of action every week as long as the show makes up for it with good character development and dialogue.  For example, in LOST, I didn't need to see the smoke monster eat the pilot, but I needed to see the affect it had on the LOST-aways. Good character storylines and dialogue will make people overlook a lack of action scenes.  That'll work for me anyway.

See you next week!

Originally Posted On September 30, 2011

Terra Nova
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.