EPISODE REVIEW: Terra Nova: “Proof” (Episode 7)

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Two weeks ago the show finally got good, then last week is was right back to New Crap City. Despite the all-over-the-place quality of the series, ratings have been fairly consistent at about 8 million folks a week. Just a tick under. We are now in the second half of the season, make-it-or-break-it time. If they can hold around this level for the next six episodes, they will be back next season. If they can’t, they won’t.

Let’s find out if it’s worth the effort:

PLAY BY PLAY

In fact, it wasn’t bad. Second best episode so far.

Taylor and Shannon go fishing, and en rout back to the camp they find evidence of the exiled murderer dude from a couple episodes back. Shannon heads home, Taylor decides to track the guy, and stays out. Taylor finds the guy in bad shape, poisoned, injured, and dying, being tracked by a Komodo dragon-oid. He scares it up, patches the killer’s hurt, and tells him he wants the guy to infiltrate the Sixers and find out who their mole is, and report back to him. “Because I love a good redemption story,” and “If you don’t, the next time I track you down, I won’t be smiling.” If my quote is off, I’ll explain why below.

The End

MEANWHILE, back at Terra Nova a famous scientist guy - let’s call him Doug because I’m unsure of his name, and again, I’ll explain why below - who was part of a previous expedition. In the 22nd century, he was really famous, and he’s Maddie’s idol. She sent him an actual ink-and-paper letter, and he thought it was so quaint that he wrote her one in kind, which she kept. He’s been in the bush for six months, this is his first return to the colony since the Shannons have been here. She and he hit it off, but she notices odd things about him: he doesn’t remember stuff, and his signature is different on the letter than it is currently. Everyone attributes this to a stroke he allegedly suffered the moment he came through the portal, Zoe thinks he’s a vampire. Maddie thinks he’s not who he pretends to be.

Turns out - duh - she’s right. It’s the old “Brilliant lab tech had his discoveries stolen famous faker scientist who never actually did anything” plot. TNG did one, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea did one, it’s an old plot, if not a particularly common one. To their credit, they did an unexpected variation this time out: The lab assistant *killed* the famous faker scientist and had plastic surgery to take his appearance prior to heading forward into the past.

He’s about to kill Maddie when Jim shows up and punches him.

MEANWHILE, Boylen ropes Josh into stealing some drugs for the Sixers, which he makes a hash of. Jim starts investigating the crime, and Boylen realizes the kid is gonna’ get caught, so he hires a mook to take the fall. The mook is, well, a mook, so it doesn’t take long to get exposed as a tissue of lies. Josh realizes that the theft means at least one person in the colony will die before replacement medication can be sent back from the future, and he fesses up to his dad. Jim slaps Boylen around a bit, and the Aussie confesses that Mira has a way of talking to the future.

Taylor explains that his son Lucas was a genius (Just like the Lucas on SeaQuest) who was recruited to come up with a way of communicating with the future when the portal *wasn’t* open. Jim takes all this to mean that Lucas is a prisoner of the Sixers, but Taylor says he’s probably a willing ally.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS
Here’s the deal: Verizon went all goofy and I lost signal on this ep every ten seconds on average. (At one point it was down to every six seconds, sometimes it was as high as twenty) The screen would go black for a second, and then it’d come back. As a result, it was really hard to follow the story, I missed some choice words in important dialog *and* I have an urge to break stuff. It’s been that kind of day. Three hours in a car in heavy traffic. Dentist appointment that got cancelled *AFTER* three hours in heavy traffic, blah blah blah. Sorry.

The pity is that it was actually a pretty good episode. I enjoyed the 35 or so non-consecutive minutes of it I saw. The plots were all reasonably interesting, entertaining, and fed into each other rather organically. It was nice to see a Maddie episode (Her American accent increasingly kicks ass), and it’s nice to see that with Josh and mom turning out to be such schlubs, there’s someone in the family apart from Jim who can hold down an episode. (Zoe, of course, is a plot device, not a character)

Sonic pistols? Ultrasonic pistols that can dent metal like we saw here? Forget the question of whether or not it’s a good idea, or even a physically possible idea: Is it a *Practical* one? Wouldn’t a Taser or a trank gun work just as well, with far less fuss?

In the first episode they said they come from a bit over a century from now, which I took to mean in the 21-teens. Since then they’ve established they came from 2149. Tonight Josh said they came from 2129.

Sky continues to have absolutely nothing to do in the show, but she continues to be drop-dead adorable doing it. The budget is $4million(US) per episode, about $8 million (Aus). Assume a quarter of that is salary. Of the ten principle cast members, assuming they all get paid th…eh. Nevermind. Laborious and pointless gag I was setting up there. Suffice to say that given how little they use here, she’s probably being paid more per syllable than anyone else on the show.

A Moles go, Boylen’s pretty much useless. He immediately caves whenever confronted with authority. So I guess he’s not the mole, which leaves Wash. Wash is played by Simone Kessel, who, I didn’t realize, is a New Zealander. I didn’t realize she was, I didn’t realize she wasn’t American to be honest, but there’s something about her performance that seemed filtered, sanitized, I dunno. That’d do it. I honestly can’t think of any reason she wouldn’t be the mole at this point, seeing as they make a point of having her in every episode, but she never does anything of any consequence.

If the show gets a second season (Which I assume it will) she’ll be outed and/or killed in the finale, and Jim will take over her job, I’m sure. Whatever her job is. It’s all a bit nebulous beyond Taylor being Grand Poobah and Jim being his Consigliore.

The whole thing about using the banished murderer to infiltrate the Sixers? Pretty brilliant.

*CAN* Mira really talk to the future? It seems odd to me that Josh’s girlfriend would just be hanging by the phone on the other end, waiting for him to call when Mira had no way of knowing he’d show up when he did. I’m thinking it’s a fake.

They imported modern plants.

What happens to the scientist guy now? Ok, he’s a murderer, but he’s also really smart. They just gonna’ banish him? Seems a waste.

The Eye appears again in this ep.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Yeah, it wasn’t bad.

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