2011-11-08

Terra Nova – Episode 6: "Nightfall"

by Yo Snyder

Spinosaurus. Yup, we got to see that infamous critter from Jurassic Park III here on Terra Nova.
Cool. Granted, he didn’t quite have the photo-realistic intimidation
thing going on like the movie version, but for a TV budget, it was still
pretty good. And that could sum up the rest of this episode as well;
pretty good. However, I just have this gut feeling that being
consistently “pretty good” just won’t be good enough for this show to
survive, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying the ride.

There was
more going on 85 million years ago than just dinosaurs; our planet was
also susceptible to meteor hits (which, according to some, is what wiped
the dinosuars out…so knowing that, how is Terra Nova not more
prepared for that event when it happens? Hmm…). In any event, a meteor
streaks over Terra Nova, explodes and sends out an EMP. This wreaks
havoc with all the environmentally friendly technology running the
place, and suddenly heroes in the past from the future have to go back
to the past in order to survive (was that as confusing as it sounded?).
It’s actually a pretty cool idea – forcing our future people living in
the past to try and get by without technology – but truthfully it’s
nothing more than a convenient plot device to help move some things
forward. Fine, it was still fun, but there was a lot of wasted potential
with this idea. 

In light of all that’s happening on one of Fox’s other shows this week (that’d be Glee),
I liked the teen romance shown here and how chaste it was. Sure, the
whole story arc of Maddy and Marc sneaking out for their first date was
pointless filler, but it was sweet pointless filler. Their chaste and
demure kiss was a refreshing change from teens discussing whether or not
they’re ready to “go all the way”. I like demure attitude this show
takes towards courting, dating and romance. However, I wasn’t a fan of
how it played off with a light hearted manner the fact that Maddy lied
and deceived her parents. Yeah, I know that happens, but where are the
consequences?

Even more filler was Jim and Zoe being stuck in
Terra Nova’s version of the holodeck (not quite as advanced, but pretty
much the same principle). Again, I liked the sweetness of these scenes
even if they didn’t really add much. Plus, it’s always fun to see Jim go
from kind, loving daddy to awesome, kick-butt action hero in the space
of scene. After Jim and Zoe make their escape, it’s suddenly essential
that Jim help Taylor with other activities; like firing flaming arrows
at a stampeding Spinosaur to keep it from smashing the gates. Again,
it’s a little too convenient how none of these things can happen without
Jim around, despite the fact he’s the new guy and not even an official
part of Taylor’s military/security force (all those other soldiers are
just standing around and it has to be Jim and Taylor that do the dirty
work).

More interesting was seeing Elisabeth have to deal with
doing medicine “the old fashioned way”; I love where she states is a
perplexed but professional voice, “I need to go find a scalpel.” (Lo and
behold, they happen to have one). Skye and Hunter share some
interesting scenes to help flesh out some more of these side characters,
but the scene stealer was definitely the 30 foot parasite being pulled
out of Hunter while they talk. Blerg.

Still, all of this was really just filler stuff for the main point of the episode; getting Mira’s box back.
The blackout provides a convenient opportunity for that to happen and to
help push the overall plot of the series forward. Kudos to the show for
allowing us to see what was in that mysterious box, even if it didn’t
really mean that much to us. Also, it was cool to see Taylor’s son and
get some more cryptic mysteries thrown at us (just exactly what is he
working on and why?). This was an episode that felt like it had many
disparate parts, but they were all enjoyable in their own way and made
for a fun show. I also enjoyed the old-school, Star Trek fisticuffs at
the end. Terra Nova remains good, but it’s still not great.
Hopefully that’ll change or pretty good will turn out to be good enough
to keep this show around, because I like it.