Somebody find whoever’s responsible for sending CSI’s plot structure 85 million years into the past and feed them to an ovasaur. This week’s episode, like last week’s, opened on somebody we’ve never seen before, and then promptly killed him off. This, apparently, is Terra Nova’s modus operandi: kill somebody, have that tragic event thrust our heroes into action, and have whatever mess they get in somehow act as an expository device that will drop clues about our clusterfuck of a future.
Speaking of, news from the next 138 years! There will be a war in Somalia that “we” will win (we being the Anglos, I suppose); the bad guys will apparently be the Russians and Chinese, who will not be invited into the pilgrimage as punishment for dragging us back to the Horn of Africa (how you know Terra Nova’s prediction is off the mark: There’s no chance that Somalia will still be called Somalia in 100-plus years); we still haven’t found a cure for Alzheimer’s; and action movie tropes, like Taylor’s smearing mud on your face, haven’t changed. Perhaps the only good news was that we’ve discovered how to stop the symptoms of the common cold. Or at least Elisabeth has.
What else happened? Oh yes, Jisabeth scooped the plot of an upcoming Rachel McAdams–Channing Tatum movie; Rod Hallett, the actor who plays Malcolm, realized he’s on a bad show and decided to ham it up (to good effect!); Taylor went suicidal about his wife who’s been dead for decades (backstory!); Maddy continued to flirt with the Taylor Lautner–Josh Hartnett hybrid next door; Sky and Josh proved that the awkward stutterkiss has not gone out of fashion in 2149; and that same Josh unwittingly got recruited as a proto-Sixer by a bootlegging bartender with a thick brogue.
Which brings us to Mira. Mira! I was ready to pack up my Sixers vigil, and then came the final moments of the episode, when Mira and her weirdly anachronistic Amazonian aesthetic reentered the show. I’m actually more interested in what the writers are going to do with the Sixers than the Sixers themselves. The show dangles this rogue tribe in front of us like it’s the key to making Terra Nova interesting, but it’s afraid to actually deploy the plot. It’s been four hours and here’s what we know about the Sixers: They’re up to something, Taylor thinks it’s no good, and they like to make trouble in Terra Nova’s neighborhood. Unless they start rapping Terra Nova’s intro, that’s not enough. But, there’s hope: The previews suggested next week might be Sixer-heavy. Wonder what made the writers think now — after waiting for a quarter of the season — was the right time to flesh out their morally ambiguous villains.
Finally, as always, our Terra Nova clunker of the week, the most prestigious award in all of bad scriptwriting. Our candidates:
“But Doc, three people don’t just lose their minds at the same time. There’s gotta be a reason." —Taylor. (In case we didn’t know something more than chance led to Outpost Amnesia.)
“This outpost is under general quarantine. Nobody in or out.” —Taylor, to Elisabeth and no one else. (In case she needed an official order to realize the gravity of the situation.)
“You will wait here, and as soon as I know anything more, you will be informed.” —Washington. (In case we had any hope that Nova military personnel could speak like normal human beings.)
“Yeah, suspect and motive, now you’re talking my language.” —Jim. (In case we began to think Jim was a nuanced enough character to take interest in anything but copspeak.)
But all of those are secondary to this line that Jim says to Elisabeth. It’s this week’s clunkiest of the clunk: “What I feel for you is more than just a memory.” That’s love, Terra Nova–style.