Thursday, December 20, 2012

Terra Nova Season 1, Episode 3: Instinct

We begin with a rover getting a puncture (what, 22nd century and we still get punctures? Shoddy Goodyear, very shoddy) in the middle of the jungle. To no-one’s surprise, something leaps on them when they get out.

Back at Terra Nova Lt Washington is teaching folks some basic survival skills – how to make fires, how to find north, how to not leave the compound to drink homemade hooch – basic skills. Josh is still in the dog house but, alas, he hasn’t been eaten.

Time for family time, playing with carnivorous plants and Maddy continues to establish herself as the greatest source of pointless trivia known to mankind. And Jim and Elizabeth have their sex lives ruined by noisy pterosaurs and a needy child.

The next day, Taylor gives Jim a mission to find the missing supply rover (with the puncture) and Elizabeth meets Malcolm – an old colleague of hers who arrived on the 5th Pilgrimage and the Chief Science Officer. He has an English accent so has about a 60% chance of being evil according to TV rules. When Jim arrives for a medic to come with him on his mission, Malcolm doesn’t seem 100% thrilled with the fact Elizabeth is married (85 million years in the past, surrounded by dinosaurs and we still have a love triangle. Hey, maybe Jim can be eaten by something and then it’ll just be Macolm?)

Out they go on the mission they reach the empty rover and Jim tries to get Taylor not to take point since the Sixers tried to kill him. Yeah, that’s not going to happen, but he does want Jim to use his psychic cop powers to find out who the Sixer mole is. This is when they find the bodies of the missing patrol – badly covered in bloody wounds.

At base, Dr. Elizabeth says they were attacked from above and Jim finds a claw or tooth embedded in one of the wounds (the doctors missed this?). Since Elizabeth is going to be working late, that leaves Jim to sort out the family for the evening showing that a) he can’t cook and b) that his 2 years apart from them has left him with large gaps in his knowledge.  And Maddy asks about boys until Jim panics.

Elizabeth arrives home with the news that the claw is from a hitherto undiscovered species. And we learn that Malcolm and Elizabeth once, a long time ago, dated (this will surprise precisely no-one). To make matters worse, the celibacy pterosaur visits again and brings its friends. Josh throws a rock at them – and they attack! Why would this be an airborn predator they haven’t found before? Looks like. That also means they’re going to end up with a proper name and I can’t call them celibacy pterosaurs any more, booo. They manage to escape to the house and Josh isn’t eaten. Alas.

The next day Jim gets his injury looked at by Malcolm who confirms that they look the same as the wounds on the bodies. They report to Taylor and Malcolm suggests small creatures rarely attack larger ones and they were possibly provoked. Taylor tells Lt. Washington to put the compound in lockdown until they know more about the Celibacy Pterosaurs, but Malcolm wants to study them more and produce a little guide on how to act around them without provoking them. Taylor vetoes it and he leaves – and Taylor tells Jim that Malcolm specifically asked for Elizabeth to be recruited.

Which is when we join Malcolm and Elizabeth looking at plants and rhapsodising at the potential out there – maybe even a cure for cancer (what, the 22nd century and you haven’t cured cancer? We have the bullets that can’t kill dinosaurs, failing tires and no cancer cure? Future world fails badly! I am not impressed). And Malcolm is totally not flirting, honest.

Josh and Skye go to the market to get lunch and Josh catches sight of a guitar – an expensive guitar that interests him but he can’t afford it. This leads to talk about his necklace from his girlfriend, angsting and noticing that the Celibacy Pterosaurs are gathering like props in an Alfred Hitchcock film. Turns out keeping everyone in the open air compound may not stop air born attackers – how very surprising. Everyone ducks for cover as they attack.

We come in on the aftermath  Lt. Washington reports 36 wounded, no dead and Skye and Josh don’t know what finally drove them off. Malcolm has some bad news – if they’re not local that means they’re migrating. Since they’ve been in the area for over a year, it’s not an annual migration. Which means the migration will be huge – the whole area, perhaps the whole species – so they’ve only faced the first wave.

Using their cameras and detectors they check the jungle and find millions of the pterosaurs waiting to move in. Thinking back to when Terra Nova was excavated they realise that they’ve built the settlement in the middle of their breeding ground – and they’re coming back to spawn.  Taylor gets Washington to secure everyone and everything inside. Elizabeth and Malcolm say their best chance of finding a solution is if they get live samples – preferably 2, a male and a female. Time for Taylor and Jim to go hunting (why is Jim suddenly Taylor’s wingman?) Before they set off Jim gets to snarl and growl at Malcolm for recruiting his wife and pretending to be surprised when she arrived – and not expecting her to come with her imprisoned husband.

Getting the test subject the scientists have an answer – pheromones and by making super pterosaur pheromones they can attract the Celibacy Pterosaurs to find a new breeding ground. Time for everyone to be locked down (Skye joining Josh for more flirting and Reynolds arrives to flirt with Maddy).

The pterosaurs move in while the scientists work on their pheromones  while at home the teenagers are under siege and flirting – and hiding from the Celibacy Pterosaurs who break in, trapping Zoe away from the rest of them and knocking Reynolds out.

Jim is ready to head out with the pheromone when he calls Reynolds for him to check in which nearly causes Zoe to come out of cover – before Josh runs in an rescues her and tells him it’s all ok.  They set off in the rover and all the pterosaurs follow them. Everyone comes out of their houses, safe and sound.

The next day Taylor and Jim return, much greeting and we saved the dayness interspaced with Malcolm trying to name the Celibacy Pterosaurs after himself.  

I don’t like that Jim has become Taylor’s wingman especially since the military in Terra Nova seems to be one of the more racially diverse elements – take Lt Washington for one. It feels like he’s leaped ahead of people with years more experience than him and years more time with Taylor all because he is the Special Straight White Male Protagonist.

Geeky me is still amused.

Josh still needs to be eaten by something.