Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Terra Nova Season 1, Episode 6: Bylaw

 Foster is our extra of the week going to check on an isolated outpost – which he finds empty, except for the dinosaur that leaps on him and eats him. Tasty extras are an essential part of a dinosaur’s diet.

Time for Malcolm, Jim and Taylor to check out the body – a nykoraptor (yes have a Dino Geek Grumble for fictional dinos) which doesn’t usually hunt in the area but since there are Ankylosaur nests nearby it’s not unusual since they go for the eggs.

Jim has Elizabeth autopsy the dead extra anyway (and brings along Zoe because she’s feigning illnesses to see her mother) and they find blood on him that belongs to a gallusaur – the nykoraptor’s favourite food. Jim declares it to be a murder and calls in Taylor. Someone used the gallusaur to lure a nykoraptor into the shed and locked it in (covering the back of the door in scratches) so it would kill Foster the minute he opened the door. Taylor wants the murderer found and assigns Washington to Jim to investigate.

To Boylan’s (the corrupt Sixer agent) bar where Foster’s friends are drinking after his death who reveal he had an unknown girlfriend (and that future dogtags double as Ipads). Checking Foster’s personal effects they find no tags at all (also that future land not only still uses metal currency but the coins are ridiculously huge). Since the tags have a locator on them, they track it and find it’s probably been eaten by the nykoraptor.

It takes Taylor, Washington, Jim, 2 extras, 2 bikes and 2 rovers to track down and hunt the nykoraptor. Despite climbing a tree, Taylor shoots it and Washington, being an awesome combat medic, cuts it’s open, removes the tags then sews it back up. Uh…. Why? Since when is it good procedure to leave vicious predators that have realised man is a tasty and easily killed treat, alive?  Are they endangered or something?

From the tags they see the picture of a woman – Washington recognises her as someone who works at the mess hall. Going to see her, Rebecca Milner, she denies and relationships – she’s married (possibly to get on the pilgrimage). Her husband arrives and he reveals he knows about the affair – and confesses to the murder. We have a scene where he describes the elaborate process of murdering Foster and how much he loved Rebecca but she was using him.

Taylor is not amused – and not amused with Foster, his men getting involved with a married Terra Novan is a big no-no, but not worth a death sentence. He talks about their graveyard and how this would be the very first murder they’ve had (despite the Sixers fighting and running from the compound?)  and the law says the punishment for murder is banishment (which, on Terra Nova is like a delayed death sentence) unless he commutes it to imprisonment.

Elizabeth and Jim discuss the funeral and the decision tomorrow and Jim is pleased there won’t be a drawn out trial – Elizabeth disagrees, not having a trial is “frontier justice”.  Jim has no time for it – frontier justice is fine with him, he has a confession that’s the end of it – and being banished out in the forest is better than being kept in prison (or pesky trials). Elizabeth leaves pointing out that there have been false confessions before.

The next day people gather and Taylor pronounces his sentence of banishment – even though it’s a death sentence in all but name. He makes a big speech about being worthy of the world they’re in and there’s no place for crimes like murder (dictatorship, draconian “justice” though are just fine), he’s kicked out of the colony and the gates close behind him (hey, there’s one way to recruit for the Sixers!)

Jim follows him out and questions him, basically mooting the idea that Rebecca killed Foster and he’s taking the fall for her – and does he really want to do that now he’s actually faced with the jungle. Jim sneaks Milner back into the compound to see Rebecca and Milner says he knows Foster broke it off with her. She says she didn’t and realises he confessed to save her from a crime she hadn’t committed (you know what’s good for finding these things out? Actual police investigations and trials). He had the details of the crime because the information about it had already been spread around the colony (hey, if useless policeman Jim actually investigated, this could have been turned up). Rebecca also reveals that she was glad Foster broke it off because he chose his friends, drinking and gambling over her – yes gambling, which is apparently illegal.

Jim takes this to Taylor who doesn’t understand why a recanted confession should change anything. Taylor is unhappy and givers Jim a chance to prove Milner’s innocence or he’s going to get banished again (guilty until proven innocent! Fun!).

First step, Jim and Washington check Foster’s financials (yes, they have actually concluded a case without checking the deceased’s financials. Why even pretend Jim was a policeman?)  they go and arrest Boylan (and Jim finds out Josh works for him). Taylor threatens to shut him down for allowing gambling. And to prove Foster’s murder they search the bar looking for a paper ledger. But while they’re searching it (and Jim is ordering Josh not to work there and questioning him working there in the first place) Boylan escapes – someone helps him.

Taylor, Jim and an extra, Curran go out hunting for him while Washington says she’s checking the security tapes – except she isn’t, she’s sat at a table with Boylan. Taylor reveals Boylan isn’t where they say – but he turns and confronts Curran who also owes Boylan a lot of money from gambling about Foster’s murder. Curran says he didn’t do it, Taylor says he’s lying, Curran challenges him to prove it, Taylor says he doesn’t have to. Curran tries to shoot Taylor but his gun doesn’t work. Taylor then proceeds to beat the man and then take the ledger he stole. Taylor tells Curran he isn’t going back, they hold him at gun point and tell him to start walking without a gun, supplies or a thing. Ih yes and no trial of course.

Back at the camp, Jim thanks Boylan for his act – though Boylan refuses to do any more free favours.

At the infirmary an Ankylosaur egg that Malcolm brought back to study assuming it was dead turns out to be still viable and Zoe wants Malcolm and Elizabeth to help it. Scanning it, they find it suffers from severe birth defects but Elizabeth insists they save it for Zoe’s sake. Elizabeth operates

Meanwhile Josh, working at the bar for Sixer-agent Boylan who has a mission for Josh if he wants to bring his girlfriend to Terra Nova.  He has to go outside the gate and meet – Mira! At which point he, naturally, runs to his father to tell him all about it… right? Course not! He’s Josh! Instead he goes to see Skye and tells her how bad it is in 2149, how people his age are committing suicide because they don’t believe they have a future. He insists he has to go for Kira’s sake and Skye insists on coming along.

Back at home, Jim acknowledges that Josh has the right to take a job if he wants and Jim shouldn’t have stopped him. That night, Josh and Skye join Boylan at the fence and sneak across to go see Mira. She says she’s the only one who can talk to 2149 – and in exchange she need him to agree to do her a favour, no questions asked. He agrees. Oh please let something eat him.

And at the infirmary the ankylosaur hatches and Zoe wants to keep him as a pet – Elizabeth pushes Jim to agree. Ahem, Dino Geek time, an ankylosaurus grows to be about in 8 metres in length, weighs about 6 tonnes and has a club on its tail that could demolish a house. This is not a good house pet.

Uh, what has been resolved this episode?  So they eventually got the right guy… maybe. Based on Taylor looking him in the eye and being sure. Really.

They still have no criminal justice system to speak of. Their police investigation can’t even be called amateurish because amateurs TRY. They are living under a military dictatorship with no trials, no due process and no rights. Anyone can be banished to the wilderness at gun point on Taylor’s say so. This is the better future they’re building?

Suddenly the Sixers seem so much more reasonable. The good guys just crashed and burned in my eyes. And Josh needs to be eaten