Thursday, December 27, 2012

Terra Nova, Season 1, Episode 7: Nightfall

 Examining Mira’s mystery box, Malcolm tells Taylor that’s it’s linked to someone’s DNA and only they can open it (c’mon, you don’t have a blow torch? It’s like a skeleton key for the clumsy!)

Everyone is living their happy domestic lives and Hunter (that’s one of Josh’s gang of people who have one brain to share between them) has drunk something he really really shouldn’t have and is suffering in the medical bay.

Maddy and Mark go to look at flowers and try to romantically out geek each other.

Jim takes Zoe under the colony so she can see their futuristic Wikipedia with extra invasive pictures of everything and everywhere – including the house Zoe was born in. Jim tells her about her birth that they had to keep hidden since having a 3rd child was against the law.

And a meteor plummets to Earth – it smashes down near Terra Nova sending out an EMP blast that knocks out all technology and then a sonic blast to send everyone sprawling. In the aftermath Taylor and Washington gather their troops to tell them the bad news –all things electronic just got fried. First things first they need to watch out for the wildlife since their usual defences are down.

Elizabeth’s medical facility is in chaos without power and all their fancy gizmos and it also means that she has to operate on Hunter the old fashioned way, with an actual scalpel. And then pulling the parasite out and slowly winding it up. Ick. She recruits Skye to continue the rolling up of the parasite so she can treat people injured in a rover accident. Which leaves Skye holding the coil when the parasite cuts in two and begins sending Hunter into a seizure and just when he was confessing his love for her.

Jim and Zoe in the basement find all the doors locked and they can’t get hold of anyone  - but the future Wikipedia thing is still working. To get out they need Zoe to crawl down an access tunnel and come out the other side and open the door with a manual override, something which takes lots of convincing.

And Mark and Maddy are out in the wilderness with a broken rover and even the gun requires electronics to work. Walking back they coat themselves in stinking mud to put off the roving carnivores. Despite that, when night falls they still have to scrabble up a tree to avoid Nykoraptors (hey, you’re fictional dinosaur is already established as a tree climber! Last episode in fact!)  Being stuck up a tree cove red in foul smelling mud and surrounded by predators is apparently romantic.

But worry not, Macolm has a solution! Terra Nova predicted this and has a Chip Fabricator that can make any chip in seconds and with it Malcolm can easily churn out replacement chips. Except the chip that make the Chip Fabricator work has been fried. As far as contingency plans go, this one doesn’t seem very well thought through. Who can fix the chip? That would be Boylan.

What, really? A full colony full of people from the 22nd century and there’s only one – ONE – person capable of fixing microchips? Boylan’s haggling for hefty rewards is shortcut by Taylor threatening bodily harm if he doesn’t fix it. Ah he knows how to motivate people.

To make matters worse, the Sixers realise Terra Nova is dark and Mira plans an attack. To overcome Terra Nova’s alertness and greater numbers they herd a giant Spinosaur towards Terra Nova

Jim gets out and commandeers a soldier to take Zoe to safety while he, without equipment (unlike the soldier) joins Taylor in looking out the fence where the Spinosaur is coming. Taylor’s plan is a fire arrow – and gives the second bow to Jim (why not Washington or any of the other soldiers? Because Jim is the special protagonist!) they shoot at a moat of flammable liquid Taylor had dug around the fence when he realised the power would be down for a while – clever forward thinking. But wouldn’t it be better giving the bow to someone who knew what the plan was? The fire turns back the Spinosaur, but Taylor sees the spears in its legs and realises that it was been herded as a diversion. Leaving Washington on the fence, he takes Jim to go check on the box.

Time for a fight over the box with Jim and Taylor against several Sixers. Jim chases after the box while Taylor fights the remaining Sixer until Boylan intervenes with an old fashioned 6-shooter – and kills the Sixer. But Jim fails to catch the box thief and it ends up in Mira’s hands. In the good news, Hunter is saved when Elizabeth gets the chip for the bio-bed replaced (the EMP only fried one teeny tiny chip in the whole man-sized machine). Taylor reiterates his determination to find the spy.

Mark and Maddy wake up in their tree, having survived the night and manages to get home before anyone notices she’s gone. And Elizabeth plots to set Josh up with Skye.

Mira goes out into the jungle to pass on the box to a young man with odd scars on the back of his head. He has little time for her and less manners. She tells him her job was to pass the box to him – but doesn’t know what it’s for and he doesn’t tell her. He opens it and the hologram of angles and equations appears. He starts to leave and Mira tells him to be careful – Taylor knows he’s getting close to an answer – and yes, this is Lucas Taylor, Commander Taylor’s son. And he won’t stop unless his dad kills him.

I can't say I didn't see the big surprise coming - but still, it's nice to see some weighty meta-plot, I'd like to see how this develops

Same problems - I'm just not that interested in Jim. Really, this episode didn't need him at all - but we had to fill up with him singing a ridiculous song about spiders. Would the episode have changed even slightly if he and Zoe remained stuck until someone freed them?  And he escapes, doesn't have a clue what's going on and is instantly moved straight up to the front. I'm tired of his super-special-protagonist-ness.