Friday, November 8, 2013

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 5: All Tomorrow's Parties

Stephen is giving his keeper, Darcy a headache, by charging in without backup, again (of course, it’s her who will be killed if he screws up). He manages to grab the paranormal he’s chasing but holds back on hitting them when he sees it’s a woman (why do they grab these people? Can’t they just teleport out of your hands?). She has no such compunction and merrily starts throttling him.

Turns out it’s just a training exercise. Seriously, you break the rules and ignore your superior in a TRAINING exercise?! What nonsense is this? Why would you break the rules in a performance review? There follows a lecture on how daft it is not to wait for backup and another lecture on being squeamish about hitting a target if the target is female: Jedikiah lays on thick how dangerous and evil rogue paranormals are even if female. Stephen mopes off and Jedikiah gets a call from an older man who is not impressed by his recent operations (and choosing to send in an untrained trainee rather than an actual agent) and wants Stephen brought in at the behest of some mysterious big boss

Stephen goes to see his friend Astrid after a week of tense silence between them after he lied about not having super powers for reasons this show has still failed to make clear. Things are still tense between them but she agrees to think about going to homecoming with him (and he doesn’t deny that he lied).

At HQ, Stephen tells Cara a “chick” caused his black eye which Cara then decides is pretty much deserved. She has info on a new Paranormal who was captured by Ultra called Mark – she wants Stephen to witness him having his powers stripped (though not rescue the man since Mark was in the habit of freeing maximum security prisoners). And new character – Irene! A 17 year old super genius and their genetics expert. After much scientific babble, it’s clear she thinks she can create an antidote to Jedikiah’s “cure”

Outside there’s a bit of a drama. New recruit Kurt is being read the riot act by John for going to see his mother – potentially exposing them. Stephen speaks up because he’s the protagonist and has to stick his oar in and the group asks why Stephen’s the super special case who gets to live with his family? (Protagonist power!) John thanks Stephen for his oh-so-useful intervention and points out Stephen is undercover (seriously, there are janitors at Ultra who know Stephen is a double agent by now) and that his father will lead them to the Promised Land – the Refuge. Uh-huh, people are duly sceptical about the idea that the Refuge even exists but John adds they can leave if they want – just don’t come back.

Cara catches up with John and asking him if he really had to let loose both barrels on a teenager who was missing his mother. She reminds him of the times when they used to go out and have fun – and how everyone’s getting frustrated being cooped up – and yes it’s a risk but why go to all this effort to survive if you’re not letting yourself live? John blames the discontent on Stephen because everyone was fine before that (uh, Cara just pointed out that, until recently, you didn’t all hide… so correlation =/= causation John).

At Ultra, Darcy knocks the new captive, Mark, out in preparation for having his powers stripped and Stephen arrives to apologise to Darcy and to promise to start acting like an agent in training. She tests that by having him pass her the syringe of the “cure” which she then injects Mark with. The man convulses and Stephen pockets a spare vial when no-one is looking before Jedikiah calls him in for a conference. He’s going on a road trip to see the big bosses! Made all the more fun with a not-too-subtle threat of death if he doesn’t show up.

Stephen goes to the HQ to tell John, but he’s distracted by a challenge from Cara – if she wins, they’re all going to go out for a party (of course, this is all Stephen’s fault in John’s eyes). This means John is singularly unhelpful and unsympathetic about Stephen going to see the people who tried to have his father killed and may do the same to him. Stephen gives John grief for making him his scapegoat for his problems.

But that could actually be an important issue – it’s time to go to Cara and John’s battle to see if they can party or not. They fight (and Cara telepaths to John that normal couples talk through their differences, which is odd considering Cara told Stephen that she and John weren’t a couple). Of course Cara wins, using a grate to pin John. That settled, they set off to party.

Cara dresses up and tries to get John to do the same but he, again, questions why they are risking their lives for a party – and implies it’s Stephen after all the risks they’ve had lately. Cara counters that those risks are what made her look at her life and decide how she wanted to live. She asks him to come with her so they can pretend to be a normal couple. He refuses.

Onwards – Stephen judging Astrid’s dresses for the school dance (they’re all perfect. This is not helpful) and she wants answers about him disappearing in front of her – and won’t be distracted by dresses. But revelations are delayed by Stephen being called away suddenly by Jedikiah.

The meeting requires a bag on his head to super-secret location, he’s led inside without Jedikiah and left alone, where he is contacted telepathically (after three lines Stephen realises the boss is *gasp* a paranormal… the telepathy gave it away, darn it). Big boss is hunting his own side because he wants to be on the winning side of the war - and he is determined to see what secrets Stephen is hiding

Cara blinks to Stephen’s home and they both admire each other’s party clothes – and Stephen tells her about big boss trying to get in his head and how he isn’t sure he managed to keep him out. He is worried about the party – but Cara is confident she’ll sense them and get them to cover.

They go to the party, Cara looks sad for a bit and of course John turns up. Rather than have fun, Cara complains that John won’t let her read his mind (boundaries, Cara!). This is interrupted by Cara having to watch Irene while John keeps an eye on Russell (to stop him impressing a girl with his telekinesis)

Stephen looks like he has to duck out on Astrid again when Jedikiah summons him to a surprise meeting: she tells him he’s running late but she sees him get in a car with Jedikiah. She follows in a taxi to his spooky secret rendez-vous. She tries to follow but is stopped by Darcy

In the party, Cara realises her telepathy is down, she can’t hear anyone. John notices D-chips along the bar – it’s an ambush, they can’t jump. From the balcony, Stephen and Jedikiah watch as kill teams pull guns and start shooting the Tomorrow People. Stephen breaks free of Jedikiah and uses his super-duper powers to break the electrics, cutting the lights and giving John and Russell chance to knock the gun wielding humans down and help their people escape. Once out the building they start to jump away, but Cara is helping an injured friend and an agent nearly shoots her – until John shoots him. With a gun. A lethal gun – showing he can kill.

Everyone returns to the HQ, including Stephen, to desperately heal the injured, Irene is dying but John won’t risk a hospital. Cara mentally chants how it’s all her fault – Stephen lifts Irene and teleports her out.

When everyone’s cleared out, Cara confronts John on being a part of the Annex project and him not telling her; he wanted to keep it secret, he didn’t want to be seen as a monster. She doesn’t accept that and is angry he kept the secret

Stephen returns from the hospital and John is having Cara test everyone to see who gave them up to Ultra (I don’t get it, why reveal their party plans but not the HQ?) Stephen reveals it could be him after the big mental search he went through which he told Cara about: he volunteers to go next see if Cara can tell if Jedikiah’s partner learned of the party from him. But before the scan starts, Kurt breaks – apparently only John was supposed to be taken. Yes, Kurt gave them up to Ultra (despite Ultra hunting him not long ago?) They ambushed him at his mother’s (John was right it was risky) and threatened to kill her. John has to hold Russell back from attacking since they lost 3 people in the attack. Cara goes one better and rams him against the wall with her telekinesis then teleports next to him holding the syringe with Ultra’s cure.

Stephen tries to talk her down – the serum is hard to get their hands on and it’s wasted on him. But Cara says he’s not one of them, not anymore, and injects him and threatens to mangle his brain if he ever thinks of telling Ultra where they are. Yeah I wouldn’t trust that

Stephen returns home to find Astrid waiting for him in his room. He’s covered in Irene’s blood. His voice cracks and he tells her he saw something awful and he’s not sure he can deal with it alone; he doesn’t want to drag her into it. She says if it’s his life, she’s already in it. He takes her hands and teleports her.

John needs to stop blaming every opinion Cara has that he doesn’t like on Stephen. The idea that she either agrees with him or agrees with Stephen completely removes the idea that Cara may, just MAY, actually have an opinion or idea of her own. Especially since there’s no challenge to this – as far as the show is concerned, Cara’s opinions ARE being shaped by Stephen. In fact, Cara’s opinions are being used as a vehicle for Stephen – because all of this “go out and have some fun” which John continually says “sounds like Stephen” is bizarre because Stephen has never ever advocated that. He’s asked John to lighten up ripping Kurt a new one, but get out and live like normal people isn’t really Stephen’s campaign. I’m really glad Cara made it clear that it was for HER that she is fighting this because it really needs emphasising a lot more than it is being.

I’m also tried of the whole conflict between Stephen and John. There’s little reason for it – if there were a leadership struggle I’d almost understand but Stephen isn’t trying to influence anyone else. In fact, it was pretty clear that the rest of the group don’t rate Stephen. Is it Cara? If it is I want that to die because we don’t need the fighting-over-a-woman trope AGAIN and it’s not like Stephen and Cara have pursued a romance. Why do we have all this hostility? I don’t mind John being an arse if someone can point me towards a decent reason WHY John is an arse

I do like Cara raising the point about living vs surviving – it’s one that is touched on but rarely examined in many shows and it could do with exploring, apart from anything else it does give wonderful motivation for the risks the characters take.

I do not like Cara’s belief that she has the right to everyone’s minds – maybe John didn’t want to reveal he had the power to kill? Was that really something anyone but him needed to know now he’s trying to avoid it and move past it? When it clearly traumatised him?

They need to work on teleportation – how can these people be held like Kurt was by Cara without teleporting?