Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 17: End Game

Flashback time – to 30 years ago with a young Jedikiah who is apparently being bullied, and his brother Roger (Stephen’s father) trying to convince him not to play with their dad’s gun. They wrestle over it, which is a really bad idea, and Roger accidentally pulls the trigger – but then uses his powers to stop the bullet hitting Jed (do we need to poke the “no killing” thing and how this kicks in here?)

This is a flashback which is how Jedikiah is explaining how much he loved his brother and dedicated his life to him. Honest. And he’s just protecting him and keeping it allll a secret to protect them from the Founder. Apparently this is all better than what the Founder planned – a machine to amplify his powers

Yeah, I’m going to go with “amplified powers” as being better than “dead”. I’m just saying. But don’t worry, Jedikiah has a plan… seriously is Stephen really going to believe this? How much more proof do we need hat Jedikiah is evil!?

In Tomorrow People’s HQ, the new snarky Tim is still snarky, and Cara wakes from an odd dream/hearing someone telepathically, someone begging for help and a tormentor to stop. She sense a breakout – but it feels odd, like Stephen did.

At Ultra they’re also sensing a weird, faint breakout and the Founder drops in (Jedikiah calls him “Bathory” which is apparently a name he hasn’t used in a long time). The Founder has finally rebuilt a machine that Roger destroyed and he wants to test it on Stephen (the amplifier I assume), Jedikiah waffles and the Founder doesn’t care about family – he experiments on his own synergist daughter (someone with 2 paranormal parents) and reveals that Stephen is one too, which is news to Jedikiah. Hah, of course it was, because she’s bizarrely kept it hidden from everyone to such a degree I’m sure the writers just decided to change the planned plot randomly. Cassie is unsuitable for the machine for REASONS and the Founder wishes they had Roger around while trying to read Jedikiah’s mind; Jedikiah happily stabs himself in the hand to block any reaction or thoughts.

When he’s gone, Stephen enters and they discuss Jedikiah’s secret plan – he wants to kill the Founder. Which means getting John to do it – part of Jedikiah’s long running master plan. Stephen goes to John with this who is very wisely questioning the whole “hey let’s trust Jedikiah and kill someone at his say so!” With the addition of John not wanting to be a murderer and, hey, being a killer goes against everything the Tomorrow People are on a biological level, he says no. Stephen pouts away.

Stephen returns to Jedikiah to report that John won’t be his killbot so they have to get to the Founder another way which is hard because early breakouts are super paranoid. They hit on using his daughter (Jedikiah tells Stephen she was subject to the experiments he would have been but of course Jedikiah’s not going to provide any actual details). Of course getting her out of the citadel could be done at Jedikiah’s orders – but said orders would also expose him so they really need to succeed and need John to do so

Flashback to the younger Jed and Roger experimenting with Roger’s powers and bickering like true brothers. And it’s Jedikiah who suggests they partner with the Founder and his greater resources.

Present and Stephen rescues Cassie – though she warns him that he’s “next on his list”.

Cara, meanwhile, drags Russell out to go look for the new subtle breakout at a dance academy/theatre where there’s an awful lot of thoughts clogging the mental airwaves. Until they find Sophie – at the same time as Ultra does. Cara, going against all of her previous instruction, leads an attack against the Ultra agents. Russell is shocked and angry – but Sophie is Cara’s sister. Cara explains what happened to her to Sophie (including being able to hear again). She reassures Sophie that she’s special to take away the sting of being chased by Ultra – hut Sophie was a member of a Dance Academy that was very exclusive; she already was special and now by leaving she may have blown it.

Cara takes her to the HQ where she finds John and Stephen with Cassie, treating her wounds which John say resemble torture more than experimentation with them trying the machine over and over without result on her.

Cara tells John about how her sister is sad and unhappy at being a Paranormal and, coupled with the torture of Cassie, he asks her if he should kill the Founder to end the war; yes we’re discounting Jedikiah’s culpability again. So John is now on side

But Cara has to run after her sister who is having 8 kinds of panic over everything and is only more disturbed by how Cara is so calm in the face of extreme stress. In the end she wants one thing – for her powers to go away

John meets Jedikiah who tries to earn John’s trust – not happening – and convince John why him being tortured into a killbot is totally a good thing – John doesn’t forgive or forget that. He drops the not even slightly surprising news that Jedikiah has always known Stephen was a double agent – well duh, it’s not like Stephen was so excellent at keeping his cover identity.

Cara dumps her sister on Astrid to look after since her house is a safe zone. Astrid sympathises with Sophie but won’t let her blame Cara for something neither of them chose. But Sophie does make it clear how much dance means to her.

The gang gathers to plan attacking the Founder’s super-duper-secure compound. And they need Cassie’s DNA to get in in the first place but she still thinks the defences will slaughter them all.

Flashback to the younger Jed and Roger and the Founder rhapsodising about setting up a research facility for “Tomorrow People” and he does have some excellent ideas for how their powers can be used for good. But Roger is duly suspicious; especially since the Founder reveals the reason Roger can’t read his mind is because he himself is a Paranormal and more powerful. And wants to create a new utopia.

In the present John brings Jedikiah to the HQ because they totally need him to get into the compound, honest – and Russell has to babysit him. Everyone prepares for the suicide mission, but Cara has to bow out because Astrid and Sophie have gone to the ballet –the whole hunted by an evil organisation has somehow skipped their minds.

At least it turns out that Sophie is dancing and not just watching. She begs Cara for one last thing, one last day as a human before coming with her. Cara agrees (though she does snark that virgins dying of unrequited love makes it a comedy)

While she’s doing that Jedikiah is using Tim to hack the compound and it’s apparent Tim and Jedikiah are old fans. Russell is still comic relief. Next step is using Cassie asking daddy for help to get them access to the compound, covering their breach with hers. She slips a d-chip in his pocket and John and Stephen move in. They fight past the guards, reminding us what dangerous fighting machines Paranormals can be.

They arrive at the Founder’s room (can’t he just take the thing out his pocket?) and instantly accuses them of being manipulated by Jedikiah (well duh). He tries to make himself look like a victim of Jedikiah’s manipulations but Cassie being right there after being experimented on kind of makes that argument a bit weak. But the machine will save them all, honest and Jedikiah just wants to steal their powers!

Cassie asks why they haven’t got on with the father murdering yet. I’m curious as well. The founder manages to destroy the D-Chip – and they still don’t shoot him. He tells them he’s on their side and Stephen steps in front of John, stopping him shooting.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! And why is Stephen, the 18 year old, making the decision when 27 year old John is right there, with more experience and the one who can actually fire the gun?!

Eventually Cassie knocks Stephen aside and John  fires – the Founder (because they gave him time to destroy the D-chip) knocks the bullet aside – into Cassie. He’s actually sad about that which is pretty pathetic given he used her as a lab rat for so long. He blames it all on Jedikiah. He totally wants to stop the bloodshed, which is why he runs a torturous prison and has hunted people down, of course.

They return home to tell Cara Cassie is dead and how they utterly ruined the whole operation. John running off to be alone since he killed Cassie. And Jedikiah escaped by hitting Russell – John screams at Russell and Russell passes the blame to Cara for abandoning the mission to go to the ballet. Stephen decides to go to Ultra to find some answers.

Cara gives her sister a d-chip watch, if she wears it at all times (because that’ll look great at the ballet) she can continue her normal life.

Flashback and young Jedikiah argues with the Founder about the unfairness of people having powers and how there will be a backlash against paranormals from people who don’t have powers. Jedikiah demands some of the research be directed towards the transfer of powers from paranormals to humans (or “Saps” as the Founder puts it).

Stephen confronts Jedikiah and finds him packing to run and he asks Jedikiah if he really wants to steal Roger’s powers, but Jedikiah claims no, it was his brother’s love that saved him. Hah. And he actually makes a call for humanity.

I am sick of Stephen trusting Jedikiah, I really am beyond sick of it. It goes against any shred of intelligence to trust this man.

And do not even try to redeem Jedikiah at this point – I don’t care if this is a long running elaborate plan between him and Roger INCLUDING Roger’s death – Jedikiah has been behind the murder and torture of Paranormals for the whole season. He is evil, and no amount of shadowy plotting behind the scenes is going to change that.  At least John seems to holding onto the idea that what Jedikiah has done is unforgiveable.

Can someone please explain to these people that it is possible for BOTH JEDIKIAH AND THE FOUNDER TO BE BAD PEOPLE. Just because you believe Jedikiah’s version about the Founder being evil doesn’t make Jedikiah good. Just because you believe the Founder’s accusations about Jedikiah doesn’t make the Founder good. They are both evil, they can both be shot. Oh please for the sake of all that is sensible shoot them already!

The only way EITHER of these men can be good people is REALLY SHODDY WRITING

This is still a very real possibility

Hell, this is highly likely

I am actually a little intrigued by Sophie wanting her powers to go away because it’s one of the few times when it makes sense. We have a lot of fiction where a teenager gets super powers and wails “I just want to be normal” and there’s no damn reason they’d think that. Half the time the powers have few to no drawbacks or risks and, as is so often the case, they themselves have been so deliberately cast as either super-ordinary OR super miserable that it’s bemusing they’d want to throw away these amazing gifts. But Sophie has something extraordinary, something she must have worked so hard for – and now she’s going to lose it all and be in constant danger; as a bonus she sees her sister facing life-or-death emergencies and just roll with it because she’s so used to be in danger. She actually has a concrete, solid reason not to want these powers.

This show has a problem with disability and this isn’t helped by Sophie finding Cara’s deafness “inspirational”. Between magically cured deaf Cara to the constant mental-illness-oh-no-not-really it needs to step back.