The penultimate first season outing for FOX’s Terra Nova arrived at one central question – who will control the future? Here’s 5 more things we learned from “Within.”
Lucas is clearly messed up. Which we gathered, but dude is REALLY messed up. He sonic-BOOMED Taylor’s soldiers, threatened to throw Skye’s sickly mother from her perch, and took great glee from destroying his father’s ideals; confirming this as his primary motivation, as opposed to scientific ‘progress’, money or the little matter of saving the future. I’d like there to be an additional reason, but for now it works for his character and emphasises the deep fracture that runs directly through this father/son relationship. This offers more backstory potential, which you’ll notice they somehow managed to keep in reserve in this episode (perhaps we’ll find out exactly what happened to Mother Taylor in the finale, or Season 2?).
2. Skye might be a Sixer mole but she’s the most ethical mole in the prehistoric past.
She only fed non-critical Intel to the Sixers, the kind that didn’t endanger the colony. Not sure that’s actually true when we get down to it, but the show clearly wants to make the character as sympathetic as possible. She’s alright by me, though, because I don’t particularly care about the colony or their flimsy ideals. Plus, it was pretty amusing seeing her sneaking around while Taylor questioned where it all went wrong!
Let’s be honest, the “Eye” wasn’t essential to Lucas cracking the equation, but since a fair bit was presumably spent building that set, you could be sure they’d find a way to make as much use of it as possible. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the contrivance is difficult to ignore. I also found it strange that Lucas would trust Skye — who he’d only just met — with his “life’s work”. I guess he got a bit impatient towards the end.
What the science is behind these mythical equations, the show isn’t interested in telling us — but Lucas has finally figured out how to make the portal go both ways. His employers now have an open path to wipe out the colony and plunder the past for all it is worth. Hopefully we’re not dealing with mustache twirling bad guys here (look what they’ve done with the Sixers) but it seems that way at the moment. There needs to be conflict, but it would be nice if the opposing forces were both treated with equal, or necessary, care. Because the concept of using resources buried in an alternate time-stream past, is actually a very useful one when looking for ways to potentially ‘save the future’. So, while it’s going to be about corporate greed — and honestly, that’s a relevant story — hopefully there’s a bigger picture in store, one that integrates 2149, and the people who live there, further into the story. (This probably depends on whether or not there’s a second season, and whether or not the powers that be want to get serious about this show.)
He was in and out of that Sixers’ camp without us ever seeing him, until his final mission where we got a glimpse of his boots. Not only was he stealthy but he somehow managed to carry Mother Skye down a tree without any of the Sixers noticing, or, you know, without falling (Alex take note). Apparently, this is enough to revoke his banishment for murder – everyone deserves a second chance, explained Taylor, just in case we had forgotten the theme of the show, hopefully the characters will begin to remember. Anyway, I wonder if Mira will be as heartbroken over Curran’s deception as Taylor is over Skye’s?
The Good: On the whole, “Within” is much closer to the version of Terra Nova that I was hoping for. It’s far from perfect; the lack of world building and character development (from this ‘family drama’) is very apparent, and I could pick the mole holes out of it all day, but this episode was a solid step forward. Importantly, we got a sense of purpose and momentum with a central storyline that finally took center stage. Lucas, well Lucas is probably the show’s most interesting, most convincing character, and I enjoyed his rant at the portal. There’s nothing quite like a portal rant.
I also liked his reference to all the lonely nights he spent cold and hungry, spurred on by his ambition to shove Terra Nova down Taylor’s throat. Such a small thing, and while I’d rather SEE this through a flashback (or perhaps not, after our last dose of flashback hell) it was enough to help me understand Lucas a bit better.
He was also involved in one of the show’s best visual moments since the pilot. Gently resting his forehead on the portal’s outer rim after using it to obliterate Taylor’s soldiers. Symbolically, the portal represents his own fractured mind, one that connects him to his painful past. Using the portal as a weapon is the essentially what he’s doing with his ‘genius’. Oh Taylor, whatever did you do?
The Bad: The pointless Maddy storyline (although it was quite humorous, at times) which didn’t impact the main story whatsoever. The fact that the show expects me to believe that Jim is half as good a ‘sheriff’ as he thinks he is, all because it’s written. (again, it would make more sense if he turns out to be a robot). The contrived nature of the Skye storyline. The fact that we didn’t get to see Taylor’s mole do any mole-related work, including an off-screen retrieval mission.
I’m also hoping there’s a reason that the bulk of the story resides in an alternate time-stream, one that is for story purposes and not just an easy-out to avoid certain ‘real world’ timeline issues. We’ll see, still waiting on that one.