It's the finale “Occupation/Resistance” -- in which this blogger finally realizes: Lucas is reprehensibly despicable.
Between the two-hour long stress of the “Terra Nova” season finale, and the power outages at Candlestick Park for Monday Night Football and the Pittsburgh Steelers game (don’t hate), tensions were running high for me as our time-traveling pioneers dug their heels into their prehistoric home and waged war against the future. And some of it was relatively legit.
The 11th pilgrimage begins innocuously enough with a few innocent settlers, looking appropriately terrified as they come through the Stargate wormhole and are met with armed Terra Nova military. Yep, just some salt-of-the-earth people looking to start over, just like the Shannons. Oh, and a suicide bomber. No biggie.
And, cue the future’s invasion. We’re spared the visual of the battle and resulting occupation of Terra Nova by a private army known as the Phoenix Group – an army hired by the same people employing Lucas, it seems – because we instead see things through Jim’s eyes. Yup, Jim – our point of reference is the man who’s almost-immediately knocked unconscious and who awakens three days later to a decimated Terra Nova. Jim’s got that Cillian-Murphy-in-“28-Days-Later” disoriented swagger down, but that’s nothing compared to the disorientation the rest of Terra Nova must be feeling. Twenty-six Terra Nova settlers are dead, weapons have been confiscated, Mira and Lucas have established control and no one has heard from Taylor.
Intent on strip-mining the entirety of the jungle for meteoric iron, the Phoenix Group and its employers have brought back a second Stargate (the first was destroyed) and a “pyrosonic charge,” which is just a fancy name for “bomb.” With the ability to travel back and forth from Terra Nova to 2149 and Hope Plaza, Phoenix and the Sixers are looking pretty made in the shade.
Eh, until Jim and Wash – Taylor’s extremely fierce-looking second-in-command, whose name I never knew – decide to wage guerilla warfare on the invaders. Jim connects with Taylor out in the jungle, as he has so kindly CARVED HIS COORDINATES INTO BULLETS HE SHOOTS INTO PHOENIX MERCENARIES. (I thought this was brilliant on Taylor’s part. A friend simply referred to it as horse ----.)
Man, next thing we know, Jim’s getting tortured with a taser, Elisabeth is threatening the Phoenix leader by infecting him (or at least pretending to infect him) with bugs that “burrow their way into the brain” and Lucas is acting every kind of skeezy, touching Skye’s face and calling her his sister. I take back what I said last week about Lucas/Skye. I take back most of what I said about Lucas (except for the stuff about the eyes, the math and the chest muscles): He is just awful. I’ll elaborate in a minute.
Some diversionary tactics later (namely, Wash pulls the “Ultimate Sacrifice” card out of her deck and is shot point-blank in the head by Lucas), the Shannon clan escapes Terra Nova, joins Taylor and his small group of soldiers, and with the help of some people still in the settlement, begins to plan.
A lot of science was involved, all of which I did not understand, but the gist of it is this: The only way to stop the future’s corruption and invasion, Taylor realizes, is to sever all ties to 2149. Rip the phone cord out of the wall, essentially. Thing is, that means Terra Nova can’t make any calls at all – incoming or outgoing. The settlers would be stranded.
“We’d be cutting ourselves off,” Jim says, and Terra Nova would have no incoming supplies, food or medicine. The settlement would also have onlyabout 1,000 people to restart the human race.
“Eh, 1,000 people is a good round number,” Taylor responds. Good, okay, glad we’re so cavalier about this.
The important thing about tonight was that finally, I get to say that someone legit went back to the future, and I’ve been waiting all season to say that. In order to rip out the phone cord, Hope Plaza in 2149 must be destroyed, and Jim’s up for the task. He, Taylor and their motley crew switch out one of the Phoenix trucks – filled with top-secret cargo from “The Badlands,” an unexplored section of the jungle the settlers know disconcertingly little about – with a truck containing only Jim and the retro-fitted pyrosonic bomb. Well, almost “only.”
I had been hoping that the Phoenix Group somehow smuggled Bruce Springsteen out of The Badlands, and was waiting for the Boss to hop out of the truck with Jim, accompanied by some epic saxophone soundtracking the impending explosions. But nope, even better – Jim traveled back to the future with a sedated T.Rex, which promptly made up for a lack of dino-action the last few episodes by eating practically everything and everyone in beautiful, graphic, detailed fashion.
Raging Implausibility: Yes, Jim Shannon is TOTALLY capable of outrunning massive explosions and a raging T.Rex as he makes it through the time-travel event horizon back to Terra Nova from 2149 before it’s cut off entirely and permanently. Yes. This requires zero suspension of disbelief.
The OH-BY-THE-WAY Moment intended to act as a cliffhanger: Well, the “Terra Nova,” way to introduce The Badlands at the last conceivable moment. In the last minutes of the evening, Taylor, Malcolm and the Shannons decide to open the switched-out Phoenix truck and discover the cargo from The Badlands – a cracked, wooden prow from an 18th century ship (Oh, hey, wait, wasn’t there a similar plot device on “Lost”? Nahhhh.)
So my guess is that Terra Nova is about more than “second chances” as the Shannons and Taylor passionately insist every episode. This, I think, is what the writers REALLY meant when they had characters repeat, ad nauseum: “Control the past, control the future.” Like the “Lost” island, there’s a lot more to Terra Nova’s mysterious forest than meets the eye.
I just wish the mystery (CrazySexyMath aside) had been developed over the course of more than an episode-and-a-half. Oh, I hope there’s a hatch somewhere. And I hope Desmond is in it.
The Lucas Frustration: I am STILL not understanding what in the good hell he’s so angry at Taylor for. I’ve lost track – Lucas can’t forgive Taylor for letting his mother die? Taylor can’t forgive Lucas for being an insurgent menace? Taylor blames Lucas for the mother dying? Lucas seems to think Taylor is angry at him for the “unforgiveable” act of being born?
There were revelatory tears from Lucas, there was a redemptive hug from Taylor – all of these lovely things. But please, Lucas. We all knew you were going to try to shank your father to death about a minute before you actually did.
Ugh. We need Dr. Phil, stat. Or an academic paper applying oedipal literary criticism to this nonsense. I don’t even care anymore. There is a such thing as too crazy, Lucas, and you’re it. Also, you wanted to kill Josh. And you murdered Wash. If I were Skye, I would’ve shot you, too.
Unexpected emotional reaction of the evening, Part One: For not even knowing Wash’s name until tonight, I gotta say, I liked her this entire season without even really knowing it. Maybe it was because we actually saw her acting like a human being – hair down, makeup smudged – or maybe it was because we had to watch her die.
Unexpected emotional reaction of the evening, Part Two: My general loathing for Lucas, and my anger when I realized that the little jerk was still alive. Come on, Skye! Have you never seen “Zombieland”? Double-tap!
Adorable Zoe moment of the night: This girl gets two of them, one for every hour. In the first episode, with war knocking on Terra Nova’s gates, the child asks: “If there’s a war, can I shoot with the sonic cannon?” Her parents’ answer is “no,” but come on – can they not see how cute this would be? Why is this not a good idea?! In the second hour, as Taylor grieves over Wash’s death, Zoe offers him some comfort in the form of sharing what she learned from Wash in Children’s Wilderness Survival 101. And a bear hug. Bear hugs from five-year-olds are always comforting, it’s a scientific fact. “If you need another hug,” she tells Taylor, “just ask.” Excuse me as my heart melts.
Update on the antiquated courtship of Maddy and Soldier-Beau: The first exchange of the “I-Love-Yous” and some serious make-outs interrupted by Jim. Gosh, I hope these outdated dating generalizations continue in the second season, if we get one. I find them refreshing.
Update on Josh’s Future-Girlfriend: Dead.
Where we left Terra Nova: Lucas is missing. The Phoenix Group is probably pillaging the Badlands for whatever existential and historical quagmires they hold. Terra Nova is, for better or worse, entirely cut off from the future. Character and plot development is still sporadic and erratic, and dialogue is still dismal and stilted at best. Some things just haven’t changed.
Update on “Terra Nova” itself: Fox has deferred a decision on renewing “Terra Nova” to early 2012, according to the show’s website. I doubt this will be it for the show – it has consistently raked in a larger audience than shows found on NBC’s Thursday night, which are by and large just … better (personal bias). Oh, well. There’s a Twitter petition going around to support a second “Terra Nova” season, so if you’re into that, there you go.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun