Terra Nova: Episode 9 – ‘VS’ (contains spoilers)
Creators: Greg Silverstein, Kelly Marcel
Director: Bryan Spicer
Writers: Jose Molina
Starring: Shelly Conn, Jason O’mara, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott, Stephen Lang
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
I have now come to the acceptance that Terra Nova, the show based in the Dinosaur age, is not going to show us very many dinosaurs. The promise by the makers of showing us a new breed of dinosaur every week is well and truly broken, so I think it is time to get over this fact and move on to the positives, and yes, finally this TV series which promised the Earth is showing positives. The series continues its upward climb which started with Episode 6, but is it a little too much too late?
The story is all starting to come together nicely, with Commander Taylor, as usual, offering up the episodes strongest moments, but thankfully even Jim Shannon had a chance to shine a little here, and Boylan continued to deliver as the possible bad guy with enormous character. Hell, all the characters are finally starting to feel familiar, with the distance between viewer and personality now shorter, dare I say it, the majority of them are actually becoming likeable. I am still yet to warm to Josh and Zoe, and I don’t think I ever will, but the rest are doing a grand job. Hell, even Maddy provided a cheesy, yet heartfelt moment as she fussed over boyfriend Mark.
This episode was fast moving, and at times tense as we begin with Boylan being drugged by Taylor in the hope he will give up the truth that he is feeding back information to the Sixers, or at the very least make the actual spy feel comfortable enough to make a mistake. It doesn’t work, but Boylan spills some home truths about Taylor to Jim. Drugged and thinking Jim is Taylor, Boylan taunts him with revealing his secret of a body buried by the Pilgrimage Tree. Jim, being a cop, does some investigating, which leads to some friendly banter between him and Dr Wallace, and they clearly still hate each other. But it is character moments like this which make you realize you are getting to like the cast, and past actions are remembered. Thankfully the makers are tying up all incidents which have taken place before, and things appear to me moving toward a conclusion.
It turns out the body which Jim finds is that of Taylor’s former Commander, with one arm it is not hard to guess who it is, and Taylor has to come clean. In true Taylor fashion, he doesn’t do it lying down, and decides to set up an arrest of Jim to test his commitment. A bug is found flying through Terra Nova, and it appears this is what Mira has been using to communicate with her spy. Dr Wallace is tasked with repairing it after a local army guy bashes it out the way with a book. Learning what the bug is attracted to in order to pass on its information, they set it free to follow where it leads. Taylor may, or may have not, planted something in Jim’s house to give him reason to arrest and detain him. It is here Taylor comes clean about a number of things, including why he killed his commander and why he banished his son.
These later moments show a real human side to Taylor’s character, and a passion for fighting for Terra Nova in order to stop the future draining all it’s resources through a portal being designed by his Son. You really feel Taylor’s passion, and watching him in these calm yet intense moments will make you realize just what a great character he really is. Things do get comical though, as the local children put on a play based on Terra Nova’s history and Zoe ends up playing Taylor. Fake silver beard on face, it is a funny, yet disturbingly warming moment. All of a sudden, you realize that this show aint all that bad, there is a future for it, and the poor ratings due to people giving up before getting half way through have left the show in jeapordy of being cancelled.
The final scene is possibly the best the series has had to offer so far. After pouring out his heart to Jim about wanting nothing more than to see Terra Nova work, Taylor stands on stage during the Terra Nova festival, and makes a speech. With the camera expertly placed to capture the night sky behind above him, Taylor thanks his companions and friends, each and every one of them. It is a wonderful site to see such a big, powerful man go all mushy on his ‘family’ and show his appreciation for all their hard work and commitment. Just as your emotions are about to get the better of you, a newborn is brought out, and Taylor celebrates the latest edition to Terra Nova. The parents pass their baby to Taylor who states “this is what Terra Nova is all about!” Lifting the baby up so he can give it a kiss on the head, Taylor looks both fearsome and caring, a Father to a whole new group of human beings looking for a better life. This is great stuff, and a brilliant way to end yet another top class episode.