Sunday, November 6, 2011

Review: Terra Nova "Bylaw"

Non Spoiler Review:
This week's Terra Nova presents more of the same, feeling like another Star Trek episode, this time with our crew dealing with the colony's first murder. Taylor continues to show more of his megalomania, while Jim does an Angela Lansbury and tries to figure out the truth. Meanwhile, Zoe gets attached to a damaged dinosaur egg and pleads with Dr. Mother to try to save it. Aw. *sniffles*

All in all, this was a mess. The murder plot and its resolution felt overly complex, but it could be my lack of interest in the storyline that made my mind wander over the course of the hour. The primary thrust of the episode was to provide set up for future developments (via Josh), but it's not like these one-shots are accomplishing anything by further developing the characters—Jim, Liz, Malcolm, etc., remain in a holding pattern. Is there anything really new here to show?

There was also a waste of the effects budget on throw away scenes—chasing down a dinosaur for really no good, reason aside from providing action to what amounted to a murder mystery episode. Blah.

Spoilers Now!
A soldier, Foster, investigates an isolated communications post and is killed by a dinosaur inside (like every lonely officer investigating an isolated outpost in Terra Nova these days). Malcolm, Taylor and Jim investigate the next day. Malcolm assumes the door was left open and the creature got inside, but Jim isn't so sure, as the animals aren't local. 

Liz is doing the autopsy while Malcolm has brought in a dinosaur egg for research (and to serve a tedious B plot). Jim brings Zoe in to see her as she misses her, and of course she gets attached to the egg. Liz and Malcolm see what they can do, and Liz vows to save it out of a promise to her more-trouble-than-she's-worth daughter. But, hey, Malcolm gets to spend more time with Liz.

When she's not wasting time on the egg, Liz has found two types of blood on Foster's body—one of which was an animal the dinosaur consumed. Jim thinks the creature was led in there to murder Foster. Taylor tells him to find out who ('cuz he don't like murders in his utopia).

Washington and Jim go to talk to Foster's friends who are at the bar. Reynolds was a buddy of his, too. Foster was seeing a woman, but no one knows who it was. Washington finds it odd the mystery girlfriend hasn't stepped forward, so they need to get Foster's dog tags which could contain the data they need. But the tags are not in his personal effects. The tags contain a tracking device, though, and they see it's moving very fast (and assume it has been eaten by the dinosaur). They take off in pursuit and manage to tranquilize the creature. Washington does a quick operation and removes the tag. This is a completely useless scene.

Taylor doesn't recognize the woman they find on the tag, but Washington knows she works at the mess hall. They go to see her. Her name's Rebecca and she's already married, and in fact came through the portal with her husband, so Jim accuses her of having a fake marriage in order to escape to the past. Her husband, Milner, comes home and he doesn't mince words in saying he killed Foster and would kill him again.

Jim grills him on the details of the crime, but doesn't believe his story. Taylor is furious that Foster fooled around with a married woman given his code of honor, but still regrets his soldier's death. They've never had a murder in Terra Nova, and their bylaws provide a punishment of banishment for the culprit.

Josh is working at his new job at the bar, but his boss informs him there's been a complication in their deal. He wants Josh to do a favor for him and meet with someone outside the gates—Mira. Josh confides in Skye who tells him it's not worth getting himself killed. He tells her that 2149 is a hellish place and he has to get Kara out of there no matter what. Skye says she'll come with him.

Liz and Jim get into a debate about Terra Nova's laws. She doesn't like the fact Taylor can make decisions himself without a trial. Jim likes the efficiency of their world compared to the one he left behind. She suggests Milner would have a reason to falsely confess.

Taylor holds an assembly for Milner and banishes him. With great gravitas, he walks out of Terra Nova, but shortly after Jim comes to see him in the jungle. He seems to think Milner was assuming Taylor would have commuted his sentence and sent him to jail instead. He believes Rebecca killed Foster.

Jim brings Milner back to shock Rebecca, and she confesses that Foster had broken up with her a few weeks before. He accuses her of killing him. She says she didn't. For some reason, Jim immediately believes her, too. Rebecca was glad Foster ended it, given his gambling problem. Oooh.

Taylor isn't impressed with Jim counteracting his orders, and now he's telling him they got the wrong guy. He tells Jim to follow his new lead, which means Washington, Jim and Taylor show up at the bar. That's where Jim learns Josh is working there (given his hands off approach to parenting means he doesn't know where any of his children are at any given time). Taylor immediately arrests Boylen, the bar owner. Boylen suggests if he's closed down people will revolt against Taylor' authority, but also declares he never killed Foster. He's taken away while Jim turns the bar upside-down to find Boylen's secret gambling ledger that tells who owes who what. Oh, and Josh is pissed that his father sends him home.

Reynolds suddenly shows up all bloodied, as Boylen escaped and had help. Taylor and Jim take off in pursuit. Taylor contacts Washington about analyzing the security cam for information (and we see Boylen is sitting right next to her).

Taylor, Jim, and a man named Curran are outside the gates attempting to track Boylen. That's when it's revealed the escape was all a ruse, and it's Curran who owed Foster a lot of money. He protests his innocence, but Taylor says he can tell he's lying (so they must be right this time). Curran then guesses Boylen's arrest was all staged. 

Taylor beats him up and they find the ledger on his person, in his attempt to hide the fact he owed Foster money. Taylor is banishing him, leaving him out in the jungle. After pleading uselessly for mercy, Curran walks off. 

Milner and Rebecca are happy again (?). Jim thanks Boylen for playing along with their plan. Jim returns home and lets Josh know he's late for work. He says he's old enough to make his own decisions now (and really, why should Jim bother at this point?).

At the gate, Josh rendezvous with Boylen, who's not impressed he brought Skye. Boylen gives him a gun, in case of predators, and a map, then Josh and Skye are brought to Mira by her men. She's not impressed either that he brought Skye. In order for Boylen to get his girl, he has to go through Mira to talk to 2149. Someday she'll ask him to do something and he'll have to do it without question. Josh agrees. She sends them back. 

Jim goes to the lab to find Liz and Zoe waiting for the egg to hatch. It does. Zoe wants to keep him, and now the Shannon's have a baby dinosaur that will teach them all how to love again.

The Verdict:
There's not much else to say about this week. Josh is obviously going to have to make his critical decision at a future juncture when the coup against Taylor occurs. I'm really cheering for Mira at this point, which I'm not sure is what the writers are intending. Jim and Taylor's similar viewpoints are actually quite frightening when one considers what could be going on behind the scenes, and Liz seems to be the only one who suggests it might not be the best idea to have a sole ruler (is there even any sort of governing council at all?). And who was that priest guy who was walking with the funeral procession. What kind of religion is Taylor advocating?

The murder mystery lacked any audience investment given we're not connected to any of the characters involved—Foster, Curran and the Milners. Even Boylen has appeared just a few times. Did anyone really care what happened to them? What if the murderer and/or victim was actually someone we'd seen before?

There's nothing to say about Zoe and the dinosaur egg. It was a sinful waste of time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...