Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Terra Nova "Nightfall"

Non Spoiler Review:
Terra Nova reaches new heights of originality with its first disaster episode (I should clarify—an episode in which the plot deals with a disaster). A meteor (sadly, not the extinction level comet I was hoping for when I read the preview) hits outside the colony, producing an EMP that renders our futures-pasters' much vaunted technology useless. As with all disaster stories, the characters are paired off, spread out and stranded when catastrophe strikes.

For what should be a really riveting hour, this was absolutely boring. But I've figured out the writers' process—most of the hour is spent to drive the plot to the only interesting five minutes at the end of each episode when the story actually involves Mira and the conspiracy.

It was all a very sad mess with such promise (including a giant dinosaur attack). The only intriguing bit (which wasn't the saving grace at all) was the Mira plotline, which returned to the box (I'm trying to refer to it as anything but Mira's mystery box) that was retrieved in The Runaway. This was probably the worst episode yet, and that includes last week's baby dinosaur.

Spoilers Now!
A meteor explodes in the atmosphere, causing an EMP pulse that knocks out all of Terra Nova's technology. The blast wave from the fragments creates havoc, as well, isolating several groups of characters. Reynolds and Maggie are outside the gate on a secret alone-time rendezvous. Zoe and Jim are stranded in some weird underground library room below Terra Nova. Liz must do surgery the old-fashioned way. And Taylor organizes his men for rescue and to protect the perimeter given they have no defences except for that rickety old wooden fence.

Malcolm says all their computer chips are fried, but...he has a chip fabricator, which can replace all their microchips, needs a chip to run, and it's fried (one would think they would have made an effort to shield the chip fabricator a little better than Malcolm's office). So they need to find someone to fix it. Could that be Malcolm, or any other scientist at Terra Nova? Well, no. Washington knows a munitions officer who has all the gear to rebuild microchips—that being Boylen.

Taylor sucks it up and asks him for help. Boylen wants to know what's in it for him. Taylor threatens him, so convinces him to get to work. End of problem.

Reynolds and Maggie have to make their way back to the colony on foot, dodging carnosaurs along the way and finally taking refuge in a tree. That means they have to spend the night there, so Reynolds apologizes for getting her into this (though it was Maggie's idea to sneak out). They end up having their first kiss in case they die. And we should have such an angel of mercy.

Jim finally finds a use for his daughter, and sends her through a tunnel to unlock the door. Unfortunately this means we get Jim's "Go Away Spider" song. Zoe gets the door open, and they get back to the surface. I found myself humming my own "Go Away Shannons" song.

At the hospital, Liz is dealing with all sorts of injuries, including removing a parasite from Skye's friend. She leaves her there to extract it while she tends to more important patients, and he chides her for being in love with Josh. Skye lets the parasite go and it slithers back inside him, which will likely teach him a lesson he won't forget. Liz sends her to Boylen to get a chip for the biobed, because she simply cannot work in these primitive conditions.

Mira is advised that Terra Nova is vulnerable, so she orders her men to go in. So they gather around and try to herd a large dinosaur towards the colony to give Taylor something to worry about. The dinosaur attack is a diversion so Mira's men can break in and get the mystery box. They manage to turn the dinosaur away with more fire, then Taylor and Jim catch the Sixers in the lab and a fight ensues. But one guy gets away with the secret box. Boylen sees him running through the town, so Boylen saves Taylor from the other guy, and shoots him when he makes a move.

Jim and Taylor contemplate what was in the box, and Malcolm never got the chance to study it. Taylor tells Jim (again) they really need to hunt down the spy (well, duh). 

The colony gets back on its feet and power is restored. Skye gets the chip and saves her friend. Liz suggests Josh have Skye over for dinner some night, as she likes her. They finally realize Maddie is missing, but she shows up and says she was just doing homework all night. No one cares.

Mira meets with a guy in the jungle to pass over the box. It's Taylor's son, Lucas. She was told by her superiors to bring it to the portal and ensure it got to him, but it took longer than expected (Well, yeah. Like, years. No wonder Lucas is aggravated.). It's for his work, he says. He opens it and it's a fancy computer with all sorts of crazy symbols. Mira advises Lucas to be careful, given Taylor knows he's getting close to an answer. But Lucas says his father is soon going to have to chose between his own blood and his precious Terra Nova.

The Verdict:
Nature abhors a vacuum, and I've come to realize I now have a replacement for all the cheesy goodness I used to get from V before it was cancelled. For this reason, I'll continue watching until the end of the season to see what ridiculous shenanigans the Terra Novans get into before this show is cancelled. I will hold out hope to at least see Mira charging out of the jungle riding a T-Rex. 

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