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Terra Nova: What Remains

"So you're going to tell her it's twenty years later than she thinks, and she's gone back in time eighty-five million years, but you think a husband is going to confuse her?"

I often find this kind of plot annoying, but not this time. This was the best episode so far. And why? Cute fun character development time.

So we had a virus that takes a person's memory back a few years. Elisabeth Shannon, Commander Taylor, and several red shirts were infected. (And I added her last name and his title so that it wouldn't look like Elizabeth Taylor and several red shirts were infected.) Elisabeth went back mentally to her student years when she was dating the obnoxious Malcolm and hadn't met Jim yet.

There were several Elisabeth-Malcolm-Jim isolated-at-Outpost-3 scenes with the predictable dialogue, but it became fun when she really looked at Jim and found him attractive for the first time. It was like getting a little flashback to when they first met. And it was sweet to hear Jim talk about how inadequate he felt around Elisabeth when they started dating. It all worked, right up to and including that kiss full of cold germs at the end. We know the Shannons better now.

But of course, Taylor stole the episode right out from under them. His memory re-set took him back to Somalia 2138 when he was in a deadly situation and his wife and son were in danger, and he was scary, intense, and completely out of control. When he camo'd up and began an assault on Terra Nova all by himself, I was actually worried about them, not him. The strongest scene in the episode was when Washington told him about his wife and he started to slit his own throat. I practically jumped out of my chair.

The dinos worked well this time, too. I particularly loved the one sticking its head through the hatch and scampering about for raptor catnip. When Taylor simply refused to believe he was seeing a dinosaur and drove his cycle right between its legs, laugh out loud funny. I laughed when Jim punched Malcolm out, too. Hey, he had it coming.

I love science fiction, but only when the characters work. This week, the characters worked. Except for Josh, whose character appears to exist purely to cause conflict. (Yes, I'm going to pick on Josh again.) His craving for his long lost girlfriend has somehow led to a part-time job working for Tom the bar owner who spies for the Sixers. At least it's something for his character to do, other than lounge around mournfully playing the guitar and flirting with the devious Skye.

I didn't know what to make of Maddy and Mark Reynolds, her gentleman caller. Did he really ask her if she enjoys cooking? How Little House on the Prairie of him. Does Mark have forbidden knowledge of the Sixers, or was he just in the know because he's a soldier?

Bits and pieces:

— The saga sell reminds me of Babylon 5, the last, best hope for peace.

— Taylor's second is Lt. Washington, and they've known each other since before 2138, when he had a wife and son. If he hadn't trusted her, it would have been a lot harder to bring him down. They're not a couple, but they should be.

— Taylor's wife, whose name I have no hope of spelling, is dead.

— Jim's cold practically screamed "I am an important plot point", but I did like the idea of the Alzheimers gene therapy backfiring. I kept thinking the Jim-Elisabeth plot line was like The Notebook, only much shorter and with dinosaurs. Elisabeth losing her wedding ring right before forgetting her marriage was Way Too Obvious Symbolism.

— October 2137 was the coldest winter ever recorded in Detroit, and there were food riots.

— Messages can only go through when the portal is open... except that's not true for the Sixers.

Taylor: "I found his boots."
Elisabeth: "He's out there barefoot?"
Taylor: "No, his feet were still in them."

This one gets three out of four catnip treats for little dinos. Which probably means last week's was only two out of four,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. "I kept thinking the Jim-Elisabeth plot line was like The Notebook, only much shorter and with dinosaurs."

    If that *were* The Notebook, I would finally watch that film. :-)

    My favorite part was the brief look on Taylor's face when he saw the big dinosaur (brontosaurus?). It was a moment of, "Oh, cool!" right before he decided it wasn't real. I'll bet he liked dinos as a kid, and I like that Lang conveyed that so neatly.

  2. Unless I'm mis-remembering, Taylor's sons was mentioned a couple of times in the pilot episode. First, Taylor said that he had gone missing some time before the show started. Second, the leader of the Sixers suggested he was the one responsible for the equation graffiti on the rocks.

  3. *smacks forehead* Yes, of course. Major space out on my part. Thanks, WriterDrew. I fixed my review.

  4. I knew I was right to watch this solely for Stephen Lang. He's so damn awesome and one hell of a professional. Agreed about Taylor/Washington; the show should be about those two in a tree house fighting dinosaurs with their bare hands and talking in low, grizzly voices like Batman.


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