When a new series starts, it’s easy to get caught up in the setting, the story, and the promise that the show carries. However, after a couple of episodes some shows get stuck in a rut. Afraid to do too much, too soon, they end up stalling any major plot changes, giving things a dragging feeling.
Thankfully, Terra Nova hasn’t done that yet. While this episode was not as exciting as others, it still moves the plot forward and keeps the setting fresh.
For those who don’t know, the show revolves around the Shannons, a family that lived in the dystopian, smog-ridden future of 2149. Through a coincidence, scientists discover a rift in space-time that allows them to send people back 85 million years, to a time when dinosaurs still ruled the earth. There, a small community, called Terra Nova, tries to rebuild civilization, and start fresh in a new world. The Shannons are part of the tenth shipment of settlers to be sent back. In Terra Nova, they face many enemies, including the Sixers, a pack of settlers that broke away from the colony and now roam the land like pirates, and (of course) hordes of ravenous dinosaurs.
The episode continues the story of the Shannons. A soldier gets killed by a dinosaur while opening up a shed. Jim Shannon, the father of the family, and a cop in Terra Nova, goes out to investigate. Predictably, things get complicated fast.
Meanwhile, Josh, Jim’s son, continues to try find a way to get his girlfriend, Kara, to Terra Nova. Kara still lives in 2149. Officially, the portal to Terra Nova is a one-way trip, but it is hinted that there might be a way to get Kara over. At the same time, Elizabeth (Jim’s wife), gets a dinosaur egg with a deformed embryo inside and inadvertently promises her daughter Zoe that she will save the baby dinosaur.
The main plot was a little tedious at time, and felt like it served no real importance except to continue the character development of Jim and Nathaniel Taylor, the chief of Terra Nova. Taylor is played by Stephen Lang, who is best-known for his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch (the bad guy) in Avatar. Lang does an excellent job as Taylor, especially in the parts where he is forced to make a hard decision in upholding the law and either basically killing a man or going easy on a murderer.
Surprisingly, it is the side-plots that seem to provide the most tension and excitement. The show regularly hints at major changes that could be happening, but doesn’t quite dare to change anything, yet. It often feels like we, as the audience, are forced to sit on a merry-go-round, while being shown this great big roller coaster, and being told: “Doesn’t that look like fun?”
Still, the setting does more than enough to make up for any slow pacing.The fusion of dinosaurs with science-fiction is still great, and while there aren’t as many dinosaurs as there could be, the world still feels believable. There is a lot of potential in Terra Nova, if the show’s producers decide to tap into it.
In conclusion, the episode is a little slow, but still interesting to watch, and will keep you entertained. If you like science fiction, dinosaurs, or have an hour to kill, the show is a definite recommendation.