Entertainment Magazine

Review #3062: Terra Nova 1.4: “What Remains”

Posted on the 12 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

This episode of “Terra Nova” offers no surprising shift in quality. It’s still the same show, warts and all. Indeed, quite a bit of what I said last time still applies here. So be forewarned, as you may get the impression that I’m repeating myself a bit.

Review #3062: Terra Nova 1.4: “What Remains”

More than ever before while watching “Terra Nova”, I found myself desperately wanting to simply skip through the Josh and Maddy scenes. But somehow I managed to force myself through them anyway, since I wouldn’t have felt very qualified to review the episode if I hadn’t. My reaction to these scenes surprises me a bit, as it is extremely rare for me to be irritated so much by a scene in a TV show that I feel a nearly uncontrollable urge to skip past it. But that was the case here. So I think that speaks to just how bad these scenes were. At least they were fairly brief.

I had a fairly neutral response to the A plot. I didn’t despise it, and neither was I significantly impressed by it. (Unfortunately, that’s been the case for a lot of things in “Terra Nova”.) But again, like with the previous episode, if one could make some sort of edit that completely removes the B plots involving Josh and Maddy, you’d have a decent, watchable episode of television. The idea of using memory loss to expose facets of the Jim, Elisabeth, Malcolm triangle isn’t all that bad, really. The execution of the idea here is sufficient (aside from that horribly silly moment near the end), but another show could have taken the concept and delivered an impressive stand-alone episode.

So much of “Terra Nova” ranges from unexceptional to purely bad, which is as true for the special effects as it is for the cast. Even Stephen Lang, the one I most expected to impress, seems merely “good” in his role. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, though. Rod Hallett is still the only actor delivering a high-quality performance. Before his arrival, I could blame a lot of the bad acting on the uninspiring material the actors have had to work with. But Hallett’s presence makes that difficult. To be fair, the new Australian actor is fairly good. If his role is expanded, he has the potential to become interesting.

The other exception to that rule, Brian Tyler, continues to provide a solid, orchestral backing for the show. While watching the episode, I got the impression that this was some of his better music for the show so far. It really does make a difference to have that more organic sound that comes from using actual instruments. Tyler’s music really added to the cinematic feel in that opening scene with the Carnotaur and some of the more suspenseful scenes at the outpost later. It’s too bad the rest of the production is having trouble living up to this aspect of the production.

One of the most interesting things about this episode was the reveal that there is a way to contact the Earth of 2149. This opens up a huge amount of story potential, and I know I’m not the only one who wants to see more of Earth 2149. It would be nice if the show could eventually have reason to jump back and forth between the two settings for more expansive stories. It’s a little disappointing that the Earth 2149 scenes at the beginning of the pilot were not indicative of the tone of the rest of the show, which has become significantly sillier and less edgy. But perhaps more involvement of Earth 2149, with its motifs of government control and a world on the brink of collapse, would help push the show in a more interesting direction.

Rating: 6/10

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