Entertainment Magazine

Review #3154: Terra Nova 1.9: “Vs.”

Posted on the 23 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Nothing revealed in “Vs.” is terribly earth-shattering. Really, for the most part, it just confirms what was already strongly hinted at, while filling in some of the details. We knew that Taylor had essentially gone rogue against whatever parties were really in charge of the Terra Nova operation, seemingly in defiance of their true plans and in support of vision of Terra Nova as a legitimate second chance for humanity. And we knew that there was some sort of falling out between Taylor and his son, and that Lucas was now working with the Sixers on some important project that would further their goals.

Review #3154: Terra Nova 1.9: “Vs.”

What’s new to us is that certain profit-driven individuals back in 2149 (who seem to have a certain degree of control over the government) intended for Terra Nova to be the start of the biggest resource gathering operation in human history. Apparently, it’s all about greed. Normally, the portal only goes one way. But Lucas was working on a way to make bi-directional travel possible.

Somehow, I have a hard time buying that Lucas would be in this for anything more than the science. It seems more likely to me that Lucas simply wanted to see if it was possible. Whatever his original reasons were for attempting to make bi-directional travel possible, Taylor’s destruction of his work was what formed the rift between himself and his father. And I suspect that the main reason Lucas is working with the Sixers now is just to get back at his father.

The portrayal of Taylor is especially good here. As expected, Taylor does seem rather noble for rebelling against the greed-driven “powers that be”, but the episode doesn’t ignore the fact that Taylor is willing to enter morally ambiguous territory in order to protect humanity’s future. I also really liked how the episode emphasized the possibility that, though Taylor may have had primarily noble intentions for going rogue, there may have been some more selfish motivations at work as well.

Taylor is an extremely well-loved and respected leader. The man kisses babies, gives dramatic speeches, and even has his own holiday commemorating his greatness. Considering how much Taylor seems to enjoy being the colony’s Dear Leader, it’s not much of a stretch to wonder if his position of power and adoration has gone to his head a little bit, and it makes one wonder just how much this may have factored into his decision to go rogue in the first place.

A certain amount of exposition is utilized to explain this backstory material, but the peppering of brief flashbacks kept it interesting enough for me. I could see how this backstory might possibly have been better served by longer, more in-depth flashbacks, or even a whole episode dedicated to just re-telling these events. But on the other hand, it’s possible that this would have taken too much time away from the present storyline without delivering enough new information to warrant the time jump. Hard to say.

My one real disappointment with the episode is that it didn’t actually reveal the identity of the spy. Although, I would prefer that the audience be treated to that information before any of the main characters. And it would also make more sense for Taylor’s spy in Sixers’ camp to actually play into the story again at some point. If Reynolds is the spy, which I still strongly suspect to be the case, then it seems likely that he’s a reluctant one, given how the character has been portrayed. He probably has family somewhere that he’s trying to protect.

Looking back, there were probably plenty of ways in which “Vs.” could have been improved. I spent some time going back and forth a lot over what the actual number rating ought to be, because it’s a pretty close call. But one thing I’m reasonably clear on is that this was the strongest episode of “Terra Nova”, thus far. The last two episodes were also pretty good when compared to most of what the show had offered, up to that point. So hopefully this means the show is finally showing signs of an overall trend of improvement that will continue until the end of the season (and beyond, if it makes it that far).

Rating: 8/10

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