Quick Recap, Terra Nova s01e03 “Instinct”:
Some guys making a supply run out to Outpost 3 get attacked by vicious bird things. By the time their bodies are found, the ‘birds’ have made it all the way to Terra Nova and are attacking people, starting with Josh and Jim that night, and the marketplace the next day. Tyler shuts down the market. Scientists have to find a way to stop the influx. It turns out that they’re migrating to where the base is built the way salmon migrate up river, and they’ve built directly on top of their hatching grounds, so they have to convince the little buggers to go somewhere else. Liz and Malcom (which seems to be a popular name on new shows this season, and is probably an homage, here, to the Malcom in Jurassic Park) manage to synthesize a pheremone to lead them all away, but while they’re doing it, the ‘birds’ get everywhere. Jim and Tyler lead them off and don’t come back for hours and hours, but they’re successful.
Meanwhile, Skye is falling hard for Josh, Maddy is falling hard for Reynolds, Malcom turns out to be an ex of Liz’s from college, and most of the episode, Jim is just trying to have sex with his wife.
This episode really should have been called “Sex” or “Spring Fever” or something, for how wound up everyone is. The many ways Jim wound up frustrated really only made it sort of a farse, like a running joke, and the fact that everyone else in the show was getting friendly sort of hammered the whole mating-time thing home too hard. This is almost definitely not what they were aiming for.
But it doesn’t kill the show. The balance seems to have shifted this episode to be more about the family drama and less about how awesome it is to live where they live, but the optimism of the idea stuck around, and there were enough little plot-thickening ideas seeded here, that it comes out even in the end. It’s more set-up more than anything else, but it wasn’t a bad ep, and the first episode after a good pilot is almost always not as good.
- They got doors and paint on their walls, but they kept the great fabric swags over the ceiling.
- Wardrobe decided to back off on the whole hippie-commune look, which is great; everyone is dressed much more reasonably for people who have to survive in a hostile environment.
- Speaking of which, it’s great that there are survival classes for the kids. Do the adults get them, too?
- The fact that Jim was jealous but Liz was pretty clearly not interested is fun; it’s his insecurity, not her lack of devotion that’s the issue. And Malcom seems like he might turn out to be the type that does something dangerous at some point to win her back.
- They eased up on Josh’s daddy issues! Thank god!
- Josh and Skye have punishment duty. As they should.
- Again, only faceless redshirts get killed. Why were those three armed men taken out, but half-naked kids in a market were only a little scratched? When is someone going to get seriously hurt on this show? We didn’t even see any of Skye’s housemates limping around or anything.
- A swarm just isn’t as threatening or as cool-looking as a big monster.
- Not much new to build on this week. Tyler says he doesn’t know why the Sixers would want him dead, but that’s probably not true. He hasn’t shown any indication of not being on the up and up, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he turns out to be rogue in some way and the conspiracy back home is about taking him out.
Things to keep track of:
- Wash was fussing over Tyler’s injuries an awful lot. Is there some sweetness there?
- Mira has someone on the inside.
- In nine years, those ‘birds’ will be back.
Watch Terra Nova Monday nights on Fox. Watch Terra Nova s01e03 “Instinct” online 8 days after air date on Hulu.com, or sooner than that at Fox.com.
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More reviews of Terra Nova:
- Episode Review: Terra Nova s01e01-2 “Genesis Part 1 …
- First Impressions: Terra Nova