Devious grown-up plans are no match for those crafty Shannon teens

By James Hibberd
November 15, 2011 at 04:20 AM EST
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Before we recap the latest Terra Nova adventure “Proof” we need to establish our safe words. If something implausible happens in the episode and I’m straining to figure out how to explain it, I’ll write the code phrase “this rutabaga is undercooked.” That’s your cue to play like Jim Shannon and rescue me with your own explanations. Hopefully everything this hour will make perfect sense and such a move won’t be necessary…

Here we go: Soaring over another majestic field of dinosaurs and– whhaaa? Ocean! Guess we figured there was one of those around but just didn’t expect to see it. Jim and Taylor are on a fishing trip with bow and arrows. Naturally Taylor gets to wear the Burt Reynolds-style black Deliverance vest. Looks like they also picked up some of those handy outdoor folding chairs from Costco (which makes me wonder: What is the toilet paper situation in the Terra Nova colony? They presumably stock up in during each pilgrimage from the future, but do they really have enough? Did smuggling in Zoe mean the Shannon household has to make due TP with less per person? Do the Sixers even have toilet paper? If not, is that what they’re all irked about? Or is there some fancy bidet technology that we just haven’t seen?).

Jim and Taylor sit back on a sea cliff with really long fishing poles. briefly reminisces about his wayward son we met briefly last week. Jim snags a prehistoric version of a swordfish — it’s extra pointy — and nearly gets dragged off the cliff. He’s gonna need a bigger something ….

Terra Nova: Scalawag bartender Tom tells moody Josh that Sixers queen Mira is ready to call in her favor. In exchange for bringing Josh’s 2149 girlfriend to Terra Nova, she wants him to raid his mom’s drug stash for something that sounds like “Azameth.” This crime actually sounds pretty do-able as family sins go — potentially saving the life of somebody you care about by helping some jerks who are sick? Worth it. Though of course we suspect the Sixers aren’t telling him the whole story about how this drug will be used…

Meanwhile: A new character arrives at the colony after spending “six months OTG,” a legendary scientist named Dr. Horton (Blue eyes? Check!). Maddy geeks out and quickly secures an internship working for him. We’re told he recently had a stroke, but we don’t really believe that’s why he can’t remember things about his past.

Super-smart Maddy is suspicious about him too. So she confides her suspicions to the one person in Terra Nova who can really help her make sense of it all. Her Padawan boyfriend Mark? Nope, she confides in little Zoe, who keeps saying … Zoe keeps saying Horton is a vampire.

I’m just letting it go, see? Letting it slide right on by…

NEXT: Horton is a who?; Josh’s girlfriend — OK, we get it now

Skye is highly annoyed by Josh’s plan, and it would be easier to sympathize if she hadn’t helped set up this whole deal in the first place. “I’m done!” she declares — which sounds like trying to break up with somebody who refuses to date you. “You could be walking into a world of hurt for nothing.”

Josh takes Skye’s word of warning seriously enough to demand that Tom tell the Sixers he wants proof they can fulfill their part of the deal — that they really can somehow communicate with the future and get his 2149 girlfriend to Terra Nova.

Sixers: Josh manages to sneak out of the colony and go to the Sixers camp. They might as well just set up a commuter shuttle at this point. He’s zipped up to a platformed canopy lair (Does Mira just run Barter Town, or the Thunderdome too?). They dial up a 85-million-year long distance hologram with his long lost girlfriend.

So who is this Kara that Josh has been unbelievably dissing the comely Skye for? Oohhh. You win this round Terra Nova! Kara’s hot, plus has the biggest blue eyes of anybody on the show, which is quite the accomplishment. Seems producers gave Josh a girlfriend upgrade from the one we met briefly met in the show’s pilot. Only problem is, Kara doesn’t look like she’s been barely struggling to survive in an oppressive oxygen-deprived dystopian future; more like she just came in from the beach while shooting The Real World: Sydney.

Jungle (Another One): Remember that murderer Taylor exiled into the jungle a couple episodes back? You just get the feeling the Terra Nova team has been tossing and turning about that cruel decision. Now Taylor hunts him down. He finds the man in miserable shape, with a wounded leg. Taylor confuses him by bandaging him up.

At night, an ancestral komodo dragon attacks. Taylor — a knife in one hand, a torch in another hand, and a gun in no hands — faces him down with manly menace and bared white teeth. Rarrrh! “Get out of here you coward!”

Oh, Stephen Lang, you earned every penny this week.

After, Taylor explains he “likes a good redemption story” and gives the murderer the opportunity to get back into the colony: Join the Sixers and find out who their spy is. Sounds like a good plan, unless like some contestants on Survivor, he decides the Sixer tribe will get him further in the game.

Terra Nova: Josh busts into the infirmary. His forged scanner card doesn’t work so he has to fire a stun gun to break open the drug cabinet and get the vials of Azameth, which look like a bunch of travel-sized Scope.

NEXT: Maddy’s idol ties her up; Josh confesses

Aussie Tom tries to throw Jim off his son’s tracks by enlisting a local blue-eyed drunk to pretend like he stole the drug. The guy shows up stoned on Azameth (which seems far more mellow than our meth) and looks rather like Barney from The Simpsons. Jim goes all Jack Bauer on the suspect by … poking him gently with a little stick. Maybe the guy is super ticklish but that’s why he confesses that he didn’t really steal the meds.

Home: Josh, wracked with guilt, confesses his theft to his parents. Jim goes ballistic on bar owner Tom for getting his son into this mess, and they’re all baffled that Mira has Wifi into 2149. So does this mean Kara’s not going to get her ticket to the past?

Library: Maddy goes to the groovy make-out library and researches her scientist crush. She becomes convinced Mad Eye Horton is an impostor. That the scientist’s assistant murdered the real Horton and has been drinking Polyjuice potion or something to assume his identity. Suddenly Horton appears right behind her and she takes off. Soon after, she discovers Horton has abducted Zoe.

Now Maddy is certain Horton is an imposter and has her little sister. At this point one would think Maddy would tell a bunch of adults and get help, so why … did … she …

Excuse me, I got a little distracted since I’m writing this recap while making my dinner and this rutabaga seems a little undercooked. Anyway, where were we? Maddy finds Horton with Zoe. Horton releases Zoe and Maddy give her the family’s special safe word message to tell Dad: “Tell him I’ll be home in plenty of time to cook the asparagus.”

But what does Maddy say if she really does plan to be home in time to cook the asparagus? And do they even have asparagus in the freaky prehistoric produce section in the ever-deadly farmer’s market?

Orchard: Not Really Horton ties up Maddy next to a tree. He then … Horton starts poking her with a stick. Seriously, what is it with the faux-torture stick poking in this episode? I half expected him to declare he was a Knight That Says Ni while he was at it.

But then Horton takes things too far and it’s a good thing Maddy had given Zoe the vegetable-related safe-word message. He forces Maddy’s hand into a jar with a deadly spider inside — old school suspense, but it works. Jim sneaks up on him … in a middle of an orchard …  and clobbers him. Maddy is rescued! Whew.

Hopefully this experience didn’t scar Maddy and lay the groundwork for some strange psychological fixation. We wouldn’t want Maddy feeling compelled 10 years from now to ask creepy old men to tie her up in orchards and poke her with sticks unless she says an agreed upon safe word.

Later, Maddy returns to the orchard and enjoys a fresh red apple. If her middle name is Eve and Mark’s is Adam, I’m outta here.

So adult had devious plans this week — and they would have gotten away with them, too, if not for those meddling kids. What did you think? Beats being poked with a stick, right?

Episode Recaps

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  • 09/26/11
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