by Bethany McHugh
“Terra Nova” is, first and foremost, a simple show set in a confusing world. The series, having aired three episodes, provided still little explanation as to what Terra Nova is, who the enemies of its citizens are, and what the two competing sides are fighting over. “The Runaway,” however, does a lot to rectify the questions viewers may have.
When a young girl comes to Terra Nova hoping to leave the Sixers gang, it is revealed she is only trying to attain something in Terra Nova for her leader, Mira, who is holding her brother captive. That a six-year-old is being used as a pawn in a game of adults is unsettling, but what is more unnerving is the revelation that Mira has a daughter of her own stuck in 2149. The only way, in her mind, to reunite with her daughter is to remove Commander Taylor from power.
Meanwhile, Maddy begins her training as a medic alongside her mother, but it is quickly evident from her disgust of gory patients that she romanticized the notion of ever following in her mother’s footsteps. The sweeter revelation of her character is her new found relationship with Reynolds, who works in the security unit with her father. His insistence of pursuing their relationship the “old fashioned way” (referencing their dating as “courting”, for example), is brings normality to a world where nothing can be deemed as such.
At New York Comic Con this past Saturday, Jason O’Mara (Jim Shannon) explained that he thinks “Terra Nova” is the first successful show to follow a mythological storyline in the post-“Lost” world. The similarities between the two are clear – “Lost” built more questions about the show’s mythology in any given episode, and they were questions that furthered the intensity of the story and the depth of the characters. At this point in “Terra Nova,” it is clear that things are not as they seem with certain characters, but questions pertaining to the actual standards of living – maintaining a status quo – remain unanswered, leaving the audience with a bit of a jarring feeling after watching “Runaway.”
With each progressing episode, “Terra Nova” continues to build on its reputation as a visually stunning hour of television, with stories that are more often than not well crafted and developed. It’s unfortunate that the graphics are far superior than the story being told though, but by no means is this an hour of television wasted. The sheer spectacle alone may make it one of the better hours of television you can watch all week.
Bethany McHugh is a staff writer. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org