This review contains spoilers.
1.10 The Citadel
Every week, The Tomorrow People opens up with a recap of the show’s general premise. There are some credits, then they immediately jump to a “previously on” montage before actually starting the episode. We see probably four or five minutes of catching-up plot drippings on a weekly basis. Usually, this isn’t necessary because at this point most people who watch the show have been watching it from the beginning and a simple recap would be enough.
For once, The Tomrrow People opens with a refresher course that’s actually necessary, considering the fact that the show’s been off the air for a month while the Christmas holidays happened and most of America’s attention turned to other, more seasonally-appropriate programming. In the interim, I have completely forgotten the names of pretty much every character on the show, except for Russell who was distinctive enough if only because he’s the only visible minoirty that’s been on the show from the beginning. Fortunately, in the first five minutes, every character says every other important character’s name. Jedikiah is evil uncle, Stephen is Tomorrow Son, John is the killer, Cara is the girl, and so on.
I think it’s a testament to the unsatisfactory blandness of the show that the characters were so easily forgotten. I didn’t forget the names of the Teen Wolf characters in their various breaks, and those were for entire years, not a few weeks. However, after a small break from The Tomrrow People, everyone but Jed and Russell are ‘that guy’ (and this week’s episode features the mother and brother pretty heavily, making matters worse). Compounding the issue is the fact that the show has succumbed to a ‘breakout of the week’ format, thereby adding to the show’s cast weekly without much change in the main characters. We already don’t really know them; how are we supposed to love Errol (Ty Olsson) or even care about his quest for his mising family or how he’d like to turn to protect his fellow Tomorrow Persons.
This week’s script, from writer Grainne Godfree and Jeff Blake, is a bit long on moralizing and short on actually making much sense. The Tomorrow People, having been told that their leader has been lying to them for years, wisely decide to find a new leader. However, rather than turning to Stephen, they turn to their leader’s girlfriend and make things infinitely more complicated both for John and Cara, but also themselves given Cara’s inexperience at planning combat operations, executing combat operations, or otherwise being a wartime leader. I suppose having any different leader is a good thing considering John’s inability to keep the Tomorrow People out of Ultra’s prison facilities and his unwillingness to attempt to mount an escape from the titular Citadel until Errol escapes for them.
Director Eagle Egilsson has proven himself to be one of the few directors of The Tomorrow People capable of showing signs of life for the show as far as action sequences go. The battle between Tomorrows and Ultras this week is actually really well done, it too heavy on stunt performers and still shot as if trying to hide inability to fight rather than highlight ability to fight. The script doesn’t make showing off action direction skills that easy, as every action scene is wrapped in heavy moralizing, and there’s a big subplot about Stephen’s mom going out on dates that I don’t really care about.
Like the rest of the show’s directors, Egilsson isn’t quite sure how to best show off the Tomorrow People’s powers; the fights are good and he uses the powers cleverly in the fight staging, but most of the time it looks like the supposedly powerful telekinetic of Errol are merely a low-rent Scanners imitation, right down to the smashing plates in the background. I suppose since there’s no cheesy special effect they can use to show mind control, breaking plates and having some loud background sirens is the best they can do.
I guess that’s better than the alternative; having super-powered teenagers who don’t show off their abilities via plainly visible special effect. Still, at this point in the show, I can’t help but feel like the tomorrow people that the Tomorrow People are searching for won’t be found.
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