The Tomorrow People episode 3 review: Girl, Interrupted

Ron isn't hopeful about The Tomorrow People's chances, based on this week's episode...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 Girl, Interrupted

I’ve recently purchased a house. Officially, it was less than two weeks ago that the property became mine, and I’ve been working on it pretty steadily since it came into my hands. Property records in my area were only kept back to 1900, and all houses older than that are kind of mysterious in that no one knows when they were built and how old they actually are. My house, being at least 113 years old, is pretty old by American standards, and it needs a lot of elbow grease and hard work to scrape off years of neglect and turn it into the house I know it should be.

While working alongside my father, scraping off wallpaper, we started talking about television. His DVR has broken, so when he gets a replacement from his cable company, he’ll lose all his shows (a true tragedy in this day and age). He asked me about a few different shows, one of which was The Tomorrow People. We talked about the show for a few minutes, about how it has a lot of great potential and should be better than it is, but he perfectly summed up my thoughts on the show by describing it as plain, and then proceeded to blow a hole in the show’s central premise.

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Simply put, if you had magical Tomorrow People powers, would you work for an organization dedicated to eliminating your species? There is a component of blackmail involved, as we’ve seen with Steven, but Jedikiah’s goal is to cure or kill every homo superior he can get his hands on. Would you participate in an organization knowing that once he’s done eliminating the break-outs, he’s going to turn his guns on you? Eventually, you’ll outlive your usefulness or be replaced by someone who is more powerful and thus better at your job than you.

It just seems like a dead-end career to me, and no doubt to poor Steven, who continues to play both sides against one another in an attempt to both stop his uncle and stay alive. Meanwhile, we spend a lot of time pondering a moral quandary: is the human race worth saving? Interestingly, both sides of the coin—Ultra and the TP—seem to have made the choice that humans, or at least Tomorrow People using their powers to help people is a horrible idea. Except for Steven, the eternal optimist, who seems to want to save everyone without worrying about things like causing mass hysteria or being discovered or ruining the world.

The only clever thing about that main moral conflict is the fact that both the good guys and the bad guys say helping humans is a horrible idea. The idea of the moral conflict (and how Steven responds to it) is very cliché. Also horribly cliché is the entirety of the episode’s A plot, which is basically a series of nasty flashbacks to just how cruel humans can be. Just like every conflicted superhero, Cara underwent a horrible, traumatizing attack at the hand of a teenage prom rapist, because it’s impossible for a woman to have powers and not be a victim of the horrible maleocentric phallocracy.

The show just keeps on compounding cliches at this point. Of course Cara got attacked and was then railroaded by the train of unfair justice. Of course Steven gets discovered when he uses his powers for good and kicks off the human investigation. Of course Cara and John have a change of heart and use their powers for good. Of course the first potential break-out rescue ends up being a trap by Ultra, because why wouldn’t Ultra have found the secret planted dongle? Steven is either the worst liar ever, or Robbie Amell is a terrible actor.

It’s like writers Micah Schraft and Pam Veasey took every possible origin story cliché and synthesized a super cliché. Every possible interesting outcome is discarded. Of course Cara comes around and overcomes her trauma. Of course Emily the suicidal girl gets saved at the last minute. Of course Steven makes the other Tomorrows come around and help humanity. Of course Astrid finds out Steven can teleport. Of course Steven doesn’t inject Cara with power-killing serum. Everything ends happily in a cut-and-dry way, except for Astrid discovering the powers; that’ll resolve by the end of the season (hopefully, she just looks up teleportation on Google and learns everything).

The blandness of the show is palpable, and extends beyond the writing. Danny Cannon still isn’t doing much visually to make the show interesting. When fast-forwarding through the ads to watch the DVR, I routinely run well into the show’s running time and have to back up, because it literally looks like every other advertisement and every other CW show. Even the show’s fight scenes are still perfunctory, either because of how the show is shot, the way the fights are choreographed, or maybe because there’s nothing really special about a fist fight with the occasional teleportation. Perhaps using the psychic shove is too costly?

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Either way, I keep hoping for improvement and I keep getting disappointed. Just because a show is aimed at teenagers doesn’t mean it can’t be well-written, shake things up a little, or not be completely predictable. There are lots of good genre programs out there aimed at people under age 18, even on The Tomorrow People‘s own network. The Tomorrow People still has potential, but the execution hasn’t improved since the pilot. I don’t think it’s going to, either.

Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, In Too Deep, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is glad to see that the telepathy part of the 3 T’s is finally shown as being an annoyance, rather than simply magically helpful. Hearing other people’s running internal monologue would be awful. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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