The Tomorrow People Season Finale Review: Rage Against the Machine

By Cory Barker

May 06, 2014

The Tomorrow People S01E22: "Son of Man"


Hey there, Tomorrow People people! It's been a while since I dropped in on the freshman CW drama, and as things go with these plot-heavy shows, a whole lotta stuff has happened in the interim. Stephen's dad Roger finally came back to life! Jedikiah went rogue, and kind of nuts! Stephen got with his partner, and then she tried to suicide bomb the Founder! John lost his powers! There's A MACHINE that does stuff! And most importantly, John and Astrid made out!

Over the second half of the season, The Tomorrow People managed to work out some of its more egregious kinks—it dropped all pretense of Stephen and Astrid going to school, removed the 'family secrets' drama, redrew Uncle Jed as an uneasy ally as opposed to a full-blown villain, let John and Astrid kiss—but it also struggled with some of the things that have bogged it down since jump street. Though he improved a bit, Stephen is still a bit of a bore at the center of this crazy world, and perhaps more disappointing, the show sort of lost the interesting parts of Cara's character as she took on a full leadership role within the underground Tomorrow Peepz. Of the primary trio, only John has been consistently compelling. One out of three isn't an especially good average. 

The constant twists and turns in the plot have generally compensated for deficiencies of character, but only to a point. Once you get to the end of the season, where character arcs and big plot points are meant to converge, we're supposed to be shocked, or thrilled, or angry by things that happen to certain characters. If the path to those moments is muddy, the results aren't going be as effective. That's pretty much where The Tomorrow People found itself before "Son of Man," and the episode didn't do much to change my perspective. Quite a bit happened in a very short period of time and there's something of a new equilibrium heading into a possible second season, but I couldn't bring myself to really care about much of it.


But all the stuff! Let's pour one out for Roger, who was never long for this world, even after the show spent more than a dozen episodes concentrating on his power, his missing body, his delinquency as a dad, what have you. Jeffrey Pierce was fine as the noble elder Jameson, particularly in the scenes with Mark Pellegrino's Jedikiah. Their final moments together—including Roger convincing Jed to shoot him in hopes of stopping the deadly machine that would freeze all humanity in a bubble to create a Tomorrow People refuge—were pretty strong as far as brother-to-brother tear-jerkers go. The show frustratingly used Roger as a plot device a few too many times throughout the season, but he had to go so that Stephen could rise up and be the chosen one who everyone keeps talking about. 

And did he ever rise up! Despite my lack of connection to or real interest in these characters, the mid-episode siege on Ultra headquarters by Stephen, Cara, Russell, and their two human buddies John and Astrid was fairly well-developed, plotted, and directed. The show has found a nice sweet spot with the visual representation of the Tomorrow People's abilities, even if it mostly results in the actors swinging their arms around while air-y effects do the rest of the work. The choreography and editing of Stephen and Cara fighting the juiced-up kill squad on the ground while John picked them off with a sniper rifle from the roof gave the scene some heft, despite the fact that the entire ordeal was happening midday in downtown New York and no one else was on or near the street. 


The same can be said for the fight between Stephen and the Founder, which went on much longer than these types of throwdowns tend to last on The CW. There's a physicality to the fighting on this show that makes scenes feel like brawls and not just people smacking into one another really quickly (hello, The Vampire Diaries). Again, I don't think the show did an especially great job of making us care about what would happen if the machine had actually frozen humans in place, other than the fact that John and Astrid are humans, but the scrum at least justified the kind of pain Stephen was willing to go suffer to save humanity. He's a character who's constantly been trapped between two worlds, even as those worlds crashed together, but he's also always going to choose to save people. And that's fine! Even though, as Cara said later, he's the lamest chosen one ever, he is pretty solid at the gig.

Weirdly, it seemed like this finale really wanted to zoom through the primary plot points—first so it could get to all the hugging and kissing between the core four characters, and then so it could set up some stories for a possible second season. The scenes in the former category were as good as they can be on The Tomorrow People, with the John and Astrid stuff working much more successfully than the Cara and Stephen stuff, simply because Luke Mitchell is far and away the best thing on the show, and there's a levity to his performance as John when the character is with Astrid that's really charming. In an expansion of his powers, Stephen turned back time to save Cara's life, which was cool enough. The show hums a little more when it hones in on the interactions between these four people, so those moments felt mostly earned, if somewhat empty. 

But boy, did "Son of Man" hustle to set up new stories. The need to provide a road map for the future is a real one and there's a precedent at the network to take big swings in season finales. The problem is that the last 10 minutes of the episode really brought back the show's Matrix-y lineage, complete with Stephen's miraculous save of Cara, a bunch of new Tomorrow People tracking down Stephen to pay their respects to the chosen one, and John being reprogrammed and re-powered by Jedikiah as a sort of Mr. Smith type. Although I don't really need to see more of John the Conflicted Killer or the uneasy romance between Stephen and Cara, it was interesting to see how much The Tomorrow People pushed these new stories. Perhaps it was an attempt to convince the The CW that there's more story here?


Regardless, there definitely IS more story here. The Tomorrow People never turned the corner in the way The Vampire Diaries or Arrow did in their respective first seasons, but I'm curious to see whether removing some of the elements that were weighing things down—Roger and the Founder most notably—would actually help the show progress to that higher level. 



NOTES

– The show really dropped the ball on Stephen's mother Marla after it was revealed she was also a homo superior. She still mostly sat around and looked worried and/or cried. Sarah Clarke definitely deserves more than that, even at this point in her career.

– So Stephen tossed the Founder through the machine's portal, but we didn't see him die. He definitely returns at some point in a prospective second season, correct?

– How creepy was it that Stephen was excited to set in the chair previously occupied by the Founder and Jedikiah, being that it was also the chair that was destroyed by his now-dead flame's suicide bombing? People grieve in their own ways, but come on, man. 

– Stephen also claimed that Cara would never believe him if he explained how he saved her life. Um, she's a superhuman who knows you're the chosen one. I think she'd get it.


What did you folks think of the finale? Do you want another season of The Tomorrow People?


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  • Olayhnqar Nov 07, 2014

    Yeah, please make a second season, I'll like to watch it to the end. You can't end it there.

  • starburst8 Aug 10, 2014

    Make a second season. There has to be a second season you can't end a series with unanswered questions. Give the people what they want make a second.

  • _Fire_Ice Jul 27, 2014

    So I'm really pissed about how this ended, it all went back to the start and it is really annoying. Someone explain why Jed couldn't have just shut off the machine and Roger and him couldn't have destroyed it together, like wtf?

    What happened to that Annex serum killing basically everyone injected with it, only John and Killian survived, now everyone can take it and live. Side note to that, being able to kill doesn't mean you give up your humanity, hell killing doesn't even necessarily mean you give up your humanity, sometimes it is for the best.

    Also to the best of my knowledge the machine freezes humans in time, it doesn't kill them. The Founder would need to get an army to go door to door to kill them all. That is the dumbest evil plan ever.

    I did love the "you killed my father line" I was expecting "prepare to die" but alas no such luck.

    As far as all the new break out showing up, I mean come on, this is not the 101 Dalmatians, these people need their own places to live. No one is hunting them anymore why do they need to live together under some weird leadership.

    I did not like how forgiving everyone was, considering Russell is the reason Roger is dead, yet everyone acts like it is all ok 2 weeks later, really. And we don't know where Marla or Luka are, like come on.

    Don't get me started on the John thing. I was like ok fine Jed is giving him back his powers that is cute and fatherly. Than it turns so quickly into this twisted thing. Obviously if they got a second season John would have gotten his memories back in the first 2-4 episodes. But I'm really annoyed they back tracked on Jedikiah's development. John and Jedikiah's relationship in particular is what has gotten me through this show, since they were the only interesting characters. I was looking forward to them working things out and kinda teaming up.

    Yes eventually Jed would probably have had to die if they kept him good because it would be boring if he just helped out and became a background character to the good guys, but it could have been a great emotional moment. I've waited so long for John to call him dad and I would have loved to see that moment. The way things ended it wouldn't happen for a long time, if ever.

    And why oh why couldn't they just let Cara die, I hate her character. Grrr this was a terrible ending. Overall the show was pretty blah probably 6/6.5 but I think a second season could have greatly improved it, or being even worse not sure. It is a pity we won't find out.

  • sol99 Jun 01, 2014

    Hello, I am a person who despite my personal feelings towards most consumer products in any sense usually won't go out of my way to give review. Unless i'm asked during or after, i don't seek to review things (normally). I have an issue with this show ending. It's much more interesting, enticing and creative then most/all current television shows. If this show really does fail, I ask a somewhat detailed reason, why? Reviews are decently high. Hulu, cable/satellite and other forms of broadcasting this show to the public are all positive. The cast, story, special effects, writers, directors, costume design, the fact it's nyc/subway and city and i want to say producers? Really tho, generally everything in this show has what it takes to be a real hit!
    Again if nothing more then the show going 10+ seasons, I would appreciate knowing why this show "failed".
    Thanks...
    Regards - -Soleo

  • abiwhite35 May 26, 2014

    Yes I would like a second series I've enjoyed watching the show

  • aryajaganiwasa May 26, 2014

    Renew the season!

  • stephaniebaxter5205 May 19, 2014

    Wow that's a rather harsh review. At least you managed to find a few points threw out the season that you DID like. Personally I love the show. I am stunned at the poor ratings, for me it was the best show on tv to date. I would love to see season 2 and I think it would gain a lot of new viewers/ fans. It seems to me that it's a love it or hate it kind of show. Those of us that enjoy it are completely hooked and others like you are really critical of every little thing. I am not by any stretch the only one that loves the tomorrow people so much. I have yet to see any show or movie that could not be picked apart if you really look for it. I understand it is your job to "criticize" shows, but come on.

  • lt_catscratch May 15, 2014

    Stephen's cry after Cara's death was one of the best cries on TV. Probably had some "Why frakking cancel us ?" too. Kudos to Robbie Amell.

    OMG, Peyton List ! In that outfit. Best outfit seen on TV, I dunno why but I immediately thought of Marvel's Psylocke. Dudes at marvel should really consider her for a role, she's a veteran on playing a super-powered girl now :D

  • MikeUK123 May 10, 2014

    Jedekiah's character arc was like a mash-up of three different stories. After all that time spent on redeeming himself, he was a baddy after all? Eh?

    Had that been a season finale, we'd simply be back at the start.

    I'm just relieved this show has been cancelled,

  • KGabby May 08, 2014

    Okay I think as a show as a whole it was okay but what really made me love it was John and Jedikiah I would of liked more interaction with those two. And I didn't really like stephen I mean he had moments but I really didn't care about him. So I hope there's a second season just because I want to see John and Jedikiah working together.

  • _Fire_Ice Jul 25, 2014

    I agree John was the best thing about that show, especially his relationship with Jedikiah. I never really liked Stephen or Cara, but I really stopped liking Cara at all about half way through, she was just really annoying. I don't know really what went wrong with this show, some parts and concepts were good, but overall the big bad of the story sucked.

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