Wow, couldn't you just cut the tension in last night's episode of Terra Nova, "Now You See Me," with a wooden spoon? The show went for dessert first, giving us one of the series' biggest reveals thus far in the first few minutes of the episode, but castrated any power the secret had by unveiling it in the most unspectacular way possible. The mole who's been giving intel to the Sixers is: Skye!
And she's some sort of superspy, because she outsmarted Terra Nova's head of security and the colony's porous defense with all the tact of a two-year-old on a sugar high. Things started off with Jim closing in on the identity of the traitor, so obviously it was the perfect time for Commander Taylor to leave the colony for a little R&R;&SpyingOnHisLunaticSon; and put Jim in charge. After Jim ordered that all communications be sent over secure lines as a way to smoke out the perp, he noticed the old reflecting-light-from-a-mirror communication trick, which could only mean one thing: spy-jinx!
Usually shows like this would try to keep us guessing at the spy's identity until the very last moment, but not Terra Nova. Instead, the show revealed who it was early on and never caught her because... oh hell, I don't know. Perhaps the writers thought it would be too intense for children and people in hospital beds who can't change the channel. So that story was a lot of Skye messing up Jim's investigation through such elaborate plans as pretending to volunteer for ditch-digging duty, destroying unprotected evidence, and wearing a suspicious face all the time. I'm not saying Jim is a bad cop, I'm saying he's a terrible cop. (Remember when Jason O'Mara was on Life On Mars? He was a satisfactory cop back then. That series is worth checking out, btw; just don't watch the finale. You'll be much happier not knowing the mystery.)
But why would anyone ever turncoat on Terra Nova? Because of Contrived Plot #27: Skye's mom is sick (she's not dead!), and the only people who have medicine for the illness are the Sixers. In return for keeping mom alive, they demand intel. Just one of many conveniences used to move the plot along.
Jim never caught Skye, so the moral of the story was that Terra Nova's security team is so incredibly incompetent that a teenage girl can routinely steal secrets and hand them over the colony's mortal enemies. I have no idea why the show chose to reveal Skye as the spy so early if it wasn't going to add anything to the conversation later. It was like reading a book backward. And why would Skye, a spy and a traitor, pursue a friendship with the head of security's son? Why would Boylan, the shady bartender who steals for the Sixers, hire the head of security's son? I know Josh has a really cool haircut and can shred on the guitar, but come on, people! Use your noodles just a tiny bit! It's like everyone on this show is playing a game of chicken to see how stupid they can be.
As I've already noted, while the investigation of the century was going on, Taylor decided it was the perfect time to leave the colony. Yep, the guy who runs Terra Nova and is responsible for protecting it took off while the spy was oh-so-close to being identified. Let that sink in for half a second. Taylor set out on his own to check on the progress of his estranged son Lucas, who's been devising a way to make a portal go both ways, so people can return to 2149. To keep his dad updated on how he's doing, Lucas sketches complicated schematics on rocks where Taylor can find them. If he had as much drive to get his project done as he did saying to Taylor, "Nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo-doo," he'd be portaling back to 2149 by now.
Taylor arrived at the rocks only to be caught off guard by Mira, who was also checking on Lucas's sketches, and thus began Contrived Storyline #14, seen in the excellent Dennis Quaid/Louis Gossett Jr. film Enemy Mine and an episode of G.I. Joe: Two enemies must work together when stranded in the wilderness! They had some slap fights as they swapped the upper hand, but ultimately they teamed up to fight a couple dinosaurs and I swear Taylor even hit on Mira at one point. Aside from that, we didn't learn much except for Contrived Character Backstory #53: Mira is an ex-con with a sick daughter, and she's just doing what she can to show her kid a better life. Personally, I liked you better when you were a jungle psycho living in the trees, Mira. Can't anyone on this show just be a jerk?
Of course the best story of the episode involved Zoe (as always!). Her recuperating pet Ankylosaur Hank/Orville/Boxer got too big for the lab and had to be set free in the wild. So it was set free in the wild. Awww! I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Ankylosaurs are my favorite dinosaur, so in that sense, this was the best episode of Terra Nova ever. They're like the echidnas of the prehistoric world! Great, now I'm going to spend the rest of the day doing Google Image searches for baby echidnas.
All in all, a pretty horrible episode of Terra Nova, but a perfect lesson in "How To Suck All Suspense and Tension Out of an Episode of Television."
– Maddy and Josh sat on the sidelines for the most part in this episode, and I never thought I'd say this, but I miss them both. Especially Josh. That guy does the most entertaining stupid things.
– I thought it was a real manly thing for Mark to tell Jim about his intentions for Maddy until I remembered she was 16. Mark, at least check out what the 12th Pilgrimage Facebook page looks like, first.
– Star Trek reference! Elisabeth: "Jim, I'm a doctor not a chemist!" Now THAT may be the best thing Terra Nova has done since Josh's massive fail when he broke into the infirmary to steal stuff.
– Which glasses were better: Taylor's black motorcycle sunglasses or the neon green binoculars Jim and Mark used?
– The Asshole of the Episode Award goes to Jim, who convinced Malcolm to help him out with DNA testing by unnecessarily trashing his lab and breaking stuff. Jim, you can't just go to the local chemistry store and buy a new Bunsen burner! Jerk.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom