In the Shannon Family Olympics, brainy middle sister Maddy has a firm lock on the silver medal. She's the Lisa of this pre-historic Simpsons gang, a friendless walking textbook whose encyclopedic knowledge is simultaneously endearing and annoying. She's like a Judy Moody who never outgrew her childhood detective phase, and last night she put her knowledge of rocks to good use in a good old-fashioned mystery!
"Proof" offered Maddy a whopper of a mystery that the adults were too busy to solve: one of her science idols, a brave explorer named Horton (whose stylist also worked with many of the world's finest classical musicians), returned to Terra Nova after a six-month expedition, but something just wasn't right about him. Time for Judy Maddy to crack the case!
Maddy's suspicions arose when her internship as a rock sorter put her in really uncomfortably close quarters with the scientist: Just when I thought this Afterschool Special was going to tackle the issue of inappropriate touching, Maddy arrived at the conclusion that Horton might not be who he said he was. Why? Because Horton couldn't remember some joke he wrote a million years ago or recall the name of the equally famous partner he quested with. Most kids would chalk that up to early onset dementia and proceed by swapping Horton's dentures with old board game pieces, but not Maddy. She was committed to putting this rascal away.
Her investigation inspired her to run a DNA test with the lab's DNA-Bot3000, comparing the so-called Horton's saliva (lifted from a cup that he just left on a counter for some lower-class citizen to clean up—scientists can be such jerks!) with saliva she collected from a letter the "real" Horton allegedly wrote to her in response to fan mail she sent him many years prior. The DNA test came back a match, but Maddy guessed that the potentially fake Horton (spoiler alert: he really was a fake) was actually the real Horton's former research assistant and mailed the letter out with his own spit on the real Horton's behalf. Then she formulated Fake Horton's motive for taking over Real Horton's life: He was upset over Real Horton not appreciating him and taking credit for his work. So Fake Horton killed Real Horton and assumed his identity, complete with a face transplant, so he could never be recognized again for his own work but instead build the legacy of the man he was jealous of in the first place? Look, some of Encyclopedia Brown's villains didn't make much sense either.
Maddy's suspicions were confirmed when Fake Horton tied her up and tried to kill her with a spider. Maddy didn't even think to sing the "Spider Song," and it nearly cost her her life. But Jim saved the day by
singing the "Spider Song" punching Horton so hard he was launched into the air! Talk about a close call (where was soldier Mark in all of this?). Overall, I'd give this story a D-minus for a few reasons, including 1.) Fake Horton was actually doing good things for the colony, like giving them fresh apples, but Maddy was so set on crushing the man's dreams that she had him—and all the scientific brilliance that could really have helped the colony—put away. Way to stop the progress of science, traitor! And 2.) The moral of the story was summed up by Jim when he imparted this bit of fatherly wisdom on his daughter: "You trusted your gut even when all the evidence was against you. I'm proud of you." Take that sage-like advice, Maddy, and use it in your pursuit of scientific truth! Evidence is for pussy scientists! But in the end, Maddy got her apple and looked at it in deep thought with a wry smile, knowing that she defeated a poseur scientist. It was a good day, even though she almost got herself killed and had to be rescued by her dad. And that concludes my book report on Maddy Moody and the Composer Who Became a Fake Scientist.
But Maddy wasn't the only teen in trouble on Monday. Mira called in Josh's favor, the one promised her a few weeks ago in exchange for bringing Kara back to the past. It turned out the Sixers' camp was overrun by illness, and she needed some meds to keep the jungle rebellion going strong. Those meds? Property of Elisabeth Shannon, M.D.! Now, I've stolen from my mom before, and it really wasn't that hard. You just take what you need ($5 for some Sweettarts and Street Fighter II at 7-11, in my case) and leave everything else exactly how you found it. But Josh didn't do that. It's Josh, after all.
Josh had mom's access card duplicated by Boylan and broke into the Infirmary, shattering a window instead of, I don't know, stealing the front door key at the same time as he stole the access card? In for a penny, in for a pound, Josh. And since when did access cards not include rights to the front door? The last thing Terra Novans need is a pocketful of keys. Ever get chased by a Nykosaur and fall down and land on your keys? Ouch.
Josh skipped to phase two of the first-known "World's Dumbest Criminals" footage, and tried to open the med cabinet with the access card. But the card didn't work, meaning all that time we spent talking about access cards was a complete waste of time for everyone except the person in charge of the "access cards" page on the Terra Nova wiki. (Sample entry: "Access cards on Terra Nova suck. Like the show's access hatches.") Josh's next idea was to shoot open the med cabinet with his Sonic Shooter Rifle, which blasted him into the wall in unintentionally comical fashion. When Jim later investigated the crime scene, he stopped just short of saying whoever did this is lucky to have the cognitive capacity to tie their own shoes. Josh was like the original this guy!
Josh eventually admitted to stealing the meds when Elisabeth said one of her patients would die without some of the juice. When pressed for answers with all the force of a mom coddling a newborn baby, Josh sold out Boylan, who told Jim the truth: Mira can talk to the future! Jim and Taylor exchanged stories about their sons, and Taylor told Jim that if all Jim has to worry about with Josh is that he's breaking into medical facilities and making agreements with murderous rival factions, he shouldn't be complaining. If that wasn't the perfect window for Jim to slowly back out of the room and let Taylor deal with his own father-son problems, I don't know what is.
After a few stronger episodes of Terra Nova, "Proof" pushed the series back into birdosaurs and memory-erasing virus territory thanks to its WHO CARES plot about one scientist posing as another scientist. There was no building on last week's introduction of Taylor's son Lucas, which would have been nice since he's obviously an integral part of the season-long story. At least we got some momentum out of Josh ratting out Boylan, which led to Taylor and Jim learning more secrets about Mira. Come on, Terra Nova. You only have five episodes left! Make 'em count!
– If this show is supposed to be set in the past, why is Jim Shannon catching computer-generated fish from the 1980s? The CGI is getting more and more atrocious.
– Did Zoe lose a tooth!? She is so adorable. Gold medal-winning Shannon kid, and it's not even close! Also, I think her idea that Horton was a vampire would have made a much better story.
– Okay, someone defend this. Josh showed up at the Sixers camp and demanded "more than assurance" that Kara will be on the next pilgrimage. Mira turned a dial, and up popped a hologram of Kara from 2149. So... was Kara just sitting there next to the time-traveling hologram machine in the future? And why does everyone on this show trust horny teenagers with HUGE secrets?
... A zinger from Taylor: "The last thing you see alive will be my face." Burn! Taylor's fight with the Komodo dragon was also pretty cool and probably very embarrassing for Stephen Lang. One day his grandchildren will ask him about Terra Nova and he'll just make them watch Avatar again. It's also nice to see that Terra Nova's writers did their zoological research by watching Discovery Channel's Life.
... What was up with that HUGE Ice Age Christmas promo? It took up like half the screen!