With Sitting Ducks being such a disappointment, I didn’t really have high hopes for this episode of The Tomorrow People. I was surprised to discover that this was one of the best episodes of the show.
This episode focuses on getting Astrid back to her normal life and all that this entails.
This episode takes Stephen’s family and makes them something more than set dressing. With Astrid missing, Stephen’s mother, Marla, pushes him to let her know the girl’s whereabouts. She comes across as concerned for both her son and his friend without crossing over into nagging harridan territory.
We have been given plenty of evidence that she is distrustful of Jedekiah and we get to see this come full circle in this episode as well. After a sweet but hokey speech about the their family being the iron triangle, Marla gets Stephen to confess that he is in way over his head with Ultra. This leads to my favorite scene in the episode. She storms into Jedekiah’s office and confronts him. It is obvious that she is aware of the disparity of power between the two and yet she lets him know that in no uncertain terms to not mess with her family. Hell Yeah!
Marla is also the pivot on which the big twist of this episode turns. Through some effort, Astrid has been returned to her family. Stephen’s plans to meet his mother, Astrid, and her family for dinner later. He finds out that a hit squad has been sent to eliminate the threat that these people represent. He runs onto the scene in what one thinks will be his mother and friends being gunned down. What is revealed is that his mother has stopped all the bullets telekinetically. once again, Hell yeah!
I actually liked the Stephen we get in this episode. He has been coming across as a whiny child in most of the episode and this changes somewhat here. With his best friend a fugitive with a hit squad looking out for here, he finally takes some decisive action. He walks into Jedekiah’s office and quits. He then takes the offer by the Founder as there is no other options for returning Astrid to safety. We get to see him standing his ground when Jedekiah tries to warn him about dealing with the founder and see him failing as suave operative when he tries to seduce the Founder’s daughter.Stephen goes from being a one note character to having some depth that might be worth exploring. This new depth shows the most when he finally confesses to his mother how out of his depth he is with Ultra.
John and Cara aren’t left out of this loop either. We finally get to see Cara showing some backbone that actually makes more sense. Instead of throwing the founder’s daughter to the Wolves, she sees both the tactical advantage of keeping to learn what is going on as well as the benefits of keeping her safe and healthy since she has been tortured by her own father. This makes for a good counterpoint to John’s actions. The Founder has caught Stephen investigating the room where he experimented on his own daughter. He is going to remove Stephen’s powers and John takes the only step that will save him. He lets the girl return to Ultra but does it in the best way possible. He lets it be her own choice after explaining what Stephen means to him and the rest of the Tomorrow People.
For once, actions have consequence in this show! We get the death squad sent after again and we watch as the Founder once again sedates his daughter. The biggest one, outside of the twist though is John and Cara. By returning the girl to Ultra, john has defied Cara. He lets her know that when he thinks she is making the wrong decision, he will do it again. There is the requisite “If you don’t like it, you can kick me out.” So, she does. Awesome!
Finally, we get some insight into Jedekiah. All the slack he has given Stephen throughout the show has been very confusing. There is the belief that it based on some familial duty but this is very tenuous and nothing that I’ve ever believed. The interplay between he and the Founder this episode makes it seem more like Jedekiah is playing a much longer game and it is against the Founder and other players yet to be mentioned. This makes it appear that Stephen in more than a pawn but what he is remains to be seen.
Astrid is wasted in this episode. We get a little bit of her running about being whiney while being cooped up with the Tomorrow People. We also get the barest hints of a possible relationship with John. Watching these two things being explored would have been great and I think the show missed out on some great possibilities by not exploring them at this point. My hopes is that John will seek refuge with Astrid and her family to ensure their safety while he is homeless. But, that just me.
Ultra still comes across as incompetent. The way the powers work is inconsistent and the only explanation we get is that this or that person is just that powerful. This just creates power creep that forces the show to keep raising the ante each time they need a new big bad. And Limbo is still an annoying idea that could have been better handled.
This episode marks a return to good storytelling for this show. I am once again looking forward to the next one!