‘Terra Nova’ 1.04 Recap: “More Than Just a Memory”

Want to know what the best part of this week’s episode of ‘Terra Nova’ is? Huh, that’s funny, I can’t remember…

Perhaps I’ve been infected by the amnesia pathogen! Oh no! Or, more likely, ‘What Remains’ is just a really lame episode. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

The gist of it is that rogue researchers at a remote science outpost were working on a cure for an Alzheimer’s-like disease, but accidentally created and exposed themselves to a virus that blocks memories. One of them, forgetting where he was, went outside and got eaten by a dinosaur. The others eventually went catatonic.

Taylor, Elisabeth and a Redshirt head to the outpost to investigate, and of course also get exposed. Later, after they lose contact with the colony, Jim and Malcolm follow to see what’s up. Elisabeth doesn’t remember her husband. She thinks she’s still in grad school and dating Malcolm. Taylor, meanwhile, thinks that he’s back in some war he once fought in, and skulks around in the jungle.

Malcolm and Elisabeth have to race against time to find a cure before they both regress too far to be of any use. Somehow, Jim doesn’t seem to be affected. Why not? Well, he has a cold. It takes an interminably long time for Elisabeth to make the obvious connection there, but once she does… Voila! Magic cure!

Taylor winds up infiltrating the Terra Nova colony, which he thinks is an enemy base where his wife (who’s actually long dead) is being held captive. This storyline doesn’t amount to anything. Taylor’s second-in-command eventually talks him down, and that’s the end of that. With Elisabeth’s cure distributed, everybody regains their memories, and it’s smiles all around.

In a side story that’s amazingly even less interesting than this, Jim’s annoying son Josh (it pains me that we share a name) still pines for his girlfriend in the future, Kara, even though new girlfriend Skye tries really hard to put the moves on him. Ridiculously understanding about the situation, Skye even offers to help Josh smuggle Kara to Terra Nova. The plot twist revelation here is that the black marketeer dude who’s supposed to coyote Kara through the time portal is working with the Sixers, who have a way of contacting the future even when the portal (at least, the main portal everyone knows about) isn’t open. Perhaps they have their own time portal. Ooooh… Will this be important later on? I wonder!

It’s kind of amazing to me just how boring and cheesy and dumb ‘What Remains’ is, for only the third episode of a much-hyped, extremely expensive TV series. It’s like the show’s staff have already given up trying. Not that they were ever trying very hard in the first place. Filler episodes like this, you expect to watch in some syndicated cheapie series that airs on random basic cable channels at off hours, not on the Fox network in primetime.

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