‘Terra Nova’ 1.05 Recap: “You Don’t Want to Be on the Wrong Side of History”

Honestly, at this point, I think that I continue to watch ‘Terra Nova’ primarily because I enjoy mocking it. It’s a very easy show to mock – especially after the recent revelation that the soldiers in the series carry Nerf rifles. Oof. While this week’s episode is actually a marginal improvement over that stinker from last week, it still has plenty of foolishness and general lameosity.

The title character of ‘The Runaway’ is a young girl named Newt – excuse me, a young girl named Leah – who’s been styled to look and act so much exactly like Newt from ‘Aliens’ that I’m shocked the writers didn’t slip in a “They mostly come at night… mostly” dialogue reference. I was waiting the whole episode for it. No joy on that. C’mon, the girl’s been surviving alone in a jungle filled with dinosaurs and we don’t even get a “My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are”? What’s up with that?

Anyway, the Terra Novans find this little girl alone in the jungle, and she’s a runaway from the rogue Sixer group. Or so we think! [Cue foreboding musical sting.] Commander Taylor thinks that she can help lead him to the Sixer camp, so he brings her into the colony and lets her move in with Jim and his family. Of course, it turns out that the tyke is actually a little spy who was sent in to retrieve a weird-looking box from beneath the floorboards of Sixer leader Mira’s former house.

When Leah gets caught, Mira and her band of ‘Mad Max’ wannabes capture Taylor’s Number Two lady (I think her name is Washington) so that they can ransom her for Leah in a prisoner exchange. But the girl likes the colony and doesn’t want to leave, except that Mira is allegedly also holding her brother hostage.

Then Jim tries to rescue the boy and gets captured. Mira eventually just lets him go after feeding him a story about how powerful people back in 2149 want Taylor taken out, and that Terra Nova isn’t what Jim thinks it is, and that those people in the future are also holding her (Mira’s) daughter hostage. There’s quite a lot of hostage holding in this episode, for some reason. It all ends non-violently, though. Mira even lets Jim take Leah’s brother with him as a sign of good faith or something.

Meanwhile, at the colony, Taylor can’t get that mysterious box open, so he asks Malcolm to work on it. And that’s basically that.

There’s not a whole lot to think about here, but regardless I’ve been pondering a theory about the “Control the past, control the future” line from a few episodes ago. Supposedly, by going back into the past, the colonists have created an all-new alternate timeline that won’t affect their known future. Scientists are sure of this because they sent a probe back to the past but it wasn’t there waiting for them to dig it up in the future. Yet the time portal still has a direct link from their original future timeline to this past despite opening and closing regularly. How does that work? What’s to say that someone didn’t discover, move and disable the probe at some time between 85 million years ago and 2149? Maybe these timelines are actually connected after all, and that’s what all these hints about the true purpose of Terra Nova are about?

I don’t know. Am I putting more thought into this than the show’s writers? Very possibly.


  1. Jane Morgan

    These are the questions ‘Terra Nova’ needs to explain before it’s canceled.

    Is ‘Terra Nova’ a product for 10 year old boys?

    Did Fox hire cheap writers because they know the target demographic can’t tell the difference?

    Why does a huge-budget show have such a weak showrunner?

    Was ‘Terra Nova’ designed to fail? Is it a tax right-off?

    Is the big twist going to be that ‘Terra Nova’ is the first show in the history of television that was actually written by a roomful of monkeys with typewriters?

    Has the executive that greenlit this project already been sacked?

    • Josh Zyber

      Oh, I can think of plenty of other shows that are written by monkeys with typewriters. Have you not seen Two and a Half Men? The answers to most of your other questions are “Yes” and “Duh.” I’ll let you decide which goes with which. 🙂

  2. Jane Morgan

    The only thing I’ve seen, written by monkeys with typewriters, was ‘Hurlyburly.’

    Which was genius, bordering on insanity.

    But that was live theater. The Hollywood monkeys must be a lesser breed.

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