‘Terra Nova’ 1.06 Recap: “How Do You Kill a Man with a Dinosaur?”

The headline above isn’t asking how to kill a man who has a dinosaur with him, but rather how to use a dinosaur to kill someone. That’s the question of the week as the ‘Terra Nova’ colony faces its first murder investigation. In other words, it’s time for ‘CSI: Cretaceous Period’. YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!

Episode ‘Bylaw’ opens with a soldier named Foster getting jumped and eaten by a “Nykoraptor” at a relay station. Initial signs point to someone accidentally leaving the door open, but Jim finds the whole thing very suspicious. He investigates and comes to the conclusion that someone lured the raptor into the station as a trap for Foster.

It seems that Foster had a secret girlfriend named Rebecca, a married waitress who works in the mess hall. Within minutes, Rebecca’s husband confesses to the murder. It was a crime of passion, you see. Even though the husband seems to be a nice enough guy for a murderer, snarlypuss Commander Taylor has no choice but to follow the colony’s laws and exile him out to the jungle alone.

Something still doesn’t sit right with Jim, though. The man confessed a little too easily. He catches up in the jungle and questions him some more. (It seems like he could have done this in the first place.) The man admits that he didn’t really kill Foster. He’s pretty sure that his wife did because Foster broke up with her. He couldn’t bear the thought of his beloved wife being exiled, so he decided to take the fall for her.

This makes Rebecca the new prime suspect in the murder. But Jim questions her and she says that she didn’t do it, so I guess that clears that up. I mean, since he asked her directly and everything, she must be telling him the truth, right?

Well, it turns out that Foster was a big-time gambler, and another soldier owed him lots of money. Hence, Jim finds the real murderer, and Taylor sends the dude off into the jungle. The end.

The mystery element of this episode is really weak. It’s like ‘Law & Order’ for grade-schoolers. A subplot where Jim’s dumbass son Josh has to sneak out of the colony to meet with Sixer leader Mira is also pretty boring and doesn’t lead to anything significant. In order to help smuggle his girlfriend from the future to the colony, she makes Josh promise that he owes her a favor. That’s it, really?

The only highlight of the episode is a short scene where Jim, Taylor and Washington hunt down the dinosaur that ate Foster so that they can cut its stomach open like that scene from ‘Jaws’ (not actually shown on camera, of course) and find more evidence inside. The dinosaur VFX are middle-of-the-road, but it’s the only attempt at anything remotely exciting in the whole episode.


  1. Just spitballin’ here, but to answer the question in the headline I have two guesses. 1) Tie a steak around the person’s neck. 2) Use one of those neat little mind control hats that the villain uses in ‘Meet the Robinsons.’

    • Josh Zyber

      Basically, the killer tossed a steak into a bunker, let a dinosaur wander in, and then locked it in there. He then waited for the victim to go to the bunker, open the door and become dino chow.

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