‘Terra Nova’ S1 Finale Recap: “We’ll Survive, But First Let’s Kick Some Ass”

As far as I’ve heard, the Fox network has not yet officially announced the cancellation of ‘Terra Nova’, this season’s most expensive TV show and a major ratings underperformer. According to the TV by the Numbers Cancel/Renew Index, the series is still considered a toss-up. Personally, I can’t imagine it getting renewed. I assume (and frankly, at this point, I hope) that last week’s season finale was also the series finale.

Although I made a decision to stick with the show through the first season, enough is enough. This show isn’t good enough to merit any more than what it was fortunate enough to get so far.

Despite a lack of any discernable breaking point, the finale is technically comprised of two episodes, called ‘Occupation’ and ‘Resistance’. Things start off with a return to the cheesetastic dystopian future of 2149, where all the cities are covered in cartoony CGI domes, because domes are just so futuristic. I didn’t really expect my theory about Lucas jumping forward into an unfamiliar alternate timeline to come true, and it hasn’t. He’s back in the same 2149 where he started, where he’s been plotting with a corporate douchebag named Weaver for a full-scale invasion of Terra Nova.

Back in the past, Taylor readies his troops around the time portal. So long as the portal terminus is active, anyone who comes through will be led into a choke point that should be easy to contain. When a transmission from the future announces that the 13th Pilgrimage is ready to come through, Taylor is surprised to find that the first arrivals actually appear to be colonists, including Josh’s teenage girlfriend Kara. Jim runs up to give her a hug. Unfortunately, right behind her comes a suicide bomber, who blows himself up to take out the terminus – and Kara. The poor girl gets blown to bits. Honestly, that’s kind of hilarious.

With the terminus destroyed, the time portal cannot be controlled or predicted, and may appear anywhere within a three kilometer radius. The baddies from the future use this as their opportunity to pop into the past somewhere that Taylor’s troops won’t be expecting. Soldiers arrive with enough force and equipment to quickly take over the colony.

Jim is injured in the blast, but not killed. He wakes up a few days later to find the colony occupied by mercenaries from a thinly-veiled Blackwater stand-in called the Phoenix Group, which has turned the place into a police state. He learns that 26 Terra Novans were killed in the invasion, until Washington eventually had to surrender. Taylor is missing. He and a small contingent of the colony’s troops fled into the jungle.

Jim puts on a show of being deaf, crippled and apparently retarded, which allows him a free pass to sneak around the colony and find out what’s what. This is how he discovers that Lucas and Weaver are planning to detonate a sonic bomb that will clear a huge chunk of the jungle so that they can strip-mine the meteoric ore beneath it. They’ll repeat this until the entire continent is decimated. Jim sneaks out of the colony and meets up to warn Taylor. They manage to defuse the first bomb, and stage a series of guerilla raids on Phoenix convoys.

Jim slips back into the colony, but quickly blows his cover to save Josh from getting the snot beaten out of him by Lucas. Josh picked a fight because Lucas was acting really creepy toward Skye. Washington then sacrifices herself to get Jim and his family out of the colony again. Lucas shoots her in the head while Taylor watches through binoculars. Dark.

Around this time, we finally learn why Lucas hates his daddy so much. In Somalia, Taylor was forced to make a Sophie’s Choice between saving his wife or saving his son. He chose to save Lucas, who then blamed him for his mother’s death. Taylor made the wrong choice.

So, Jim and Taylor hatch a new plan to destroy the time portal completely, which will cut them off from the future and force them to fend for themselves. Still, this seems like a preferable alternative to getting invaded again.

Skye seduces Lucas and leads him into an ambush. He gets away, but Taylor swaps the cargo container on his truck for a new one with Jim hiding inside. The container gets shipped to Hope Plaza in the future. Weaver (happy to be home again) opens it up and… Oh, did I mention that there’s a T-Rex in the container with Jim? Yeah, that gets loose and wreaks havoc all over the place, including eating Weaver and the, like, three guards that comprise the entire security detail around the most important discovery in the history of human existence.

Jim plants a bomb and then outruns a fireball. Then he outruns another fireball. And another. And then the T-Rex chases him. And then Jim and the T-Rex both outrun a big fireball until Jim jumps through the time portal and pops up in the jungle. The T-Rex either didn’t make it, or was released somewhere else. The time portal is destroyed, we’re told. Mira is kind of pissed about this, because it means that she’s stuck in the past and will never see her daughter again.

Taylor finds his son and beats him up a bit. Lucas starts crying like a pussy, so Taylor gets all mushy and gives his son a hug – at which point Lucas literally stabs him in the back. Not enough to kill him, though. At this point, Skye turns up to save the day by shooting Lucas about 18 or 19 times dead center in the chest. But then she turns around for a minute and – SHOCKER! – he’s gone.

The Phoenix Group abandon Terra Nova and head for a place called the Badlands. Taylor can’t figure out why they’d want to go there, until he opens up the original cargo container that Lucas had been driving. Inside is what appears to be the prow of a ship from the 18th Century. What the what?


Well, not really. It seems pretty clear to me that this means there are other time portals. Perhaps this ship got caught in some sort of Bermuda Triangle anomaly and was transported to the past. Undoubtedly, Lucas and the Phoenix people hope to tap one of those portals to return to the future again. I think it would be kind of cool if they went through a portal and turned up in the 18th Century, but I doubt the writers are that clever. Actually, as I said, I doubt that the show’s coming back at all.

The finale is uncharacteristically dark for this series. There’s a whole lot of death and murder in these episodes, and the way Lucas keeps hitting on Skye is wicked skeevy. The show is still really dumb, though. That much hasn’t changed.

On the off chance that the series does get renewed for a second season, I might give it a couple of episodes, but I don’t know how long I can really stick with it unless it shows a dramatic and immediate improvement.


  1. They should have taken the money and produced an american version of Primeval instead.

    This show has so much wasted potential all due to the fact that they want to show that corporations are greedy and evil, and that being a conservationist is good for the soul.

    Wow, how original.

    Despite how bad the rest of the season was, I liked the finale, I was watching it on Hulu+ and was surprised when I realized that not only was it a two hour (in television minutes) finale but that it didn’t feel that way.

    The one problem was of course, Taylor being a dumbass and hugging it out with his psychopath of a son two seconds after he was beating the hell out of him. Also, TV really needs to treat wounds a little more realistically. Someone who get’s shot twice should not be able to just get up and walk away.

    Probably gonna get cancelled, if it doesn’t well end up with Lost in in 6 Million BC with heavy quotes around “LOST”.

  2. When a transmission from the future announces that the 13th Pilgrimage is ready to come through, Taylor is surprised to find that the first arrivals actually appear to be colonists, including Josh’s teenage girlfriend Kara. Jim runs up to give her a hug

    I am pretty sure this was the 11th pilgramige, and the Shannons were on the 10th.

    I said I would stick with the show through the season finalle. If the show comes back next year, I will not be watching it. The show started out okay-ish, but started going downhill fast. The season finallee was the worst episode of them all. We actaully didn’t get to see any battle – they blow up the portal, three days later Jim wakes up and the fight is over, and we pretty much have our regular episode of Jim and his kids sneaking around. They then blow up the portal in Hope Plaza, and instead of the soldiers retalliating, they simply pull out of Terra Nova and go off to the badlands. Yawn!

    I am also going for the Bermuda Triangle theory, but I am done with this show. I did what I said I would and stuck through this long, but you won’t see me watching this next season. The show is just a mess. You had a good fundamental idea, but the show was plagued with absolutely horrible writting. I don’t see a way of salvaging the show at this point.

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