Season 1 of Terra Nova ended with a two-part finale called ‘Occupation’ and ‘Resistance’. At this stage no decision has been made about a second season of Terra Nova, the ratings for the finale will all likelihood clinch the argument.
As for the story…
In part one of the two-part season finale, the 11th pilgrimage arrives, though only a few new colonists arrive before soldiers from the Phoenix Group disrupt the pilgrimage. Kara, Josh’s girlfriend, is killed in the fracas by a suicide bomber. Facing the threat of heavy casualties, Lt. Washington surrenders to the Phoenix Group forces and Terra Nova is taken. Harsh martial law is imposed, while Commander Taylor and most of the colony’s security forces are isolated outside the colony. With help from Lucas and Mira, the Phoenix group attempts to pillage the new world’s resources, but Jim Shannon, Lt. Washington and other colonists coördinate with Commander Taylor in guerrilla warfare to resist the Phoenix Group’s attempts to take their home. Mira is sent on a secret mission north to the badlands to retrieve an unknown item. When they are discovered, Lt. Washington sacrifices herself to create a diversion so that the Shannon family can escape the colony and join Commander Taylor in the jungle. Lt. Washington is executed by Lucas as Taylor and Jim watch from the trees, helpless.
In the second half of the two-part season finale, Jim and Commander Taylor continue to make life difficult for the the Phoenix group. Repairs of the damaged terminus are completed and the first shipment of new world resources are readied to be sent back to 2149. Jim carries Lt. Washington’s final message to Commander Taylor, who realizes that the colonists will only have a chance to defeat the Phoenix Group if the bridge to 2149 is destroyed. Skye tricks Lucas into abandoning the Phoenix Group to hunt his father, providing an opening for the colonists to substitute a valuable shipping container with cargo from the Badlands with one containing Jim, a bomb and a sleeping carnosaur. With the distraction provided by a rampaging carno, Jim destroys Hope Plaza and the rift, slipping back to the new world at the last minute. Skye shoots Lucas to save Commander Taylor, but Lucas manages to slip away when they thought he had been killed. Learning that they are cut off from 2149, the Phoenix Group and the Sixers clear out of Terra Nova to head north for the Badlands. The valuable cargo from the badlands is revealed to be the ancient prow of a 1800s ship — with little sign of how it got there. With the immediate threat from 2149 neutralized, the colonists must rebuild with only their 1000 colonists and no support from the future.
Source of summary; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Terra_Nova_episodes
The finale of Terra Nova gave me mixed feelings, it does a lot of things right and it does things better than earlier episodes but at times it felt contrived and there were moments when I thought I had already seen it before.
Where did this finale go wrong and was it bad enough to torpedo a second season? Those are the questions that I will try to answer.
1. Lt. Washington’s death. Simone Kessell didn’t have much to do on this show, a point that I have remarked on several times. Indeed the female characters have less depth than the male ones and that is a shame. As the creative staff understood their error they seemed to favour the introduction of a new female/soldier character, that of Reilly (played by Emelia Burns), who seems if anything just a carbon copy of Washington. When Washington was first introduced in the finale you could immediately deduce she was going to die and despite acting the best scenes on the show this knowledge did cut her last scenes impact.
2. All too familiar antagonist. the bad guys in the finale are an organization calling themselves the ‘Phoenix Group’, they were hollywood bad guy clothing and uniforms and they fly the hollywood ‘bad guy flag’. In many respects the antagonist just couldn’t interest me any less and that is a major let down for a finale. The death of the main antagonist by the carno was just something that shows the writers weren’t too serious about him either.
Besides the points mentioned above the familiar problems of this show do recur in the finale. The Utopia/dystopia parallels between Terra Nova and 2149 shows the usual Steven Spielberg influence. the problems the writers also faced was the show didn’t experiment, there was usually little violence or nudity. In fact the world of Terra Nova is surprisingly sterile, and this spreads into the storyline as well. it’s as though the writers were shown a shows’ bible reminiscent of Star Trek TNG.
Personally I hope to see this show again for a another season as there any intriguing aspects, but the Hollywood stuff needs to go and more HBO needs to be put in its place.
That said, I personally doubt there will be a second season…. there I said it. this show is expensive and channels such as Fox aren’t known for giving shows a season to grow into something. Unlike CBS.
Score; 7.5 / 10.
Viewer ratings; 7.18 million.
*Update*, 7.18 million isn’t very good for such an expensive show. Sure it isn’t bad compared to the pilot as shows do tend to get lower ratings during a season but what is in store for the second season? It would drop to 5 during it’s run and that can’t be justified.
On January 16th Fox’s new tv-series Alcatraz will air in Terra Nova’s spot, that show will be much closer to Fringe in terms of sci-fi aspects.