Terra Nova: Season 1, Episode 4

What Remains (10 Oct. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Mystery | Sci-Fi
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 639 users  
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When Elisabeth, Jim, Malcolm and Taylor investigate radio silence at a nearby scientific outpost, they discover an outbreak of a mysterious virus causing memory loss, paranoia and ... See full summary »

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Title: What Remains (10 Oct 2011)

What Remains (10 Oct 2011) on IMDb 6.6/10

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When Elisabeth, Jim, Malcolm and Taylor investigate radio silence at a nearby scientific outpost, they discover an outbreak of a mysterious virus causing memory loss, paranoia and eventually death. The group must work together to find a cure before they lose their sanity and all of Terra Nova is infected. Written by Fox Publicity

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10 October 2011 (USA)  »

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Entertaining B production, silly cheesy candy, Active Aha! Action™, supreme Commander, useful and intense episodic story, moving romance, intriguing new arc
11 October 2011 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Note : This review was first posted on Kritikenstein, my weblog, and is illustrated with comic strips there.

Instinct was supposed to be my last session with Terra Nova but an extraordinary encounter changed my mind and probably the destiny of our kind forever. Indeed Steven Spielberg himself visited me in my dreams but strangely his skin was all blue. He also had a very big nose and glowing yellow eyes. His message was crystal clear. I should review the show again or I would be sentenced to watch Avatar for the rest of my life. The choice wasn't easy but as you have probably guessed, I decided to endure an other episode of Fox's soapy science-fiction series.

But when I had prepared a dozen of rotten tomatoes to throw at my TV screen the experience proved to be surprisingly entertaining and even exciting ! I knew the silly behaviors and dead boring dialogs would be back but as I had no other choice I just decided to enjoy Terra Nova for what it should have been branded as, a not so serious episodic B movie. The B doesn't stand for Blockbuster but for "Bellow the average intelligence and quality of other productions". It takes itself way too seriously and considering how it's flawed I think it's better to re-evaluated the way it was sold to us. Would you open a gate at night to check out what has just made the awful sound you heard ? Jim doesn't hesitate. Would you use simple protective masks before entering a quarantined zone ? Jim does it again, followed by Doctor Malcolm because well… he's a very smart doctor. Some top secret scientific station hasn't responded for days ? We just send the supreme Commander, supercop Jim and some black guy because there're only vegetarian raptors and new age Sixers out there.

Those could be issues but once you have comprehended that characters are dumber than dumber then the pleasure to anticipate their every moves is priceless. The episode was also filled with cheesy and over the top sequences. Nathaniel going all Terminator under a giant brontosaurus with his tiny motorbike ? Checked. Raptor-like creatures eating electric cables to put the show off air ? Foxy ! A scientist serving as a meal to an hungry T-Rex ? A delightful homage to the famous toilet scene from Jurassic Park and the demonstration that CG visual effects work nice in bright daylight. The Lord of the Wedding Rings ? Jim and Elisabeth are hobbits.

More seriously when the second episode was cheap on action this one was fueled by it. Don't expect these scenes to blow your mind like a Michael Bay film but they definitely prove that Terra Nova has what it takes. But the best part was probably the Commander's arc because Stephen Lang's performance was convincing and his role darkly interesting. There were numerous references to some cult franchise and one split second should even shock you. Family-friendly ? Definitely not ! Moreover in general the story wasn't your usual cheap episodic dose but one that actually well developed the characters and made them grow on us. In fact I'm not even ashamed to admit that one scene almost made me cry because some performers are good enough to make some sequences relatively emotional. I still think Jason O'Mara (Jim) acts way too roboticly but he's balanced by the sweet, expressive and charming Shelley Conn (Elisabeth).

The episode also had its lot of romance. "I know everything" Maddy was back but her awkward moments with Mark Reynolds were digestible. The inevitable love story between Skye and Josh developed further but the waterfall marks were also quickly mentioned so it was probably the writers way to invite us to stick around. Moreover a new subplot was introduced and it has some undeniable potential. Even better was the cliffhanger that just made the upcoming installment, The Runaway, quite intriguing so let's hope they won't disappoint us with an other Instinct. Develop the existing arcs. Surprise us again with some twists and edgy moments. Keep on the drama but make it less soapy by gluing it with some real sci-fi elements. That's all I want but please Steven, leave me alone !


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