It’s the end of the road for The Tomorrow People as Ultra prepares to unleash its doomsday device. So why does this finale feel so underwhelming?
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Son Of Man’s is potentially the final episode of the series, and – like most episodes of this show – it’s a combination of elements both good and bad. As much as I thought the stunts were top-notch, particularly Cara (Peyton List) getting slammed around during her fight with the Founder (Simon Merrells), there were still so, so many things that didn’t work. Here are the top five reasons why ‘Son Of Man’ is just as annoying / frustrating / soul-destroying as last week’s episode:
- The Machine has no “off” switch: The cliffhanger from last week was intended to be catastrophic. Humanity is about to be wiped out because Roger (Jeffrey Pierce) is powering the machine and all hope seems lost. Enter Jedikiah (Mark Pellegrino), who uses his powers to break into Ultra before they promptly fail him (convenient temporary powers). Instead of looking for a way to, I don’t know, shut the Machine down (like you would with any kind of device), Jedikiah murders his brother instead. Makes sense to me! Roger forgives his brother, and then confusingly elects to die instead of teleporting to a hospital (kudos for Jedikiah actually commenting on this). I guess I just don’t really buy that Roger had to die to get him out of the Machine, though that could just be because the specifics of how this MacGuffin works was never explained (why could Stephen just turn it off when he chose to a few episodes back?)
- The Founder’s (Simon Merrells) death: After an interminably long time, our band of misfit heroes come up with an incredibly dumb plan (why does Ultra suddenly only have 10 employees? Why does no one stay behind to guard the Machine?). While Cara and Russell (Aaron Yoo) attack the handful of Vancouver extras the production crew found wandering around the set, Stephen (Robbie Amell) teleports into the Machine room. He and The Founder have a “power” fight (which is kinda boring because it mostly just involves grown men hurling balls of blue energy at each other, like that really terrible The Convenant movie from a few years ago). It’s not until the Founder brazenly announces that the Machine is powered by Stephen’s father that Stephen realizes he can control the Machine’s energy (or something? Details = scarce. Also how much did I wish the Founder had yelled something like “Stephen, the Machine is your father!” Answer: a lot). Stephen’s abilities create a portal that sucks everything into it, including the Founder in what turns out to be a really disappointing and bland death. Apparently it’s harder to avoid a vortex than a bomb…’cause that makes sense. Good bye and good riddance, Founder, you D list villain. Turns out you were pretty easy to vanquish after all.
- Side Note: why does everything in the room get sucked into the portal but Stephen? It’s not like he’s controlling the portal…
- Natalie (Leven Rambin) gets no comeuppance: The pacing of this final episode seems to have taken a page from the True Blood playbook because the central conflict with the Founder is taken care of around half-way through and then we waffle throughout the remaining 25 minutes with virtually no direction. With the Founder and the Machine gone, we then get a bizarro scene with Natalie, who – for no rhyme or reason – arbitrarily shoots Cara (in slo-mo, naturally). I’ll admit this is probably the most successful part of the episode, even though it’s obvious that Cara was never going to stay dead. Stephen discovers he was rewind time (power #5!), but when it comes time to stop the shooting, he simply takes the gun from Natalie and tells her that’s not the Tomorrow People way. Um…what? This bitch just killed your true love and she’s clearly a threat, but by all means just let her teleport away. I would have punched her so hard in the face. Like, seriously, Tomorrow People writers, why couldn’t you just give me this!
- I get the impression that Natalie was a late addition to the series in anticipation of a potential second season. How else to explain the prominence of a character we’ve never seen in these final episodes? Or the fact that she gets away to cause more trouble later? Either that or the writers are idiots…
- Jedikiah becomes a mad scientist again: Last week I criticized the way that Jedikiah used his powers in the final scene, so it’s a bit of a relief that he uses them up so quickly. Unfortunately when all of the Founder/Machine stuff is wrapped up, we get an interminable tack-on which is the other clear attempt to lay a foundation for season two: Jedikiah convinces John (Luke Mitchell) that they’re like father and that Jedikiah can give John back his powers courtesy of his dead brother (ick!). For reasons we just have to accept, John agrees, and the next time we see him John is a human weapon with no memory of his friends! Clearly this is to be the new threat: Jedikiah, back to his old tricks (yawn), using John to recruit other TP to become mindless killing zombies? It’s basically a complete reboot of the show – which essentially signals that this season’s Ultra vs outcasts plot didn’t really work. I guess I just can’t imagine too many people getting excited about this new direction.
- I love how we know John’s different because his hair is perfectly combed. Nothing says personality wipe like school-boy prep.
- Stop leaving Astrid (Madeleine Mantock) places! It’s a bit of a silly argument, but it really bothers me that everyone keeps leaving Astrid behind at the drop of a hat. John does it to her after they’re frozen/unfrozen to check in on Cara. He then does it to Astrid again on their subway date simply because Jedikiah shows up. And then Stephen does it (in the next scene!) when Cara calls him to the lair to witness all of the new break-outs. I get it that Astrid is a regular human on a show full of super-powered people, but this nonchalant dismissal of her is reflective of how her character (and Sarah Clarke’s Marla and Jacob Kogan’s Luca) were treated in S1: disposable and regularly forgotten. If the show returns for a second season, these characters either needs to be dropped, or they need to be embraced and given more to do.
- Speaking of Marla and Luca, it’s pretty hilarious that the Founder is killed and the Machine is destroyed, but we don’t see or hear anything about Stephen’s family in the finale. Guess they moved to somewhere without phones or email and don’t know it’s safe to return? <shakes head>
So yeah, unfortunately ‘Son Of Man’ contains just as many frustrations as last week’s episode. With the season over, I can’t say I’m jonesing for more. There were simply too many things just never worked, including:
- the weak attempts at love triangles
- the seemingly low stakes, despite every suggestion that everything is life or death
- the arbitrary / preventable deaths that had no impact on the narrative
Throw in all of the questions that arise from the plot holes and there are even more issues:
- why does Ultra remove powers when they have suppressor bracelets?
- why would any TP stay in New York if they’re being hunted by Ultra?
- how has Stephen not flunked out of school?
What do you say: keep or kill The Tomorrow People? Were you happy with the resolution of the Founder/Ultra storyline? Do you buy Stephen as a leader of the Tomorrow People? Was John’s memory loss enough of a twist to bring you back for a hypothetical second season? And what would you have liked to see happen in the finale? Sound off below.
The Tomorrow People has finished airing its first season. According to pundits it is a long shot for renewal, so this may very well be the end of the road for the show.