For its second episode, The Tomorrow People takes us one step closer to hitting its eventual stride as a procedural series. Once a week, Stephen Jameson will struggle between his allegiance to the Tomorrow People and his need to protect his family, and he’ll do so by remaining an agent for Ultra while fighting over the future of a newfound paranormal. But until then, there’s more ground work to be laid.
This time, it’s Stephen discovering just how dangerous Ultra really is. As part of his training to become an agent, he starts getting his mind read by his trainer. Spooked that he’s going to reveal the location of TTP’s underground lair, he wisely bolts. The threat goes deeper when he and his trainer investigate a recently “broken out” paranormal who has taken to robbing banks and armored cars. Once Stephen finds the boy hiding in the attic of his mom’s house, in comes the cavalry wielding shotguns.
Once Stephen sees Ultra’s intent isn’t to just wipe the paranormals of their powers, but to murder the more “dangerous” ones, he runs to TTP for help. From here, the episode is a race to the finish line with the good guys and bad guys both vying for the new paranormal’s future with lots of teleporting, a healthy dose of old-fashioned fisticuffs and one person almost getting dropped off the roof of a 10-story building.
When Stephen teeters on the edge of his own demise, it’s a tidy little metaphor for what the true theme of this episode is: balance. Stephen is trying desperately to get control of his powers and keep things quiet on the home front with his mom and brother. But the real balancing act comes towards the episode’s end as Stephen realizes his hope is to protect these new paranormals who, like himself, are just now learning of what they can do with their bodies and minds. So, his hope is to work with Ultra under the guise of tracking and disposing of dangerous paranormals, but really giving aid to the Tomorrow People’s goal of saving these young superiors.
The second episode of The Tomorrow People also helped reveal more of this show’s strengths and weaknesses. In the latter category, the dialogue borders on atrocious, full of dull platitudes and overheated sentiment. The directing lays it on thick in moments like Stephen’s flashback, which shows the day his father left the family for good —all bathed in gauzy magic-hour light.
What saves much of the clunky chatter and weird directorial choices is the acting. Robbie Amell can be a bit of a chest-beater, but his portrayal of Stephen does carry some emotional weight, especially in the scenes with his character’s mother. And Mark Pellegrino, playing the head of Ultra and Stephen’s uncle, reveals his unctuous side to his nephew’s face with such slippery ease that he threatens to be the show’s real breakout star.