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The Tomorrow People Review: “Thanatos” (Episode 1.08)

December 6, 2013  |  12:39am
<i>The Tomorrow People</i> Review: &#8220;Thanatos&#8221; (Episode 1.08)

Even for a hyperbolic episode full of mannered acting and borderline campy scenarios, credit where credit is due: this episode of The Tomorrow People was a corker. Copious secrets were revealed, plenty of beatings were dispensed with, and a character even more evil than head Ultra agent Jedikiah was brought into the fold. They put the gas pedal to the floor and didn’t let up for an hour, with the result being the series’ best installment since its pilot episode.

The first secret that comes to light, for Cara, is how close Jedikiah and John really are. She gets a quick squeeze of the former’s mind grapes as he sleeps in an attempt to suss out what in the world “Thanatos” is (a secret given to Stephen as he was almost drowning in the previous episode). She sees and feels how Jedikiah considered John like a son … but then Jedikiah wakes up and in a fight with Russell (there to back Cara up), and secret #2 comes to light: the location of the Tomorrow People’s hideout. In the struggle, Russell teleports out of Jedikiah’s apartment, but accidentally brings his enemy with him.

From here, the episode whips back and forth between the abandoned subway station where the Tomorrow People hang—and where they have Jedikiah tied up—and the outside world where Ultra and their overlord, known only as The Founder, are trying to find the location of their captive colleague using a trio of super telepaths (shades of Minority Report there).

To help throw them off the scent, the gang unloads secret #3: Jedikiah has been consorting with a Tomorrow Person. They don’t say that they’re dating, instead using the line that he was tracking her on his own. An attempt by Ultra to find her and bring her in is thwarted with Stephen’s help. The only trouble is that now she’s on the run and afraid for her life.

Eventually, Jedikiah gives up the information about Thanatos—it’s actually referring to a former colleague of Ultra’s who helped conduct the experiments that turned John into a killer (secret #4). The gang track down this former professor in Maine to find out what they can about the location of The Refuge (the mythical place where all Tomorrow People are safe). They instead learn that Ultra was initially founded to help the homo superiors out (secret #5) and that Stephen’s father could stop time, as well (secret #6).

The most devastating reveals are held until the end of the episode, starting with the flashback that shows John getting his first assignment as a murder-equipped agent: to kill Stephen’s dad (secret #7). It’s a fairly harrowing scene with the confrontation and John plugging Stephen’s dad with a shot to the chest. It’s just a shame that there weren’t better actors around to really sell it.

As dangerous as that murder is for the future of the Tomorrow People’s little ragtag coalition, the more threatening secret is the truth that Cara still has her powers. Her reasons for using them in front of Jedikiah are noble enough—at the time he was trying to escape and choking Russell in the process—but it has now put herself and Stephen at much greater risk.

If that weren’t enough for you, the episode rounds all of this craziness out with John’s capture by Ultra. It happens at a safe house, where John has brought Jedikiah with the intention of killing his former father figure. He can’t bring himself to seal the deal, however, resulting in his being beaten up by agents and dragged into Ultra headquarters.

I’ve gone back and forth with this show so many times over the course of its eight episodes, trying to stick with it as it strained to find its tone and its sea legs … and I’m still not entirely convinced that the creators of this remake really know what they’re going for. Episodes like this one though make me more hopeful for the show’s future. The slow story arc where they try to fill in the backstory of every major character might actually have been worth slogging through. They might actually be going somewhere with all of this!

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