6.5

The Tomorrow People Review: "Kill or Be Killed" (Episode 1.04)

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<i>The Tomorrow People</i> Review: "Kill or Be Killed" (Episode 1.04)

The minor theme that the makers of The Tomorrow People have been sneaking into each episode is that each one of the homo superiors featured comes from some kind of broken home. Stephen’s dad left when he was a kid, setting him off on his lifelong journey of discovery. As was revealed in the previous week’s episode, Cara was forced to run away from her single-father home.

In this week’s installment, the writers drive this idea a little harder on the viewers, setting former foster child John up against Killian McCrane (played by former Veronica Mars star Jason Dohring), another former Ultra agent who survived an abusive household. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Killian and John came up at the same time through the organization, embracing each other at first as brothers and the evil Jedikiah as their surrogate father. Hell, John actually says that outright at one point during the episode.

What makes the character’s name even more groaningly obvious is that Killian was put into a program within Ultra called The Annex, which worked to remove the portion of the homo superior’s brain that stops them from killing another human. Killian was one of the few to survive this experiment and escaped Ultra’s clutches. Feeling betrayed by his surrogate sibling, he returns to dispose of him, a move that forms the core of this episode.

This edition of The Tomorrow People felt otherwise perfunctory, plopped into this early part of the season with a threadbare plot designed to bring out two important plot points: 1) that John went through the Annex experiment and is actually capable of killing someone, and 2) because he was used as a patsy in Ultra’s hunt for Killian, he has decided to stop running and fight back against Jedikiah and co. In the hands of some smarter and more accomplished TV writers, there would have been a more memorable way to bring these ideas home. Here it felt like they were dragging their feet to get to the end when they could pull back the curtains for the big voila.

Instead, the real highlight of the episode was to watch what the technical crew pulls off in the big fight scenes. The battles are between two feisty dudes with the ability to teleport, making their scraps increasingly complicated. But the actors, CGI animators and editors pull it all off dazzlingly with nary a visible string to be had. They are only as brutal as network TV will allow, but they get the job done masterfully.

Beyond that, the flaws in The Tomorrow People are starting to get revealed. It seems like the folks behind the show didn’t have the clearest road map in place to get viewers through the narrative arc of one whole season. Again, it’s early going yet, but the way the cracks have started to get bigger and bigger in TWP’s façade doesn’t bode well.

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