8.5

The Tomorrow People Review: "Kill Switch"

(Episode 1.21)

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<i>The Tomorrow People</i> Review: "Kill Switch"

Good heavens…I thought this was the season finale, but, oh no, there’s more intensity in the Big Apple coming next week. And on its way, alliances are shifting, romance is blooming in unexpected corners, and Hillary is now in about 1,000 different pieces.

Yes, she tried to blow up The Founder, but of course, the snaky little shit survived the blast. And he wants to negotiate a real truce with the Tomorrow People: if they send Roger to him, he’ll stop killing them off. Unbeknownst to the crew that showed up at Ultra looking to get shot up with a tracer, the liquid also includes a kill switch. Push one button and the victim drops to the ground without a word. It’s frankly a little terrifying; kind of like when Cypher pulled the plug on the folks in The Matrix.

The effect is, well, effective as the gang splits into two factions. One uses the dead blood and tissue of their fallen comrade to try and find an antidote. The rest stir up dissension and decide to turn Roger over. And while it’s all happening, poor John has to deal with the fact that he was just turned human.

I get the sense that won’t be for long as in the midst of their research to find an anti-kill switch, Jedikiah and one of the other Tomorrow People stumble upon the secret to unlocking the homo superior DNA. Enough so that he could isolate it and inject it into a human and turn them into a super being. Of course, he does that to himself and at the very end of the episode, sends a bunch of cars flying around in the streets of New York. Is he becoming another super villain? God knows it befits his awful personality.

As everything rushes to a conclusion, everything’s all amiss. Stephen’s mom and brother are on the run, hoping to save the young lad from the Founder’s plan to eliminate all of humankind. Astrid and John are clinging on to each other for dear life. Russell and the splinter faction are off to…celebrate, I guess? And Stephen is ready to tear down the walls of Ultra and save his poor father.

The Tomorrow People feels like it’s been trying on so many different thematic hats this whole first season. Not like it has been trying to find its tone but with an almost reckless abandon, figuring they have a full season order, they might as well have some fun with it all. That’s the beauty of modern television, isn’t it? These shows can get playful, acting like a procedural one week, a family drama the next, and then a weird sci-fi soap opera the week after that.

This show takes after Battlestar Galactica in that way (something I think they were owning up to by hiring Michael Hogan, who played Colonel Tigh on BG to play a senator tonight). But sadly it doesn’t have the gravitas nor the narrative smarts to match wits with Ronald Moore’s show. Instead, it relies on the camp factor and the good looks of all the young people starring in it to get by.

So far it has worked, but seeing as their viewership hasn’t broken higher than 1.7 million since the early part of the year, I’m not sure if CW is going to have enough faith in the show to let it see a second season. That could mean that next week’s actual season finale could be one hell of barnburner or a cliffhanger or both. Let’s enjoy this time we have together while it lasts.

Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.

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