Terra Nova: Smells Like Dino Spirit

Pop quiz! Which of the following scenes would you find the most exciting to watch:

#1 Commander Taylor and Hunky Jim capture a male and female pterosaur
#2 Scientists synthesize pterosaur pheromones

Unless you’re a pheromone-synthesizing scientist, I’m guessing you chose option #1. Guess which one Terra Nova chose to include and which one happened off-camera? In one way, it certainly defies expectations. You sort of expect a long chase scene, followed by the heroes dropping off the beasts, then cutting to the scientists running out of the lab, shouting, “Eureka!” By having the heroes jump from “Let’s go hunting!” to “We got ‘em!” then focusing instead on the holographic sci-fi science, it’s like Terra Nova is turning the action adventure paradigm on its head!

No, not really, I’m just being a bitch. I will forgive them for cutting the chase scene, because at least they didn’t have two other characters describing the action, while it all takes place off screen. That would have been really annoying.

After a promising, if a tad cliched premiere, Terra Nova hits the ground running in classic Scooby-Doo style. A trio of soldiers get a flat tire on a dark and stormy night in the Cretaceous and are attacked by mysterious monsters. Before you can say “Jenkies!” the good people of Terra Nova suddenly find themselves menaced by a few million horny pterosaurs. Apparently, Terra Nova is built on top of an ancient pterosaur nesting ground.

Meanwhile, Jim is feeling a little randy after his prison term, and since Taylor seems to prefer a long courtship period and incessant flirting to actual man-on-man action, Jim has no other choice but to attempt to have sex with his wife. Between shrieking pterosaurs and a needy toddler, there’s no prehistoric lovin’ for Jim tonight.

For some reason the trouble-seeking teens from the premiere, Josh and Skye, are not in the brig, but instead are roaming free through the Terra Nova farmer’s market. Josh spies a guitar, but it’s too expensive for his recently relocated wallet. I imagine that Josh is the kind of guy who shows up at parties with his guitar even after you’ve expressly asked him NOT to bring it, then monopolizes the evening with a non-stop performance of his entire catalog, mostly consisting of only three chords. God damn you, Josh.

While Taylor flirts with Jim and assigns him the responsibility of dealing with the pterosaur problem, Elisabeth runs into Wallace, a former boyfriend and fellow scientist who still has feelings for the pretty doctor. Seems he recommended her for the Terra Nova program, but didn’t think Jim would be along for the ride. If Jim does hook up with Taylor, that pretty much clears the way for Elisabeth to hook up with Wallace. Will the Shannons stay true to each other, for the sake of the children, or follow their hearts?

Jim still hasn’t gotten any, and the pterosaur problem is getting worse. A gazillion are on their way to mate, lay eggs and freak the f**k out on the residents of Terra Nova. Everyone is in a panic, except for Maddy, the brainy sister, because the hottie junior soldier Reynolds has made his intentions clear. He’s got a fever, and the only cure is more Maddy! What do you want to bet he’s the inside man for the Sixers? If they follow The Sound of Music plot trajectory, Reynolds has Rolf written all over him. Plus, he’s expendable, so he’ll probably die before the end of the season, probably sacrificing himself to save Maddy.

Now that that’s settled, where was I? Oh yeah, we’re finally up to the big action scene switcheroo. If the scientists can synthesize the pterosaur pheromone, they can take a drum of it to a new location and lead all the angry birds away. But…they need a male and a female of the species! Taylor and Jim suit up and head out for a thrilling nighttime chase. Then they walk back in, pterosaurs in hand. And that’s when the real action begins, as Elisabeth and Wallace flip frantically through holographic images, trying to decode then re-assemble the DNA, leading to the best line of the episode: “Damn, these pheromone molecules are unstable!”

Meanwhile, little Zoe continues to be the Scrappy-Doo of the gang, always getting lost, left behind or in trouble of some kind. Earlier in the episode, her parents let her have a carnivorous plant of her very own. Then, when the pterosaurs attack, her brother and sister take cover with their crushes and leave little Zoe all by herself. If Maddy is the Lisa Simpson of Terra Nove, then Zoe must be Meg Griffin.

Luckily, the pheromones work and all the lusty pterosaurs are relocated to another breeding ground. The human kind of pheromones, however, are still in play, as Josh and Skye and Maddy and Reynolds all get a little closer. Even Jim finally gets laid. By his wife. Though he was out all night with Taylor, so maybe he got a double dose of Terra Nova nookie. In which case, I say, “Huzzah!”

Terra Nova airs on Fox on Mondays at 9/8c and is available on iTunes.

Read all of FBOTU’s Terra Nova recaps, 85 million years in the making, here! Enjoy!

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