Terra Nova: Out With a Roar

It was an epic battle of the badasses on the season finale of Terra Nova. First of all, let me just say that I’m glad I stuck with this show. About three or four episodes in, it was starting to feel a little too precious. I kept watching, though, because something about the show felt comforting and familiar. For the most part, family programming has been replaced by reality television, so kids today may not know what it’s like to sit around the TV with the fam, watching shows like Little House on the Prairie and making your little brother get you a soda, since he’s going to the kitchen anyway. I’m not saying it was great entertainment, but it was comforting and familiar. Granted, Terra Nova could definitely use a little Nellie Olsen attitude to spice things up, but for the most part, the show does a nice job of reinventing the family show for a new generation. Plus, I like all the characters and actually care what happens to them. Imagine that.

Which is what makes this episode so awesome. When do you ever get to see anyone be heroic on TV anymore? Protagonists are all dark, brooding anti-heroes now, making tough, morally murky choices as renegade cops, doctors or drug dealers. Give me a break. Where are the good guys who stand up for what’s right and do it without a hint of irony? Well, Terra Nova brings that back. Just about everone on the show gets a chance to shine in the two-part finale.
Commander Taylor
This man. He’s like a less girly version of John F**king Wayne. (Blasphemy? I was named after John Wayne, so I’m allowed.) In the course of two hours, he gets blown up, leads the resistance, gets stabbed, watches his second-in-command killed in cold blood, has a heart-to-heart with Zoe, beats the snot out of his good-for-nothing son, then recaptures his perch overlooking Terra Nova. We’ve heard other characters talk about his inflated ego, and we’ve seen eyes roll whenever he heads into the forest with just a knife and a jockstrap. But whatever ego he has proves to be richly deserved, as we see him fight, survive and fight again. I want a Commander Taylor action figure for Christmas!
Jim and Josh Shannon
It’s “Take Your Son to Be a Badass” day in Terra Nova! Josh’s character arc has been up and down throughout the season. Just when you think he might have learned something, he goes on to make the worst possible decisions ever. But he fully redeems himself here, not only by kicking some ass and defending the girls he loves (Kara, Skye, his sisters), but by finally understanding why his father would do anything to protect the family. Meanwhile, in a total Mufasa-to-the-rescue moment, Jim shows off his insane fighting skills by taking on a bar full of mercenaries. He then proves a testicular fortitude second only to Commander Taylor, by jumping back to the future with dino in tow, to blow up Hope Plaza. Damn, Shannons!
Elisabeth Shannon
More often than not, Elisabeth gets stuck doing lab work and dressing wounds. So, it was more than welcome (with much screaming from the couch at FBOTU HQ) when she put the Cretaceous medical squeeze on the new venture capitalist in town, forcing him to do her bidding. By my count, this is the second time she’s gotten her husband out of prison and helped her family escape. Caroline Ingalls would be so proud.  
Though we all knew Skye would find redemption for her crimes somehow, I certainly didn’t expect her to be so proactive about it. Granted, she’s not the most convincing femme fatale/double agent ever, and I’m surprised evil genuis Lucas fell for any of it, but good for her for following through. As you know, I’m a pacifist by nature and rarely condone any sort of violence. As a kid, my dad tried to get me to play with guns, but I generally just gave them names and had them talk through their issues. So, imagine my own surprise, when I found myself shouting, “Shoot him! Shoot him!” throughout most of this episode anytime Lucas and a gun appeared in the same scene. Ultimately, Skye learns that you can’t take your eyes off of a supervillain, even after you’ve riddled his body with bullets.
The heroes save the day, Terra Nova and all their dinosaur friends, too. Just when you think things are wrapping up, though, a few new questions emerge. Here’s a list:
1. Where the hell did Lucas go?
2. Mira looks pissed. But who is she pissed at? The mercenaries or Taylor? Maybe Shannon? Who will she side with going forward?
3. Is there another time portal in the Badlands? If so, are there human inhabitants, too?
4. How are they going to keep civilization going without ties to the future? Maddy almost lost it when the battery died on her 2149 iPad. What’s she going to do when all she’s got is a slab of rock and some charcoal?
Of course, the biggest question of all is whether Terra Nova will get a second season or not. While far from perfect, the show still has a lot of potential. Personally, I hope it returns. If not, the finale serves as a nice farewell to the Shannons and their adventures in time.
P.S. I’m still hoping we find out that Zoe is the evil mastermind behind all the plans to destroy Terra Nova. Maybe next season?

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