Around the Water Cooler: “The Tomorrow People” – Officially Canceled + Winter/Spring and Finale Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Tomorrow People,” aired on network TV during the 2013-2014 season, specifically on the CW.  It ended its run in the Monday at 9:00 PM time slot.

What: “The Tomorrow People,” a science fiction teen drama about humans, most of whom are teenagers, who have evolved to have powers of teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy and possible other abilities, and the government organization named “Ultra” that seeks them out to neutralize them.  The action is centered on Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell), a young high school student who begins to exhibit these abilities and so much more and who is being sought out by an organized band of “superior” humans as well as by Ultra for not only his abilities but also his family connections.

SYNOPSIS

Stephen (Amell) has been struggling for a year with strange occurrences, not the least of which include him waking up in foreign surroundings as if after sleepwalking, such as another couple’s bed (in another couple’s house).  Believed to have inherited an inexplicable psychosis from his father, Stephen has been undergoing psychological therapy and is taking strong anti-psychotic medication, which is often stolen by a school bully.  His friendships are strained, and he is frustrated by what seems to be a deteriorating mental state, until he is contacted by Cara (Peyton List) telepathically.  Cara and her boyfriend John Young (Luke Mitchell) introduce Stephen to the “Tomorrow People,” a ragtag group of teens who have enhanced abilities. Stephen also finds out that his father abandoned his family, including his mother (Sarah Clarke, 24) and younger brother, because he also had abilities for which he is being hunted for study, and it is believed that Stephen can help locate his father, to the extent he has any interest in doing so.  Meanwhile, Ultra tracks the Tomorrow teens and is headed by Jedikiah (Pellegrino), Stephen’s uncle, his father’s brother, and an evolutionary biologist who seeks to minimize the threat and risk that these evolved humans in such formative years potentially pose to worldwide society.

When: The series finale aired on the CW, Monday, May 5, 2014, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in New York City (they finally talked about the Burroughs in the finale).

Why: I enjoy science fiction as a genre. The premise seemed pretty interesting (if a little derivative of the X-Men, though it is based on an English television show from the 70s).  The series features Mark Pellegrino (Jacob on Lost, Satan on Supernatural, a Monroe militia man on Revolution), who is one of my favorite character television actors of today, as the primary antagonistic force.  Also, one of the executive producers is Julie Plec, who is also the executive producer and head writer for The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.  All in all, I felt this program had a decent chance of being quite good.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

As the primary TV viewing season came to a close and new season schedules were announced by the networks, sweeping and swift final decisions regarding what stays and what goes, i.e. what is renewed for another season and what is canceled, were made.  Because the purpose of this blog is to be more editorial about particular shows this viewer watches rather than a major entertainment news outlet to report scoops, spoilers, and other television-related sound bytes (for now), this blogger is reporting the cancellations and reviews as I have time to write about them.

The CW, in May 2014, canceled The Tomorrow People, among other series. This viewer awarded this program’s pilot a 4 out of 5 star rating, meaning I enjoyed the show but saw potential pitfalls in the premise.  The review of the pilot can be read here.  A recap of the first half of the season can be read here.

This viewer initially rated the pilot of The Tomorrow People 4 stars – there were flaws in premise and execution, some of which persisted through the series finale.  As I noted in previous entries, the biggest flaw of the series is its almost shameless borrowing from, if not plagiarizing of, other science fiction vehicles, drawing from sources like the X-Men and Star Wars in story arcs that have presumably evolved beyond the constructs of the original version of the show from the 70s.  Did this flaw propagate the program’s declining ratings and cancellation? Perhaps, but this viewer theorizes that the show did not gain viewers because it didn’t offer many likable characters in addition to a couple of polarizing ones, including List’s Cara.

The story itself was engaging enough, but the middling performances of especially the younger actors in the ensemble, particularly List, sometimes rendered the execution of the plot devices and dialogue cheesy.  In addition, the love triangle trope between Stephen, Cara, and John was played to saccharine, predictable, and formulaic effect, at least until John lost his powers late in the season and began flirting with Astrid, and Stephen and his Ultra partner Hillary dallied until Hillary stopped playing the double agent and went after the Founder.  Cara remained this viewer’s least favorite character and became even more off-putting when she was elected the new leader of the “Lair” of the Tomorrow People.  Many of even the faithful viewers in the free-for-all forums of websites covering the show seemed to agree.  Her back story, her dalliance with Stephen while longing for John, and her struggle to “prove herself” as leader rendered her the most unsympathetic character, short of the Founder himself.  She seemed like a cross between a spoiled brat and a lost puppy who thought everything was a crisis.

Let’s talk about the Founder (Simon Merrells).  This character emerged in the back half of the season as the ubiquitous head of Ultra to which Jedikiah reported.  His motives were unclear for a long time and then became painfully clear, as he began twirling proverbial mustaches and plotting the extinction of “homo sapiens” in favor of “homo superiors.”   His Founder was, at times, truly menacing, but at other times, it seemed as if he was too formidable a foe for a ragtag bunch of adolescents, considering that he possessed the same paranormal abilities as they did and seemed to, inexplicably, be much stronger than those adolescents to boot.  Also, while it worked out given that the series was canceled, his story line was wrapped up a bit too neatly and in too much of a contrived manner for all the problems he caused.  The conclusion to his arc was simply not as satisfying as it could have been.

The show continued to barrel through story lines in the second half of the season at a breakneck pace, some more successfully executed than others.  Since the first half of the season was covered in the previous entry, this final entry will recap some of the revelations from the second half of the season, following the mid-season break.

1. Though we were led to believe that John murdered Stephen’s father, Roger (Jeffrey Pierce), it became evident that Roger was not allowed to die completely.  Jedikiah revealed that he hid the dying but not dead Roger away from the Founder, in a secret building and in suspended animation, waiting for the right time to revive him.

Through flashback in one of the second half episodes, the viewer learns that Roger and Jed were actually very close.  Though Jedikiah clearly felt some acute envy over the fact that Roger had abilities, and he didn’t, Jed poured his lack of abilities in helping Roger to understand his from a scientific standpoint.  Yet, they were approached by the man known as the Founder, who sensed Roger telepathically.  The Founder had grand designs for creating an organization – the foundation of what would become ULTRA – that would allow Roger and Jed to help new “breakouts” understand their abilities.  It was there that the idea of “The Tomorrow People” was born – and how people like John came to be involved with Jed in the first place.  Roger trained them to control their abilities and to learn how to fight, while Jed researched different applications and procedures arising from the paranormal abilities these people exhibited.

The Founder, however, had other plans.  Through his and Jed’s joint efforts, they developed a Machine.  The purpose of this Machine is unclear as far as what Roger and Jed understood it to be initially, but this viewer can say for certain that Roger, as the most powerful paranormal other than the Founder and, eventually, his son, was able to power this Machine when others couldn’t. Furthermore, the Machine had the effect of stopping time, an ability Stephen inherited from his father, and rendering humans inert. The Founder’s grand mission was to bring about the extinction of the human race while allowing paranormals/Tomorrow People to roam the earth freely.

Roger and Jed both disagreed with the Founder at a fundamental level, but they also disagreed with each other as to how to push back.  Roger wanted to fight; Jed wanted to work covertly.  Thus, the schism that led to the “Tomorrow People” and “ULTRA” was born and carried over into ULTRA’s consistent tracking of Tomorrow People at Jed’s behest: he was following the orders of the Founder, bringing cooperative paranormal breakouts into the ULTRA fold (like Hillary) and draining combative Tomorrow People of their abilities with a solution created in one of Jed’s research laboratories.

The only problem is, Jed, at some point, was ordered by the Founder to take out Roger when Roger refused to participate in powering the Machine.  But Jed couldn’t kill his own brother.  And since one of the arms of his research was to see if he could augment and/or disrupt the block that prevents paranormal beings from harming others, and since he successfully instilled it in John, John eventually enacted the order.  He shot Roger and believed him to be dead – which is what caused his break with Jedikiah, who was like a father to him.

It was not until Stephen started to suspect that Jed wasn’t telling him everything, and confronted him about it, that Jed finally showed Stephen, and John as well, the glowing box containing Roger’s body.  This was after Stephen successfully reach his father in “limbo,” by stopping time as he lost brain function and experienced death, in order that he may connect to his father’s soul, preserved by their powerful abilities.

2. When Stephen awoke at the end of the mid-season finale, he proclaimed that in order to find his father, they had to find his body, while John looked on in disbelief, reminding all that he personally murdered the guy that he convinced Stephen to join his little rebellion and to help find in the first place.

Stephen was beyond livid at his uncle, but once Roger’s body was located, Jed had it moved to the Lair.  Stephen also brought in his mother to help.  John, meanwhile, who had idolized Roger as much as he loved Jed, looked on in dread, until Roger was revived and ultimately forgave him.

A key piece of information that we learn is that Stephen is a “synergist,” i.e. the offspring of two Tomorrow People.  Stephen discovered that his mother Marla (Sarah Clarke) also had abilities when agents of ULTRA attempted to murder Astrid, after it was discovered that Astrid had become aware of Stephen’s paranormal abilities.  Synergists are rare enough, but Stephen is exceptionally powerful, inheriting enhanced telepathic abilities from his mother and the ability to stop time from his father.  We didn’t meet other synergists, except that it is heavily implied that the Founder might be one.

In any event, ULTRA, on Jed’s orders, went after Astrid and her family at the cafe they own, but as gunshots were fired, Stephen’s mom telekinetically stopped the bullets, in front of Stephen, Astrid, and her family.  We later learned that Roger met Marla when she was a breakout and fell in love, but he left her when the Founder’s pressure and grand visions placed him and his family in danger.

Marla is also a nurse, however, and Stephen brought her and brother Luca to the Lair when Roger’s last breaths of life hung in the balance, to reunite with their lost loved one but also for their protection, as the Founder’s efforts to secure Roger for the Machine intensified.  She and Jed worked together to revive him, though Stephen ultimately placed himself in danger by entering ULTRA and accessing the Machine, so that he might reach Roger’s mind or soul or both, which remained in limbo.

Roger forgave John, even as John struggled to forgive himself.  Jed and John also worked to repair their relationship, which is very father/son in dynamic, though John was upset with Jed for not telling him that there was a chance to save Roger.

In addition, Luca learned of the abilities of his brother and eventually his parents.  He struggled to make sense of it at first, being the only Jameson without powers (so far), but Stephen asked Astrid to help, and the reappearance of his dad seemed to help.

3. The love triangle became a love pentagon, and Cara was elected leader over John.

Once upon a time, at the beginning of this series, Astrid loved Stephen; after all, she was the stalwart girl-next-door/best friend who stuck by him when it looked like he was going crazy because his powers were manifesting.  Stephen, however, had Astrid in the friend zone, locked and loaded with no chance to escape. Stephen was just not that into her, though he loved her as all best friends do.

Then along came Cara with her piercing doe eyes and her enhanced telepathic abilities.  She was able to communicate telepathically with Stephen and he with her like no other pair.  Stephen fell for Cara.

Yet, Cara was with John, who saved her from herself and her good-for-nothing, layabout, con artist ex-boyfriend who enjoyed exploiting her abilities, after discovering her lost, lonely, and homeless when she was kicked out of her parents’ house.  She was loyal to John, but then she gave into her connection with Stephen and loved him for a bit – or maybe all along, though some viewers struggled to care.  She also slept with him.  Because: feelings.

John was hurt but not devastated, and Cara’s dalliance with Stephen was further influenced by the secret John kept from Cara concerning his involvement with shooting Roger, Stephen’s father. John distanced himself from Cara, leaving Cara lost and confused and abandoned again, unable to reach John in his self-imposed isolation despite her pleas, and, thus, willing to seek solace in the arms of Stephen.  When Cara learned what John was holding back, however, Cara reconnected with John, no regrets and no apologies, and told him to share more, please.

Stephen, however, was playing double agent, acting as a mole within ULTRA while he curried favor with his Uncle Jed and reporting their goings-on to the Tomorrow People in the Lair.  Stephen was eventually teamed up with a senior agent and paranormal named Hillary, who hated Stephen’s guts at first, believing (rightly so) that Stephen curried favoritism from his boss, his uncle.  When Jedikiah’s secret agenda involving his brother came to the forefront, Hillary, in her ambition and admitted attempts at self-preservation, agreed to act as a double agent for the Founder, promising to get close to him, all the while exchanging information learned from the Lair and from Stephen about his father and his uncle.  Hillary, however, came to her senses and saw that Stephen’s aim was true, and that he was a good guy.  She fell in love with him, and he with her.  This love eventually caused Hillary to turn against the Founder when the Founder went after first Stephen and the newly revived Roger to power up the Machine.  She marched into the Founder’s office and tried to suicide bomb his extinction.  Sadly, he survived, but Hillary didn’t.

In the meantime, Stephen asked John to protect Astrid when ULTRA agents hunted her down for her knowledge of Stephen’s abilities.  In one sticky situation, John caught a bullet.  Astrid was able to save his life with a few convenient resources on hand.  Later, John was captured by a Founder-run ULTRA.  When he wouldn’t agree to give up the Lair and/or Roger and/or Jed and/or Stephen, the Founder used Jed’s magic solution and sucked his powers dry.  John was a human for a handful of the final episodes, and he sought solace with the best human he knows: Astrid.  These two fell for each other. Cara acquiesced.  Stephen was happy for them both.

4. But wait…there’s more…

At the end of the series, however, in the tag of the finale episode, we learn that Jedikiah had figured out how to trigger abilities in humans (even though they were biologically incapable of accepting them) and had done so for himself in hopes that he could save Roger from the Machine.  The Founder was able to negotiate with the duplicitous Tomorrow Person Natalie and Russell, who blindly followed her anger, in a misguided attempt to keep the peace, at the fact that Roger did not provide instant access to the “Refuge,” as they had been promised all along.  Natalie and Russell agreed to turn Roger over to the Founder in exchange for a truce between the Founder’s ULTRA and the Tomorrow People, some of whom wanted to realize the Founder’s future of an Earth with only evolved persons roaming it as the potential Refuge for which they so hunger.  Yet, others saw the moral implications of effectively killing the human race (besides, what if some of them hadn’t broken out yet?).  Roger agreed to go in lieu of violence and was immediately placed in the Machine, his abilities powering it naturally.

Jed breaks into ULTRA with his new found stolen powers, which he extracted from the DNA of a particularly geeky Tomorrow Person, but is unable to sustain them.  When he enters into the Machine room, after taking out some of the guards/agents, Roger begs Jed to kill him.  Jed, overcome with emotion at the thought of shooting his own brother, agrees that he has no other choice, as Roger seems incapable of separating himself from the Machine.  Jed shoots Roger, just as Stephen arrives on the scene.  Roger encourages Stephen to save everyone, saying he believes in him and his strength.  As the Founder walks in and explains that Roger’s DNA effectively serviced the Machine enough that it could run on just that fuel, Roger exerts the last of his strength to teleport Jed to safety.  He dies in Jed’s arms.

In the footnote of the finale episode, after Stephen and the others hatch a successful plan to stymie the effects of the Machine, Jed finds John on the subway, canoodling with Astrid, and asks him to come with him.  Jed shows John that he made a solution that would imbue John with powers again, specifically derived from Roger’s DNA, in the procedure he used to imbue himself with another’s DNA (ordinary humans reject paranormal abilities, though).  John, willing to please his (surrogate?) father, agrees to undergo the procedure.  Apparently, however, this procedure wipes John’s memory, and John becomes a “super soldier” for Jed, able to harm/kill at will but with enhanced abilities and absolutely no memory of Stephen, Cara, or Astrid.  Poor Astrid.

Meanwhile, Stephen, seeking revenge for his father’s death, attempts to take out the Founder himself but is no match for him.  As the Machine is still powered up, he meets Cara, Astrid, and John in an empty diner.  They agree to attack ULTRA by themselves in an aggressive distraction, long enough for Stephen to get in and to attempt to destroy the Machine before its purpose manifests and stops time for anyone who is not paranormal.  Russell shows up to this conference too; though Stephen blames Russell for his part in the sequence of events leading to Roger’s death, Cara vouches for Russell, after Natalie led ULTRA agents with abilities, in addition to the removal of the block that prevents them from harming others into the Lair, for the purpose of killing or capturing Cara and the remainder of the ragtag group.  Even though Cara wants John to take Astrid and his now human self far away from New York City for their own safety, John and Astrid stubbornly refuse to leave, insisting that they wish to fight and to help their friends.

Thus, Cara and Russell create a distraction by baiting a group of the ULTRA super soldiers to the headquarters’ front plaza.  When things get a bit hairy for them, John acts as a sniper from a nearby rooftop, with Astrid calling out locations of assaulting soldiers from behind binoculars.  Stephen makes his way into the building and to the Machine room.  He interacts with the Machine telekinetically by attempting to draw out its power source, apparently knowing where it is after his own time hooked up to the Machine when he reached his dad in limbo, before he was revived by mother Marla.  The Founder appears again, and they have an all-out power battle, but Stephen, the synergist, discovers a way to augment his power with whatever the Machine is retaining from his now deceased father.  This causes the Machine to collapse in on itself, just as it starts to freeze Manhattan (John and Astrid are temporarily stuck in a passionate but fearful kiss).  A strange vortex is created: the Founder is sucked in and is no more.

The interactions between Stephen and the Machine apparently caused side effects: not only was the time freezing mechanism reversed, but a projection of the Machine’s power led to an abnormal number of breakouts, who appear at the Lair, telepathically linked to Stephen and able to find him like a beacon.  There is some question as to whether the Machine cause breakouts to break out early, or whether the Machine sped up the evolutionary chronology for ordinary humans, augmented by Stephen’s interfacing with it.  In any event, an underground tunnel beneath a subway line could no longer accommodate the hundreds of new recruits, so Stephen, who Cara elected to be the leader even though Stephen preferred to share the leadership role with Cara, decided to move into the empty offices at ULTRA.  After all – what else was it being used for?  And what an ironic location for the this little rebellion.

Cara also reveals that she knew Stephen would be the one to save the Tomorrow People and not Roger.  She suggests that she had visions about Stephen bringing the Tomorrow People to the much sought after Refuge, not Roger as originally hypothesized.

5. As of December’s mid-season finale, John’s family background had not been explored.  This is still true as of the finale.  Who are his parents?  

A flashback revealed that Jedikiah discovered John masking his breakout abilities as he became the ultimate con artist on the streets, hoodwinking victims with secret telekinetic actions that guaranteed his wins.  Jed was fascinated with John from the start, who was very young when Jed brought him into the ULTRA fold.  Their attachment grew.  Why did Jed take such a shine to John? Powers weren’t new to him, because Roger had them first.  Why did Jed make John his guinea pig for procedures like that which removed the paranormals’ instinctual inhibitions from harming others?  Why did Jed seek to imbue John with powers again?  Jed made the remark that he was proud of John for fighting when others ran, despite the fact that he had no powers.  “It’s what every father would want for his son,” i.e. to be a good man.  Something tells this viewer that John is really Jed’s biological son.  How, when, why…I can’t say.  The explanation for their particular relationship was never satisfactorily offered, beyond Jed taking John in and doting on him as his prodigal golden boy and eventual weapon when John was living on the streets, nearly starved and homeless: all good explanations for why and how their relationship started but not for the directions this dynamic eventually traveled.

6. Jedikiah loved a Tomorrow Person – the Founder wanted her dead.  Jed saved her and hid her with Stephen and the rest of the Tomorrow People at the Lair.  Cara found out that this woman (I can’t remember her name…maybe Morgan) is pregnant.

Unfortunately, they dropped this story line before the end of the season, when issues with the Founder really heated up.  Jedikiah’s first attempt at a truce with his nephew was for the good of his erstwhile lady love.  What Jed didn’t realize, however, was that she had a bun in the oven; she did attempt to find him again as a ruse to distract him from the Tomorrow People’s doings, but Jed sniffed out her plans.  I think Cara informed him later, but many distractions, like his brother coming back to life, floated to the forefront of the story.  In fact, Jed dropped all of his pretenses when the need to save and revive his brother became tantamount to anything else.  Jed’s loyalties were always 1) Roger; 2) his science; 3) John; and 4) his ladylove.  Stephen and his family were just cogs in Jed’s somewhat perverted wheels, turned by scientific exploration, ambition, and envy over his brother’s “specialness.”

7. Stephen was furious with Jed for keeping the secret that he had Roger safely tucked away, in suspended animation.  Stephen tricking Jed into believing that he had taken Cara’s powers with the magic solution was no longer an issue.

As long as Roger, who Jed was ultimately devoted to above else, could be brought back to life, Stephen’s little ruse to save Cara didn’t seem to bother Jed again, at least until he ordered John, in the last seconds of the finale, with his amnesia brought on by the infusion of Roger’s DNA, to seek Stephen and Cara out as his next targets.  To what purpose?  Viewers will never know: that was the unresolved cliffhanger of the series.

In the end…

This viewer believes that The Tomorrow People suffered from overuse of deus ex machina methods for getting the characters out of tight spots. Stephen conveniently manifested new strengths and abilities when stressful situations arose, and while his being a “synergist” implied that he had strength and abilities that others didn’t, the new powers tended to appear randomly when he was in danger and needed just such an ability or use of some device predicated upon his genetic code, despite the fact that his other abilities manifested “normally,” when he was asleep or going about his life.

The conceit around the Machine plot line was shaky at best.  What it was and how it worked were never satisfactorily explained.  The viewer knew only that a) it’s scary; b) it would freeze humans permanently in time; c) the Founder really wanted it working so that he could create his utopia of paranormal residents only (ordinary humans not allowed).  Why could only Roger, and by extension Stephen as Roger’s son, work the Machine?  Who even thought to build it?  Where did the Founder come from anyway?  This story was never properly flushed out, and may have served to perpetuate already low ratings by not enticing new viewers to the fold – or helping to retain those already watching – since it was such a key plot device for the back half of the season.

Polarizing characters included Cara, who adopted a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to leading her charges and to even her relationships with Stephen and John.  Seriously, even though Hillary started off as the average, overly ambitious overachiever, when she relaxed, her relationship with Stephen was somewhat touching, and John and Astrid as a pair was a brilliant idea on the writers’ part, given that John had never been with a normal human before.  Cara became an overly used, unnecessarily wrench in the cog of this particular machine (not Machine), and List’s acting choices in portraying her didn’t help her cause.

Russell was a character added for comic relief, a young man who never took anything too seriously, until he had no choice but to accept that things were serious when they were beyond serious.  Still, his manner of speech and idiosyncrasies were not always funny – unless he was calling out Cara and Hillary when she was at her most annoying.

Astrid was, more or less, a two-dimensional character, kept in the story for the purpose of reminding  the viewer that Stephen had a human/normal life outside of his superhero existence with the Tomorrow People.  That is, until she met John, at which point she became infinitely more interesting and even somewhat wise, being more worldly about the world than her paranormal compatriots.  This viewer’s opinion is that Astrid should have been given such an opportunity to grow as a character earlier.

Natalie came out of absolutely nowhere, suddenly irked about Roger’s less than speedy move toward the alleged Refuge.  There was also a story line in which John and Stephen helped to rescue some Tomorrow People who were being held captive by ULTRA for experimentation from laboratory jails in which they were being held, somewhere deep within the recesses of the oppressive organization.  One of their rescues turned out to be the Founder’s daughter, the Founder’s self-proclaimed “sacrifice” in the name of the greater good.  Yet, her story line was nearly irrelevant, except to show how far the Founder might go to achieve his aims and to establish how long his proverbial evil mustache truly was.  Also, she was played by an actress named Serinda Swan – who looks startlingly like Lindsay Lohan.

In the end, the most interesting characters were Stephen, John, and Jedikiah – and by extension Stephen’s family.  Yet, even the revelation that Marla was a Tomorrow Person lacked gravitas – after all, it was Marla who initially treated Stephen as if he was crazy and who took him to see psychiatrists, who prescribed him psychotropic medications, when his abilities started to manifest at the beginning of the series.  Their reconciliation over this startling new development was trite and unsatisfying, though Sarah Clarke’s Marla was stoic and showed very little depth of emotion.

Ultimately, the writers, and even some of the actors and episode directors, did not execute this story well, and it was a story with so much potential.  As a science fiction/fantasy tale, it hit all the right notes but with a finish more like boxed wine than a nice chilled Chianti.  Since the show hovered around a level of mediocrity that was likely self-evident to the choosy television viewer of today, The Tomorrow People never improved upon its ratings slumps, and the program got the ax.

As for this viewer, I enjoyed watching it at a minimal level, but I was never excited to watch it or yearned really to know what happened next.  I never sat back in my chair with my jaw to the floor and frequently puzzled over how and why things occurred or were depicted in the manner they were depicted, and I absolutely detested Cara.  The most impressive part of this show was probably the special effects utilized to depict teleportation and telekinesis.  Other than that, it was a pleasant, if somewhat bland, story – a vegetarian delicacy of science fiction fare, since it lacked some real meat.  Well, maybe there were some fishy aspects to the tale – in any event, I’m not sad that it was canceled.

Also, I must be hungry.

Questions Answered?

1) What is the implication of having to find Stephen’s father’s body?  Are we talking about reuniting a soul and a presumably long-dead corpse?  Is this a thing that Tomorrow People – or, more specifically, Stephen – can do?

Answer: Yes, we are talking about reuniting Roger’s soul with his body, and Stephen was able to achieve it, but the show implied heavily that only Stephen could do it, because only Stephen was strong enough and had enough similarity to his father genetically that he could interact with the powerful Machine at ULTRA and achieve such an astounding metaphysical result.  Stephen was the key, not the other Tomorrow People.

2) To that end, why is Stephen so much more advanced than the other Tomorrow People? (I have an inkling, thanks to my rudimentary searches…it will be interesting to see how information is revealed).

Answer: Stephen is a synergist, the offspring of two Tomorrow People, including an exceptionally powerful one (Roger) as well as Marla.

3) Why has Stephen permanently friend-zoned Astrid?  We have a bona-fide Les Miserables-style love triangle (I happen to be spending my time involved with that show) – Stephen is Marius, the clueless; Astrid is Eponine, the obsessed; and Cara is Cosette, the annoyingly uninteresting.  But seriously, why he is not looking at the stalwart friend by his side?  Is it because she’s too available? This is my primary question about friend zones.

Answer: Stephen never explained why he couldn’t return Astrid’s feelings, but it’s ok. Unlike Eponine in Les Miserables, Astrid found love elsewhere with John, and that’s a much better match in this viewer’s opinion – at least until John lost his memory in the end.

4) Why does any one trust John anymore?  He’s lied to them all the whole time!  What consequences will he face?  Why wouldn’t they banish him for a time?  How can they trust him ever again?

Answer: Cara temporarily banished John, but it didn’t last.  Instead, with efforts spearheaded by Russell, Cara was elected the new leader of the Tomorrow People, and John earned trust again with individuals one at a time rather than with the group at large.  Stephen was the first to trust him again, which, given John’s role in Roger’s saga, helped to go a long way with the others. 

5) Really, what is Jedikiah’s endgame?  On the one hand, he seems threatened by the abilities of his brother and nephew, and yet he finds them oddly comforting enough to become romantically entangled with someone who has them?  He almost appears to be an Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter equivalent – jealous that he doesn’t have the abilities, willing to condemn them to mask her abject jealousy, and yet sympathetic to them due to the love for his family members…

Answer: Jedikiah sought primarily to save Roger, by any means necessary.  All his actions, he said, were to save his brother, though he is clearly jealous of what Roger and Stephen are able to do that he cannot.  Yet, as the end sequences show with Jed ordering John to target Stephen, Cara, and others, Jed may still be threatened by the fact of the Tomorrow People and what they can do – in other words, his front for the Founder as the supervisor of ULTRA operations may not have been totally a front, ideologically speaking.

6) Then, there is the Founder.  Why is he trying to eradicate and control his own half of the human race?  Ultimate power?  Is he the Emperor Palpatine of this outfit, killing all the Jedi, i.e the Tomorrow People, to have the ultimate and only control of the Force, i.e. the teleportation/telekinesis/telepathy triplicate of powers?  What is his purpose?

Answer: On the contrary, he was only killing Tomorrow People who did not subscribe to his grand vision, i.e. a utopia of a world with only paranormal humans living in it.  Of course, he placed himself at the head of this utopia, so Ultimate Power probably had something to do with it.

7) Who is Stephen’s father, really?  Why is he so advanced and the mystical savior in the end?

Answer: The show seems to be suggesting that Roger was not the mystical savior after all; Stephen may be the Messiah of this new species.  The show also never really explained how Roger came by his power or why he was so much stronger than others.

Other questions might have surfaced, but the show has been canceled, so there is no use wondering at what might have been…and no use asking the questions.

PARTING SHOTS

The CW granted The Tomorrow People a decent shot: a full season of 22 episodes and the chance to establish itself beyond adolescent angst and competent, if not stellar, performances and writing. Unfortunately, the show’s creators were unable to capitalize on this opportunity, failing to add dimension to this amalgam of recycled, simplistic, science fiction story tropes and more complicated questions involving the mysterious backgrounds of its key characters.  Sometimes, this program was sort of hard to watch, even as each episode tantalized with new questions about Stephen and his cohorts’ larger purpose as evolved members of the human species.  The ending of the series clinched it, however; despite the questions, the answers were never very satisfying – and the lack of answers, therefore, could not have sustained the story for a term longer than just one season.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:

Canceled!  The entire series, produced to the tune of 22 episodes, aired fully and ended in May 2014.  This show can be watched and enjoyed on the strength of its one and only season, given the way it concluded, should it crop up on streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, but “strength” is a relative term, depending upon how well you believe the cast and production team told their story.  The Tomorrow People is marginally recommendable to several cross-sections of viewers: science fiction fans, comic book (and ensuing adaptation) fans, the CW’s target audience, and so on. The execution of the, at times, basic and, at times, nuanced premise is definitely shaky, with far fewer surprises, but there are some decent elements that may be worth a binge watch, completely with mitigated expectations, later down the line.  RIP Tomorrow People.

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · July 17, 2014

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