The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 2, “In Too Deep”
Written by Phil Klemmer & Jeff Rake
Directed by Danny Cannon
Airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on the CW
So here’s what you missed this week on the CW’s The Tomorrow People…
This week’s episode is as void of both plot and character development as the pilot was, and it’s evident that this show is headed nowhere fast. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t. The episode consists of pointless exchanges of information concerning the evil schemes of Ultra, completely irrelevant arguments about Stephen’s ability to take his medication, Stephen in “danger”, confirmation that Stephen’s “the One”, and the setting up of a doomed-to-fail double agent plotline that would even exhaust 007. An exciting episode in that “bad writing for television” kind of way.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating points of this season’s second episode is the constant exchange of useless information. Through the entirety of “In Too Deep”, Stephen sneaks away from Ultra to tell the Tomorrow People what the sinister organization is up to. As if they didn’t already know. This superhuman race has been hiding underground like a pack of mole people for the last two years, doing everything in their power to keep themselves from being systematically killed off by Jedikiah and his henchmen, yet they act shocked when Stephen tells them that Ultra is determined to wipe them off the planet. Really? You don’t say, Stephen. Their genuine surprise at Ultra’s master plan is, other than Amell playing a high school student, the most unbelievable element of the whole episode. A picture of a triceratops on Pluto may have actually been more credible than the reaction of the Tomorrow People. Yet when Stephen mentions that Ultra doesn’t have a second thought about shooting a seventeen year old, everyone seems surprised that Stephen doesn’t know Ultra’s cool with murder. They’re upset about the idea of a genocide, yet seemingly complacent with a teen’s imminent death.
Stephen also gives unsolicited battle advice to the Tomorrow mole-People. Because obviously, he’s wise and experienced in the art of inter-species war. His thoughtful suggestions to the very people who saved him from Ultra in the pilot include ideas such as “stop hiding” and “try fighting back.” Well thanks, Stephen. None of the inhumanly beautiful “supernatural refugees” have ever suggested such a thing. Naturally such sage, and never before thought of, advice would come from an expert strategist such as yourself.
Another frustration brought to audiences by The Tomorrow People is the stress put on Stephen’s medication. His mother blames all of his actions on missed pills. Slept in? That’s because you didn’t take your meds. Snarky remarks in class? It’s because you didn’t take your meds. Having a hard time with your homework, Stephen? Probably because you threw out your pills. Lunar eclipse, government shutdown, and the dog threw up? Start taking your medication, Stephen. His mother gives him no credit for his decision-making skills, which limits their relationship and its potential. Until she is able to let him take ownership of his actions, Stephen’s nonexistent mental illness will always take the blame and a quick fix for their strained relationship will always be that Stephen’s sorry for skipping out on his pills, but he’ll be sure to take them next time. It’s easy, it’s boring, and there won’t be any real tension between either character until the solution to their problem stops being so neat and tidy.
The episode also lacks any real stakes because Stephen’s never in any meaningful danger. During a fight scene he finds himself about to be pushed from a height. So? We know he’s able to teleport. Couldn’t he just teleport out of the way of the stereotypically greasy haired, misunderstood, antisocial teen that’s trying to kill him? Or even if he was thrown from the top of the building, couldn’t he just think himself back onto the ledge he was thrown from? By putting Amell’s character in danger that’s easily escapable the episode lacks any climax, any excitement, and the ending feels completely mediocre. There is no pay off, no release, and no one feels satisfied by it.
The only sequence in the whole episode that keeps audiences on the edge of their seat is Stephen’s debriefing/interrogation from the senior psychic at Ultra, and even then audiences are cheated of any real danger. By having Stephen successfully trick a senior psychic into believing he’s not hiding anything, audiences are told Stephen’s basically all-powerful. He’s “the One,” the Tomorrow Messiah, the most powerful of powerful mutant teenagers who never has to worry much because, let’s face it, he can do anything. Amell’s character is a televised male Marty-Stu and that renders every conflict he’s had, or will have, pointless and lacking.
This episode ends with the revelation (in a pointless voiceover) that Stephen will be a double agent for the Tomorrow People. Not that we’d already gathered this over the course of the last two episodes, because clearly the audience is incapable of figuring this out. Honestly, how could anyone ever piece something so complicated together? Not to mention the only people who are convinced that this is a good idea are the Tomorrow People. Even Jedikiah, at the end, says that he’s going to use Stephen to find and massacre his friends (which he says uncomfortably loudly right next to Stephen). This double agent plotline feels like something out of Get Smart, only not as well planned or thought through. Again, because Stephen is essentially the Harry Potter of the Tomorrow People, we know he’s going to come out of this unscathed and in one piece. Sure, someone may shoot a friend or two of his, but seeing as no one’s had enough character development for us to care, it’s not like it’ll be any big loss. If anything, this show may have audiences rooting for Ultra to win because at least then we won’t have to put up with the most two-dimensional characters to appear on TV since Lana Lang (as played by Kristin Kreuk) was on Smallville.
All in all this is a pointless episode that, aside for bringing us closer to the end of the season, doesn’t do much. On the plus side, the only place this show can now go is up or, if we’re lucky, off the air.