Just when we were starting to get our hopes up for The Tomorrow People, the CW's show about mutant teens serves up the biggest batch of WTF yet. Is it just me, or did absolutely nothing in last night's episode even make the slightest bit of sense?
Not to sound like a broken record, but the big problem with Tomorrow People has always been the "undercover agent" set-up. In this show, people with psychic powers (like Stephen) are forced to go underground and hide by the evil organization Ultra. But this being a CW show, they want Stephen to go to high school and have friends and love interests and a family and a normal life, too. So Stephen is somehow working for Ultra while also hanging out with Ultra's enemies, the Tomorrow People, and Ultra never suspects. At this point, Stephen is barely pretending any more and he regularly reveals bits of information to Jedikiah that he could only have heard from one source.
In any case, last night's "Brother's Keeper" went way, way over the edge.
Let's run through it bit by bit, OK?
Stephen's mother uses superpowers in a super-public place, and nobody notices. She does Matrix-style bullet stopping telekinesis, and it just gets totally overlooked by the agents trying to kill her, and everyone else. I was sort of expecting some fallout from this, actually.
The explanation for why Stephen's mom kept her powers secret from him is kind of not really an explanation. She just wanted to protect him, or something. So as Stephen points out, she just kept making him take anti-psychotic meds for a year, rather than admit to him that he had superpowers and she did too. I was sort of expecting the first 20 minutes of this episode to be Stephen and his mom hashing out what the heck had happened here, but no. It was just waved away.
Jedikiah shows up and promises to protect Stephen's family and Astrid's from Ultra. And Stephen believes him, even though just an hour or two earlier, Ultra tried to assassinate Astrid and the parents, after Stephen received a similar promise. But wait — this is Jedikiah making the promise, not the Founder. So that's okay, then. Except, doesn't the Founder outrank Jedikiah? Plus, it's not clear what the difference really is.
What the heck did they tell Luka? When Stephen's mom decides to go on the run and get the hell out of town — which is an excellent plan, by the way — we never even see how that conversation goes down with Luka, Stephen's brother. What does he know, and what does he think about all this? And really, why doesn't Stephen's mom just slap him until he agrees to go on the run with her?
What are they thinking having John stay with them? Okay, so you've decided you can believe Jedikiah's completely untrustworthy promise not to send an Ultra kill squad after you for at least a week. So that makes your house pretty much the only safe spot in the entire city, as long as you don't do anything to get on Ultra's radar again. So what do they do? Invite John — Ultra's public enemy number one — to crash on their couch. But it's okay, because John is a great cook. And he bonds with Stephen's mom, which is nice.
Howdid Stephen's mom not know about Ultra? So she's a Tomorrow Person. And she was married for years to one of the top people at Ultra. And she has presumably had telepathic powers her whole adult life. And she never knew that Ultra was hunting down paranormals, until John reveals it to her in this episode? How on Earth does that happen? What did Stephen's dad tell his wife about this situation, exactly? It vaguely sort of made sense when we thought she was a normal human who thought her husband was crazy — but now? I'm just confused, I guess.
Why are the Tomorrow People hunting criminals now? Back when the show started, the Tomorrow People wouldn't try to catch a "breakout" — even an innocent one — as long as Ultra was also hunting that person. Because it's too risky. Then Stephen convinced them to go after a rapist. Now, with Cara in charge, they're just hunting all breakouts? All the time? Even if they're murderers, and if they're being hunted by Ultra at the same time? Why not just let Stephen get this one on his own? OK, it eventually turns out the breakout isn't a murderer, he's just an accomplice to his twin brother's murder spree, but so what?
How does telepathy work? Really? I'm super confused. Sometimes it's like person-to-person, with nobody else able to hear even if they're paranormal and standing nearby. Sometimes it's shouting. In this episode, Cara rides around on the subway with a million dollars shouting telepathically that she's got a million dollars. How does this work? And why doesn't Ultra pick up on this?
Does science suddenly stop working when someone dies? So in this episode, Ultra has gotten hold of the assassin and his paranormal twin brother, and then alas the assassin gets shot. This sucks for Jedikiah, who wanted to transplant the superpowered twin's powers into his powerless brother. But after the assassin is dead, Jedikiah acts like there's no further study to be done. Because DNA stops working when you die. He's like, "We could have learned so much from identical twins where one has powers and the other doesn't, but sadly we didn't collect blood samples from either of them when we had them both prisoner, and now it's too late because blood turns to spaghetti sauce at the moment of death." Oh well.
So is Roger dead or what? At the end of the episode, Jedikiah goes to visit his brother for a mwah-ha-ha speech, and it turns out Roger is in deep freeze. Is he dead? Near death? Why did Stephen have to have a near-death experience to contact him, exactly? Does Roger know where he is, and why didn't he just tell Stephen, "Hey, I think I'm in deep freeze somewhere in Ultra's Evil Basement"?
And I feel like that's just the tip of the iceberg. Mostly, the problem is that this show wants so badly for Stephen to have one foot in a normal life. The other problem, of course, is that we never see that normal life. I would actually kill for a classroom scene where Stephen is trying to learn algebra while various psychic people are yelling in his head about stuff. That would be awesome.