The Tomorrow People: 108 “Thanatos” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
As we approach the mid series finale, (next week’s episode) the series adopts a darker more violent tone. As several of the plot strands and character arcs begin to come together, and it looks like the show is going in an exciting new direction.
The episode starts of strongly drawing on previously established themes. We see more of John’s past in an experiment with Ultra. Jedikiah’s love interest makes a return as we see him spend a night with her. She offers an interesting insight into Jedikiah’s character, suggesting that perhaps he is not as clear cut as we have come to think.
The main theme of this week’s offering is ‘Thanatos ‘. This was the word given to Stephen by his Father last week. Stephen believes this is the key to finding ‘Limbo’, the goal of the Tomorrow People and the project his father was working on when he disappeared. Determined not to let their hard work go to waste, the protagonists take their biggest risk to date. Invading the home of Jedikiah to obtain more information on Thanatos proves to be more trouble than good, as Jedikiah is accidently teleported into the base of the Tomorrow People.
Making the most of a bad opportunity, they hold Jedikiah prisoner and attempt to extract information from him on ‘Thanatos’. Jedikiah uses his past with John as an attempt to negotiate his freedom, blackmailing John with the threat of revealing his secret. A secret which if revealed would sever the trust between John and the Tomorrow People. Altered to the abduction of Jedikiah, Ultra initiates a ‘Code Blue’ bringing in special telepaths capable of searching for individual brain frequencies. They do this by using an electrical attachment into the back of the brainstem. This ability is presumably the product of yet another cruel, inhumane, (off-screen) experiment by Ultra. The situation warrants an appearance from the Founder himself who introduces himself to Stephen and swears to exact just on those who abducted his Uncle Jedikiah.
The great thing about this episode is that it lets us see more of Jedikiah who has been a sublime antagonist throughout. Here we get some welcome additional development to his character as we learn that he still cares for John proving he still has some humanity left. On the other hand we observe him playing with the minds of others, finding their pressure points and making them act out of character. His love interest also plays a large part within the story of the episode; she is both Stephen’s distraction technique to allow Cara more time with Jedikiah’s mind. But she soon becomes Jedikiah’s pressure point.
Jedikiah folds when his girlfriend’s safety is threatened and reveals the truth behind ‘Thanatos’. This leads the Tomorrow people to Dr Aldus Crick who worked with Stephen’s father. He explains the concept of ‘Limbo’. This convinces Stephen that the vision of his father was real and that he is still alive. However things start to go badly wrong for the protagonists when Jedikiah tricks Russell into a position where Cara has no option but to reveal her powers. With Jedikiah now in possession of knowledge which could cost Stephen dearly, the Tomorrow People are left with little choice. John teleports Jedikiah back to where it all began, with the intention of killing him. However John gravely misjudges the situation finding himself at the mercy of Jedikiah as his secret is revealed to the audience in the dénouement of the episode.
The conclusion perfectly sets up next week’s mid-season finale. It leaves the viewer with lots of questions and an agonising wait of a week to get their answers. Did Stephen read the secret from John’s mind? It certainly looked like it was implied. What are the implications of such a huge development? We will have to wait and see. One thing is certain though, Jedikiah was not exaggerating when he mentioned the consequences it could have. It’s a secret which literally changes everything.
I can’t praise this episode enough. It was packed with revelations and development for characters, all delivered at a perfect pace. It manages to change what we think we know about the characters and blurs the lines between who we perceive as good and bad. Simultaneously to this it manages to introduce two new characters: the chilling Founder who is like a more insane and more powerful Jedikiah, and Dr Aldus Crick who could be the man with all the answers. The darker tone and themes that run through the episode suited the drama perfectly. More of the same please.
As an aside, a fun piece of trivia is that the guest star in this episode, Nicholas Young who plays Dr Aldus Crick was a member of the cast of the original The Tomorrow People series. He played John, which is perhaps where John’s surname in this version comes from? Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it is nice to see the cast of the inspiration to the series being honoured in it.