The Tomorrow People: 109 “Death’s Door” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
Had we been following the American broadcast schedule for the show, this week’s offering would have been the mid-season finale. This would have meant a long hiatus between episodes, but thankfully for those of us in the UK the action continues next week. As a mid-season finale, it is expected to be a significant episode.
The cliff-hangers from last week’s offering are picked up immediately, with John in captivity and his secret about to be revealed. Desperate to extract the location of the base of the Tomorrow People, The Founder tortures John, both physically and mentally. The encounter between the two is symbolic of the small group of fighters, going up against the might of an elite organisation. John doesn’t stand a chance as the Founder is shown to be the most powerful Homo Superior to feature in the series thus far. He uses his powers to toy with John and then to humiliate him further, leaves him no choice but to reveal his previous actions to Stephen. Stephen remaining loyal to his father’s goal resolves to help free John, but only because he sees has value for reaching ‘Limbo’.
Meanwhile Cara and Russell hatch a plan to negotiate John’s freedom. By kidnapping Jedikiah’s girlfriend Morgan, they are able to blackmail Jedikiah with the view to an exchange. This represents a marked change in the morals of the Tomorrow People, who up until this point have mostly acted to aid fellow members of their species.
Having noticed that Cara still has her powers, Jedikiah reviews the video footage as he suspects foul play. He observes a change in colour of the injectable liquid, leading him to accuse Stephen of stooping time to let her escape. Stephen rather surprisingly manages to talk his way out of it, by claiming it was out of love for Cara. Jedikiah emphasises with Stephen, explaining the predicament he now finds himself. Jedikiah takes risks position at Ultra by helping John to escape. This allows the trade-off to occur, but Jedikiah has one last shock request that indicates that there is more to his character than meets the eye. The Founder confronts him on his actions, forcing him to bluff his way out of having his mind read.
Stephen brings up his father in a conversation with his mother. He is surprised to learn that she has knowledge on ‘Thanatos’. After seeing how much it means to him, she presents a box of research material to Stephen. Back at the base of the Tomorrow People, John and Stephen attempt to reach ‘Limbo’, but to no avail. John’s odd behaviour is noted by the group, meaning he has to inform Cara of his lie to everyone.
Stephen meets with Dr Aldus Crick, to discuss the experiments on how to reach ‘Limbo’. Before Stephen obtains any useful information he needs, the Founder along with an Ultra Kill Squad, guns Crick down. This leaves Stephen with the idea that he can only reach ‘Limbo’ through a near death experience. He organises a party between his family and the Tomorrow People as a sort of goodbye gesture.
Jedikiah’s storyline is developed further as we see him make the selfish decision to ensure his place in Ultra. The scene itself is quite horrific and unexpected; it is quite unimaginable that he killed the woman he loves. Confirming his actions to the Founder gets him a temporary reprieve, but he is told that his only value is towards Stephen’s ultimate purpose. It’s hard not to almost feel sorry for Jedikiah, and this episode (like the previous) has made him an even better character.
The dénouement to the first half of the series is Stephen’s death. He attempts to reach his father via a series of injections to stop his heart, followed by a shot of adrenaline to restart his heart. His last request before dying is that John and Cara make up for the sake of their people. The episode closes on a new purpose, with a clear goal for the second half of the series.
An episode as ambitious as this one was never going to go off without hiccups. In this case, I feel the pacing was a little wrong. Parts of the story were skipped over too fast, like John’s escape from Ultra being all too easy. Personally, I feel the reaction to John’s secret of killing Stephen’s father was under-utilised. This is a shame as the story is constantly good elsewhere in gaging the characters’ reactions to the situations which arose. Character and story development was at a high standard, as has become normal for the series. The episode is a strong conclusion to strong half-series; drawing together most of the story ideas and moving them forward in a new direction for a new half of the series.
Average Rating Up to Mid-Season Finale: 91%