The Tomorrow People: 118 “Smoke & Mirrors” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
After last week’s dramatic episode, which held a large impact on the narrative of the show, I was expecting this week to clear up some of the questions raised there. In fact, the show decided to go on along the opposite route, muddying the waters even further. Ultimately leaving the viewer unsure as to who is right and who is wrong. As such, I thought that for this week’s review I thought it would be best to change the format slightly and focus on how the episode presents and develops each of the core groups:
The Founder and Ultra
It’s all change here as the Founder makes the most of Jedikiah’s actions last time out to bring in some of his own rules. Gone are the days of kill squads and stripping paranormals of their powers, instead the Founder strives to set up an Ultra close to what he claims where its original intentions. His change of heart leads to developments in Stephen and Hilary’s relationship as they take things to the next level. This leaves Stephen in the precarious position of not knowing who to trust, and ultimately causes him to make a decision why may have enormous consequences on the remainder of the series.
The Founder makes a villain of Jedikiah claiming that the reason that Ultra became so corrupt was down to him and his jealously. This appears to be supported by the Founder’s actions throughout the episode and the revelation of what he has done in the past. He also adopts the use of his first name, claiming that his friends are untitled to use it. The question the viewers must be asking (echoed by Cara’s sentiments) is: Is it an act? We know the Founder is a highly intelligent man, so how far will he go to get what he wants? Is he a master of manipulation, or just a genuine man?
Dr Jedikiah Price
One of the real standout characters of the show so far, and he gets another chance to shine here. To be honest he doesn’t do himself any favours throughout the course of the episode. On the run and hiding out in alleyways, he reaches out to Stephen for help. When it is not forthcoming he levels a personal threat which has a major impact on Stephen’s life. As a result Stephen exacts revenge with only the Prime Barrier preventing him. Of all the characters in the story, it is Jedikiah who presents the best case for the spot of major antagonist.
However this becomes less clear throughout the course of the narrative as he is able to persuade John that he is in the right with his actions. However he has to show his greatest secret in order to earn John’s trust. With the intention of restoring Roger to life, Jedikiah pursues his agenda against the Founder throughout the episode. But should we the audience be rooting for him? A short scene between Stephen and his father sheds a whole new light on the situation.
The Tomorrow People
Until now, the shadow war that the series is so keen to emphasise has been between the titular Tomorrow People and Ultra. However with revelations in both this episode and the previous, it looks like the focus of the war has shifted. It’s Jedikiah versus the Founder. Which side the Tomorrow People take still remains to be seen. They have offers from both sides: The prospect of a truce with the Founder, allowing them to resume a normal life. Or is Jedikiah’s offer a better prospect, the possibility of having their leader restored? The only thing evident so far is that each member of the group has different ideas and we see them make their decisions based upon relationships formed with other characters.
It’s very hard to assign a rating to this episode as there wasn’t much in way of story or huge developments especially compared to last week. What gets it through though is the pure strength of its characters. I can see now why such a focus was put into developing them so well, as the investment in each meant this story was gripping and engaging. The best way I can describe how I found this episode is by using the chess analogy (which was touched upon in the episode itself). This episode feels like it was setting up the board, putting all the characters in place for the final four episodes. The dénouement of the story serves as the opening gambit of the chess game. It leaves the viewer hanging on its twist for another week.