The Tomorrow People: 121″Kill Switch” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
So we have reached the penultimate episode of the series. The Founder’s plan has been revealed; activating the machine freezes time meaning technically humans are not alive and can therefore be killed without violating the prime barrier. It is a very sci-fi orientated explanation playing on a lot of ideas established throughout the series. We also have major shake ups within the main character groups; John has lost his powers whilst several of the Tomorrow People have opted to be injected with the Ultra tracer. The conclusion to Hilary’s storyline was also a dramatic one, fitting of her character right until the end.
This is where the first part of what I would class a two part finale (having watched both episodes at the time of writing) starts off. The outcome of the bomb may come as a surprise to some viewers; its impacts are felt throughout the course of the episode as Stephen comes to terms with the events. What it does do however is set the pace and tone of what turns out to a frantic, fast and high-stakes episode.
The attack on Ultra has ignited the war into full scale conflict. A simple solution is offered however, a truce can be reached if the Tomorrow People hand in Roger to Ultra. Of course being the penultimate episode and having the morals of our protagonists established over the duration of the series, a push is needed. This comes in the form of an Ultra ultimatum forcing the Tomorrow People into a situation where they are racing against the clock with their very lives at stake.
Things have changed in the lair and this has had a splintering effect on the group. Faith in Roger is not what it should be, with many expecting an instant change and ending up disappointed when it doesn’t come. John’s loss of his abilities has a profound impact on her relationship with Cara which in turn has an effect on her ability to lead the group. Speaking of which, Cara’s leadership skills has been a minor arc within the narrative and a major part of her own personal character development, it is no surprise that it is addressed fully before the series bows out. However events of the episode serve only to generate a bigger rift within the group which in the absence of Cara and Stephen goes too far resulting in some regrettable actions.
Naturally the group want to stop Ultra’s plan without having to concede defeat, they can do this, but only if they enlist the help of Jedikiah. Problem is, he’s got himself in some trouble of his own when he took matters into his own hands in order to stop the Founder. These scenes are quite welcome as they inject some humour into an otherwise very serious episode. In the course of trying to prevent Ultra’s hold over the Tomorrow People a very exciting discovery is made which has a huge impact later in the narrative and forms the cliff-hanger.
The episode ends in a manner which leaves the audience with absolutely nothing to go on for guessing the finale itself. It is a situation that looks so bleak for our heroes which in ways reminds me of Doctor Who’s: The PandoricaOpens cliff-hanger. We are hit with shocking revelations; wonderfully poignant character moments and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Which means if unless you can hack a week’s wait you’ll probably end up doing what I did and heading online immediately to watch the next episode.
The episode does what it sets out to do and more. As the first part to a finale, it gradually ramps up the tension making use of grander scenery and increasing the use of the powers of the characters. Character moments are perfectly integrated into the narrative and everyone stays true to what has defined them throughout the series, for Stephen his courage and his family, for Jedikiah his ambition and for Russell his impressionability. It’s not all high octane either as there are several poignant moments too, particularly between Roger and Marla, and also between John and Astrid where the differences between the Tomorrow People and humanity are explored. As expected the cliff-hanger to set up the finale is also straight out of the top drawer.