'The Tomorrow People': The Past is Better Than the Present; 'TTP' Flashes Back in Time
It's no secret that John is my favorite thing about The Tomorrow People . It's rare that anything about the show beats John in my book, but this week's episode, "Endgame," was an exception. In the present, all of the characters are gearing up for the big battle against Ultra's founder, but the real story happens in the past. The episode is peppered with awesome flashbacks to John and Roger's younger days. My takeaway is that The Tomorrow People did the opposite of burying its lead; the real place to start this story seems to be about 20 years ago.
Here are three things we learned in the flashbacks that make them way more interesting than most things about the actual show.
1. Jed was a disturbed kid. Since most of the series' dramatic tension hinges on the Severus Snape-like Is-He-Good-Or-Evil back and forth with Jed's character, this is a very interesting tidbit. One week we (and by "we," I mean Stephen) are sure he's the villain. The next we (again, Stephen) are cutting him some slack and starting to believe he's one of the good guys. This week, we got a glimpse at lil' Jed, and he's the kind of kid who, after getting bullied by some jerk and called weak, decides to steal his dad's gun to feel powerful. His brother, Roger, sees him with the gun and tries to take it away (you know, because playing with guns is dangerous) and it goes off.
Obviously, Roger doesn't die at this moment (if he had, we wouldn't have our uber-bland protagonist Stephen around). There are two reasons for this: 1.) it's the moment that triggers his powers. 2.) The gun was pointed at Jed when it went off. Roger stops the bullet and saves Jed's life, leading to their complicated Mufasa/Scar relationship, in which Jed is perpetually envious of Roger and all that he has.
The point is that, as kids at least, Jed was legitimately a bit of a bad seed. Does this mean he's a bad person now? Who knows (this episode certainly doesn't give us a definitive answer in the present day)?
2. Jed was kind of Nerdy Hot as a 20-something. Flash forward a few year from the initial flashback (but still not all the way to present day) and you get Jed and Roger in their twenties. Jed is being all science-y and conducting experiments with Roger to test his powers. Roger is too cool for school and bored with using his telekinesis. By flashback No. 2, Jed is coming across as the nerdy, but lovable, brother. He's not put together like today; his clothes are more casual, his hair is scruffier, but it works on him.
And here's where it feels like the show should have started. Jed is genuinely affable, but still a little mysterious. Roger is genuinely cool (unlike Stephen, who always seems to be trying too hard to look like he's not trying) and charismatic. They have banter and presence onscreen together. Here are two characters I wouldn't mind spending an hour with every week.
3. Jed might not be evil, but he definitely isn't good. The show goes back and forth a lot when it comes to Jed. He's never fully evil, but he's also never proven to be good. In the third flashback of the episode, Jed insists that their new friend and backer (AKA the Founder of Ultra) dedicate a portion of his resources to the study of transferring TP powers to homosapiens (or "saps" as the founder like to call them). If he doesn't, Jed promises to leave the project and take Roger with him.
Now, the real question is: Does being envious and wanting powers for himself make Jed a bad guy? No, not inherently. Some of the things the show has implied he's done to get those powers are pretty bad, but wanting them alone is not. This is what makes Jed one of the best characters on the show; he's a true antagonist. He might not always be evil or need to be "undone," but he's always working for his own agenda and it rarely matches that of the Tomorrow People, our accepted heroes. Jed is the Loki to the Tomorrow People's Avengers.
Image: The CW