What happened in this episode?
The pilot episode is our introduction to The Tomorrow People. Stephen Jameson is breaking out, which means his powers of telepathy, teleportation and telekinesis are emerging. That’d be pretty cool if he didn’t think he was hearing voices and sleepwalking — all the way through locked doors into the neighbours’ bed. Oops.
Stephen’s life has gone to hell. One friend has stuck by him — Astrid — but he’s pushed the others away, visited lots of specialists and is taking anti-psychotics (which we see him switch for laxatives to get revenge on a kid who is stealing his medication).
As the episode begins, John (the leader of the Tomorrow People) is being chased after breaking into a mental health center to identify the breakout (emerging Tomorrow Person) Cara has been talking with telepathically. It’s Stephen, and Stephen’s name means something to John and Cara.
For the first time, Cara can address Stephen by name. She wakes him telepathically and tells him to head to the Broad Street subway station and hop on a train. Weirdly, Stephen goes along with this! From there, John teleports him to the Tomorrow People’s hideout: an abandoned subway station below the streets of Manhattan.
Unsurprisingly, it takes Stephen a little more convincing to accept he’s not having a crazy dream, but he soon meets other Tomorrow People, including Russell (who uses his telekinesis to steal), and learns about Ultra.
There’s a war going on out there, Stephen. A shadow war between our species.— John Young, leader of the Tomorrow People
Ultra is a government organisation that hunts the Tomorrow People, using previously captured Tomorrow People as agents.
This is where we first meet Mark Pellegrino’s character Jedikiah Price. The scene switches to Ultra, and we see the fallout from John’s run-in with an agent at the start of the episode. Jedikiah is the head of Ultra, and on first impressions, seems to be the bad guy — at least from the perspective of the Tomorrow People. Like all good bad guys, Jedikiah likes to talk! It’s a great scene with Mark Pellegrino brilliantly delivering a lot of information about the Tomorrow People and Ultra in a short space of time.
So now we know:
- Ultra is running a secret program
- Ultra is ruthless about keeping it secret
- The Tomorrow People’s powers are genetic mutations
- The Tomorrow People’s powers don’t work at Ultra
- Tomorrow People have one weakness: they can’t kill.
- Ultra kills agents who fail — and the agents know this
- Jedikiah is a badass
The war with Ultra has been going on for a long time. Stephen’s father, Roger, was a hero to the Tomorrow People. John and Cara want Stephen to help them find Roger and introduce him to TIM — an AI programme — who has a message from Roger. Stephen doesn’t want to hear it; Roger is the crazy deadbeat dad who walked out, leaving his mom alone with two young kids.
Stephen tries and fails to show Astrid his powers (she thinks he’s off his meds), then gets himself in trouble using his powers in a fight with the kid who [thought he] stole Stephen’s anti-psychotics. Meanwhile, Jedikiah identifies Stephen from a photo, indicating a connection between Jedikiah and Stephen. Shortly later, Stephen makes contact telepathically with Cara because he is being followed — by Ultra — but she arrives too late to help him.
Jedikiah steps out of a car and tells Stephen he looks just like his father.
Cara and Russell want to go after Stephen, but John reminds them (and tells us) that the Tomorrow People don’t expose themselves to Ultra, or Jedikiah, for anyone.
I have spent half my life dodging that sadistic son of a bitch. I am not getting caught by him again.— John Young
Jedikiah introduces himself to Stephen as Dr Price and gives the other side of the story. We learn that Jedikiah is an evolutionary biologist and some of the Tomorrow People are criminals, including a 17-year-old who stole $70 million from the Federal Reserve, a 16-year-old caught trying to tag the Oval Office and an 18-year-old caught tweeting nuclear launch codes.
Unpredictable. Uncontrollable. I’m not the bad guy here, Stephen. Not by a long shot.Dr Jedikiah Price, Head of Ultra
Jedikiah doesn’t want to hurt Stephen, but he’s going to remove Stephen’s powers, so he doesn’t end up like his father. Again, Jedikiah tells Stephen he’s like his father, which is really telegraphing his familiarity with Stephen’s father:
So much promise. But you don’t want to end up like him, do you?Dr Jedikiah Price
As Jedikiah tells Stephen his father is not coming back to save the Tomorrow People because he’s dead, the Tomorrow People break into Ultra to save Stephen. Drama!
The rescue doesn’t look like it’s going to end well, then we get the first indication that Stephen may indeed be powerful. We see experienced Tomorrow People can’t use their powers in Ultra as Stephen teleports himself out of a secure room. Stephen stops time — a power the others don’t have — and teleports all the Tomorrow People right out of Ultra. This is a powerful moment that really pulls us into the story.
So Ultra is home to John? Yet another interesting connection between Jedikiah and the Tomorrow People.
Stephen watches the message from his father before John takes him home. Stephen is expecting grief from his mom. What he’s not expecting is Jedikiah — in his house, talking to his mom. This is when we find out Jedikiah is Stephen’s uncle; Jedikiah and Roger had a falling out just before Luca, Stephen’s younger brother, was born.
The whole reason I became a geneticist was to understand him and perhaps one day help him.Dr. Jedikiah Price
Jedikiah wants Stephen to work for him, as an agent at Ultra. He casts doubt on the picture John painted of Roger, saying Roger broke into Jedikiah’s office and sabotaged his research. Jedikiah tells Stephen he should work at Ultra to protect his family and friends.
Stephen returns to the Tomorrow People and accuses them of playing him and withholding information about Jedikiah. He wants to find out what really happened with his dad and to do that, he decides to join Ultra.
What a fantastic pilot episode! Lots of excitement and lots of action. The show is off to a great start.
More: The Tomorrow People