The second week of Fox’s "Terra Nova" took a page from Alfred Hitchcock's book, with our band of time-travelling settlers under attack from swarms of reptilian-like birds of prey in a refreshing, quick-paced hour Monday night.
An hour seems a more manageable chunk of time for this adventure — the two-hour premiere was a bit much for one go, and this week's episode was decidedly more enjoyable than the last. Maybe it was the passing mention that Terra Nova, like any self-respecting settlement of pioneers, has a bar.
This time, the establishment of Terra Nova is under siege from massive flocks of miniature pterodactyls — a species previously unknown in the region and time in which the Shannon family finds themselves.
The birds are lethal, killing soldiers, attacking settlers (the fences are well and good for keeping out Tyrannosaurus Rexes and the like, but what to do when the dinosaurs can fly?) and interrupting some hanky-panky between Jim and his wife, Elisabeth, not once, but twice.
Predictably, pterodactyl cries fall on the exact opposite end of the romantic spectrum as the Barry White discography.
Interrupted sessions of lovin’ seem to be the last thing the husband and wife need, as Jim is rightfully wary at Elisabeth’s discovery of her old "friend" Malcolm among the Terra Nova settlers. Rightfully wary, hence the quotation marks – Malcolm helped recruit Elisabeth for Terra Nova, and he’s clearly surprised that she managed to find a way to bring her husband with her back in time.
Malcolm is also Terra Nova’s savior this go-round, as it is he, with Elisabeth’s help, who finds a way to free the settlement from the flying reptiles of death. Unwittingly, the original time pioneers built Terra Nova on the birds’ breeding ground — they only spawn once every nine years, so it was an honest mistake, really.
Enter the magic of science. A few minutes of screen time and some nifty holographic images later, Malcolm and Elisabeth have replicated the pheromones that attract the mini-pterodactyls to each other, and to the area. All Jim and Taylor, the militant man in charge, have to do is spread the pheromone elsewhere in the jungle, creating a new breeding spot for the birds, drawing them away from Terra Nova.
It all works out; the birds have a new love nest, Jim and Shannon finally get to break in theirs, and "Terra Nova," while maybe not worth a relationship, proves it’s worth a second or third date at least.
Best blooming romance: Obvious brewing tension between Jim/Elisabeth/Malcolm aside, it’s a toss-up between the somethin’-somethin’ brewing between Josh, the eldest Shannon child and Skye, previously known as Abercrombie (Did her hair look less blonde this episode? Was the color off on my television? My apologies); and Maddy, the middle child, and her wholesome-looking solider crush.
Best pun relating to time: Also a tie, between Jim drinking a glass of wine, saying "85 million B.C. It was a good year," and Elisabeth promising him that she and Malcolm only dated for "half a second" in the past — future?