We've now watched a full year of Tomorrow People, 22 episodes. Complete with roll-the-dice plotting and random character flip-flops. So it's probably a good moment to ask: What the heck was this show about, exactly? Spoilers ahead...
Can Mutants and Humans Coexist? The central question of The Tomorrow People always seemed to be whether humans and "paranormals" can live together peacefully. There's this organization called Ultra, which is incredibly powerful but super-disorganized. Ultra hunts down mutants and does nasty things like strip them of their powers or experiment on them in a secret facility — and in some cases, this is pretty justified because there are mutant rapists and criminals out there, abusing their powers. Ultra is run by Jedikiah, who's a regular human and wants to protect humans from what he sees as an evolutionary superior species that's destined to supplant us.
Oh, and any time a human finds out about mutants, Ultra has him or her killed with a huge, ostentatious "kill squad" that machine guns down everybody in their path. In this show, Manhattan is constantly full of heavily armed thugs shooting everyone in sight, and nobody ever worries about it. It's just Manhattan, you know?
(Honestly, this show lost a lot of its juice when it ditched the idea that Jedikiah is actually an evolutionary biology professor, teaching about evolution on a college campus while secretly running this organization. I would have killed to watch Mark Pellegrino play a professor who's secretly evil. That stuff was in the pilot, but was cut before airing.)
Anyway, Ultra seems to be just your standard organization that hunts paranormals — like the Company from Heroes. But wait! Because Jedikiah answers to the organization's founder, who's called The Founder, and he's a paranormal. And he secretly wants to kill all the humans in the Tri-State area (and possibly elsewhere) and create a mutants-only sanctuary on Manhattan. The Founder built a machine that kills humans, powered by mutant energy.
So Jedikiah is forced to shoot his own brother, Roger, so he won't power the Founder's machine and kill all the humans. And then Jedikiah helps bring Roger back from the dead, so he can fight the Founder — but after Roger is put inside the Founder's machine, Jedikiah is forced to shoot him a second time. Oh well.
So what are we to make of all this? Jedikiah is passionate about protecting humans from mutants, but spends years working for a genocidal mutant. I guess the takeaway is that if telepathy actually works the way this show sometimes says it does (none of the superpowers are consistent from episode to episode, or scene to scene) humans would be screwed. Jedikiah can't resist the Founder, except by sneaking around, because the Founder can read his mind all the time. The Founder can read everybody's mind, all the time. You can't fight mutants, and the staunchest anti-mutant crusader winds up being their bitch.
Oh, and the season finale ends with John, the mutant leader, having lost his powers. But Jedikiah transplants his dead brother's powers into John, making him more powerful than ever. (Because power transplants are a thing that happen on this show. Except when a human gets a power transplant, it's just temporary. (We're suddenly told that in the finale, as if everybody already knew that.) John not only gets mega-powers, he also loses his memory and becomes the first of Jedikiah's new army of super-soldiers, whose services he offers to John McCain.
So season two — if there is a season two — will be about what John McCain does with a super-soldier army, and whether the other mutants can do anything about it.
The Chosen One
Another strand from the first season is whether Jedikiah's nephew, Stephen, is the "chosen one" who's going to save everybody. Surprise: He is!
Why is Stephen the chosen one? Well, he's got awesome powers, like his dad — in fact, he's the son of two paranormals, but nobody ever gives his mom any props. Stephen can stop time! He can go to limbo and stuff. So originally, everybody thinks Stephen is the chosen one because he can find his missing dad, who can then lead everybody to the Refuge — the mythical mutant sanctuary. (But the Refuge is actually the Founder's plan to kill all the humans in the Tri-State area, thus creating a mutants-only zone, I guess.)
So instead, it turns out that Stephen is the chosen one because he can clean up his dad's mess. His dad and Jedikiah threw in with the Founder, back when everybody wore crazy wigs all the time, and wound up being pawns in a doomsday scheme. And thanks to their dumb decisions, everybody is hosed now.
The "chosen one" thing gets dropped for most of the season — and Stephen is actually a more likable character when he's not being pimped as the mutant Luke Skywalker — but in the finale, it makes a huge, massive comeback. And we learn that Stephen is really chosen because he's the only one who can stop the doomsday machine once it starts, by turning back time or something. He makes it spin backwards, and the bubble of energy goes back inside and becomes a black hole, eating the Founder.
Arguably, Stephen is the "chosen one" because he chooses not to take the miracle serum that would rewrite his DNA and make him a killer, like the Founder's paranormal shock troops — he still kills the Founder, but he does it without becoming a killer. If you see what I mean.
Also, after Cara gets shot by the show's most random character, Blondie McEvil, Stephen turns back time again and gets her un-shot. (But she still kind of remembers it, and it freaks her out.) And somehow, when Stephen turned back the blob of his dad's mutant energy from the doomsday machine, he sent out a telepathic signal to every mutant in the Five Boroughs plus parts of New Jersey and Delaware. And they all show up to, basically, worship him.
Still, it's hard to disagree with Cara, who tells Stephen: "You're the lamest chosen one ever." (Actually, has she watched Eragon?)
The Love Triangle
The Tomorrow People really wanted to have a love triangle, because it's on The CW and that's what CW shows do. Originally, it was going to be John-Cara-Stephen, because Stephen's the main character. But Stephen had almost no chemistry with Cara. For a while, Stephen was sleeping with Hilary, who was kind of evil but randomly turned out to be nice. And they actually had some chemistry, and Cara was kind of bummed about it.
But the love triangle, in the final episodes, randomly turns out to be John-Cara-Astrid instead. Astrid is Stephen's best friend from the high school that nobody bothers attending any more. Astrid is awesome and she and John are obviously great together, as seen in the hurt-comfort episode where John rescues her and she patches up his wounds.
But this show throws in a totally heinous curveball — John can only be with Astrid if he's human (having lost his powers). And if he gets his powers back, then he ought to be with his fellow mutant Cara. Why? Racial purity? Or just because John can't stand being with Cara if he can't hear her thoughts. (But she can hear his.) It's not really explained. At one point, after smooching with Astrid in front of Cara, John asks Cara, "What happened to us?" And Cara doesn't reply, "You made out with another woman in front of me, that's what happened."
Seriously. Why can't John be with Cara without having superpowers? It could be tough, but they're supposed to be smart people. They can figure it out, right?
The other big character turn in the last episode is Russell, the team's fuck-up, who basically got Stephen's dad killed by being a total jackass. Russell feels kind of bad about it for a moment, and everybody lets him off the hook. By the end of the episode, Stephen is putting his arm around Russell. To be fair, Russell is the most lovable character on the show when he's not being turned into a total ruiner.
The season ends with the mutants, now way more numerous, having taken over the old Ultra headquarters and turned it into a video-game-playing haven for mutantkind. Here's hoping next season sees some telekinetic orgies in the old interrogation rooms.
Until then, here's a totally ridiculous poster I just found on the internet, that sort of sums up a lot of this show: