The most memorable part of last night's Terra Nova wasn't the hordes of CG pterosaurs flying around and terrorizing the humans — it was this moment where Jim Shannon insults his wife, basically saying she's so incompetent at her job that the only reason anyone would want to recruit her is to hook up with her.
The theme of last night's "Instinct" seemed to be males being obnoxious during mating season — the aforementioned pterosaurs invade the settlement because it's their mating ground, and Malcolm warns Jim to watch out for colorful displays from the males. Meanwhile, Jim is being a jealous ass about the fact that his wife's pompous ex-boyfriend is working with her here, and is embodying all male stereotypes of being useless at child care, to make sure he'll never be asked to look after the kids again.
And the pompous ex-boyfriend is being very, very pompous. You sense that former Star Trek writers Rene Echevarria and Brannon Braga are bringing out their Reg Barclay or Neelix voices in writing this character.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel Taylor is being more of a swaggering jerk, basically pushing the science team around and getting on his high horse about getting these motherfucking pterosaurs out of his motherfucking colony. On the sweeter tip, anonymous soldier guy changes around his duty roster so he can protect Maddy Shannon from the pterosaur assault, and meanwhile, Josh Shannon actually seems to become less obnoxious when he's worrying about the safety of his sisters and his kinda-sorta girlfriend Skye. On the flipside, Elizabeth Shannon is getting noticeably more treacly.
This was a perfectly sturdy monster-of-the-week type episode, but the good part was how sciencey it actually was. Malcolm seems designed to be a bit annoying, but he does help bring some more discussions about actual science on to the show, along with Maddy Shannon's habit of infodumping cutely. I liked the fact that we had to learn all about a brand new species from scratch, including its migration and mating habits, in order to avert a pterosaur apocalypse. And the solution — synthesizing pheromones and luring them away — wasn't entirely new, but it was reasonably clever and non-violent. All in all, very Star Trek — minus the technobabble. Not a bad episode, really.
Oh, and the good news is, Terra Nova's ratings barely dropped from the first week — so this show may actually have a shot.