Ultra is the weakest secret organization ever, on The Tomorrow People

Illustration for article titled Ultra is the weakest secret organization ever, on The Tomorrow People

Last week's Tomorrow People saw Ultra raising its game. The organization dedicated to hunting down super-mutants actually showed some teeth — but this week, Ultra is weaker than ever. To the point where I'm starting to wonder if the boastful name is a case of overcompensation. Spoilers ahead...


Seriously, there are moments in last night's Tomorrow People where Stephen stands around in the middle of Ultra headquarters, telling Darcy major secrets about her mutant sister, which must be kept absolutely secret from everybody at Ultra, and the dozen people sitting around them don't even notice anything.

Also, it's now established that apparently you can't DM telepathically, you can only tweet — because when John and Russell are playing pool and strategizing telepathically, they decide that Piper must be able to hear their conversation because she, too, is telepathic. Therefore, every time an Ultra agent is in the vicinity of a Tomorrow Person, the Ultra agent ought to be hearing the Tomorrow Person's telepathic chatter — why isn't Ultra taking advantage of this?

These are minor nitpicks, because I'm stalling on talking about the over-arching plot of last night's episode, in which Stephen flips Darcy with somewhat ridiculous ease.

In a nutshell, the episode's "A" plot involves Darcy's sister Piper, who is a mutant just like Darcy. Piper's run away from home, just like Darcy did, and now she's hustling pool using her mutant powers. (Side note: none of the Tomorrow People seems to think of the thousands of sneaky ways to become super-rich using their powers without hustling pool or cheating at cards. Like, say stock market fraud. Or embezzlement.)

So what happens after Ultra identifies Piper as a new "breakout"? First of all, Darcy lets Stephen out of her sight in the middle of their shift, so he can run to the Tomorrow People and convince Cara to go search for Piper on their own. Darcy at no point tells the other Ultra people, "Hey, I think that's my sister. Let me go talk to her on my own." Instead, she masterminds a scary dragnet, guaranteed to drive Piper into the arms of the Tomorrow People. (To be fair, maybe Darcy just doesn't get a good look at sis during all this?)

Later, when Stephen notifies Darcy that her sister is in hiding (in a way that makes it super-clear that Stephen is still working with the Tomorrow People, and is being a double agent) Darcy goes to see Piper at the Chinese restaurant where nobody ever eats Chinese food. And instead of just trying to convince Piper to come into Ultra and maybe join the team — because obviously it worked out pretty well for Darcy, right? — Darcy calls a SWAT team to come get her sister.


Then Darcy changes her mind after a 20-second speech from Stephen. (In which Stephen apparently assumes that they're going to take Piper's powers, instead of offering her a slot on the team, and Darcy makes no effort to correct him or point out why she thinks Ultra is doing the right thing.) At last, Darcy throws away her life to allow Piper to escape.

Where was Jedikiah during all this? I'm so glad you asked. He spends the entire episode spying on his secret girlfriend, who's secretly a mutant. He tails her to make sure she's not using her powers, catches her using her powers and then threatens to shoot her before snogging her. It's good that Jedikiah is getting his own subplot, I guess, but in the wake of his demotion to middle management last week, this makes him seem even less like the badass villain this show needs.


Also this week: Irene, the supergenius mutant who got shot last week, spends the entire episode in the hospital, where none of the Ultra people notices a teenage GSW patient who matches the description of one of the Tomorrow People showing up.

And meanwhile, in the "B" plot, John and Russell get themselves arrested in Ohio, where presumably they're photographed and fingerprinted, and Russell is forced to reveal his real identity to the cops — but again, Ultra is asleep at the switch.


(In this "B" plot, we learn that Russell's newly dead dad was a demanding perfectionist, because of course he was, and Russell became a card shark to try and pay off all the money his dad had invested in his career as a pianist. What? Oh, it doesn't matter. The point is, Russell comes from an uptight Asian family, but now he's become a fun wacko because he's running from who he really is or something. Meanwhile, John says Russell's newly widowed mom should be proud of the man he's become.)

So why is Ultra so ineffectual, even by the standards of great television secret organizations like SD-6 and Control? In a nutshell, it's to make Stephen look good. Right now, this show needs Stephen to be the rebel who flouts all the rules — both Ultra's and the Tomorrow People's — and gets away with it. The only way that Stephen can keep flouting the rules and getting away with it is if absolutely everybody else around him is a moron. Or playing him — which I still hope Jedikiah is, in some meaningful fashion.




Two points on this episode:

Anyone else shout "No! Don't do it! Don't you even! Doooooooooonnnnn''''tttttttt doooo iiiiiittttt!" when Stephen and Cara hooked up at the end? I'm usually one for shipping, but their relationship seems so forced and it completely cheapens any affection we've been told Cara had for John (especially seeing as he's the "only one" she's been with), fight or no fight this was not something I wanted to see and I really hope she ends up back with John.

Second note: I enjoyed the "B plot" the most in this episode. Russell's performance ALMOST made my eyes get watery. It's probably my favourite origin story so far out of the group (not that the competition has been particularly amazing yet).

Side note: Anyone else notice how this show has sort of turned into a "harem anime"? Stephen gets separate stories with each of the female characters in the show (his bf, the nerdy girl, Cara) and each of the girls end up with feelings for him at the end. It's typical 14 year old shounen manga writing.