I’m surprised that it took The Tomorrow People this long to introduce a character who realizes that her powers can be used for good rather than evil, becoming a real life superhero in the process. A neat trick and one that helped produce one of the best episodes of this first season.
The superhero in question is the Red Avenger, a (of course) sexy young female who is protecting the good people of New York from baddies. When we catch her at first, she’s helping to free a woman bound in the closet of some rich douche. But her big game is to ensure that a Vietnamese gangster winds up in jail by protecting the judge and the people who are being threatened by the crime lord’s goons. That’s how she ends up on the radar of Ultra and the Tomorrow People, and that’s how another piece of Russell’s past falls into place.
Four years prior, he was using his powers to take casinos for all their money, partnered up with a lovely young thing named Talia. A crisis of conscience hits her, though, and she decides to use her abilities for good rather than personal gain. Alas, the Red Avenger that Russell and Stephen catch up with is not Talia, but another breakout that has been handed down the mantel and is kicking some Vietnamese ass.
It opens up an interesting rift in the Tomorrow People: is the threat of Ultra’s dragnet that powerful to keep them from doing what the Red Avengers are doing? Apparently so, for even after they rescue a courtroom full of hostages, they go right back to the way things were. At least everyone except Russell, who is urged forward to be a crime fighter and sounds ready to take the leap.
The episode also opened up a new side of Stephen’s partner at Ultra, Hillary. She opens herself up at last to reveal a backstory that involves the death of her family, and shows a little empathy for the Red Avenger’s cause. In all the hubbub of trying and failing to catch the vigilante, it also helps her see that Stephen has been getting in the way this whole time, protecting the breakouts. But instead of being angry, it draws her closer to him, and by the episode’s end, they’re making out.
Along with the ubiquitous flashbacks, the episode wouldn’t be complete without a big reveal at the end. Tonight, it was Stephen finally finding his father’s body, in stasis underneath an Ultra front. It just took Morgan pulling a sliver of the intelligence from Jedikiah’s head (and risking her life in the process) to find it. And as we all should have seen coming, by the time Stephen was ready to reach in to touch his father, Jedikiah is there. He’s understandably angry after putting the pieces together about how his nephew was able to find the body. There’s no denying now that Stephen is in deep with the Tomorrow People and will have to answer for it.
If that weren’t promising enough for a big, big episode next week, so too, should the news that Morgan is pregnant with Jedikiah’s spawn. How he is going to reconcile what he sees as his duty to protect mankind from these genetic aberrations while also protecting not only his unborn child but his nephew as well—that’s gonna take all the acting chops that Mark Pellegrino has within him. The nice thing is that the veteran thespian has already proven adept at uncovering the depths within this character. As I’ve said before, if there’s any breakout cast member of this first season, it’s him. The spotlight is most likely coming his way soon, and I have no doubt he’s going to shine.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.