Terra Firma

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B+ | 1 USERS: A+

TV tells us that "Mankind has always seen himself as the center of the Universe." John eats microwave cop porn, as one does. "To discover that's no longer true is highly traumatic. A fundamental status quo is being threatened here. The very existence of Homo Sapiens may be under threat. It's hardly surprising the hysteria's rising." Jack enters and sets a drink on the table before John. "Hysteria? In what sense?" asks the interviewer. John offers Jack some popcorn. "The presence of these alien creatures has induced various forms of societal hysteria..."

"Holt says it's bad on the political front," says Jack. "Every nation's demanding equal access to the aliens and all the information we get from them." John doesn't see the problem there. "We're going to give it to 'em." Jack wonders why on Earth, in 2003, the US should share technology that could be used against them. "Cause it's the right thing to do. Wouldn't worry about it, Dad. Subcommittee'll tie it up for years and load it down with a ton of guidelines." Jack calls his son naïve; John asks when Jack's dream to unite mankind changed. "September the eleventh. This isn't the same world you left four years ago, son. People don't dream like they used to. It's about survival now." Whose? "Olivia's survival. And Susan and Frank and Bobby's. Imagine them blown up by a suicide bomb or coughing up blood from a poison gas attack. This country is under siege. You just don't understand the global situation." And is that because he's been out of town, John wonders, "or because Daddy knows best?" He takes a drink. Jack asks him to be fair, telling him he can arrange a meeting for John to fight this out with Holt, or even the President. Just as long as he's not looking at his father this way. "I don't want to argue with anybody," says John, which is exactly half of the truth. "No, you just want to be obstinate and insist everyone agree with you." They argue over who is most stubborn in the family, John cuts it close: "I am going into space tomorrow. If you'd like to come along, you're welcome. Unless you're too stubborn." Jack shakes his head, and bites back a reply, because he's still an astronaut and he still wants to go. I wonder how much of this is just resentment that John, gone four years now, has the option of naïveté about the world. How much is a father's yearning for a time when his optimism could be as simple as his son's. I wonder how much of it ever is, time travel and wormholes or no.

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