After delving into Cara's life last Wednesday, this week's episode took the same strategy, dissecting John and his past, including how he joined Ultra and what happened to him as a result.
Having already learnt that John worked for Ultra, 'Kill or be Killed' takes us back 15 years as we see how and why he joined Jedikiah. Although there's no mention of his birth parents, we get to see John's foster father. It's revealed that he resorted to stealing food so that he and his foster brothers could eat, while his abusive father spent his money on alcohol. Seriously, how did this guy get to foster any kids? Do they not run background checks?
John, having already broken out, failed in his attempt to kill his father. Jedikiah, timely enough, arrives while John is being threatened with a knife. Cue one of the smoothest TV quotes for a while: "My name is Dr. Jedikiah Price, would you mind putting down the knife?" As much as Jedikiah is evil, that was fantastic. Had we just met him for the first time in this scene, he actually seems like a good guy, selflessly rescuing a young boy with strange powers. Yet what followed justified John's hatred towards him.
Taking John away from the father saved his life, yet Ultra's training ruined it again. It was so bad that John returned to his father in search of better things. That says something about Jedikiah's brutality. Once again, Jedikiah gives John a reason to trust him, killing his father when he is about to kill John. Stating that it's kill or be killed, John returns to Ultra.
Back in the present, John discovers that a former Ultra agent, one that we see training with him as a boy, has returned. Killian McCrane, an ironic name given to a Tomorrow Person that Ultra has trained to kill. Killian wastes no time in announcing his presence, attempting to kill Jedikiah by blowing up his car. If not for Stephen's intervention, he'd have succeeded. Fortunately for Jedikiah (and unfortunately for the Tomorrow People), his nephew managed to get him out unharmed.
While both he and John think that McCrane has returned to kill Jedikiah, McCrane isn't planning that at all. He used the chaos from the attempt on Jedikiah's life to steal John's file - the person he was really targeting. Knowing that he quit Ultra, McCrance suggests that John should join him in his crusade of causing terror. Obviously, he refuses, a decision that almost results in dire consequences.
Being in five places at once is quite a skill. Disarming five bombs while Stephen disarms one was pretty impressive. It makes me wonder that if Stephen had his time-stopping power in control, i.e. he could stop time whenever he wanted, would that have worked too? Unless another insane Tomorrow Person sets off six bombs at once, we'll never know.
As Jedikiah learnt the hard way, a lot of his agents would die attempting to stop McCrane. Although John sees this as a win, Jedikiah reaches out to him for help in stopping McCrane, something that is in their mutual interest. While John is reluctant, he accepts Jedikiah's help but only if he provides John with information. Unsurprisingly, Jedikiah double-crosses him, sending in a kill squad to take out 'both targets'.
Since the fight is between John and McCrane, they teleport to the middle of nowhere, and their fight resumes. Credit has to go to the stunt team for some brilliant work here (and in the fight between them as children). As McCrane is about to use his 'unique' power to kill John, he reveals a secret of his own, and shoots McCrane in the chest. McCrane wanted to know why John left Ultra? "Because they turned me into you."
This power is something that he is keeping secret from the group. Cara doesn't know, since she wondered how John could stop McCrane when he can't kill but McCrane can. Obviously, Jedikiah knows, and sticks to his idealism that he made John perfect. While John is disgusted at the implication, he tells Jedikiah that they will no longer run and hide, but they'll fight Ultra. Taking a stand with a kill or be killed mentality.
While dealing with McCrane, Jedikiah has to deal with another potential problem - Stephen's mother. After finding an Ultra keycard in Stephen's room, she asks Stephen to invite his mysterious uncle to dinner, to find out exactly what he has been doing. The result was an incredibly awkward encounter between the three of them. Her suspicions stem back to her husband's secrecy when working for Jedikiah, and fears that the same may happen to Stephen.
Eventually she accepts his internship, but some of the things she says have left me with a theory. i believe that she is a Tomorrow Person, one who has broken out but hasn't appeared on Ultra or the Tomorrow People's radar. Suggesting that "there are a lot of things that you don't know about me", I see this as a hint towards her alternate identity.
- Very little of Russell again. When are we going to see him do something that isn't insulting TIM?
- Stephen tried to help take down McCrane as Ultra... and failed. Badly.
- "You're getting better." "Really?" "Nope."
- "Bag just threw in the towel."
- "You're not developing a guy crush on him, are you?"
I was really impressed by last week's episode, but I enjoyed this one even more. I preferred the ending to this week's episode, as although last week's left Stephen and the Tomorrow People with a problem, this is something that I've hoped would happen for all four episodes. Vowing to go after Jedikiah is what this show needs - it would get boring if they were just hiding for a season. 9/10