'The Tomorrow People' recap: Will John 'Kill or Be Killed'?

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In "Kill or Be Killed," "The Tomorrow People" tells John Young's story and investigates a fundamental bit of the show's philosophy: Is it a strength or a weakness that the Tomorrow People can't kill?

The answer in this episode is intriguingly ambiguous. Find out why in this recap.

"My name is Dr. Jedikiah Price. Would you mind putting down the knife?"

John's past is tragic, to say the least. Around the time that John got his funky powers, he was an adolescent living in a rotten foster home. We're talking about the kind of place where Dad drinks the money and the oldest kid has to steal so no one starves.

It's almost a blessing when one Dr. Jedikiah Price arrives to whisk John away to a better life.

Of course, it's not really better -- just different. Under Jedikiah's dubious care, John learns to fight and to use his powers. John also learns a couple of unfortunate lessons: Someone finding out about his abilities means that person's death, and the law of the jungle is "kill or be killed."

That's a strange lesson for a kid who can't kill anyone.

A karmic killer

Killing isn't so much of an issue for John's old sparring partner, Killian McCrane ( Jason Dohring of "Veronica Mars"). Killian was once part of an unusual ULTRA experiment. In it, Jedikiah and his people fried whatever part of the brain it is that stops a Tomorrow Person from killing.

It's too bad for Jedikiah and his dreams of super-powered soldiers that almost all of the test subjects died because of this. Killian McCrane was the sole exception. Then he went rogue.

No one has heard from Killian in years, but a series of explosions indicate that McCrane is on his way into town to get his revenge on Jedikiah. This is proven when Dr. Price's vehicle explodes. Jedikiah himself only survives because Stephen teleports him out at the last second.

Guess who's coming to dinner

Mostly because Stephen just saved his life, Jedikiah agrees to Mrs. Jameson's demands that her brother-in-law come to dinner. Angela Jameson has just figured out that Stephen has been interning at ULTRA, and she's not pleased about it.

Naturally, both Stephen and Uncle Jed insist that the job is nothing but a coffee-fetching internship.

But Mom is not convinced. Considering that it was working with Jedikiah that made her husband turn paranoid and weird in the first place, Angela may have some justification for her worries.

The hunt is on

As we know, Stephen's job at ULTRA has nothing to do with getting coffee. It instead focuses more on hunting down super-powered criminal types.

Stephen manages to beg his way onto the mission to capture Killian. It doesn't go too well. After disarming Darcy, Killian plays with Stephen like a cat plays with a mouse. His life is only saved by the intervention of Darcy.

Later, Jedikiah reveals that his death cannot be Killian's only objective. The car bomb was actually a diversion so that Killian could sneak into ULTRA and steal John's file. But what could Killian want with John?

The answer seems to lie in more deadly games. This time Killian has rigged six bombs to take out a youth orchestra. With Stephen helping by cutting one wire, John saves the day by being super awesome and disarming FIVE BOMBS AT ONE TIME!

That, my friends, is talent.

Evolution or not?

No one gets blown to bits here, but Killian also manages to slip away. Neither ULTRA nor the Tomorrow People can get the guy.

Maybe they need to work together? That's John's idea anyway. He meets with his erstwhile father figure, Jedikiah, in the noodle shop and proposes a ceasefire. Working as temporary allies, Jedikiah will use ULTRA's resources to find Killian, and then John will track him down and stop the killer.

Jedikiah agrees, but this is all meant as a trap. ULTRA sends John to a parking structure to meet Killian, and Jedikiah immediately sends in a kill squad. After all, John is on the agency's most wanted list too!

Unfortunately for the kill squad, these are two young men who are very adept at teleporting. They take their fight outdoors, where Killian taunts John about weakness. If Killian can kill and John cannot, what chance does John have?

We don't find out. We instead find out something rather secret and important: John can kill.

And he does.

"Kill or be killed, John."

Yes, John is a killer just like McCrane. That is, in fact, why John left ULTRA and Jedikiah in the dust -- he didn't want to be the killer they made him be.

Being the sociopath that he is, Jedikiah is proud of John's actions, but that means nothing to the younger man. He sees this as nothing less than a declaration of all-out war. The Tomorrow People won't be hiding anymore.

Scary stuff when their leader can kill.

Photo/Video credit: The CW