PTR Senior Staff Writer
Apologies for the lateness on this recap; traveling to/from a trade show in Chicago last/this week has seriously wreaked havoc on my TV viewing. Alas, better late than never.
We’ve been spending some time recently discussing the fate of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
And I don’t mean the fight to save the world.
More like the fight to have the show continue past season two.
It’s a known fact ratings aren’t what they were last season. We here at PTR subscribe to the theory that a) putting the show on opposite Monday Night Football is a death wish; and/or b) the show did better in the 9 p.m. timeslot last season with Prison Break as the lead-in.
What in the world compelled FOX to swap it round this season is anyone’s guess.
But more than just the football timeslot folly, the action has been dialed down considerably, and there is a much larger – and slower – emphasis on the development of all characters
Now, for me, the latter isn’t so much an issue as the former (read: FOX, can you change the show’s freakin’ timeslot?). But I have to confess this week’s ep was even slow for me – especially following last week’s stellar Cameron-focused ep. As such, I can start to understand why some folks might not be finding the show as engaging as it was last season, and I wonder if that might be a mistake on the part of showrunners.
As in, they may have slowed it down too much.
This week, we found John enrolling at a military prep school to protect one Martin Bedell given that in the future Bedell is going to be one of John’s best soldiers. With a T-888 sent back to kill all Martin Bedells in the Greater Los Angeles area (a la the killing of two “other” Sarah Connors in the original Terminator film before actually getting to the “correct” one), Sarah and Cameron are off to protect the “other” Martin Bedell – a little kid.
And so goes Sarah playing mom to young Bedell while Derek lives through one too many flashforwards “enrolling” alongside John in the military prep school as a lieutenant/fill-in instructor.
Seriously, it’s rare for me to sorta be waiting around for something to happen on T:SCC given it usually holds my attention to the fullest. But this ep fell somewhat flat for me.
There were some cute sequences between Sarah and young Marty – particularly her trying to help him finish his book report and/or the reading of The Wizard of Oz in voiceover format during final sequence when the T-888 guns for the "correct" Bedell and is set-up/destroyed by John and Derek.
And for everyone who is wondering if/when John Connor is going to grow a pair and/or stop being so emo … um, yeah … not sure there was any proof of that in this ep outside of his “Hey! Come get me!” moment to save Bedell from the crosshairs of the T-888. He then cries his eyes out in the truck on the way home upon learning Bedell risks his life (read: dies) for John in the future and/or the whole burden of this leader-of-mankind thing is just … well, a burden.
Now, I’ve defended John’s emo side. I like it. He always has a conscience, and he’s always aware of the weight that is on his shoulders. He tries not to just be like a machine in handling the humanity and the responsibility. But even I was like, “Dude, John. C’mon. You know already know a lot of people die for you, what makes Bedell so special? Because you got to know him for a few days? You weren’t even that emotional when you saw your baby dad at the end of last season.”
As for the perpetual come-investigate-for-me Shirley/Agent Ellison thing … that was even more of a snore this week. I mean, can we draw out the whole wink - wink - you- know - I- know - there’s - machines - responsible - for - all - this - nonsense thing any more? Get to it, already.
I’ve already watched one of my favorite shows go to never-never land (ahem … Cold Case), and thus, lose me in the process. And whilst this is really the first ep whereby T:SCC just didn’t click with me, I definitely wouldn’t want the same fate to befall it.
My concern is that with the show's general fate in question, if it does continue to go the way of long, drawn out character development sequences that only inch the story along at a snail’s pace … well, the fight will be over before it ever really began since I’m not sure folks signed up for this kind of ticket last season.
Remember quick, fun and fierce, not slow, boring and dull.
For now, the fight to save the world continues.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to the start of the Major League Baseball Playoffs on FOX, the next new ep of T:SCC will air in two weeks.
New episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles air Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX. You can also watch full episodes online. Visit the Official Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Web site to catch up (or re-watch!)