Sunday, March 15, 2009

'Chronicles' Gets Back to Business

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer


Two in a row.

Wonder if we can make it three?

With the news that the ratings for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actually inched upwards this week, it seems as if the show is finally pulling out of its steep nosedive into mediocre boredom.

That is not to say it's safe from cancellation, or it will make it to a third season. But what it does confirm is the show does its best work when there is: a) some action; b) some suspense; c) tying the future to the immediate present (as in, flashforward sequences); d) Cameron plays an integral role to the storyline at hand; e) there is a sense of urgency to the mission; and f) NO ONE - Sarah, John, whomever - is moping around, trying to play Jedi mind games with one another.

All of which we got once again in this past week's episode.

Aside from Derek still being off on his own, doing his own thing with the ever-annoying-needs-to-go-back-to-the-future Jesse, we got a key flashforward sequence as to a mission Jesse undertook in the future on a submarine ride into Skynet territory. This is going to prove integral to NEXT week's episode given the "package" the team was to retrieve is set to have all heck break loose.

(Creepy, too, that yet another "good" terminator was helming the sub - to precision. Couldn't help but think of the film U571 when he took it to within 10 cm of hull crush depth to avoid Skynet detection.)

I personally find these flashforward sequences fascinating, fun to watch and critical to reminding us all of what the overarching theme of the show is supposed to be about: the fight to save mankind.

We also had a really intriguing sequence with John Henry, the Shirleymeister ('cause I just still can't bring myself to call her Catherine Weaver ... ugh), and Agent Ellison whereby John Henry playfully tricks Shirley's daughter into coming down into the basement for a game of hide and seek, then wouldn't give up the locale of where she was hiding when confronted by Ellison. The Shirleymeister, being a machine herself, was completely fascinated and/or game to play along with John Henry to find Savannah, whilst Ellison was about ready to Chernobyl on both of them.

Machine v. Machine = calm, methodical, precise.

Machine v. Human = emotional, irritated, desperate.

We have had far too FEW of these sequences in recent episodes, and not enough of a reminder of what in the flippin' heck Sarah and Co. are fighting to protect, and how dangerous the world is set to become when the machines take over.

We also got to see lots of Cameron who, again, was forced to defend herself against accusations that, while seeming to be the obvious conclusion in which to make regarding the death of Riley, were in fact untrue. We remember the skepticism with which Cameron has always been viewed - by Sarah, by Derek, by whomever. John is always her fiercest defender - and that was the case once again in this ep. The CPC: Cameron Persecution Complex the team has always gets my dander up, and it keeps me on edge and engaged - something I have NOT been in several eps.

And for all of us who feel there is some sort of strangelove between Cameron and John, her impersonation of calling into Riley's foster dad to deflect the fact she is missing, with the "I love you, John" line thrown in at the end ... awww!

Yes, I still am a Cam/John shipper.

Yes, I LIKE those sequences.

And whenever we can tap into the very unique bond they share (as was done LAST week as well) ... whether you are a shipper or not, THAT is a good thing.

New episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles air Fridays 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!)

1 comment:

John said...

This was a very good episode. I wonder how many viewers they failed to pick up by having the three loser episodes be the first back from the break as opposed to the last two.

Derek being off by himself really seems to be driven solely by the fact that if he were actively working with the others the whole Jesse plot/strategy would fail. I don’t like plots that depend on unreasonable actions to exist, especially when they last as loooong as this one has.

“Machine v. Machine = calm, methodical, precise.

Machine v. Human = emotional, irritated, desperate.”

And the later succeeded while the former did not. I still understand how Ellison can’t be suspicious about “Shirleymeister” and her actions. Does he think the machines have to look male? It makes no sense he is so oblivious.

In the Riley impersonation phone call, I was certain Cameron was doing this on her own to try and convince not just Riley’s foster dad, but John as well that Riley was still alive. I am glad I was wrong.

“Couldn't help but think of the film U571 when he took it to within 10 cm of hull crush depth to avoid Skynet detection.” That 10 centimeter thing annoyed me no end. A sub doesn’t go along fine at just above its design depth and crush just below it – even if it is fresh for the builder’s yard.

On reviewing my post I notice almost all my comments were negative. However, these were nitpicks in a strong episode. The strengths of the episode that you pointed out far outweigh the negatives.

One other thing is odd - I want Jesse, a human, to die (and soon), while I want Cameron, a machine, to “live long and prosper”. What does that say about me? Or is it just the Jesse plot that is to blame?