Saturday, March 21, 2009

'Chronicles' Strong Again

'Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer


Hal-o-freakin-lluah.

John Connor finally grew a pair.

As I said last night, Twitter-ing through the latest offering from Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Why oh why did it take almost the entire second season to get to this point?

I have no idea.

But this is now, by my count, the third strong episode in a row whereby the show seems to have: a) righted itself; b) stopped dwelling in its own emo-ness; c) quit exploring Sarah and Derek Tangentland; and d) finally gotten back to its core fundamentals with regards to the fight to save mankind.

And did we mention John finally grew a pair?

With both FOX and the show's own writers having told creator Josh Friedman that his mid-season Sarah eps were a snore to watch, and thus, NOT the strongest offerings ... well, they were right. I finally feel as if I'm back to watching the T:SCC I started watching LAST season, yet couldn't figure out where it went THIS season.

Highlights:

- John being on to the Jesse and Riley chronicles: FINALLY, he shows us once again why he becomes the leader of mankind.

- Jesse offed by Derek: Amen to that. I've long wanted her out of the picture simply because she took the focus off our core characters and/or seemed to have such a flimsy connection to past, present and future. Plus, she served as Derek's booty call, which I could've done without. Kudos to Derek for manning up and knowing she needed to go even if John agreed to spare her life AFTER he confronted her on Riley's death.

- Jesse's sub mission in the future: There have been too few of these future sequences to remind us of what it is at stake. Not to mention they give us additional context of how the resistance uses the "good" terminators, and the varying degrees in which they get along - or not - WITH the "skins." Ironically, as annoying as the Jesse character has been for me in the PRESENT timeline, I actually came to like her a ton in the FUTURE timeline.

- Cam v. Jesse (future): Any time we see Cameron in the future is a highlight. Actually, any time we see Cameron being Cameron is a highlight.

- T-1000 Magic: I dig every time they throwback to the T2 film and give us some liquid metal.

- John Henry's Toy Shop: He continues to evolve in a way that seems to suggest he's going to get up out of that chair. Even the Shirleymeister seems to be wondering whether she can contain his ever growing appetite to investigate - which naturally exposes some of her ... well, let's just say tricks of the Skynet make-humans-disappear trade. Plus, I just enjoy watching Garret Dillahunt give us the gentle, kind, boyish JH, then switch to the inquisitive, investigative, ominious JH. It's like you want to hug him, but you fear him at the same time. Er, at least I do.

It's episodes like this that make me want to see the show make it to a third season.

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!)

5 comments:

John said...

I agree this was another strong episode, and that was even though Cameron had a small, but very interesting role (in the future) role.

Lee Goldberg (http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/) took exception to John’s knowing as much as apparently he did in the prior episodes and acting the way he did. I don’t have that problem. First, I think he wanted a “Riley”, i.e. someone who liked him as himself and not the savior of mankind, and therefore was indulging in a little bit of make-believe.

Second, based on what we know of the future John Connor, he maybe a hero, but he isn’t nice. He can and does make hard choices and does things people don’t like (such as using metal as allies) and hiding the truth from his followers. These are necessary skills, or behaviors, or whatever you want to call them. He is starting to show that now.

They know show they can write strong and interesting Cameron shows and John shows. Derek has been interesting in the past, but his Jesse excursion was not great. If we can get Sarah up to speed we are in great shape.

I don’t know what to make of John Henry. Will he become a tool of Skynet like his previous “consciousness” was or will he learn to follow a different path? I am surprised by the Shirleymeister’s continuing to have him being tutored by the former FBI (whose name escapes me). It seem like to big of a risk to take.

It is odd that I liked the future Jesse and hated the current one. I am not convinced that Derek killed Jesse. He was thinking about it, as shown by his trigger finger tightening, but I don’t know that he followed through.

I wonder exactly what the future Cameron’s role is in the resistance and with Connor. She seems almost like a chief-of-staff.

RichE said...

I'm with John. I'm not convinced that Derek killed Jesse. I guess they've left a way of bringing her back if they want to.

One thing has been puzzling me about John Henry: why does Shirleymeister keep him. She's a T-1000 (or better). Surely Shirley (sorry, couldn't resist :-) could easily out do it/him for computing power etc? And why isn't the Shirleymeister going after John Connor to stop him stopping Skynet.


RichE.

John said...

One reason Shirley would keep John Henry around, even if she is better, is that she can only be in one place at a time and if she can "rehab" JH then she has another tool to use. But I don't know how that relates to her use of the ex-FBIer as a trainer fits in.

Also her mission might be to jump start Skynet, not chase John Connor. And she is just following orders. And maybe the logic is if they can get a running start on Skynet John Connor will not be able to launch successful rebellion.

RichE said...

I was just thinking that with the Shirleymeister's assumed technological knowledge etc. she would be building something amazing. At the moment she's training a toy (I'll let LK ponder that... ;-)

John said...

But Shirleymeister can only work with the resources available today, not what she could build in the future. And there doen't seem to be a robot intermediate to the John Henry and the Shirleymeister.