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Sarah Connor Chronicles Fodder

Review: Sarah Connor Chronicles - 'Samson & Delilah'

samson.jpgLast season's finale of "Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles" kept fans in suspense for months. We watched as Summer Glaus' Cameron set off a bomb that seemingly blew her to bits. So, is Cameron scrap? Will we have to sit through a long half-season arc detailing John Connor's (Thomas Dekker) attempt to rebuild our favorite fembot?

Luckily, the answers are "no" and "no." Cameron's fine, save for a few bloody cuts, a bad limp and some extra-flappy skin. Aint nothin' a good staple gun and a few baby wipes can't handle. Oh, right, and now she's evil. (I always knew Cameron would turn bad, and I didn't even need that paranoid Derek Reese to tell me so. I just didn't know it would happen so quickly.)

We pick up moments after last season's explosion with Cameron waking up and felling kinda fuzzy. After a splashy new title sequence -- that features a new voiceover and adds Brian Austin Green's name and mug to the cast list-- baddy Sarkissian (James Urbaniak) and a henchman proceed to torture John and Sarah while looking for their stolen data. Cameron collects herself and heads into the house, we think, to save John and Sarah. After icing henchy, Cameron heads into the room where Sarkissian is keeping Sarah and John. Surprisingly, Sarah has killed Sarkissian right in front of John. The death happens off-camera, but we get the sense that it's the kind of thing that'll give even John Connor new nightmares. Well, no time to worry about that right now. Cameron quickly points a gun at John's head. She's ready to terminate.

It seems the explosions made Cameron's brain chip go all wonky, and now she's reverted to her original mission: Kill John Connor. The chase that ensues is breathtaking. This is some of the most suspenseful action-oriented TV I've seen in a while. I know chase sequences are nothing new to the Terminator franchise, but this one felt inspired. It reminded me of "Terminator 2," clearly the best entry in the film trilogy.

Glau's performance here was amazing. Her regression was heartbreaking and terrifying. Thomas Dekker delivered some fine work. These two really sold the love relationship shared by John and Cameron, especially during the emotional midpoint scene where she begs him not to take away her brain chip. On paper, it seems illogical that John would risk his and his mother's life to save Cameron, but these two fine actors made it work. The series is called the "Sarah Connor Chronicles," but it's the relationship between John and Cameron that made this episode so compelling. All the other stuff was just, you know, stuff.

Yep, I'm aware that Shirley Manson's corporate tycoon, Catherine Weaver, was revealed to be a T-1000, or liquid Terminator like Robert Patrick in "T2." That's kind of cool, but that leaves little room for her character to grow, and her reveal was too silly to take seriously. Also, the liquid metal effect looked a little awkward on TV. I'm not looking forward to seeing how she fits in, but it's certain she'll be a big part of this season. She's in possession of the stolen data and is shaping up to be the new big bad.

It was good to see Agent Ellison (Richard T. Jones) again. This is a guy who seems to make all the right decisions and knows how to handle himself. Who needs John Connor with Ellison ready to join the fight against Skynet, right? Well, maybe not. The guy's a bit of a wild card, and he might end up fighting for the other side. His final confrontation with Cromartie left all kinds of possibilities open.

Charlie (Dean Winters) and Derek's dynamic was fun to watch. Amid their search for John and Sarah the two have a subtle verbal sparring match that Charlie easily wins. It's pretty clear that Derek is in love with Sarah. Are we seeing the early stages of a love triangle here?

And that leads us to Sarah. Poor beaten and beleaguered Sarah. Like in most of the first season, Lena Headey isn't given much to do but look terrified and concerned for 40-plus minutes. Admittedly, changing or growing the character of Sarah Connor from what has been established in the films might be a risky move for the makers of this series, but it would be the right one. I'd love to see sides of Sarah Connor I've never seen before, and I hope this season delivers that.

We did see one big change in this episode, though. John's gutsy move to revive Cameron, which had him pulling a gun on his own family, marked a line in the sand between our main characters. On one side stood John and Cameron -- powerful, unpredictable and possibly fueled by teenager-robot lust. On the other side were Sarah, Derek and Charlie -- confused and, well, possibly fueled by old-people lust. Like I said, this was Cameron and John's episode, and it might be shaping up to be their show.

Questions:

- Is the data Weaver is using for her project the same data Sarah and John stole from Sarkissian?

- How did Ellison track down Cromartie? Is he that good? It took him a whole season to get a glimpse of Sarah.

- Didn't Max Perlich look even more terrible than usual in this ep?

- Is Cameron growing emotions? And, more importantly, is the love she and John seem to share more brother-sister or ... the other kind?

-- Mike Moody


Posted by Mike Moody on September 8, 2008 9:18 PM
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Sadly, I missed last night's ep cuz I crashed on my sofa before it started. Although I did dream I had a poorly layered haircut and a raspy voice...hmmm...Anyway, I guess I'll catch it on-line. I have to say, I didn't see it coming...Cameron turning evil that is, and was her apology to John sincere or is she pulling female robot wiles? Don't know..but it'll make for some interesting television. Oh and is it just me or is the idea of a humo-bot relationship kinda creepy.

-- Posted by: nightly knock-out at September 9, 2008 9:46 AM

I really wasn't all that into this episode. It would that the producers are still tring lure new viewers to the show. I think that is why we more action than story in this episode. However, from what I have seen from the season trailer, it appears that they want to establish John Conner as a more independent thinker. I think it will interesting to see the character embrace his destiny.

-- Posted by: Jaime Galvan at September 9, 2008 11:51 AM

re:nightly knock-out:
Creepy indeed, but intriguing, especially since it looks like their gonna debut a new love interest for John next week.

-- Posted by: Mike at September 9, 2008 2:27 PM

I'm just watching this for Shirley Manson. I know, a terrible reason, but I'm can't help it!

-- Posted by: Crystal at September 9, 2008 3:45 PM

Good premiere. I caught all of the first season, in order, then all of the repeats. I think a big reveal is that Ellison is getting 6 weeks paid leave from the FBI. I wonder if the entire 2nd season is going to take place in that timeframe?

I think all of the 'humans' are showing more emotional vulnerabilities, except John - he is showing more resolve.

-- Posted by: DocH at September 9, 2008 4:09 PM

I thought the opening sequence of the show with that music was the one of the best scenes the show's ever had.

Poor John's crushin' big time on Cameron. Meanwhile his uncle is looking to sit down for a spell at The Peach Pit...:o)

-- Posted by: Connie at September 9, 2008 7:09 PM

It looked like Cromartie and Ellison were meeting outside the burned-down Connor house.

-- Posted by: John at September 9, 2008 8:29 PM

I missed the opening night of terminator. I fell asleep. Thanks for the rad review

-- Posted by: Leslie C at September 11, 2008 11:29 AM

I loved this opening salvo, even if like most American shows with the exception of Heroes, it doesn't seem to have its ideas on time travel straightened out. If there's a T800s and T1000s in the present and they're programmed to self-repair, why bother building Skynet in the first place when they could just reverse engineer it?

-- Posted by: Alexander Pashby at September 17, 2008 11:01 AM

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