Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:The Good Wound
Season 2, Episode 14

It's fairly common knowledge around these parts that I am an unabashed Terminator fanboy. I've got elaborate theories about the existence of SkyNet and John Connor. The T-800 endoskeleton is one of the most frightening things I've seen in cinema. I love Terminator 3 unlike ninety-nine percent of the world's population(sans Jim, of course). So when I learned of a Terminator television series I was elated. Of course, I then SAW the pilot episode and learned of how poorly it handled Terminator mythology(and it's shucking of Terminator 3 altogether) and I was upset. For a long time.

Eventually I got over my anger and grew to enjoy the series on a purely popcorn level. It had killer robots. I LOVE killer robots!

I'm not going to say that I am done with the series after this episode, but the same probably won't be true for quite a few of the dwindling viewers still committed to the series.

Right away I have to say that Sarah's totally insane visions of Kyle Reese were both cool and totally infuriating. On the one hand it was nice to hear some of those classic Terminator lines("Get up soldier!") coming from an actor who actually looked like Thomas Dekker and sounded close enough to Michael Biehn to make sense. But it was also aggravating that the producers trod over Terminator history so easily by recasting Kyle. I understand the Biehn is both too expensive and too old to come back to play Reese so using him was out of the question, but why even use Reese?

Part of the allure of this series is the continuation of the Terminator story, we are invested in this series because of the films that came before. If you wipe your ass all over the film's that helped birth your series then you are left with a shit stained plot. Ok, that metaphor kinda fell apart there, but you get what I'm trying to say.

I guarantee that NO ONE would be watching this show if it were entitled "Annihilator: The Sarah Smith Stories." No one. So the producers need to treat their source material with some more respect.

After the cliffhanger from the fall finale, Sarah is in the hospital with a bullet wound in her leg. We spend the entire episode dealing with this and it's hard not to feel slightly cheated. Sarah is a badass, we know she's dealt with worse injuries, but THIS leg wound takes her down? I guess so. So we spend an entire episode with Sarah getting a doctor to help her while she is seemingly going bonkers talking with Kyle Reese in her head. At least the ham-handed biblical references that Josh Friedman so very much likes to jam down our throats.

Meanwhile, in the very small C-Plot, John Connor(the future savior of mankind, and the only character that really actually matters) hangs out at the hospital moping about after the botched suicide attempt that his future-borne mole girlfriend. Proving once again that the characters on this show do the stupidest things(on the lam and you go to the HOSPITAL?! Why not just call SkyNet up for coffee?). Literally this is all John does this week. Though Derek Reese does chastise John for being stupid, which is nice.

The B-Plot doesn't have much going on either, Ellison continues to interact with the AI construct John Henry, who is now inhabiting dead t-888 Cromartie's body. It's an interesting story with John Henry playing with Lego Bionicles and lamenting the human body's lack of ball joints. Of course, it allows those references to God to crop up again, but I can forgive it here. After Ellison leaves, John Henry confronts Weaver and gets her to admit that she is in fact a robotic construct like himself. John Henry explains that he's accessed the internet and has been scanning for information about Coltan, the metal used for endoskeleton creation. He explains that he has read the news of Sarah's shoot out at the Coltan warehouse. Though Sarah's name is not revealed in the story, Weaver seems perturbed by this information. She goes to the warehouse and kills the staff before blowing up the facility.

If John Henry is SkyNet in an infant state, and Coltan is needed for Terminator creation, why would Weaver destroy the facility? Wouldn't she want to protect the precious metal to help the eventual holocaust? And if John Henry is SkyNet, why is weaver employing Ellison to teach it morals?

These questions are intriguing, but hidden underneath the boring Sarah A-plot makes it hard to watch. If the series doesn't do something to liven up the mopey human characters I fear it will be canceled long before we get the truth about the interesting robot characters.

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