Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Re: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 2 episode 22 review

"Born To Run"
Previously, Sarah had been captured by the police, John and Cameron were on the run, assuming that they were being hunted with no other allies left alive. John Henry and Catherine Weaver were increasingly interested in the Connors, presumably because they want to stop Skynet and that is possibly what John Henry becomes.

John Henry has moved up from playing Bionicle to the more detailed RPG; Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a game that he appears to have got the hang of, with constant cries of “20!” after throwing a dice.

Sarah is being questioned by an Agent Auldridge, played by Joshua Malin whom viewers might have recognised from The West Wing. He appears to have a more open-minded view of things as the evidence he presents end up convincing him that Connor is telling some truths.
Strategically asking for a Priest (the authorities are not permitted to keep surveillance on a conversation between Priest and prisoner) Sarah uses Father Armando Bonilla to send a message to John. This priest presided over the church that Sarah took refuge in, in the first season. This is one of a few references to earlier episodes including the character of Chola who passes the message on to John, complete with passports. Sarah has told John to run.
One of two nods to the original Terminator movie finds the machine from the previous episode going to a gun store looking to get hold of silencers. The shop keeper survives this encounter (unlike Dick Smith’s character from the movie) to direct the Terminator to another supplier.
Off camera, probably by using John Henry’s use of CCTV, Ellison finds John and Cameron. Weaver has given him a message for Cameron; “Will you join us?” This backed up my theory that Weaver is the T-1000 from the submarine episode sent back to provide a counter to Skynet, through John Henry. From Cameron’s reaction, we know that she understands this message, it’s implications and what she has to do next.

The Terminator, now with Silencers, attacks the building in which John Henry resides only to be met by Weaver, who uses the familiar T-1000 blades to dispatch the cyborg and retrieve it’s chip. Unfortunately, the chip is designed to oxidise once removed from his secure housing.
Once more we are treated to evidence that John Henry’s A.I. mind is evolving as he anticipates conversations and finishes the sentences of both Weaver and Ellison. Weaver wants to meet John, finally.

In a scene that seems wrong and perhaps panders to fanboy wishes, Cameron strips to allow John to reassure himself that she isn’t leaking radiation that could contribute to his mother getting cancer. Cameron has let it slip (again) that Sarah had thought she was stricken and had lost weight. Cameron clearly has developed some problems over the course of the season and we only get a slight idea how bad during the next scene. Another nod to the first movie is Cameron storming the police precinct where Sarah is being held. With an obvious nod to the second movie, Cameron strategically ensures that she doesn’t directly fire at the defending guards. Through all this, Cameron is receiving battle damage lessening her use as an infiltration unit.

Both females receive a helping hand from John Henry, who infiltrates the security system and opens all the doors to the cells. The release of prisoners aid in the escape of Sarah and Cameron. The latter has received the trademark Terminator gun fight damage with her left eye camera exposed from gun blasts, rendering her no longer fit to undertake body guard duties for John.
John and Sarah go to visit Weaver, as requested, but send Cameron below ground to destroy John-Henry. They don’t realise that John Henry is working for the good guys. Cameron, though, does. No-one realises that Weaver is metal, not even Ellison who you’d think would have noticed the cold stare. I’m probably nit-picking as T2 established that the T-1000 has rudimentary social skills – “He’s a good looking boy”.

So, the much expected exposition occurs, as Weaver explains to the Connors (and much of the audience from what I gather) that Weaver is here to help. I breathed a sigh of relief to know that the potential destruction of John-Henry is averted; just as a flying HK fires missiles at their floor level! I was not expecting this! In one of the series most unique effects but still based upon T2 visuals, the T1000 expands to form a shield protecting the humans.

In an instant, the Connor’s world is turned inside out and roundabout. A fish tank bursts from the attack and the pet eel merges with Weaver, similar to the eel in the episode “Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter”.

John Henry has disappeared with Cameron’s chip. Any doubt as to the true nature of Weaver’s intentions should now be swept away. Except…

A time clock is running. And John recognises the Turk computer that has three LEDs – the dots that Sarah had become obsessed with. The time clock is counting down to something. A blue hue on the machinery gave me a clue and this was realised as John and Weaver disappear in a blue circle of light. Ellison declines the offer to join them, and goes to pick up Savannah from school. Sarah steps out of the bubble, shouting something along the lines of “I’ll stop it”

The time bubble reappears with a naked John and Weaver within, in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic era building. The Weaver T-1000 disappears, leaving John to discover a handy set of clothes of his size nearby. A group of freedom fighters emerge including Derek Reese and John proves that he is “not metal”. No-one, including Kyle seem to know the name of John Connor. Allison from Palmdale is also there, throwing John a bit. We get the feeling that John has time jumped over Judgement Day so has not had time to properly assert himself as humanity’s leader. So begins the questions…

I’m getting sick of seeing good series go way before their time; Firefly, Angel, Studio 60 to name but a few. I do hope that this isn’t the last Sarah Connor story that we see. Despite my frustration with seemingly unimportant focuses on Riley and Sarah’s mental condition there have been some great moments in Season 2, not least of all during the last three shows. If I have any advice to give Fox it’s let the production carry on, but maybe at only 12 shows a season. This might ensure a consistent approach and a generous amount of loyal viewers. Resources like Hulu should also be taken into account when calculating viewing figures

If Born to Run is the last Terminator episode so be it; it’s gone out on a high! I look forward to the Season 2 DVD which may answer a few questions borne from Born to Run.

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