Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Review: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.20

One show that has frustrated me to no end, on it's second season run is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Many episodes have been disjointed, seemingly with no ultimate purpose, bogged down by trite characterisation and a lack of ideas. Occasionally, a decent episode would come along like "Goodbye to all that" and "Alpine Fields".Then, we have the last few episodes that show just how good the writing talents on this show can be. It all seems to be coming together, finally, as the show ramps up toward it's conclusion.The real stars of this season have been the lead, Thomas Dekker and the score artist, Bear McCreary. Both have risen to the challenge of providing a memorable, if not final few episodes. Dekker, because if you've seen interviews ,is as camp as Christmas yet he sells us the fact that he's growing up to be a bad ass leader. McCreary because he can write tear-inducing music to enhance the emotion of scenes (see also BSG for this irritating ability )When death occurs in this series, like BSG, it's not pretty nor is it always signposted. Like in life, it happens and sometimes you have to move forwards very quickly to survive. This shown to gret effect in the last two episodes.For those watching it, you might have an inkling of what I'm referring to. I'm actually looking forward to the season finale to see if I'm right about the real nature of "John Henry". I never thought that would be the case a few months ago.
So, episode 1.20 - To The Lighthouse
Whilst there has been no confirmation as to Cameron's operational status, clearly Sarah Connor has divided the group into those she can trust and those who's loyalties have come into question. Derek Reese seems to be oblivious to the fact that he has put the whole group in danger during his relationship with Jesse. John is still quietly dealing with Riley's death. Although he worked out her future origins, she still represented a "normal" life that he would never be able to attain. So her death was also the death of his fantasy.
The group leave the house and it is arranged that they meet up in the desert; another nod to T2. For different reasons, both groups don't make it. Sarah takes John to a lighthouse safehouse, a safehouse that Charlie Dixon resides at. Naturally, he isn't pleased to see Sarah as his wife was killed during their last encounter and both John and Sarah seem to bring death to someone. Here we learn that Sarah intends to leave John with Charlie. She has found a lump in her breast and assumes it's the big C as Cameron had coldly informed her that she dies in the previous timeline before they jumped ahead.
The show flits to John Henry who is still having fun playing with toys, until Savannah Weaver attempts to muddy his Bionicle universe by introducing rubber ducks to the sceanario. John Henry goes into spasms and we learn that an outside force was trying to get into John Henry's systems and Savannah was just there at the wrong time. John Henry is switched off, something that deeply disturbs the A.I. as it interprets the time as an "eternity" therefore a death. It says that he has a "brother" that has tried to infiltrate his systems.
The episode builds nicely and once again doesn't signpost what is to come. Cameron and Derek continue to the appointed meet not before Cameron lets it slip that Derek was to be a father had Jesse not got the bends, in the future. Cyborgs, of course, tend to bring these things up for the hell of it. Disabling their vehicle, a group of men kidnap Derek with Cameron in pursuit. She is almost taken out by an elecronic trap in the form of water and a live cable.
Meanwhile, at the hospital the unexpected happens; we learn that the lump hides a transmitter! It was placed there during Sarah's previous kidnap. Sensing that this transmitter could be feeding enemies data there and then, Sarah uses a defib machine to knock out the device. It's too late and the bad guys have got to the lighthouse. Charlie has rigged the place with explosives and got John away on a boat. Sarah arrives to find Charlie floating on the water, mortal bullet wounds the reward for saving her son. Once again, someone has died for John.
Grim stuff, but rewarding for sticking through some of the rough patches of Season 2.
It must be said that Lena Headey's performances have also been superb. Whilst not always a likeable character, she displays an underplayed pain and anguish that can resonate at times when John seemingly misunderstands her motives.
Garret Dillahunt is also very good as the A.I. construct John Henry. It's a difficult role for an adult to play but he does it very well.

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