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[TV] "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" 1.4 Review

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There Will Be Games

 

Make up your damn mind, show.  I can't make fun of you if you don't stay terrible.

 

 

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

  

After a "State of the Union"-inspired layoff, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles made its return to television last night with a new episode.  Would we see more of John struggling to fit in with the popular kids at school, before a "very special" episode where the gym teacher tries to corner John alone?  And more importantly, would we see more of Summer Glau marching around the house in her bra?  Thankfully (and sadly, respectively), both answers are a resounding "no".

 

 Cameron is able to deduce that Cromartie is alive and well thanks to some "this is needed for the plot to advance" footage from a cell-phone camera that is played on the news.  Seems Cameron has plenty of time to watch TV as she doesn't sleep very much, being a robot and all that.  When this information is followed up by a newspaper report of a fire and subsequent re-routing of an element called Coltan, she goes all Batman and deduces that Cromartie is attempting to rebuild himself.  And suddenly, the chase is on, but this time it's our heroes doing the chasing, not the other way around.  They don't come to this decision immediately, and it's nice to see John finally showing some of the "take charge" attitude he's going to need as the future messiah of humanity.  The shift seems a little sudden, but we're reminded of how John was shaken by the girl at school killing herself and John doing nothing about it.  Seems he's done going that route.

 

 When they arrive at the docks, they find it isn't Cromartie at all (who's busy elsewhere in the episode, we'll get to him in a bit) but instead some OTHER Terminator who, it turns out, is carrying out some vital FUTURE-MISSION by making sure the materials are stored in an important location for Skynet's eventual use.  Coltan, it turns out, is used heavily in the manufacture of the Terminators ("heat resistance", says Cameron).

 

 

Bang bang, my baby shot me down
Despite my best efforts, my F:AT co-authors have resisted my suggestions we turn
this into a Summer Glau fansite.  I remain vigilant.

 Again, the group decides to be pro-active (thank goodness) and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  However, things don't go as planned, and the eventual result is John trapped on one of the trucks and Cameron and Sarah with one of the other drivers captive.

 

 John is quite nervous, as there is another of the guards in the back of the truck with him.  He has his blackberry/cellphone with him but can't reach it.  Sarah and Cameron are able to track him at first using this signal--a common plot device for shows like this--but when John tries to make a lunge for the phone, it drops and breaks, alerting the guard.  The guard comes over to investigate, and John gets the drop on him with a vicious lead pipe shot.  Sleepy time, Mr. Guard.

 

 Sarah is pretty frustrated by all of this, seeing as John is the savior of mankind and all that, so she decides to get information the only way she knows how--by beating the living hell out of the driver they captured.  He's all stoic even while being beaten, even saying, "Lady, I ain't going to tell you anything."  Sarah punches him a few more times for good measure, and gives us our groan-worthy comeback of the episode ("...and don't call me lady!")

 

Then, thinking better of it, Sarah cuts the man's bonds loose and tells him he's free to go...if he can get past Cameron.  He looks rather cocky about such a prospect...

 

 Suddenly we're in the truck, and the driver looks more than a bit shaken.  Apparently his "confrontation" with Cameron didn't go very well, and he's now all too eager to take them where they want to go, and spill the beans on where the other driver is headed.  Satisfied, Sarah does the only human thing in this situation...she has Cameron leave the man standing in the middle of a minefield.  "You...you can't leave me here!" he shouts, but it seems oh yes, oh yes they can as they drive away.

 

Running parallel to all of this is our intrepid FBI agent Ellison (I had to look this up, the show hasn't done a very good job putting emphasis on this guy's name) is still investigating the mysterious death of the scientist from the previous episode as well as the slaughter of those mysterious six in that apartment from the episode before that.  Seems as though some new evidence taken by survelliance leads him to a man named Lazlo.  As they bring Lazlo in, we're left to wonder if this is Cromartie or not, as Cromartie apparently had some emergency plastic surgery done to change his appearance.  I'm personally grateful for this plot device as this means "Uncle Frank" Cromartie from the pilot episode--y'know, of "Class Dismissed" fame--is long gone.

 

 

"I said WHERE'S THE F*!@KING BURBON, BITCH?!"
Goodbye, Uncle Frank...we'll miss you.  Say...where did all the booze go?

 

 

 Anyway, Lazlo agrees to give blood to clear his name and does so, much to Ellison's chagrin.  Seems there's a younger guy in the FBI who looks to be trying to make a name for himself, embarassing Ellison as they discuss the evidence with some of the higher ups.  Undeterred, Ellison still has his doubts, coming to the conclusion that someone may have altered their appearance to look like Lazlo.

 

 Lazlo is at home chilling when the doorbell rings.  He opens the door and finds....oh ho, what's this?  It's himself!  Seems Cromartie has come "home".  Cromartie/Lazlo jerks up the real deal by his neck, carries him to the bathroom, and in the coolest bitch-slap-style moment in the episode holds Lazlo before a mirror for a few seconds to pick up on his facial mannerisms before SLAMMING him face first into the mirror.  So long Lazlo, we barely knew ye.

 

 Back to our heroes...the truck John is in has stopped, and John has been unable to free himself before they arrive.  He hides long enough to see the Terminator (dressed as a guardsman) shoot the other two drivers in cold blood, saying, "thank you for your service."  Ouch.  John isn't sure what to do next as the blast doors close and the Terminator just stands there looking at them blankly.  His contemplation of what to do next is interrupted as the other guard FINALLY comes to--that was either quite the knock-out blow or this guy has the constitution of a WWF referee.  John explains what has happened, and surprisingly the guard believes him...but stupidly decides he's going to confront the Terminator himself.  Not too bright, my friend.  At first the Terminator is unresponsive until he's knocked over, but then it's on like soupbone.  The guardsman shoots the Terminator right in the eye, and manages to scream "WHAT ARE YOU?!" before getting his neck snapped. 

 

 Meanwhile, armed with the information from the other driver, Sarah and Cameron make their way to the warehouse to try and find John.  We then learn that this place is where Cameron herself was made, and in the future is a very important factory for the manufacture of the cyborgs.  Faced with the huge bomb shelter doors, Sarah's not sure what to do.  Suddenly, her phone rings--it's John, and he's trapped inside.  He tells Sarah of the other Terminator's weird behavior, and Cameron helpfully explains that since his mission is accomplished, he's deactivated himself until either he's needed again or disturbed.  John finds the control panel for the doors, but it needs a key, and guess where that key is?  Yep, you guessed it, right around the neck of the Terminator.  John is able to lift the key in a TENSION~! filled moment, and opens the door.  This will also reactivate the Terminator, but he has a "fifteen second reboot time", a handy little plot device that has come up twice now and will probably do so again.

 

John and Sarah leap into the truck as Cameron goes to work on the other Terminator.  John is having some trouble driving, and Sarah tells him if he's going to save the world he's "going to have to learn to drive a stick."  Didn't know that had to be on your resume as the savior of humanity, but I guess that helps.  Anyway, the other Terminator manages to get the best of Cameron long enough to stand in front of the truck and stop them from taking off.  Cameron is able to shake it off and gives him a wallop strong enough to knock him down, and the truck barrels over him in the process.  They pull out of the room as the blast doors shut, leaving the other Terminator trapped inside.  "He'll escape!" declares John, but Cameron shows him the key...seems as that guy is going nowhere.  Well, until someone happens by and opens the door, man are THEY in for a nasty surprise.

 

 

 

DAMNED SUNDAY DRIVERS~!
Driving a stick shift...a skill that's been saving humanity since 2007.
 

 

We cut back to Ellison, who pays Lazlo a visit.  We know this is now Cromartie/Lazlo, so I'm personally thinking death and bad times might be in order for Ellison.  Unlike the scientist though, the actor who plays Ellison is a credited regular, so Cromartie plays it straight and doesn't kill him out of boredom.  Ellison warns him that someone might be trying to take his identity, and to watch himself.  Ellison then leaves, and Cromartie is left smirking.

 

 Then back to Cameron, who is driving the truck...somewhere.  Ah, it appears she's driving it straight for a cliff.  Then, in a cool shot, she climbs up over the top of the truck and walks off the roof as it plunges down to the water below.  Sure, I guess no one will find that stuff in the water later.  But turns out that she's saved a little bit of the Coltan for herself.  Wouldn't be a big deal, but she doesn't appear to be in any hurry to share this information with either John or Sarah.  DUM-DUM-DUM!

 

 

And so episode 1.4 comes to a close.

 

 

What did I think?  Well, certainly this episode was going in the right direction as compared to the school-times heavy episode that preceded it.  If they just use that to make John a stronger person as they did here, that will be okay, but unfortunately since the whole situation with that girl was so mysterious they will defintely have to revisit that again.  It was predicted by one of our own forum regulars that it's likely there's a creepy teacher who's abusing their students and will try this on Cameron, with probably hilarious results.  That would be a whole new twist on the "very special episode", wouldn't it?

 

It was nice to see some action, and more importantly to see the plot moving forward.  Skynet is trying to put the pieces together for its own genesis, John as a character seems to be evolving and becoming more of a strong-willed leader, and Cromartie is on the hunt.  What I really like about the Cromartie bit is that from the very beginning, the Terminators were sold as the ultimate infiltrators, getting inside and earning the trust of other humans before killing them all.  But we don't get to see a lot of that in the movies, as generally the Terminators quickly turn to head-down glaring forward guns blazing mode.  In the TV series, we've seen Cameron act human to gain John's trust, we've seen Cromartie infiltrate the school and now we see him assuming the identity of a normal human.  It's nice to see them doing these things as it finally justifies all that fake skin they wear...instead of it just being something to shred off so someone can say "OMG WTF!?!?!"

 

 

A pretty solid episode that left me precious little to ridicule, outside of some bad dialogue.  Next week looks to have the GROANER OF ALL GROANERS as the previews show the following:

 

John:  (getting into truck)  I call shotgun!

Cameron:  (wryly)  I call 9 millimeter.

 

 

Yeah, I'm just going to proactive deduct a point from next week's episode, just because.  Anyway, a good ep when the series needed one, let's see if they can keep it up.

 

RATING:  3.5 out of 5

 



{{--"Sarrah Connor" 1.3 Review
There Will Be Games Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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