The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “Gnothi Seauton,” the second episode of the Fox show “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”
Unlike our esteemed site coordinator, I loved this show’s pilot episode — particularly the “chase and hunting” parts.
Personally, and I’ve stated this in my columns, I think television has teetered way too far into the “Let’s discuss every little bit of action we have” mode. I always like to point out how The CW’s “Smallville” features very little action or suspense, and lots and lots and lots of talking about each other, their feelings (God help us!), and what little activity happened a half hour ago.
Now, I don’t want a video game where it is just endless punching and kicking. But we have swung way too far the other way, I believe. So, put me down on the “action” side of things. I love good fight scenes and things that make me say “Whoa!” out loud with some good character moments in between.
Oh, and by the way, Summer Glau has now been pronounced on a site or two the newest “hot babe” on TV. These folks obviously missed her great work on “The 4400.”
The latest episode starts out with something of a return to the moment Sarah (Lena Headey), John (Thomas Dekker) and Cameron (Glau) jumped into the future. We discover that the Terminator Cromartie, who was trying to kill them, actually got “a head” into the future with them. (I know, bad pun, but I couldn’t help it!) That head gets “collected” by an innocent bystander (who should have been wearing a red shirt) and taken to his home. Of course, it activates after a while, and the rest of the Terminator’s body parts begin to return to the head.
Meanwhile, John is getting tired of being cooped up while he waits for Sarah to arrange for new identities. Sarah and Cameron go to meet a group of resistance fighters from the future who Cameron says have hidden money, guns and other necessities of life. When they get there, they find the people they were to meet dead … except for one Terminator who flings Cameron through the walls.
Cameron also gets done to her what she did to Cromartie in the pilot — she is run into by a moving vehicle. She does a great deadpan to the people riding in the car with her head through the windshield, saying, “Remain calm.”
After escaping, the two go to an old friend, Enrique, who has helped Sarah get new identification papers in the past. However, he says he has retired, and directs them to his nephew, Carlos.
While this is taking place, John can’t stand to be stuck indoors any longer, so he goes out to a mall (where else?), then finds out that Charlie, his mother’s former lover and his former father figure, has married and is living nearby. He goes to Charlie’s home, where he is discovered by Charlie. However, when Charlie attempts to get near John, a quick punch puts his old friend on the ground in time for John to disappear.
During their travels in the car, Cameron reveals to Sarah that she wouldn’t have lived to see 2007 because she would have died from cancer in 2005. Sarah and Cameron approach Carlos for help, and he says he’ll get new IDs, but for $20,000.
This forces the Terminator Trio to return to the future resistance fighters’ apartment, then discover a safe behind a poster. However, when Cameron touches it to open it, she gets a serious shock, forcing her system to reboot.
While Sarah is getting her new IDs, her knowledge of the Spanish language helps her overhear the others calling Enrique a “rat,” which she knows means someone who gives up others for money. She confronts Enrique at gunpoint, who denies everything … until Cameron shoots him. Sarah demands to know why she killed him, but all Cameron can say is, “I did it because you wouldn’t.”
Shortly after that, Agent Ellison is in Enrique’s home, and we find out that Cameron did the right thing since the former friend was indeed betraying the Terminator Trio.
Back in his home, Charlie lies to his wife about everything being all right. He’s still stunned to learn that John and Sarah are alive.
John and Cameron work on their new identities as they prepare to enter school together.
For my money, nearly everything worked for me … even the parts that were somewhat predictable, including the head collector. I thought there were enough surprises and character moments to keep the balance the way I like it, including the discovery that Sarah was supposed to die of cancer. Near the end of the episode, we see her go to a doctor to try and combat her possible future, which I found very touching.
The acting was great, with all the characters truly “breathing” for me.
As far as the action, it was terrific! The time is certainly right for special effects to bring these things to life. This hour fairly flew by for me, so I loved the pacing and the storytelling that included some humorous bits, like Cameron mimicking a woman’s behavior.
What Didn’t Work
I can see how some folks might find some of the plot twists predictable, but the pacing made it such that I didn’t have time to think about them. Other than that, I have no complaints.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” stars Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker and Summer Glau and airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET. “Gnothi Seauton” was written by Josh Friedman, who developed the show, and was directed by David Nutter.
Wayne Hall is the news editor of Airlock Alpha, writing out of the Washington, D.C. area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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