Again, apologies for the delay. I just got back from a trip and wanted to watch this one twice before finishing my review.
Excellent episode this week, with a really great focus on character. I was completely engrossed from start to finish, especially with John’s and Catherine Weaver’s parts of the story.
I was so pleased the writers returned to the events of the season premiere. Those unseen events between John, Sarah, and Sarkissian kind of got lost in the shuffle over the last few weeks. They’ve been so focused on John resisting and slowly coming to terms with his destiny, that I forgot his whole rebellion was pretty much kicked off by what happened in that house. His first kill. It was always obvious to me that John had killed Sarkissian, but I liked the way they tried to keep the audience wondering. And I loved that we finally learned the truth through Sarah. It is her story after all. She’s been in some denial for awhile. First denying that John even needed help, then thinking that she could be the one to provide it. I’m glad she was finally able to see that he's not the boy she knew and he needs someone else to help him. And that maybe she needs some help herself. I hope Dr. Sherman can help them.
Catherine Weaver’s part of the story was completely fascinating. They confirmed what one of my readers suggested a few weeks ago: that liquid metal Catherine is a replacement for the real Catherine, and that the little red-haired girl is the real Catherine’s daughter. That poor little girl. Her first few sessions with Dr. Sherman were really heartbreaking and terrifying all at the same time. I kept expecting Catherine to just kill her. I could not figure out why she was bothering to get help for her “daughter” in the first place; she obviously doesn’t care about anything except her project. But my husband suggested Catherine needs the daughter as part of her cover, and the child’s abnormal behavior could draw unwanted attention or questions. Makes good sense to me. Plus, it was a good way for the writers to have her connect with Dr. Sherman and seek his help for young Skynet (one assumes).
Of course, if Dr. Sherman’s name was part of the blood list on Sarah’s wall, it is likely that he was previously part of Skynet’s development. So why wouldn’t Catherine know this already and seek him out deliberately, instead of finding him by accident? Was he only on the wall because he helps John? Is his role in Skynet a new development? Aargh! I feel another time loop theory headache coming on.
I was glad that Derek continued to have good material this week. His scenes with Jessie gave us some more insight into his future/past and his current state of mind. It spoke volumes when he walked away from Jessie after learning she had deserted and just wanted to wait for the end to come. He can’t just run from the war. He may have tried in the past, but he can't now---not when he has a chance to stop the war from ever beginning. He needs to fight to get back those things that were lost, like the innocents he seems to enjoy watching in the park. Perhaps his efforts are in vain; if Sarah’s voiceover is to be believed, “… what is lost is lost forever.” Plus, his girlfriend appears to be up to no good. She said John Connor didn’t send her back; did the “metal” send her back? Given what we saw with the photos, I doubt her story about needing a rest and wanting to be with Derek when it all ends was true.
Only Cameron really got shorted on strong material this week, primarily providing the big action sequence and serving as comic relief. I’m wondering about the true purpose of that Skynet soldier. She couldn’t have been sent just to kill the doctor, because she could have accomplished that pretty easily without taking out his assistant. She must have been sent to infiltrate his office. To spy on him or to protect him? If she was there to protect him, from whom? The Connors?
The voice over monologues were back! Yea! And they even provided some new insight into Sarah’s past with her father. You’d think the child of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder would be better able to recognize the symptoms in herself and her son.
Stephanie Jacobson, the actress playing Derek’s girlfriend, Jessie, also played Kendra Shaw in Battlestar Galactica: Razor. Poor girl seems to be typecast as a burned-out military type.
Acting kudos to Thomas Dekker this week. I thought he did an outstanding job in his scenes with Dr. Sherman.
Agent Ellison is starting to get suspicious. I hope he’s seriously questioning his role in whatever Catherine Weaver’s company is “building.”
Final rating: 5 out of 5. I love a good character study, especially when it pays off earlier plot threads while setting new ones in motion.
Sam: "It's ghost sickness."
Dean: "Ghost sickness."
Dean: "Oh god, no."
Dean: "I don't even know what that is."
Was it fun? Absolutely. Clever and well-acted, too. But the more I thought about it, the more this episode bothered me.
Hiro: "Now you know how it feels to be killed by your best friend."
Ando: "Good. So we're even."
Much better. Rather like the Heroes of old. Hiro and Ando actually made me laugh, Peter and Sylar came close to repeating their season one deathmatch, and Mohinder actually narrated again, even though he's (unfortunately) still evil.
Buffy: "We both have scythes. We both have awesome Kung-fu moves. Turn-offs include smokers, insensitive men, and vampires. You with me?"
In the future, Fray and a blonde woman with a ponytail that she calls "sis" (who I at first thought was Buffy, but no) are in a flying car, pursuing a flying van full of vampires. Fray takes down the van and interrogates a vamp about her brother, Harth. Before she takes him out with the pointy end of the Scythe, the vamp tells Fray about a Madwoman with dark hair who has lived for centuries. Fray and the blonde woman return to Fray's antique-filled, shabby home, where she lives with a four-armed monkey-like creature named Gates, named for the last of the Watchers who sacrificed himself at the battle of Starbucks.
Dean: "An honest to goodness monster hunt. About time the Winchesters got back to tackling a straightforward black and white case."
I think we could safely say this was one of their comic episodes. I laughed pretty much constantly through the whole thing. I think my favorite bit was Dracula escaping on a moped. No, I'm wrong -- it was Dean in lederhosen strapped to a slab in the mad scientist laboratory. How did Dean end up in lederhosen? The shapeshifter must have decided to dress him up in an Oktoberfest costume before electrocuting him. Oooh, I'm the getting the visual.
So sorry for the long delay! Work and life have been a bit crazed of late.
First and foremost: welcome back, Derek! I’m so glad we finally got an episode where Derek got to do more than be the snarky, battle-weary sidekick. I much prefer “haunted and grief stricken” Derek to “comic relief” Derek. His story is so compelling, especially told against the backdrop of the pre-holocaust world. I love those great little moments where Derek is absolutely awestruck by seeing a creature or a person that he never imagined he see again (i.e., the deer and young Martin Bidell). It lends a lot of perspective to some of his harsher actions. He’s got to do absolutely everything he can to ensure that the future he came from never happens, no matter how cold-blooded it seems. At the very least, he needs to make sure that John survives to lead the resistance. So that all the sacrifices that have come before weren’t in vain.
I thought the basic plot for this episode was a little weak (especially the “we need a teacher for a week” bit that kept Derek around at school), but I really liked the focus on character. John and Derek, in particular, had some strong material this week. I’m so glad that John finally seems to be coming around. My favorite scene was when Derek told John what happened to Martin in the future, and ended with “He died for you. We all die for you.” It clearly had an effect on John. What’s more, I think in coming to understand that Martin couldn’t just run away to Dartmouth to live his own life, John may truly be coming to accept his own role. Maybe he’ll finally move out of his rebellious teen phase and start working with Sarah. (Perhaps wishful thinking on my part.)
The Sarah and Cameron portion of the story wasn’t terribly interesting this week. It kind of bordered on cutesy and cliché. Watch the tough warrior persona interact with a young child! See how stiff and awkward she is! That said, I did kind of like seeing this aspect of Sarah. I find myself wondering, sometimes, what she must have been like as a mother to young John. It must have been very strange for John to have a mother that he knew would fight to the death to protect him, but had a hard time doing all the simple things moms do. Like helping with homework and offering emotional support. At least she keeps trying!
I kind of liked the way John and Derek’s ambush scene played out against Sarah reading the Wizard of Oz. That part of the book fit the action well, and it was kind of like having the voiceover monologues back. I know that I didn’t much care for them at the beginning of the first season, but they must have grown on me. I’ve really been missing them this season. I liked the insight they provided into Sarah, and they helped keep the story from her perspective. This season has felt more like the John Connor Chronicles, and I wish they’d get back to the focus on Sarah.
Cameron had almost nothing to do in this episode. A bit jarring after being featured so prominently last week.
The T-888 that was hunting Martin reminded me of Vick, from the first season (the T-888 hunting Derek). I spent half the episode thinking he was another version of that model.
I wasn’t a big fan of “Automatic for the People,” but I do appreciate that it wasn’t just a throw away episode. The events at the power plant are continuing to have ramifications. At least we know a little bit more about the purpose of the “blood list” the guy from the future left for the Connors.
Seeing Agent Ellison and Catherine Weaver working together fascinates me and creeps me out all at the same time. She's shuddery.
Final rating: 3 out of 5. Not as good as last week's, but pretty decent.
Dexter: "Showing up late at night like this. Is it creepy or is it just what friends do?"
The moment I saw that pervert talking to Astor in the supermarket, I thought, buddy, you are so dead. Interesting that this was the second time, in quick succession, that Dexter killed someone who wasn't a murderer, who didn't fall within the limits of Harry's code. Not that I blame Dexter a bit in this case.
Dexter: "As soon as it gets dark, I'm back on the hunt... so I can stay ahead of my sister. This department is becoming annoyingly effective."
Miguel Prado caught Dexter literally red-handed. That was an edge-of-your-seat moment.
Mary: "You know the worst thing I can think of? The very worst thing? It's for my children to be raised into this, like I was."
This is one of my favorite Supernatural episodes, ever. It was like the last piece of the Winchester family puzzle snapping into place.
Sylar: "We're gonna need some coffee. Decaf. You drink decaf, right, Noah?"
I wouldn't call this a great episode, but a lot of it was laugh-out-loud funny. The Keystone Kops scenes (appropriately backed by a Buster Keaton silent movie) of Hiro and Ando outwitted by the Haitian and Daphne were fun. And how I loved Sylar as Noah's new partner. Turning him into Gabriel, Angela's new pet and Company operative, wasn't what I expected, but it absolutely worked.
A very intriguing episode. I found it tense, revealing, and in many respects completely shuddery. By the end of it, I wasn't sure what to make of Cameron's status or intentions. Contrary to what we typically see from her, she can convincingly act like a human being. At least if she’s channeling another person. She is the ultimate infiltrator, and I just can't figure out if she's actually John's ally now, or still an enemy. Which is, of course, exactly how the writers want it. I love it!
Cameron/Allison's story was, clearly, the highlight of this episode. I love that they are not just glossing over Cameron going bad in the season premiere. It would have been pretty easy to just hit the reset button and pretend it never happened. I much prefer the exploration of its continuing impact on all the characters.
I was amazed at how completely Cameron became Allison (at least until John reminded her of who she really is and her demeanor started becoming more robotic). She didn't exhibit quite the same range of emotions as the human Allison we saw in the future/past, but she clearly felt desolate and betrayed. Her grief and horror during her counseling sessions was quite heart rending. To me, it helps explain how she was capable of such an emotional outburst during the chip removal scene from the season premiere. It is intensely unsettling. Again, I'm left wondering why she seems so robotic most other times, when she's fully capable of being a convincing human. Is it really all tied into her mission programming? Is it some kind of choice?
Although the Cameron story was the most compelling part of the episode, I thought the Agent Ellison and Sarah portions of the story were also revealing. We learned some more background on Ellison this week: he has an ex-wife in the bureau, he once wanted children, and he is still a bit bitter about his divorce. He also apparently has stopped wearing his cross. Hmmm ... and here I thought he was clinging so strongly to his faith in trying to deal with the horrors he’s seen. I guess the death of the 20 agents at Cromartie's hands has left him more at a loss than I realized. Unfortunately, it has lead him right into Catherine Weaver’s camp. This can't be good. I don't know what her real agenda is, but I'm sure it will not result in a happy ending for Agent Ellison.
Sarah's part of the episode seemed the least tied to the overall story progression, but I liked seeing her interactions with Casey and getting some insight into that earlier time in her life. I also liked the bittersweet undertones to all their scenes. Sarah seemed so regretful that she never got to have the kinds of hopes and dreams Casey has for her child; her son was always meant to survive a horrible holocaust and be the future savior of mankind, a role for which she had to train him from an early age. She never really concerned herself with first dates or name calling.
Catherine Weaver has a child? Is she a child-sized version of a liquid metal terminator? Or some random red-haired human brought in to pose as her child?
I loved the way Catherine told the story about her husband’s helicopter crash. Her complete adoration for the helicopter and her unfailing belief in the perfection of machines gave me chills.
So Casey's baby daddy is a cop. At the end, I couldn’t help wondering if Sarah told Casey she can raise her child without his father just to keep Trevor from being too close to her own family.
The Skynet prison on the aircraft carrier was completely freaky. What was up with the tiger, the bear, and the monkey? Was it a zoo or a science lab? And why were all the human prisoners yelling “get out” instead of calling for help? Did they think Allison was Cameron? Or did they just want her to have a chance at survival?
I'm more curious than ever to know what happened when future Cameron infiltrated the Connor camp. How did he turn her? Did he know that her model killed the person she was impersonating? Was Allison really someone he loved?