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Terminator: The Demon Hand

Another strong episode. Not as strong as last week’s, but still very good. I’m guessing for fans of the series that weren’t initially fans of the movie, this episode might be less than stellar. It relies very heavily on story from the movies, both in terms of character and visuals. I really enjoyed that aspect of it, but I can see how maybe it wouldn’t work as well for all viewers.

From the very opening scenes, the visuals alluded strongly to the movies. Cameron as a cop with those glasses evoked Robert Patrick’s T1000 from Terminator 2 so effectively, that I felt a little giddy. And then they took it a step further by reintroducing Sarah’s stint in the mental hospital and bringing her detestable psychiatrist back into play. I loved that they brought back Dr. Silverman and made him a full-on believer hiding out in the mountains. He was so disdainful of Sarah in T2, that I found it utterly delightful that he ended up seeming like just as a big a nutter as she did. Giving her a chance to sock him one was a bonus!

Poor Agent Ellison. When I saw that he was starting to believe Sarah’s stories and keeping a metal hand in his freezer, I knew he was in big, big trouble. Of course, I thought he was going to become the victim of Cromartie or some other Terminator; I did not expect that the bigger danger was from a fellow “believer.” I was shocked when Dr. Silverman drugged and assaulted Ellison. Then he took it a step further and tried to burn him to death! I guess if you survive an encounter with a Terminator after hearing all of Sarah’s horror stories, it can change your perspective. Things are not looking up, Agent Ellison.

I like the focus on religion and the soul in this episode. Given that our heroes are trying to stop the apocalypse and are dealing with countless moral ambiguities, it makes sense that some religious overtones should creep in every now and again. Using Agent Ellison as a window into the religious perspective was a good idea.

Plus, we’ve got Cameron’s fascination with the human soul. Is that what the letter writing was about a few episodes ago? Is she trying to discover a soul? Is she capable of having a soul? She told John in the pilot that she’s a different model, but how different? Cameron was quite the enigma in this episode. She was actively interested in pursuing dance as the window to the soul, but at the same time she coldly left Dimitri and his sister to be murdered. And it didn’t faze her one bit. It can be very hard to reconcile as a viewer. I sort of felt like Derek at the end: moved by her beautiful dance, but absolutely horrified at the same time. This was a perfect ending point for the episode.

Other Thoughts

When Sarah broke into Agent Ellison’s house (which didn’t seem very smart), I couldn’t help chuckling at the envelope on his counter that said “Hand Delivery”. Funny.

The Derek versus Cameron conflict is almost more entertaining than Cameron versus Sarah. I love the looks they exchange! Sarah doesn’t quite trust Cameron, but Derek is openly hostile and hateful. Completely understandable given his past experience. Derek’s interactions with Cameron are tense and fascinating to see play out.

The B story with the video tape of Sarah signing away her parental rights was interesting, but didn’t really grip me the way the rest of the episode did. Even though it resulted in some nice mother-son moments.

Final rating: 4 out of 5. I’m very much enjoying the series these days.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

1 comment:

  1. This was an interesting viewing experience for me. I started with the unaired, extended, 52 minutes eppy and then, the "real" thing (on the DVD set, of course). We can hear how much music plays an important part in the story, and atmosphere. And how annoying when you see people speaking Russian but no subtitles to help you understand what they're saying. And how much traffic noise in the background has been removed as well in the final editing. Yes, indeed, TV and movies are sure hard work.

    A HUGE smile on my face at the beginning with that homage to the T2 movie. Well, I'll be smiling a lot later on with many references to the movie. Nice continuity with the growing blood spot on Derek's T shirt too. And Summer Glau is so gracious when she dances. Oh my, I really loved the final scene. So beautiful and so eerie for the human witness......


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