Terminator: Gnothi Seauton

This was a decent effort, but not as good as the pilot. I liked that the story moved on to the next logical step following their time jump: laying low and getting new identities. And, of course, some predictable teenage rebellion.

The scenes between Sarah and Cameron were my favorites. They were even more tension-filled and intriguing than those in the pilot. The scenes with “I know what the Tinman is” and the execution of Enrique were especially strong. Lena really sold how absolutely unsettling it must be to have someone (much less a humanoid killing machine) tell you your private history like she knows you. And Summer played the moment perfectly. I also loved when Sarah confronted Cameron for killing Enrique. Sarah’s angry “You don’t know me. … You don’t know what I would or wouldn’t do. I don’t know what I would or wouldn’t do,” was a great moment. Cameron seems to elicit a lot of very personal revelations from Sarah. I find their scenes much more insightful and revealing than the voiceover monologues.

I was less fond of the John sequences. At least on initial watch, I thought they were totally predictable. Not to mention aggravating, because they seemed so boneheaded. Especially when John broke into Charlie’s house. Are you kidding me? You supposedly died 8 years ago, and now you show up looking the same age? How can this stupid kid be the future salvation of the human race?

On second watch, I was just as irritated, until I had an “A ha!” moment near the end. When I heard John say, “My dad’s always a hero. And he’s always dead,” so matter-of-factly, suddenly everything clicked into place. John had begun to consider Charlie a father figure, and then Sarah abruptly uprooted him again. When he saw the article about Charlie being a hero, he had to see him. Here was the father he was longing for --- a hero who wasn’t dead. How could he not reach out? It still wasn’t a particularly smart move, considering the circumstances, but I now understand why he did it, and why it was a perfectly logical piece of John’s story.

I could have done without the Terminator “reboot” parts of the episode. Especially when the machine wore the dead guy’s head. Ugh. Just a little too gross for me. Having Cromartie still on their tail makes sense, but I don’t really need the oogy, graphic details of his return to the field.

I try not to think too much about the time travel vagaries and inconsistencies with this series (preferring instead to go with “willing suspension of disbelief”), but it bugged me when Cameron said John wasn’t her John yet. Seems to me this John isn’t going to be her John ever. By jumping to 2007, this John and Sarah have veered off onto a different timeline tangent or loop iteration. The whole idea behind the show and their fight is that they can change the future (which may or may not be true, but I’m leaning towards it being possible). The events that lead John to become the John Connor that sends Cameron back have changed (we think). Even if Sarah and John can’t stop Judgment Day altogether, they are now in a slightly different variation of the time loop, and this John will never be the same John that sent Cameron back. Or at least that’s how it seems to me. Is the whole thing a never-changing loop? A bunch of tangent universes? Some sort of loop with different iterations and slightly varying outcomes? Ack! OK, time for me to get off the time travel theory train. I should know better than to let the pesky time travel questions start bugging me because there are no clear answers, only more questions. Sigh.

Final rating: 3 out of 5. While I loved the Sarah and Cameron moments, these were counterbalanced by the less appealing John adventures and Terminator revival activities.

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

1 comment:

celticmarc said...

Summer Glau makes a great personal robot protector (and she was also great in Firefly).

They still make my heart jump when they run after each other and then one of them gets hit by a car. That one was particularly effective. "Remain calm (!)."

Interesting portrait : a black cat and a robotic skull....

The "advantage" of a 120 second reboot : just pitch your bodyguard through the window and let the parked car stop the fall.

Bare McCreary's music is growing on me; and it was nice to see Sonya Walger, even with an American accent.