Terminator: Vick's Chip

So the overall theme for this week’s episode is about being fooled by the “people” we let into our lives. Barbara let Vick into her life, didn’t look too deeply behind the mask, and paid a horrible price. Sarah and John have let Cameron and Derek into their lives, without truly knowing what’s behind the mask. It remains to be seen whether they have unwittingly resigned themselves to terrible fates, as Sarah’s voice over suggested.

This week’s episode also seemed to further explore the idea of the soul and what separates the humans from the machines. Sarah is clearly struggling with all the death dealing necessary to stop Judgment Day. She stubbornly clings to her small attempts to maintain normalcy (cooking a roast and reading the school newsletter), even though she’s not very good at it. And she cannot seem to come to terms with the necessity of Andy’s and Barbara’s deaths. Despite Derek’s and Cameron’s insistence that it isn’t enough to destroy the technology that becomes Skynet, the creators also need to be eliminated --- a lesson Sarah should have learned from her first encounter with Andy. But Sarah still values life. Not just the lives of humans as a whole, but each individual life. She couldn’t let Derek kill those security guards at the City offices. Although she claimed it was to avoid the manhunt that would follow such a murder, she just hasn’t lost that shred of her humanity yet.

Derek, on the other hand, is steadily becoming more and more like the machines he reviles. A relentless killing machine. A terminator. The only difference is that he is fueled by anger and hatred, as opposed to dispassionate mission objectives. He and Cameron perfectly counterbalance each other. While Derek is slowly losing his humanity, Cameron seems to be striving to find hers (if such a thing is possible). Each week she has moments where she almost seems like an emotional, vulnerable person. The way she looked at John when he was removing her chip was so trusting, so intimate. It was unsettling, and I felt sad for her when it was done and her body was lying there, devoid of “life.” I’m wondering more and more about her relationship with future John.

While I enjoyed the character moments for Sarah, Derek, and Cameron this week, I didn’t really dig the story of Terminator Vick and his ill-fated wife. The POV shots were disjointed and disturbing (as they were probably meant to be), and they didn’t make for an enjoyable viewing experience. Moreover, I’m stunned that Barbara was fooled into thinking “Vick” was human. He seemed entirely unconvincing as a human. Did he take the place of her human husband? She mentioned something about a car accident and him acting different since then. If that’s what happened, did the machines send the T-888 into the past already looking like Vick, or did he have to go through a re-building process like Cromartie? (Ugh.)

I also was less than thrilled by the return to John’s school. Ack. Is the weird blond girl in witness protection or something? And when is she going to tie into the larger story? At least this time the school adventures included evading Cromartie to keep it interesting.

Other Thoughts

I liked the idea of a real-time traffic system becoming the nervous system for Skynet. Good use of an increasingly popular technology in metropolitan areas.

Summer Glau continues to do a great job with Cameron. She does a lot of little subtle things with her head movement and her expressions that really continue to give Cameron that stilted, robotic feel. And yet she still manages to make you feel that there are emotions somehow lurking beneath the surface.

Derek says he didn’t know his fellow resistance fighters were following Barbara Chamberlain. I don’t know if I believe him. He lied pretty convincingly about not killing Andy.

I loved that Sarah chose to confront Derek about Andy’s death when he was exposed and possibly vulnerable (although it didn’t seem to faze him at all). Good way to assert your authority, Sarah. I doubt it worked.

I find it hard to believe that no one noticed Derek and John messing with the traffic signals. They seemed pretty visible. No one saw them and questioned what they were doing? Do people in L.A. just not sweat a teenage kid with a laptop clearly messing around with a traffic signal access panel?

Overall, I noticed that in this episode John is starting to assert himself more. He is slowly becoming more of a leader.

I also finally noticed that the show’s music is composed by Bear McCreary, the same composer that does Battlestar Galactica. That explains why for weeks I keep thinking the music reminds me of BSG. And probably why I like it so much.

Final rating: 3 out of 5. Some great stuff with Sarah, Derek, and Cameron, but overall not as strong as some recent episodes.

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

1 comment:

celticmarc said...

Wow Jess, quite a review; you're giving me the chills, especially at the beginning. The scene on the bed for the removal of the chip was poignant.

OMG ! Artie is the cousin of POI's Machine ! A little humour relief with Cameron being an high school terror. And I couldn't stop thinking about Summer Glau's performance in some scenes with her previous one in Firefly.....eerie.

Crap, my fave taxi driver is dead.