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Terminator: Alpine Fields

I liked this episode. Another week with characters we’ve never met before, and likely won’t ever see again, but I think the writers did a better job of integrating the tale with the overall story and our characters. The episode largely felt like a stand-alone piece for Derek, but it tied into the series continuity and tone a lot better.

That said, I wasn’t entirely sure where this episode fits into the timeline from the audience’s perspective. I’m leaning towards the “six months earlier” time frame being closest to the present as we know it. The “target list” Sarah mentioned is likely the blood list on her cellar wall. If that’s the case, I have no idea how “six months earlier” could be six months prior to our present. Events this season have been playing out in a pretty tight time frame. Plus, they didn’t give too much away within Derek’s “present” time frame. Derek dropped a couple hints in his phone conversations with Sarah that things are bad on the homefront, but other than that, we didn’t learn much about his time frame beyond what we saw play out on the screen. The events with Lauren and her sister’s birth could easily take place six months from our now.

As normal, I really loved the few glimpses we got into Derek’s future/past. It was very cool to see Derek and Jessie’s first meeting. We had heard this meeting discussed before, but getting to see it in context was a treat. It made me re-evaluate some of my thoughts regarding what Jessie might be up to. I was starting to think that she didn’t care about Derek at all, but was just playing him. Now it seems more like they did have a genuine relationship at some point in the future/past, and she may still love him. But at this point, I think she’s using whatever relationship they had/have to manipulate him, possibly on behalf of Skynet.

Another week with nary a peep about the new John Henry (if you don’t count the preview). However, unlike last week, I didn’t even think about this huge lingering plot thread until the very end of the episode. Probably because more time has passed since that revelation, but I also credit the episode. Even though some of the “six months earlier” family melodrama was a bit tedious, the continually shifting time frames kept me intrigued.

Other thoughts:

No John this week. He hasn’t been as irritating lately, but I didn’t miss him at all.

Lauren made the right call at the end. Leave the old ties behind, and don’t hitch yourself to the Connor wagon any more than necessary. It really isn’t safe to hang around them for too long. She and her sister have a much better chance on their own.

Final rating: 3.5 out of 5. Not quite a 4 for me, but better than average.

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

4 comments:

  1. Hi Jess,

    Great review of what I thought was a great episode. The Derek's backstory episodes always get the thumbs up from me. And ditto about not really missing John this week.

    Although Cameron had a smaller part to play in this episodes, I did enjoy her "My mistake" comment after she'd mullered that guy over the head.

    One criticism though, this was the second stand alone type episode in a row. I suppose I shouldn't grumble...we have a full season of stuff to look forward to... and the show can easily support a handful of stand alones. I'm just living in fear at the moment of the show getting canceled. So I'm not keen on seeing episodes being wasted, interesting though they may be in themselves.

    Paul

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  2. I liked this episode very much. I thought Lauren was a great character - strong and smart but with a bit of vulnerability. Those are my favorite combination (well cute also). She accepted her situation and tried her best to take care of her parents, even to the extent of not ratting out her mother for bringing the metal down on their heads. I also like Sarah's conversation with Lauren about being "normal" - the continuing theme of regular people having their life's turned upside down. Lauren would rather be doing boring things with her mother than fighting cyborgs but there is no normal any more. Echoes of lives not lived.
    I thought the Jesse/Derek meeting was a nice touch. I like the hard ass Aussie Jesse better than the damaged PTSD Jesse (if that is really what she is). In fact, I too am unsure about what Jesse's game plan is. I especially liked when Jesse asks Derek what he was doing there and he said "Waiting for you".
    The whole circle of Sarah and Derek saving Lauren and her sister and then Derek and Jesse being saved by Lauren and her sister was nicely done (even though I saw it coming in advance).
    I miss Catherine; we haven't seen her in several weeks. I just love listening to her talk (the Scottish thing I guess) and find the usual 2-3 minutes at the end of an episode where she shows up and says something cryptic/profound/funny to be a highlight of the show. Not really missing Ellison much - I mean what, he is going to teach the ten commandments to John Henry. Just how not coveting your neighbors wife (and many of the other nine) applies to AI is beyond me. Seems like Ellison suffers from a messiah complex(a bit arrogant, no?).

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  3. Liked the episode a lot. Liked how it kept changing back and forth. And of course, this episode was a lot better also because there was no John.

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  4. Oh my, am I becoming difficult ? I said to myself : "SOB ! 2 in a row !" Oh heck.

    "They always come through the front door."

    After the birth, that baIy had a really weird cry. it seemed like she was laughing. And I'd put my hand on the stove that on the final scene in the restaurant was in a revamped Luke's from Gilmore Girls.

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