Terminator: Today is the Day, Part 1

I often find it difficult to rate the first part of a two-part episode. Typically, the first part is stuffed with set-up material for the next part of the story, leaving the real “page-turning” action for the next episode. As a result, Part One can sometimes feel somewhat dull. Or at the very least, it can feel so incomplete that it is hard to judge on its own merits. I thought this episode did an able job of following up on last week’s events, and started some interesting new threads with Jessie, but it wasn’t nearly as compelling as ‘Ourselves Alone.’

For me, the best part of this episode was Jessie’s story. I really enjoyed watching her interactions with Derek. I was wondering how she was going to explain her absence and all the bruises from her fight with Riley. I loved her solution: pick another fight in a public place and have Derek come bail her out. I also really liked the snippets of her future/past mission on the submarine. Is the mission to retrieve the box really a mission from John? Or is their terminator shipdriver taking orders from a different source? The scene with the team going to retrieve the box was tense. What the hell is that thing?

I’m hoping that however the situation plays out, we’ll finally get a little more insight into the real motivations behind Jessie’s trip to the past. Is she working against Team Connor because she thinks Future John’s tactics (particularly his use of reprogrammed metal) are screwing up the war? Or is she working for the metal? I’m leaning more towards the former this week, but am withholding final judgment for now.

This episode also kept me waffling about my thoughts on Cameron’s real mission. Last week I started thinking her real mission was to die at John’s hands. But early in this week’s episode, I was leaning towards the view that maybe she *is* just there to teach John how to work with and program the metal. After all, if Jessie wants John to kill Cameron to further her objectives, that can’t be Future John’s agenda, too. Can it? But after Cameron’s conversation with Sarah, I’m once again thinking her mission is to die. To have John recognize that he needs to be alone and cut his emotional ties. What does that mean for Sarah? Probably nothing good.

The sequences with Catherine, Ellison, and John Henry were odd. It was nice to get back to that part of the story, but the game of hide-and-seek wasn’t overly compelling. I guess, in the end, it was meant to show John Henry is starting to make progress in his understanding of Ellison’s morality. For me, the most interesting aspect was Catherine’s facial expressions during the game. She seems completely incapable of expressing convincing emotions when dealing with her “daughter,” but when watching John Henry learn, her face just lights up. Fitting, seeing as how he’s more her child than Savannah.

Other thoughts:

Jessie genuinely seems to feel bad about killing Riley. Interesting.

I wasn't really feeling John's pain this week. I probably should have been more moved by his grief than I was, but I'm glad Riley is dead. And his freaked out reaction to Cameron-as-Riley on the phone was way more interesting than his scene at the morgue.

I liked the scene between Cameron and Sarah out by the garage. Their confrontations always have such an interesting dynamic. I love it when they throw their cards on the table.

How awesome is it that the terminator driving the submarine is named Queeg (the infamous captain from Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny)? Did John name it that as a joke after changing its programming? Not necessarily a good sign for its continued “mental health.”

Final rating: 3 out of 5. I may reconsider after seeing how it works as part of the overall two-part story, but for now, it just felt average.

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

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Didn´t like this as much as the previous one, but this one was pretty good.

celticmarc said...

So many questions; I wonder will be answered when we'll reach the end.

"Goodbye bird ! There was a 51 % chance I wouldn't have killed you."

Someone should report Cameron to the Humane Society.