Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", "Big Brother" and "Law and Order"

The writers' strike just ended last week, and they'd been out for about 3 months, so I should have nothing left to watch anymore, right? Wrong. Whiskey tango foxtrot?

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

Sarah remembered that with all the training John got as a child, learning chess taught him everything he needed to know about winning a war, including strategy, being patient, and making sacrifices.

The terminator visited Sarah's ex, Charlie, to ask about her. Charlie said that he hadn't seen Sarah in years but didn't mention that he had seen John. It wasn't until his wife later asked him more questions that he admitted to having been visited by John.

Sarah was alarmed to find out that Andy had rebuilt his chess computer and had entered it into a contest - where computers played against other computers, and the winner got a military contract. Cameron said that Sarah should have killed Andy when she had the chance.

At school, a make-shift memorial had been set up for Jordan, and John explained to Cameron about grief and how expressing your feelings in a letter could be helpful, even if the person is dead and can't read it. Cameron's constant learnings about human emotions and behaviour reminds me of how Data was similarly used to address those issues. The principal was later interviewing students about Jordan and wanted to talk to Cameron because she was the last person to speak to her. When he asked what they talked about, he was surprised and alarmed when Cameron repeated the conversation, verbatim and in Jordan's voice.

Andy made it to the finals with his computer, and there was a tense battle with a Japanese team, but just as it looked like Andy had won, the Japanese team pulled it out to take the win. When Sarah then went to see Andy, though, she encountered someone coming out (who we later discovered was a resistance fighter, Derek) and found Andy dead and his computer gone. Sarah gave chase but Derek was caught by the authorities. Sarah later learned from Cameron that Derek had been tracking Andy and deduced that Derek killed Andy. As Derek was in custody, the FBI agent went to speak to him, but Derek gave nothing up. Neither one knew that another terminator had been sent to kill Derek, and he had arrived at the jail and arranged to get arrested. Sarah also got in to see Derek, who said that he neither killed Derek nor stole his computer - someone else did. He also revealed his identity to a shocked Sarah - he was Kyle Reese's brother and ultimately, John's uncle. Brian Austin Greene of "Beverly Hills, 90210" fame played Derek, and it was interesting to see him in this role. He actually wasn't bad. Wonder if he's going to be part of the regular cast.

Loved the line when Sarah, John and Cameron were off to rescue Kyle, and when John called "shotgun", Cameron responded with "I call 9mm." The three of them commandeered the van and took custody of Derek, but they didn't get away so easily. The terminator was still tracking Derek, and it came to a showdown between the terminator and Cameron. Cameron ultimately deactivated the terminator, "killing it", by taking out its power source, but in the process, Derek was seriously shot and wounded. They took Derek back to the house, and Sarah wanted to get a doctor from the hospital to help save Derek. When John objected, she revealed that he was John's uncle. John took off - and returned with Charlie, who was a paramedic, to help save Derek. Cameron, meanwhile, had been writing a letter in the background, presumably to express her thoughts about having killed the terminator.

"Big Brother" - Tuesday episode

In this ninth incarnation of the show, and the first time it was being aired not in summer (because of the just-ended writers' strike), there were 16 contestants, all of whom were single, and with the show starting so close to Valentine's Day, that was the theme for this show - where singles may be able to find love.

The women were called up first, and when the first group was let into the house, they went to claim their beds - only to find all the bedroom doors locked. When the second group was let in, they all wondered about the doors being locked and who else would be joining them.

It turned out that not all the houseguests would be strangers. Two people playing in the show were actually a couple, Jen and Ryan, who had been going out for about nine months and living together for seven months, but they were going to pretend not to know each other. In addition, Sharon, one of the girls, mentioned an ex-boyfriend, Jacob, that she broke up with because he cheated on her, and she talked about how difficult that was. Neither knew that the other would be in the house as well. Jacob was in the second batch of guys to go into the house, and when Sharon spotted him, she immediately reacted. A couple of the other girls noticed and she surreptiously pointed out her ex. Jacob then spotted her, and he was equally stunned.

After everyone was inside, Julie Chen, the host of the show, revealed the major twist of this game. All of the contestants would be playing as couples - sleeping in the same bed, being Head of Household (HoH) as a couple, being nominated as a couple and being evicted as a couple. In addition, they were told that their "soul mates" were in the room with them, and that was how they would be divided up.

As each couple was called off, they headed off to claim a bed. The pairings were as follows: Alex and Amanda; James and Chelsia; Natalie and Matt; Jen and Parker; Joshuah and Neil; Jacob and Sharon. Jen and Ryan were devasted to learn that they were not coupled, and Sharon and Jacob were dismayed to learn that they were. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be forced to be in the house with an ex, much less being paired with an ex in the context of that game.

The last two pairs were Ryan & Allison and Sheila & Adam. They were told that there were no bedrooms left, so they would just be sharing sleeping bags in the living room. Sheila had mentioned before that she was nervous when all the "nice" guys were being taken, and she was seriously upset at being paired with Adam, though he wasn't thrilled to be paired with her either. He also referred to her several times as "Ma", which upset her even further.

The challenge to be the "power couple" involved one person being held by a harness, and the other person was underneath and holding on as they were lifted. Whoever stayed up the longest was the winner. Sheila couldn't deal with being that close to Adam, so she dropped and they were the first couple out. They were followed by Neil & Joshuah, then Amanda & Alex and Sharon & Jacob.

Then another element was revealed. On the bed was a heart-shaped pillow. If they could pick it up with only their hands and they won, they'd get an extra $10,000. Jen managed to get the pillow, but Allison and Ryan were out because she tried to get the pillow. Chelsia also got the pillow, but she and James ended up dropping out as well. Jen & Parker and Natalie & Matt were the only ones left, so Jen asked them to drop since she still had a pillow and she promised them safety, so they dropped off, leaving Jen and Parker to win "power couple" and an extra $10,000 and have the sole right to evict one couple. Parker mentioned to the camera that he wanted to target Ryan because he thought Ryan was strong, just as Jen was mentioning that Ryan was 100% safe.

"Big Brother" - Wednesday episode

Adam works as a public relations person for an autistic children's society, but he referred to them as retards, which Sheila found appalling. For no reason that I could figure out, Jacob started teling Ryan and Jen that Parker was a snake and that no one trusted him. When Jen went to tell Parker, Parker called a house meeting, even though it was in the middle of the night. Upon questioning, Jacob refused to give up the name of the person he heard saying that, pretty much because he made it up. I can't imagine why he did that. He said he wanted to shake up the game, but why would you start bad-mouthing one member of the couple who had the absolute power to kick you off, especially when you weren't even on their radar, and Adam and Sheila already had a target on them? What an idiotic move.

Sharon tried to cover for Jacob and told Parker that it was Ryan who said it, so when Parker told Jen about this, she had no choice but to tell Parker about her and Ryan. After Ryan was told, he then felt the need to tell Allison.

Parker and Jen had to decide which couple to kick out, and while Sheila was painting a humongous target on herself and Adam by complaining constantly about Adam, Jen and Parker decided they couldn't let Jacob's action go, and they evicted Jacob and Sharon, even though Jen was extremely upset about evicting Sharon. This had nothing to do with the game, but Adam's eyes bugging out is just creepy to me. I don't blame Sheila for being upset at being paired with him, but if she wants to stay in the game, she really needs to shut up. She and Adam did realize that they would have been evicted if not for Jacob's actions and commented on their good fortune.

For the first Head of Household competition, a couple from a previous show came back to host - Eric and Jessica, who confirmed that they were still together. The couples played a version of the Newlywed Game, where they had to guess how their partner would answer particular questions, and the couple with the most points would be HoH, which Amanda and Alex end up winning.

Apparently, an autism group is demanding an apology from CBS for Adam's comments. Ummm, OK, so why would CBS need to apologize? They didn't say anything, and given everything Sheila said in response to Adam, it wasn't like Adam's comment went unchallenged. If they want something done, they might want to find out who Adam works for and have them fire his ass.

"Big Brother" - Sunday episode

When the houseguests went back inside after the competition, they saw that the memory wall had been put up, and it was commented that Jen's picture was first, but she made the huge mistake of saying it was "because I'm going to win". Everyone was taken aback by her comment, and Parker was one of several people who talked to her about her comment, eliciting apologies all around from Jen. Allison was still very angry about Jen and Ryan, partly because she had been interested in Ryan, and now she knew there was no chance of anything happening. In her rants, Allison threatened to reveal the secret if things didn't go her way, and she continued to complain that they were trying to dictate to her how to play. Ummm, ok, they just didn't want you to tell this one thing. The rest of the game is up to you. I really don't see why she was going on as much as she was.

Amanda revealed a different side of herself when she said that her father committed suicide, and that she survived that, so she can survive anything, and that was why she always tried to have a happy disposition. Alex's father had died as well, in the attacks on September 11.

There was also this segment involving the revelation to the houseguests that Adam was "uncut". What the hell? I can't imagine why he would even have told anyone that.

Jen and Ryan and Parker were concerned that Allison was going to spill the beans, so they decided to head her off at the pass by telling Alex and Matt. They all then told Natalie and Amanda, and then Sheila found out and had a conniption fit (all the while agreeing with Allison that Allison was not going to tell the secret), and then Allison told Joshuah and Neil, after which there was a big house meeting to tell everyone and to have everyone promise nothing else was going on. Allison and Sheila were later talking and came up with a plan to tell people that they were a secret lesbian couple, and they relayed this info to Joshua, who then immediately told Neil. I have no idea what the point of this was or what they thought it was going to get them.

Sheila continued to bad-mouth Adam constantly, and everyone was completely tired of hearing about it. But as much as Alex was annoyed with Sheila, when it came time for the nomination, he and Amanda put up Ryan & Allison and Jen & Parker for eviction.

"Law and Order: CI"

This was a ripped-from-the-headlines story that partly tracked the events of the lacross team members who were accused of rape. Several members of a football team were accused of raping a stripper at a party, and the second stripper (Asian) was going to testify to witnessing the assault, but she was found dead the morning she was supposed to testify.

The detectives followed a trail of a credit card to a Wall St. broker whose stepson had visited the strip club to talk to the two strippers since he was maintaining that no assault occurred. The detectives were further stone-walled when the ADA from another district refused to help them with their murder investigation since he was too busy in his determined obsession with prosecuting the team members. His wife was the press liaison, and they revealed that the Asian stripper had been raped as well but she wouldn't agree to charge them, only to be a witness.

One of the team members accused of rape was a great player from a poor family, and unlike most of the others, his family couldn't afford an expensive lawyer. He told the detectives that he was never interviewed or had his statement taken, and the detectives further discovered from the medical examiner's autopsy report that the Asian stripper was never raped and in fact was still a virgin. They discovered that she had been stripping to save money for a wedding, and notwithstanding her profession, she (and her fiance, who knew about her job) were very religious and had decided to wait until after marriage to have sex. She was not attacked by the team members, but she apparently saw the attack on the other stripper.

The detectives discovered that the other stripper was going to be suing the team members for a big settlement, but that was derailed when a rape kit showed no DNA match with any of the team members. She then finally revealed that she had made the whole thing up. She had been cheating on her current boyfriend with her ex, but when she tried to break it off with her ex, he was the one who raped her. Not wanting her jealous boyfriend to find out, she decided to accuse the team members of rape and justified it by saying that they were insulting and rude and mean to her when they were working the party. Ummm, ok, yeah, they said seriously horrible things to her, but that justifies being accused of something as terrible as rape? The Asian stripper was initially going to go along with the lie, but her conscience got the better of her, and the night before she was scheduled to go to court, she told her friend that she wasn't going to be testifying after all. The friend called the ADA to tell him, and suspicion then fell on his ambitious wife, who was hoping to get a lot of good political publicity from the rape convictions. It turned out that the wife had been pressuring the poor family to accept a deal and scaring them with stories that because they had no money for a lawyer, their son would take the brunt of the punishment while the others got away with it. Even after the wife knew that the Asian stripper wasn't going to testify, she still went to the player's mother to exert some more pressure, threatening her son with jail, and the mother went to see the Asian stripper to talk her out of testifying, and she inadvertently ended up killing her before she had a chance to tell her she wasn't going to be testifying after all.

Cynthia Watros (who some people might know as Libby from "Lost") and Peri Gilpin (probably most known for playing Roz on "Frasier") were both very good as the ADA's wife and the poor family's mother, respectively.

"Law and Order"

The show started with an immigration rally in Central Park which was interrupted by a shooting. The detectives later found a woman who was shot and killed, and when they finally tracked down her celphone, they found that she had recorded part of the rally and her own attack, and amid outcry that the police fired into the crowd at the rally, ballistics ended up showing that she was shot by the same type of gun that police used. A policeman who had been suspended for being caught on tape beating a random reporter identified another person on the tape as an auxiliary cop, but when the case was brought before the grand jury, the ADA blew the hearing, basically discrediting his own major witness, who had a shady history of his own. McCoy ended up firing the ADA. The ballistics report ended up confirming that the shot that killed the victim came from the auxiliary cop's gun. The auxiliary cop then said that he had been ordered to shoot.

On the stand, the auxiliary cop said that he and others like him went on the same patrols as regular cops, but they were not allowed to have guns nor did they get any respect, and he was very angry about it. Umm, ok, well, you're NOT a real cop. If you were a real cop, you would have gone through the police academy and passed their tests. But you didn't. So if you don't like the way you're being treated, either BECOME a real copy or quit - no one is forcing you to be an auxiliary cop.

The fired ADA, who apparently didn't prosecute cops, testified that McCoy was against cops, and he accused McCoy of abusing the system to further his own personal agenda, but McCoy took the stand and basically refuted everything he said, which eventually led to the auxiliary cop being found guilty.


Fox has announced that because of the writers' strike, the next season of "24" won't be aired until January 2009. *sigh* I want to know what's up with Tony. I have to wait a whole 'nother year. They'll be done shooting in May or June, and yet, I'll still have to wait another seven months after that.


Andrew said...

Are you watching Terminator a week late or am I getting the episodes from the mysterious future?

Cindy said...

Neither. I'm watching them the night they're aired, but I've just been slow on doing the write-ups.

Or maybe Derek is coming back and making clandestine visits! :)