Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" - December 8, 2008 and December 15, 2008 episodes

December 8, 2008 episode

Derek enters some kind of room with a broken-down bus and other machinery while he's on the phone with Sarah. He then encounters a young woman and an older woman who is very pregnant and obviously hurt. Derek and the younger woman train guns on each other until Derek tells her that he's a friend of Sarah Connor's, and the younger woman puts her gun down.

The scene jumps back to six months prior, where Sarah and Cameron, with guns, force themselves into a cabin occupied by dad David, mom Ann and teenage daughter Lauren. Ann and Lauren are the two women that Derek is with in the first scene. The family thinks that Sarah and Cameron are there to rob them, but Sarah explains that they're actually trying to protect the family, and that the family needs to leave with them now. Lauren knocks out Sarah from behind as Cameron is in another room, so David takes her gun and wants to know "the truth". [At this point, the husband's comment was "You can't handle the truth." I didn't know what Sarah was going to say, but I thought she was going to make up some kind of lie. I was wrong.] Sarah tells them about terminators and that one is on its way to kill them. Cameron then shows up and easily disarms David. Sarah and Cameron then herd the family into the car and take off, but Sarah ends up running into another car - a car driven by the terminator sent to kill the family. Sarah gets the family back to the cabin while Cameron and the terminator fight it out.

Sarah wants to know about the family to find out who the terminator is after and why. David says there's nothing going on and he's just into banking, but he's later outed by Lauren, who produces emails that tie David to a cybernetics company. He says he's been doing some illegal stuff for the company, and he asks what Lauren was doing on his computer, to which she replies, "Looking at lesbian porn." I loved that the reaction from David is that Lauren is lesbian. Yeah, because she really meant that, and how she got his email is the issue at hand with a maniacal machine outside that wants to kill them. Ann is upset that David didn't tell her about any of this, to which his response is, "What is it about 'illegal activities' don't you understand?" He then says that she never asked him where the money came from that he brought him. She says she assumed he'd earned it. I thought David was being an ass throughout this whole scene. I mean, ok, yeah, he hasn't fully accepted the terminator thing and it's a bit hard to wrap your head around, but he tries to deflect blame onto Lauren and Ann. David had a job, and he brought home money. How on earth was Ann supposed to know he was getting more money because of illegal activities? "Welcome home, honey, did any of the money you earned and brought home come from you doing illegal things?" Yeah, that makes sense to ask.

Sarah has the front door rigged to shock whoever comes in as a protection against the terminator, but when a man appears outside, Ann dismantles the wires because it's neighbor Roger, who is revealed to be having an affair with Ann and who came because Ann called him. [There were a few moments when Roger first appeared outside in silhouette/shadow that he almost looked like a hulking Michael Myers to me.]

As they're arguing, Cameron is then thrown through the front window, and she's motionless. The terminator is seen approaching, and David decides to sacrifice himself by going outside so the terminator can kill him there and spare his family, but he's not the target, and the terminator just tosses him aside and continues toward the house. Ann reveals to Sarah that she's pregnant and that David is not the father, and Sarah realizes the terminator is after her baby, so she tells Lauren to hide in a closet and she takes off with Ann. Lauren is later saved by Cameron, who knocks out Roger by mistake. Sarah and Ann are then seen running when a car comes screeching up, taking out the terminator in the process. David and Cameron and Lauren are in the car and help Sarah and Ann in, driving off as the terminator is unable to keep up his pursuit.

Lauren is tending to an unconscious Ann, and Derek asks how the terminator found them. Lauren says she screwed up and called Roger because she just wanted to feel normal. Later, when Lauren is outside and Derek is tending to Ann, Derek tells her he knows that Lauren didn't call Roger. Ann admits that she did and that it's her fault that the terminator found them.

Meanwhile, there have been flash forwards to 2027, where a virus is decimating the human population. Derek is sent to investigate a bunker, where he discovers that everyone is dead. Derek sees a very pregnant mother with two children lying next to her, all looking like they're peacefully sleeping but are instead dead. (This is an image that Derek had flashed back on when he first saw Lauren and very pregnant Ann.)

Jesse finds the image too disturbing to handle, and he goes back outside. He is looking at his gun when a female voice is heard behind him - Jesse. This would have been the moment they previously talked about, when Derek thought about killing himself because even he couldn't take it, and Jesse ended up saving his life. He says that everyone inside is dead, but she says she was sent to investigate a signal that they received, so someone must be alive, probably in the radio room. They go back inside and make their way and when Derek pounds on the radio room door, there is indeed a response, and they find a girl inside, who we later find out is Sydney, the child that Ann was pregnant with. Soon after, Jesse starts to show symptoms of being infected by the virus, and Sydney says despite their masks, both Derek and Jesse have probably been infected and will soon die. They make their way back to the main compound, and Jesse has gotten worse and Derek is starting to show symptoms as well. Sydney is led away to see if they can formulate an antibody based on her natural immunity to the virus. Both Jesse and Derek are very sick, but an antibody is developed and administered, which has an immediate effect in curing them. The person administering the shot to Derek is Lauren, who thanks him for saving her sister.

Back in the present, Lauren helps Ann to give birth to Sydney, and immediately after, Ann dies. She had hung in long enough just to make sure Sydney could be born. Derek invites Lauren to come live with them, but after Derek returns from talking on the phone to Sarah, Lauren and Sydney are gone. Lauren knows that she has to take care of Sydney, and she's accepted the responsibility. She leaves behind a necklace that she had previously been warned could be used to identify her. She's going into hiding with Sydney, yet another child who has to grow up too fast to accept a responsibility far beyond her years.


December 15, 2008 episode

Sarah is seen driving, but on a non-plot-point note, I loved the opening shot that circled around the car and then rested on a shot of Sarah. Sarah arrives at a UFO conference in search of more information about the three dots symbol. She is dismissed by one of the seminar instructions as someone who just wants to attend and see the freaks and make fun of them, but another attendee takes her interest seriously. The woman tells Sarah about someone named Abraham who had been blogging about working with a metal alloy that was indestructible and had properties that were beyond anything developed by man. She says that Abraham is actually Alan Park, who had been working on a project involving lidar. There's an attack on them, which Sarah thwarts, and after that, the woman admits that she (really he) is actually Alan Park aka Abraham.

Alan never knew where he did his work, so Sarah convinces him to see a hypnotherapist to try to remember details. As Alan is talking in the session, Sarah had slipped a microphone in his bag and is listening to and recording everything he says. While Sarah is listening, someone comes into the room where Alan and the therapist are, and then Sarah hears gunshots. When she gets to the room, both Alan and the therapist are dead. Sarah then takes the tape she has and in listening to Alan's account (being picked up in a van at a local park, the direction the van was going, how long they drove, what kinds of sounds he heard), Sarah is able to recreate the journey that Alan took in being taken to work every day. (I loved the bit that Alan said he always heard rain but it didn't make any sense, and Sarah figured out that the car was being hit by strong sprinklers.) She finds the building where Alan worked, and while she initially buys the story of the guy inside that he doesn't know anything, she turns to leave, and he pulls out a gun and shoots her. She shoots and kills him, but she's badly hurt and bleeding. She had been hallucinating images of herself anyway, and as she crawls outside half delirious, she sees a spaceship descending. But she had seen a picture of the spaceship earlier. Did she really see the ship or was she just hallucinating?

I liked this whole story segment, even though Sarah spent all of it away from people she knows, but the story was compelling enough to keep my interest. I did figure out that the "woman" was Abraham, though I didn't figure out the "man now living as a woman to hide" aspect. I'm not entirely sure I understand all the hallucinations Sarah had. I think they were all hallucinations of when she was originally running from terminators. I really do hope the spaceship aspect is just a hallucination because while I can accept terminators and time travel and all that, I don't want alien people to be incorporated into this story. Maybe in her delirium, she thought she saw the spaceship when it was in fact just a vehicle that pulled up, and the vehicle happened to have the three dots symbol on the side as part of a company name.

Riley comes to see John and tells her about having flipped out on her foster mother. In flashbacks, Riley's story is told. She's from the future, and she was a starving child scrounging around. Jesse took her under her wing, and when Jesse arrived in the present, she brought Riley with her, who was amazed at all the nice new things in the apartment they were staying in. Jesse brought Riley for one reason - to come between John and Cameron. John notices that Riley has a bruise on one cheek, but she says it's nothing. It's revealed that she got kicked out of the foster house, and she'd gone to see Jesse and wanted to live there, but Jesse said that Riley had a job to do and slapped her, which accounted for the bruise.

Cameron is still suspicious of Riley and tells John that Riley is lying about getting the bruise from running into a door. John won't listen to Cameron though. They find Riley in the bathroom, and Riley has slit her wrists in an attempt to kill herself.

Catherine wants Ellison to teach morals and the difference between right and wrong to John Henry, but Ellison refuses. Ellison later visits the reverend at his church, and the reason for Ellison's breakup from his wife is revealed. They were married and happy and trying to conceive a baby. Then came September 11, 2001. His wife had indeed gotten pregnant, but she didn't want to raise a child in that kind of world, so she chose to terminate the pregnancy without telling Ellison, but he later found out. He then decides to go back and accept Catherine's offer. Ellison is playing chess with John Henry, and he talks to John Henry about Dr. Sherman, and Ellison tries to teach John Henry about the value of all human life.

I really liked the reveal of how Ellison's marriage broke up because it was heartbreaking. I'm not sure I understand why Catherine wants Ellison to teach John Henry. She's a terminator, and she presumably wants Skynet to develop, and ultimately Skynet is going to destroy humanity. So why does she want Skynet to learn about the value of human life and have morals? Does she want Skynet to be modified so that machines and humans will be able to live together?

There are a lot of questions that are being brought up in the stories, and all the time jumping was getting a little irritating to me, though in the case of this show, where time jumping is an integral part of the backstory, I can kind of understand it, and at least in the previous episode, everything got tied together nicely. I'm still enjoying the show, so I'm looking forward to seeing more when the show returns in February 2009.

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