Author Topic: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Complete Second Season marathon  (Read 14824 times)

Offline goodguy

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:hmmmm: The way you put it makes one think that Sarah is partly responsible too, since she could have brought Ellisonm on her side and sadly refused to do so.

Strictly spoken, yes. But aside from the fact that Sarah knows too little about Ellison to trust him, she also remembers what happened to other people that got dragged into her war, like Charlie and his wife.

The thing with Ellison is that he is a believer, that God has a plan for him, that he has a "role" in all this. Sarah gives him nothing in that regard while Weaver always has fostered that belief.

I don't think Weaver needs the chip, at least that's what I felt. She just needs the body to advance her technology there.

Of course. She already has the Turk. I'm keeping in line with what was shown in the episode. That Ellison would dig up Cromartie was hinted at pretty strongly, but at the same time the episode left no doubt about the destruction of the chip.

Thanks for the explanation.

You're welcome. But shouldn't that be "Thank you for explaining" ? :laugh:

Quote
The counterpoint to that is young Fisher. As Ellison's VO drones on to justify his choice (we can't allow history to repeat itself), we see young Fisher thrown in a cell, ensuring he is available to the machines on Judgment Day.
:slaphead: How could I have missed that :stars:

On second thought, I may have misread that. When we see young Fisher, it doesn't look so much like he is in a prison cell, but in a psych ward. Which still serves as a couterpoint to Ellison's VO, but only because it is the same thing that happened to Sarah (and Dr. Silberman). I admit, I like my first idea better, because it makes the "different futures" more ambigous, but it seems that wasn't what they were going for.
Matthias

Offline Achim

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On second thought, I may have misread that. When we see young Fisher, it doesn't look so much like he is in a prison cell, but in a psych ward. Which still serves as a couterpoint to Ellison's VO, but only because it is the same thing that happened to Sarah (and Dr. Silberman). I admit, I like my first idea better, because it makes the "different futures" more ambigous, but it seems that wasn't what they were going for.
Now, that you mention this, this I remember. Him telling some people asking questions what had happened to him, realizing at the same time that he was in big trouble for such outrageous story.

Offline goodguy

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2x10 Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point
Synopsis: The three-dot symbol leads Sarah to a company with a surprising connection to Andy Goode's Turk. Riley becomes a liability to John.
My Rating:

This is the first time I'm ahead. Yay me!!

As usual I will talk about the events in the episode fairly open and without spoiler tags. Achim, if you haven't seen the episode yet, you may want to postpone reading this.

I really wish I could give another 5-star rating here, because there were so many great things in this episode. The Riley story was terrific. The Ellison story intriguing. There were big reveals. It was all wonderfully done. But. The main story about Sarah and Dakara systems had such a weak run-of-the-mill, done-by-the-numbers plot; it unfortunately drags the whole thing down a notch.

I initially thought the three-dot thingie was a distraction, or even a meta joke, like, solve the problem, connect the dots. But as everyone kept insisting it was just that, I became less sure. BTW, nice that John continues to be supportive towards Sarah, even if he has his doubts.

So Sarah and Cameron play dress up as potential investors, there are business meetings and business dinners and small talks and a chip which is a fake chip and the Connors get conned and... yawn. Still, there are a few nice bits in-between, such as Cameron's sudden remark about the hair, the colors of Sarah and Cameron's outfit matching the black and white of the Go pieces, or Cameron's gun posing during the raid on the impostors (doing nothing while Sarah and Derek beat up the guys).

That the plot is so boring is even more of a shame, because Lena Hadey is great showing both Sarah's longing for a past were everything was normal and her growing obsession with the three dots. When she almost loses it and beats the hell out of Akagi, it is a very intense scene. Later on, she looks in the mirror and discovers three small splashes of blood on her face. Is she going crazy? As she smashes the mirror in frustration, the camera pans down to the shards in the sink, reflecting two images of Sarah. Wonderful shot.

Derek finally discovers that Jesse has an agenda of her own. What she tells about Future John might be exaggerated, but we know from S1 that he was heavily shielded. Derek decides to trust her, but we know that she still keeps secrets. How ironic that later it is Derek who tells Sarah she got played.

And Riley. Leven Rambin took the character to a whole new level in this episode. The scene as John visits her and she talks about the bear/fish poster completely blew me away. Then, in another terrific scene, we find out she is connected to Jesse, who once more becomes creepy as hell in the way she manipulates Riley. And as Riley returns to her foster home, she finally has her breakdown too and channels T2-Sarah in her you're-all-gonna-die outburst. All this remains beyond powerful, even on rewatching and without being floored by the surprises.

Meanwhile, Ellison finds out that Weaver's AI accidentally caused the death of Dr. Sherman during a blackout. Weaver encourages him to investigate. And while the writers managed to make a con plot boring, they also manage to make Ellison "interrogating" the AI a very intriguing scene. As he comes to the conclusion that the AI needs to be taught ethics, Weaver again takes him up on it. It is still hard to say what Weaver's agenda is, but her elevator talk with Ellison surely provided some interesting clues. But what he sees when both go to the AI lab again will probably give him another nightmare.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 11:12:38 PM by goodguy »
Matthias

Offline Achim

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Achim, if you haven't seen the episode yet, you may want to postpone reading this.
Trust me, I will :) In fact, I only opened the thread accidentally and then the red text caught my eye.

I will catch up again from tomorrow. next week I am off (Chinese New Year), so will be ahead of you most of the time again.

Offline Achim

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10. Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point
The three-dot symbol leads Sarah to a company with a surprising connection to Andy Goode's Turk. Riley becomes a liability to John.

My comments:
Awesome episode all the way through. Other than Matthias I even enjoyed the Sarah plot sufficiently. There was lots of stuff going on and even if there was comparably little action I enjoyed all parts. There were many little bits which were especially fun to observe (Matthias mentioned them all:

I found it was nicely left somewhat ambiguous whether the 3 dots had a deeper meaning or not. While Derek makes a good point that they are probably not (he doesn't say this, but they might have been by the guy writing all the stuff when he got exhausted from writing and used three fingers to lean himself on the wall) but then I thought that Akagi (the guy in Sarah's story line who scams her) pointed out that the three dots are "just a logo" once too many (then again, if that had a meaning, he probably wouldn't know at that point...).

Also Riley's and Jesse's suddenly being revealed as being intertwined kept things interesting on that side. It seemed to be going on for a while already opened up a few new mysteries to be uncovered later.

Interesting how Matthias talked about all major plot points but then left out the reveal in the last shot. :laugh: Things are certainly shaping up for Weaver and from all we can see the story of Sarah getting ripped off may have been a red herring after all.


Offline Achim

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11. Self Made Man
Cameron never sleeps, so what does she do at night? Chase a T-888 that?s been lost in time.

My comments:
This episode concentrates entirely on Cameron investigating the past. We get a little of John and nothing of anyone else. Cameron has apparently paid regularly visits to the local library, where she bribed the night watch (with donuts) to let her in. She uses her time there to find someone in the past and looks for the connection to the future.

I mostly enjoys crime films where the story slowly unravels to eventually reveal the big picture and on occasion give as a :slaphead: moment. No exception here. There is quite a bit witty dialog (two of Cameron's bon mots made me laugh out loud) and the detective work runs along at a steady pace. But here's the rub, which happens often with this kind of stories: the "timing" is off. By that I mean that the entire investigation (plus Cameron's "problem solving at the end) happens in one single night. Going through records, finding film clips, having conversations, connecting the dots (no pun intended) and all they need is a couple of hours...? Fail (this is where I deduct one notch in the rating). Another problem is that I felt lots of lag, where I thought the story could speed up a bit and move along; luckily those are moments never lasted very long.

John's story is merely a side note and shows him getting closer to Riley. I did not like this section at all and him suddenly bursting put and almost beating the crap out of a guy who is already down felt out of place to me.


Offline Achim

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12. Alpine Fields
Sarah and Cameron work to save a family on the list with a connection to Derek and Jesse in the future.

My comments:
I did not connect with this episode at all. I don't like "constructed" plots and this one seemed to be just that. I mean, we have been following Sarah for quite a while now and suddenly they say "oh, yes, well, 6 months ago this happened", so they create a past event to explain the proceedings of the current episode. The episode also seemed entirely on it's own and I get the feeling that except the scene that was only talked before, when Derek and Jesse met, nothing really relates to the main plot. Another thing that bugged me is that first they to spoil the suspense by giving certain information "accidentally" too early (who is the terminator after...?) just to give us an entire different solution later; it felt cheap.

No John, no Ellison, little of Cameron and Sarah. Mainly Derek just doesn't seem the right thing for this series :shrug:


(my lowest rating yet)

Offline goodguy

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(my lowest rating yet)

Ouch. I'm pretty sure I will disagree when I catch up later today.

BTW, there is an error in the rating table. My rating for 2x10 was , not .
Matthias

Offline Achim

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Ouch. I'm pretty sure I will disagree when I catch up later today.
I could imagine. Looking forward to read your thoughts.

Quote
BTW, there is an error in the rating table. My rating for 2x10 was , not .
Corrected.

(I was hoping you would double-check that table.)

Offline goodguy

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2x11 Self Made Man
Synopsis: Cameron never sleeps, so what does she do at night? Chase a T-888 that's been lost in time.
My Rating:

Toni Graphia is one of the finest writers on this show and here she is responsible for another gem. The seasonal story arc is pretty much abandoned in what seems to be a stand-alone episode, but is it really? Sure, on the surface it's about a T-888 lost in the '20s. It's also a night in the life of Cameron. But the really beautiful thing is how the episode picks up not so much the plot, but the themes developed in the series so far.

Why does Cameron go to the library? It's not so much information she seeks, but knowledge. That's why she befriends Eric, the night librarian (excellent, Billy Lush), that's why she reads Shakespeare. She wants to understand humans. She wants to understand John. They don't make sense to her.

Upon the photograph of the T-888 she stumbles by accident. At first, he doesn't make sense to her either. But he is a machine. Machines are predictable, easy to figure out. And that, Achim, is exactly why it takes her only a night to piece together the clues.

But humans? They turn over turtles, so she did turn over Ellison. But when Eric falls out of his chair, he obviously doesn't want her help. And Cameron observes him, curious, confused. But not attached. For her, everything works out fine: the robbery, Othello, Eric being replaced by another night guard (what a great ending).

There are so many little things in this episode to marvel at. They are what creates the rich texture of the show, what makes it special. Like the question about suicide in the bathroom, calling back that girl in S1 who killed herself. Like the bomb comment, linking back to her talk about Sarah's cancer. Like the three dots that suddenly appear as star positions in a flashback, making them part of the T-888 investigation that essentially is just a McGuffin.

I also really liked John and Riley. Again very little happens, but the beauty is in the details and how it is all connected. Like John beating up the guy at the party and Sarah beating up Akagi. Like Riley playing little games with John at the party and a big game to further Jesse's agenda. Like John's "I shouldn't be around people" echoes what Jesse said about Future John. Like Riley's "you're a weirdo, you might get me" complements the story of Cameron and Eric. And, and, and.

I'm very glad the show doesn't speed up and move along, as Achim said. It wouldn't be the show I've come to admire.
Matthias

Offline Achim

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Upon the photograph of the T-888 she stumbles by accident. At first, he doesn't make sense to her either. But he is a machine. Machines are predictable, easy to figure out. And that, Achim, is exactly why it takes her only a night to piece together the clues.
Yeah, piecing them together so quick I get, but the physical procedure of finding them. While she may immediately know what she is looking for, but they need to find it...


Quote
I'm very glad the show doesn't speed up and move along, as Achim said. It wouldn't be the show I've come to admire.
Maybe my comment sounded bigger than how I meant it. I did point out that those moments never lasted very long for a reason. Almost like in Lost, where nothing happens for so long until it almost gets unbearable and then they throw in loads of excitement. Almost in a good way ;) (the important key for such design always is, to know when the viewers mind is about to wander off..., they clearly did)

Offline Achim

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13. Earthlings  Welcome Here
At a conference on UFOs, Sarah gets a clue that puts her on the trail of the three dots.  Riley has second thoughts about her mission.

My comments:
Wow, that was awkward. While most of the plot didn't really interest me that much (mainly that part with the UFOs...) it was still all put together very well. Then there is the two other story threads which are also very interesting and the story comes out on top in the end.

I mean, come on, Sarah follows a lead where she found three UFOs on the cover of a flyer, looking similar to her dots? In general I don't mind the idea that stands behind that (people found "future technology" and since they can't know that they assume it's alien), just they way it's introduced into the show didn't meet my approval (:laugh:). Once that was over with there was one more obvious plot twist to deal with but the rest was fine.

Much more interesting to me was how they introduced Riley's back story (including "her" agenda) with a bang. No more hiding, no more guesses or hints. Kaboom, here is what it is, deal with it. :laugh: :thumbup: That was intercut with interactions between John, Riley and Cameron which re-introduced the theme of jealousy.

Finally there is Ellison who, after initial hesitation, agrees to teach morals and ethics to John Henry. Well, technically we never see him agree, but we see him play chess with the artificial intelligence and discuss related topics.
(click to show/hide)


(only because the, IMO misguided, use of the UFO theme)

Offline Achim

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Matthias, I am going to make an exception and go in the lead by three episodes. DVD Profiler "dictates" (:bag:) that I should finish this disc and enter it as watched before I continue watching something else in the next few days while waiting for you to catch up.

Offline Achim

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14. The Good Wound
Gravely wounded Sarah is guided by the image of John’s father, Kyle Reese.  Weaver moves to protect John Henry.

My comments:
Kyle Reese is back :) ... Sarah uses Kyle for an inner monologue to make herself trust the doctor she took hostage and to overcome the pain. I liked these scenes way more than I expected at first and kept thinking about that it's only her talking to herself and was delighted to see how well they wrote it. As Matthias pointed out before,.. Team Connor is ripped apart. The previous episodes already did the same and also her we see all main characters individually, rarely together; they all have their own story, failing to function properly as a team. While no plot advancements are achieved, this episode portrays nicely how Sarah realizes how alone she is (another reason why she summons Kyle). The subplot with the doctor seems a bit contrived but otherwise works quite alright in the context.

John and Cameron are in the hospital because of Riley
(click to show/hide)
. Cameron makes nice subtle points to John, that Riley is better left alone (pragmatism, not jealousy). After Riley is removed from the hospital from Jesse we get to see that she has way more attachment to Jesse than John, something Jesse rather dislikes. Are we still missing pieces in the puzzle about them?

Ellison begins to realize that teaching John Henry may not have been a good choice. On the other hand Weaver and John Henry get closer... I am still not able to guess if Weaver has other motives than the obvious ones :headscratch:


Offline goodguy

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2x12 Alpine Fields
Synopsis: Sarah and Cameron work to save a family on the list with a connection to Derek and Jesse in the future.
My Rating:

After the revelations of 2x10, the show goes off on a tangent for the second time in a row. That's either a pretty ballsy move, the result of the network asking for more self-contained episodes, or padding towards the mid-season finale (2x13). While I like to think it is the first, in reality it is probably a little of all three.

Since I'm rewatching the series, I obviously have more patience for things that maybe considered distractions from the main plot. But I have to say that it didn't bother me on first viewing either. And while the episode has no relation to the main plot, it does relate to the main story by mirroring it: protector and savior, Lauren and her sister, Sarah and John.

I really liked the three time frames. They have done future flashbacks before, and adding another layer to that seems almost like a natural extension. Especially since there is nothing gimmicky about it here, all the flashbacks are very clearly personalized and structured to good effect.

I always found Derek to be an interesting character. We get to know a little more about his suicidal strike (Kyle's disappearance causing him to volunteer for risky missions) and we get to see that moment where he and Jesse meet for the first time. BTW, kudos to the writers for throwing in that "She'll be apples" line (linking to Riley's carrots-and-apples in her first talk with John).

The scenes in the Fields cabin had an almost Buffy-esque feeling in the way they pushed the hilarious elements while maintaining both drama and suspense. I especially liked how certain bits trickled from one conversation to another (cyborgs, not robots; closer doesn't mean happy) and that Lauren was the one who knew all the little family secrets (the gun, David's shady business, Anne's affair).

All in all that was another great episode, very well told and very engaging. That's not to say there weren't a few missteps, though. They went for some of the more obvious tearjerker and clichéd moments and tied it all up a little to neatly, even if the final shot again was great as Derek finds that Lauren is gone and has left behind the necklace he considered a target.

Another thing that bugged me is that first they to spoil the suspense by giving certain information "accidentally" too early (who is the terminator after...?) just to give us an entire different solution later; it felt cheap.

Erm, no. At that point, we know (from the now-frame) that Lauren's father is already dead and that the terminator is still after pregnant Anne and Lauren.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 09:00:01 PM by goodguy »
Matthias