TV Review: Terminator: SCC – Born to Run

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The Sarah Connor Chronicles, FOX, Airs Friday 8/7c

Episode: “Born to Run” (Season Two, Episode 22)

Synopsis: Sarah is in jail, facing FBI prosecution. John and Cameron are holed up in a seedy motel, waiting for things to blow over. But John Henry is tapping into the police video feed and passing information about Sarah’s interrogation to the Garbage Terminator. Agent Ellison is uneasy with John Henry’s eavesdropping but the Garbage Terminator reminds him that he doesn’t always operate on the right side of the law.

Eventually, John and Cameron orchestrate a prison break for Sarah, which leads them to a confrontation with the Garbage Terminator, and her true nature is revealed. Cameron heads down to the basement to confront John Henry. When the rest of the gang meets up with her, they discover she has given her chip to John Henry, who has jumped into the future. John and the Garbage Terminator follow them through time to emerge in a post-apocalyptic future where they meet up with some familiar but relatively green resistance fighters.

Review: Well, here we are in the season two finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and much speculation surrounds whether this is actually going to be the series finale as well. There’s a lot going against this show in regards to a third season renewal. The viewership at the end of this season is about 20% that of the series premier last fall, and the season two numbers running about half that of the season one.

Also, The Sarah Connor Chronicles was meant to be the lead-in to Dollhouse on Friday nights, and that Joss Whedon show is bringing in more viewers each week. Although the past two or three weeks have leveled out, it’s not uncommon to see a certain percentage of the Dollhouse audience just skipping the Terminator portion of the block.

And in a way, all this trouble is understandable. Season two had more than its fair share of problems. There was a serious focus issue, especially in earlier episodes. It took many weeks to get some of the characters – the title character of Sarah Connor, in particular – out of a funk. At times, the one-shot stories made more sense than those that continued through the overall series arc.

Things started to look up in the last few episodes of the series, but I fear that might be a little too much too late for the show. This season finale definitely opens up some interesting doors. If you thought we were rid of Brian Austin Green, think again. Now that John Connor has jumped into the future with the Garbage Terminator, he gets to meet him again… along with his own father Kyle Reese (played by the boyish man-child Jonathan Jackson, who doesn’t hold a candle to Michael Biehn).

This season finale was a bit of a slow starter, with Sarah Connor in jail, trying to keep John safe from a distance. There were some interesting aspects to the show during the down moments in the beginning. The one that really jumped out at me was Cameron and John’s pseudo sex scene. Sure, they didn’t have real sex, but the tension was there, and considering the scene involved Cameron stripping down, having John climb on top of her and penetrate her… well, if that ain’t Terminator sex, I don’t know what is.

We did get a taste of what John Henry actually is. He jumped into the future, but since he’s no longer connected to the hardware, he’s not the same “person” he was before. And with Cameron’s chip, along with the explanation that even suppressed Terminator programming leads to killing desires, he’s set up to be a serious foe in future episodes.

And let’s not forget the double-crossing nature of the Garbage Terminator. We can’t believe what she says because she lies to everyone. And, let’s not forget the fact that she orchestrated the “hit” on her by letting a piece of herself fly the assault vehicle into her window office (and quite possibly orchestrated the kidnapping of her own child). I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this was a grand plan to get herself in the future with John Connor… alone.

The lead in to a possible third season looks promising. We’ve got the original Sarah from Palmdale back before Cameron the Terminator kills her. We’ve got Derek back, presumably to hone John into the leader of the future. We’ve got Sarah staying back in the “present” to help John in the future. (And did anyone else notice that Sarah finally said the word “Terminator” in the script… I believe this was the first time the word was spoken in the series.)

Still, the coolest part of this episode wasn’t the episode itself. It was the extended sneak peek at the new Terminator: Salvation movie, due out in theaters on May 21.

Anyway, my hope is that if FOX sees fit to grant a third season, then maybe the showrunners will keep the quality up in these future episodes and not let them degrade like they did in mid-season this year… but I’m not holding my breath.

Up Next: The last five episodes of Prison Break.

For more coverage of your favorite shows, check out the TV for Movie Lovers Archive.

Did you watch The Sarah Connor Chroniclesthis week? If so, feel free to discuss below.

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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