Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Terminator, "Queen's Gambit": All in the family

Spoilers for the latest episode of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" coming up just as soon as I wave hi to a robot...

Am I just becoming a softer touch, or was that not a bad hour of television?

The show still has a number of fundamental problems, not least which is the fact that this really shouldn't be a series. (The number of Terminators and resistance fighters hanging out in the past really devalues the concept.) I'm also bored by the CW portion of the show where John and Cameron go to school (and is there anyone who didn't immediately peg the guidance counselor as having had an affair with suicide girl?), and while I appreciate the effort to make Sarah seem tougher by opening with her doing pull-ups, if the show gets renewed, Lena Headey needs to spend her hiatus at the gym.

Still, this episode -- especially the second half, once Derek Reese came into the picture -- was the first time I felt myself actually engaged by the show. The idea of Sarah and John having other family is a powerful one -- you understand exactly why Sarah and then John would break so many of their rules to save this guy -- the chase/fight scene was fairly exciting for what I imagine to be a more standard budget/schedule than the pilot, and I'm really enjoying Richard T. Jones' soft-spoken work as the FBI agent who might be able to talk himself into believing Sarah's crazy spiel. Plus, they've peopled the guest cast with so many actors I like (Garret Dillahunt, Dean Winters, Sonya Walger) that it helps to compensate for the weaker moments from Headey and Thomas Dekker.

Still lots of work to be done, but this felt like a step in the right direction.

What did everybody else think?

14 comments:

Andrew said...

Did I see Sarah Connor cry over the guy she was considering killing anyways? Sarah F'ing Connor was crying?

Good call on the supporting cast. I will give anything with Dean Winters and the chameleonic(thanks to Milch) Dillahunt. But Sonya Walger's character is too underdeveloped to keep me intersted in her.

The potentially infinite number of terminators and resistence fighters does water things down, but my bigger problem is when they "change the future" like last weeks hijacking of the alloy for terminator skeletons. I know they established that you can change things, you just have to change them enough, but there are going to be limits to what they can that will have no effect.

Overall, not a bad episode, although you are right about the school stuff dragging things. The quirky new best friend having a crush on Cameron was just lame, and I am getting tired of them focusing on how impossible it is for her to assimilate. I know they want this to go on for several seasons, but she will eventually need to start resembling a human.

BigTed said...

Speaking of changing the future, wasn't it kind of careless of our heroes to leave a Terminator hand lying around? That's exactly what caused all the problems in "Terminator 2." (Or was it an entire Terminator body? We never saw them pick the big guy up, did we?)

Mrglass said...

"I'm also bored by the CW portion of the show where John and Cameron go to school"
The CW portion... that's just funny.

That episode was much better than usual, because they are starting to put more humor in the show. I was laughing at the grief counselor tring to connect with a Terminator, the possibilities are endless with the Cameron character.

Agree that Sarah Connor doesn't seem athletic enough to do push-ups, but the actress does a great job, as well as Summer Glau. Only John seems a bit miscast, he would fit better on the CW.

CarolMR said...

I heard BOSTON LEGAL was just cancelled.

Kristin said...

I actually liked the high school moments. It would be really ridiculous if this kid was supposed to be high school age, but we never got to see how he tries to make it in school without making any waves.

Plus, I was glad to see that the suicide story was not just a one-off. The plot was still ongoing.

I know they overused it in the promo, but they do have some good dialogue in this show..."I call shotgun." "I call nine millimeter." Classic.

The hand was a bit messy, but I think everyone was distracted by wanting to save Derrick. That's understandable. The minute Sarah knew he was Kyle's brother, you knew she would act a little less than smart.

It was a good twist...and it was nice to see Brian Austin Green as a grown-up.

bigted said...

Carolmr: "Boston Legal" wasn't on ABC's list of returning shows, but it hasn't been officially canceled yet, either. It could still go either way.

dez said...

It wasn't too bad, although I still don't believe Headey as Sarah. I liked the chase scene when she scraped the Terminator's head; the show could use more of that, less of her crying over someone she barely knew.

@bigted: It was an arm plus a microprocessor chip or something similar. I think that chip is what Cameron took out of this week's extraneous Terminator.

Matt said...

"Boston Legal" seems unlikely to go anywhere, as:

1. It (somewhat inexplicably) continues to draw Emmy attention and other awards for its political sermonizing.
2. It draws a very affluent demographic audience.
3. Aside from Spader and Shatner, the entire rest of the cast is disposible, and indeed, in just 4 seasons, just about everyone else has turned over at least twice.

TiVo Queen said...

I had the same feeling that the strong has become significantly stronger than the pilot. I also felt the school storyline was lame (particularly John's fascination for that lab partner - unless the writers have something interesting festering down the line), but am getting into the FBI investigation/current mission.

Did anyone else find the grief counselor creepy? Like "Hey, I'm the one who had the affair with the dead girl and am trying to figure out if she told anyone" creepy?

Anonymous said...

I liked the show but I am still wrapping my head around the fact that the new Reese was the kid from 90210

dez said...

The grief counselor is definitely creepy in how he's "counseling" students in order to fish for info. But based on the graffiti, don't most of the kids already know? It's not like they're going to admit that to him, either!

CarolMR said...

Thanks, bigted and matt, for the BOSTON LEGAL comments.

Anonymous said...

This would be Cosmo Kramer's favorite show, for sure.

"There's a storm coming, Jerry!"

Ginny said...

My husband and I have been watching all along and our reaction has been kind of like a joke a friend heard from a comedian: "Is the music in grocery stores getting better or are we just getting old?" (Sorry, I'm sure someone out in internetland knows who said it.) It's an okay show, but at this point (pre-strike ending) we'll take ANYTHING. And I don't have as much of a problem with the actress playing Sarah as so many others do. She could kick my ass for sure, even bony and scrawny.