Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Terminator, "Automatic for the People": Kim Kelly is my landlady

Quick spoilers for last night's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" coming up just as soon as I talk my wife into getting us a racecar bed...

Not bad. Nothing remotely as exciting as Cameron temporarily turning evil to chase after John and Sarah, but also nothing as goofy as Shirley Manson turning into a urinal (or vice versa). This show's going to come in a distant third to "Chuck" and "HIMYM" for me in the timeslot, but that's what multiple DVRs or Hulu are for.

Couple of random thoughts:

• Hi, I'm a sci-fi nerd, and therefore care about the rules for a show that so liberally uses time travel. John and Sarah have already changed the timeline many times, and now Shirley Manson's doing the same, and yet Future John is still able to send people and intel back to help his mom and his former self. I'm not crying foul over anything they've done yet, but at some point I want Cameron or Shirley or even Derek to explain how this all works.

• Exactly how long did it take the Zack Ward character to write that much in his own blood, and wouldn't it have been smarter for him to just walk into Sarah's new house and ask, "Hey, can I borrow a pen and paper -- and maybe some first aid?"

• Also, re: Zack Ward, when you see him do you think of him as Titus' dopey kid brother, or as yellow-eyed Scut Farkus?

• Good on the producers for giving Busy Philipps something to distract her during the late stages of her pregnancy.

• Is there any way John's new girlfriend (whom I believe is a cast regular) is as normal and non-SkyNet-y as John takes her for?

What did everybody else think?

16 comments:

spiderpig said...

Okay, I'm sorry but I'm a little confused on the stuff written in blood on the wall. I didn't watch it in HD so I couldn't do a pause, but was there more info on the wall than just the stuff about the power plant? And I agree, why didn't he just come inside to write it?

As for John's new girlfriend, I think she a "good" terminator. John seems to like sending young hot girls back in time to protect him. Charley's new wife is the "bad" terminator, IMO.

Bobman said...

One of the better episodes of the series... and probably my last. I only have one dual-tuner DVR, and I don't care about this show quite enough to catch it on Hulu.

dez said...

Also, re: Zack Ward, when you see him do you think of him as Titus' dopey kid brother, or as yellow-eyed Scut Farkus?

He's Dave, not Scott :-) Also, what a waste of Zack. They should have kept him around (and shirtless) a lot longer.

Show was okay, but I am getting a little tired of all the new damn Terminators and future people running around. I'd rather spend a little more time with Cromartie than seeing multiple new Terminators showing up.

Leven Rambin plays John's new school friend. If she's acting behind the scenes the way she allegedly did when she was on "All My Children," she's not long for the show, so I'm guessing Terminatrix.

jim treacher said...

When I see Zack Ward, I think, "Hey, Bonaduce doesn't look so bad."

The new girlfriend is such a Terminator it's not even funny. (What did she do behind the scenes on AMC? Allegedly?)

Anonymous said...

I'm with bobman. I enjoy the show when I watch it, but I don't think it's ever risen to the level of must see for me. I watched all of last season because there was nothing else on thanks to the strike, but now that everything is back, I think this show is gonna get retired from my lineup.

pgillan said...

The girlfriend has to be some sort of Terminator, or something. She showed up way too suddenly; he barely had time to get his brood on. Though, if she were a Terminatrix, Cameron would be able to spot her right away. So maybe Spiderpig was right, and she's another hot young present from future-John who's pissed he never got some as a kid (or wants to get a letter in future-Penthouse).

I also agree that the number of people coming from the future is getting out of hand. At some point all these Goobacks will have to start affecting the local economy, won't they?

And come on, a job in a nuclear plant within an hour? Really?

dez said...

(What did she do behind the scenes on AMC? Allegedly?)

Allegedly a major party child. Had the "wild child" tag. Allegedly affected her performance, looks, ability to show up to work on time, and such. Not quite Amy Winehouse levels, but getting there. Allegedly. I can confirm the looks part, actually, since she did have several eps where even the make-up couldn't hide the damages.

tomok97 said...

I've been wondering the same thing about time travel. Used to liberally it negates all tension from a show because you know they can paint themselves out of any corner.

Plus, what's with the guy from the future coming back 2-days before the plant meltdown? If you're going back in time, why don't you set the dial a little bit further in order to give yourself some breathing room?

DonBoy said...

If that "full of apples and carrots" thing doesn't come out of somebody else's mouth at some point to give the game away, I'll be very disappointed. But speaking of rules, can or cannot Terminators be completely convincing as people? Cameron was, for 2 minutes, in the pilot, IIRC, then she stopped bothering. Cromartie was, as teacher, but not really as that guy whose name I can't remember whose identity he stole. Nuclear guy wasn't real convincing last night. So I wouldn't like it if Mrs. Charlie turned out to be one.

William said...

The overall ability of terminators to convincingly portray human beings varies depending on what's going on in the show and whether they want the scene to be funny or not. Way back in the pilot, Cameron was supposed to be an advanced model fully capable of human behavior, and then for the rest of the series they haven't really stuck to that with her. Which is a shame, because a terminator that acts really human would be pretty great, especially considering how good Summer Glau's performance is.

Sara Ann said...

I'm gonna go ahead and stick up for this episode. Sure, it had some glaring logic errors, but it moved fast enough that I didn't notice them until after it was done. And as far as eventually explaining the time travel issues, is there an explanation that would do anything but invite more nitpicking?

If Not-Quite-Manic Pixie Dream Girl turns out to be a terminator, Cameron really does a crappy threat assessment level.

Christopher said...

I thought this episode was solid enough. Definately some loose ends to be tied up with the time-travel hooplah. But I like that the blood-wall will now serve as a navigator for this show's spiralling and demanding plot (I don't know if we got such direction before because I missed much of the first season).

While Glau is usually the one each week who leaves me wanting more, I was more intrigued this week by Dekker's performance of teen angsty John and how out of the loop he is with modern lingo (though I can't say "carrots & apples" is something i've heard before). Being pals with Riley i'm sure is some reaction to Cameron saying the three special words ... and not "I'm Chuck Bass".

pgillan said...

If Not-Quite-Manic Pixie Dream Girl turns out to be a terminator, Cameron really does a crappy threat assessment level.

Haha, another MPDG; I didn't even catch that, but it's perfect.

I glossed over it in a previous post, but when I mentioned that Cameron would have have spotted her but didn't say anything, I was implying that perhaps they had some sort of communication that we were unaware of, be it wireless, or "something in her programming" that told her this was a "good" terminator.

On a different note, I meant to ask earlier what the deal was with starting a phone conversation with "day month". Is that something they were doing before, and I just didn't notice, or is it something that was introduced out of the blue (and will no doubt be "clever" later when when we find out that Skynet can route cell phone calls through time, for some reason)?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think the phone code has come up before, but no doubt it will again soon. I don't think it's about avoiding calls from the future, but about being wary of Terminators, some of whom have the ability to mimic other people's appearance, all of whom have the ability to mimic other people's voices.

pgillan said...

don't think the phone code has come up before, but no doubt it will again soon. I don't think it's about avoiding calls from the future, but about being wary of Terminators, some of whom have the ability to mimic other people's appearance, all of whom have the ability to mimic other people's voices.

I thought about that, but then it becomes a simple password; they could just as easily asked people to start all conversations with the word "tractor", or "daffodil".

I can only think of three situations where making someone say the date would be useful:
1. Someone who just got into town from the future might not knwo what day it was; but if they can find a phone, they can find a calendar, so that doesn't really work.
2. Someone calling from a different time might not know exactly what day it is where you are, and this would help protect against that.
3. They have a horrible cell phone plan that charges them extra for receiving a long-distance call, so they will hang up on someone calling from the other side of the international date line.

The more I consider it, the more convinced I am that this is either a clumsy way of setting up a future plot-point, or it's related to a event that may have gotten cut during the truncated first season.

M.Chavez said...

Since we're actually discussing plot, anyone find it interesting that Cameron seems to still be suffering from her 'malfunction' in the premiere? When Sarah ran to her for help, she just kept mopping the floor as if she was 'stuck' or something. She eventually snapped out of it but still... I thought for a second that it was the Manson character who duplicated the nuclear plant supervisor, and therefore found Cameron and used one of her groovy silver digits to reprogram her, infect her w/ a virus, or something.

Hmm... It'd be frustrating if this is just little flourishes that lead to nowhere, I'd prefer to think we're seeing background laid for some grander picture. May TPTB hear what this tv fan likes in his shows! :)