Quick spoilers for the "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" season two premiere coming up just as soon as I find out what happened to the urinal cake...
I already said a lot about the premiere in today's column, so I'm going to do some quick bullet points on the good, the bad and the silly:
• It is just a pleasure to watch Summer Glau and figure out what weird thing she's going to do next. On a purely physical level, there are few performances I'm enjoying more on TV these days, and seeing Cameron both physically and mentally damaged for an hour gave her a chance to do more interesting things. (And it allowed the producers to do their own small-scale version of the original "Terminator" film.)
• They gave Thomas Dekker a haircut. I don't necessarily buy him as a stronger John just yet, but at least he looks less wimpy.
• I'm not exactly sure what they're doing with Cromartie trying to subvert Agent Ellison, but I liked Ellison's reaction to Cromartie framing the actor (just shut it down to avoid more bloodshed), and anything that gives Garret Dillahunt more to do is okay in my book.
• I'm glad they let John be tough enough to let Cameron be turned off even when she was doing the fake "I love you!" bit. Step in the right direction, at least.
• I'm not sure how John refusing in the end to burn Cameron's body ties into the new hardcore version of the character. I suppose it shows he has faith where his mother doesn't, and that's what's going to make him qualified to lead humanity against the machines in what seems like a hopeless battle, but if Glau wasn't so essential to the show being good, John should've let her stay dead.
• Still not totally on board with Lena Headey, I'm sorry to say. But since they gave the parts of movie-Sarah that I found interesting to Derek, and since The Notorious BAG is still around, I guess I can live with it.
• Shirley Manson turned into a urinal! Or, if you prefer, a urinal turned into Shirley Manson! Either way, goofy beyond belief for a show that's ordinarily as somber as it gets. Beyond that, I don't like introducing the Robert Patrick-issue T-1000's to this show's universe, or to the idea that the Terminators are themselves trying to ensure the creation of SkyNet and have control (even if it's through a doppleganger) of a massive technology company. I suppose having the machines trying a plan other than "Kill John Connor! Kill John Connor!" would make sense after John and Sarah had eluded their grasp and messed up their creation so many times in the past, but I still don't like it. The more Terminators and other time travelers you have wandering around present-day LA, the more it dilutes the concept. I know the producers have to take a long view and find a way to turn what's essentially a simple chase movie into a long-running series, but I wish this wasn't the route they chose -- especially since Manson is beyond stiff, particularly for someone playing a metal morpher.
What did everybody else think?