Spoilers for last night's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" coming up just as soon as I do a book report on "Ozma of Oz"...
What historical precedents are there for what Brian Austin Green is doing here? He's gone from squeaky-voiced "Beverly Hills 90210" fifth wheel (did anyone at any point watch that show for David Silver?) to convincing bad-ass, and, along with Summer Glau, the reason I remain engaged by a show that's otherwise just slightly better than mediocre.
Okay, I've got one: Kurt Russell, who began his career as a kid and teen actor in a bunch of squeaky-clean Disney comedies, then reinvented himself with a trio of performances circa 1979-81: first as Elvis in a TV movie (considered by many to be the definitive film portrayal of The King), then as a sleazy salesman in one of my favorite films, "Used Cars," and especially as one-eyed Snake Plissken in "Escape From New York."
I'm not saying that the Notorious BAG is remotely at Kurt Russell's level (though, to be fair, he was also the only watchable and funny thing about that Freddie Prinze Jr. sitcom a few years back), but it's still a pretty impressive career transformation, and not one I would have remotely expected from watching him back when he was DJing for West Beverly High and dressing like this.
Even with our most extended BAG spotlight to date, "Goodbye to All That" had some issues. Trying to use the same actor to play Budell as both a teenager and as an adult rebel in the future was a mistake and made all of Derek's flashbacks much sillier than they were supposed to be. (Also, the casting of Kyle Reese was awful. I'm not saying they needed to get a dead ringer for Michael Biehn, but get someone who you'd believe as Future John's number two, who you'd buy protecting a younger Sarah from Arnold Schwarzenegger -- someone, in short, at least as plausibly tough as the current incarnation of BAG.)
There's also the ongoing problem of the Connors being far less interesting than their protectors. This episode tried to mitigate the problem by splitting them up evenly so that most John scenes involved Derek, and most Sarah scenes involved Cameron, but watching Sarah struggle to learn how to be a normal mother isn't the best direction to take the character. I want to see her get more intense, not less, you know?
Still, BAG was good, and Richard T. Jones may yet get me interested in the Shirley Manson storyline. Ellison's reaction to seeing Sarah's picture at the bar suggests he's going to have some interesting choices to make in his new job, even if he takes a while to realize he's working for one of the machines.
(Someone asked me last week how I can continue to enjoy this show while hating on "Heroes," and Ellison's storyline is a good symbol of why. He's doing something that we know is stupid in working for Shirley, but in the context of the show, he's not in a position to know that it's stupid, and he's making some smart choices along the way. If Peter Petrelli and Mohinder were on this show, they'd probably be hard at work building SkyNet because someone told them it was the only way to save humanity.)
What did everybody else think?