Spoilers for Friday night's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" coming up just as soon as I emerge from the coma it put me into...
I want to be fair here. "Terminator" showrunner Josh Friedman, no doubt recognizing the fan discontent over the previous two episodes, and knowing that they'd likely be just as irritated with this one, promised on his blog last week that the rest of the season would be significantly more action-packed, and went so far as to venture into some spoiler territory to list all the things that would be coming up in the remaining six episodes. And people who saw the sizzle reel at today's panel at WonderCon (loads of spoilers in that link) said it looks like that isn't just talk.
But this whole "things get better X number of episodes" routine from skiffy showrunners is starting to get annoying. And even if Friedman's right, good lord were these episodes a slog. I think I must've actually dozed off for part of it, because when a friend mentioned Cameron walking around in her underwear, I had absolutely no memory of it.
Look, I don't think Friedman's wrong when he says the psychology of these characters is important. As I've said, I think the best episode of the series to date was "The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short," which literally put several characters into therapy. The emotional toll of knowing the apocalypse is coming and only you have the power to stop it? That's potent material in the hands of the right writer, applied to the right character.
The problem is that they spent three episodes in a row -- four, if you want to count December's "Earthlings Welcome Here" -- on the wrong character. Some combination of actress, writing and network notes have made Sarah Connor -- a character so iconic she got her name in the title over future messiah John -- into this opaque nothing. I'm not saying she needs to be as hardcore or muscle-bound as Linda Hamilton in "T2," but they haven't given her any kind of personality to replace those traits. She's just there, and three (or four) episodes later, I still have no better understanding of her -- or interest in her -- than I did a few months ago.
I could go on for a while about specific things I disliked about this episode, but what's the point? Either Friedman's telling the truth and the show is about to take an abrupt turn for the better, or he's not and it'll be canceled soon (and I'll be gone before that happens). This was a bad, bad stretch for the show. End of story.
What did everybody else think?