Saturday, April 11, 2009

Terminator, "Born to Run": Tramps like us

Spoilers for the season (and maybe series) finale of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" coming up just as soon as I pick up my daughter from gymnastics...

Well-played, Josh Friedman. Well-played.

Friedman made a lot of errors this season, most of them to do with pacing (the four-episode Sarah's angst arc, that it took us the entire season for Shirley Manson to meet the Connors, etc.), but I give him full credit for coming up with a terrific finale that I think works whether or not the show gets renewed. (And I'm guessing the chances of that aren't very good, unless they believe "Terminator: Salvation" will be a huge hit that might drive more people to the TV show.)

If there's a third season, then there's tons of potential in John being stuck in a version of the future where -- because he traveled straight there without living the years in between -- no one knows he's supposed to be the savior of humanity, and where he gets to hang out with different versions of Derek and Cameron(*) than the ones he knew, not to mention his own father, while Sarah and Ellison are still working in the present-day to prevent Judgment Day from ever happening. (And there would be the added kick, in theory, that Sarah might realize preventing Judgment Day might erase John from existence, which would put her two obsessions -- protecting her son and stopping SkyNet -- at odds for the first time.)

(*) Or was that supposed to be Alison? Note that the dog was fine being around her.

And if there's not a third season, this isn't one of those cliffhanger endings that's going to leave me feeling mad that I'll never get to see the resolution. That's because there isn't a simple resolution, and at the rate this show likes to move, I know it could be years before John gets back to the present, and/or until Judgment Day gets averted once and for all. This sets up lots of possibilities, brings Derek back into the storyline without really undermining last week's stunning bullet-to-the-head moment, etc., but for once I feel like my imagination can have fun filling in some blanks if it has to.

And if this was the finale, then Friedman pulled out all the stops. Manson and the Connors finally come face to face, and Ellison finds out he's been working for metal all along (in a moment that also clarifies that the SkyNet drone wasn't her handiwork, and that she destroyed the factory to stop the building of more, not to cover things up). Cameron gets to play Arnold from the first "Terminator" movie(**) with her raid on the jail, down to the amount of physical damage she suffers (which is another reason why it was necessary to shift over to a different version of Cameron; this one was too messed-up to pass as human anymore). We revisit older characters like the Latina gangbanger and the priest from the season premiere, and we had the closest -- and creepiest -- we're ever likely to get to a John/Cameron sex scene, as it turns out her nuclear diagnostics are conveniently located inside her chest.

(**) Speaking of which, I think Jeffrey Pierce, who played the T-888 in the last two episodes, was easily the best of our guest villain Terminators. His scene at the gun store, and his reaction to Manson's non-death, both felt very much in Arnold mold while also echoing Summer Glau's work in seeming something other than human.

Assuming this is the end, I would have to say the things I admired about "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" -- the performances by Glau, Brian Austin Green and Garret Dillahunt; the commitment to showing the emotional toll of knowing the Apocalypse is coming and you're the only ones who can prevent it, some of the action -- outweigh the things I didn't (the sluggish pace, the acting and writing of Sarah and John). I'd be glad if there were more episodes, but I'd also understand why if there weren't.

What did everybody else think?

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree Alan. I loved this show, probably my #2 of 2009 so far(behind Chuck of course) but I would be ok if this was it. They got to do some very cool stuff and I loved the psychological impact.

Compare that to Chuck, where I will be devastated if this is the end for that show. Thoroughly enjoy both shows but T:SCC has done a great job of moving the story forward enough where 2 seasons(1.5 really) is good enough. 2 seasons of Chuck is most certainly not enough.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a great finale, with a coda that made a lot more sense than other shows that have ended recently (ahem - Life on Mars).

Should be noted that that wasn't Cameron - it was Allison; dogs freak out around metal (which is why Weaver made herself scarce when the recon crew showed up).

Alan Sepinwall said...

Should be noted that that wasn't Cameron - it was Allison; dogs freak out around metal (which is why Weaver made herself scarce when the recon crew showed up).

Thanks for the reminder; I was going to include a footnote asking whether that might be Alison instead of Cameron, but all I did was put in the asterisk and then move on. It's in there now.

Jason Smith said...

I think the interesting thing about the finale is that it raised the possibility that john didn't travel to an alternate timeline. That john Connor was always this refuge from the past with more knowlege of the metal than anyone in the future and with the aid of the mansonator and john henry he ascended to lead because he'd been prepared for this war from birth. So he gets there falls in love with "Alison from Palmdale" she gets captured and replaced by cameron and then he puts his cameron's chip into this new cyborg body after she's discovered and ultimately after having sent his father and uncle to their deaths has to send her back to the past again(!) to experience everything that happened in the course of the show. That would explain a lot of things about cameron and even why she ultimately took her chip out and gave it to john henry and sent them both to the future. Because it was her mission all along. It's pretty cool if you think about it because it stays with the paradox motif that drives terminator mythology. It's set up from the first ep by even introducing time travel as an option for john in the first place.

ProgGrrl said...

If this turns out to be the series finale, it's a pretty great one. And if it turns out to be opening several cans of worms for next season, so much the better.

But I agree with John Smith. My interpretation of the ending was that John was transported to his "destined" future: surrounded by his father (whom he would send back in time to meet Sarah); his uncle (whom he would send back on several missions), and the human Alison From Palmdale. Would he love Alison? Is that why he becomes so attached to the cyborg version in this future? If the series ends here, we can only imagine. You see in this moment, the birth of the Messianic John Connor that we have all been waiting to see born through 2 years of TV and 3 different films.

As always, I remain fascinated with Weaver and her origins and true allegiances. Is she alien metal? Is she the same liquid metal that was being transported in the submarine by Jesse & crew? And, if it's true what you think Alan, that the drone that crashed into Weaver's building here is Skynet-created, then why did some liquid metal drip off the drone and coalesce into Weaver at the end of that sequence?

Fun, fun stuff. A dense 'verse and well played indeed. I'll miss you TSCC. But I'm also looking forward to whatever else Friedman (and Toni Graphia, my other favorite writer on this show) will be doing next.

K J Gillenwater said...

Jason, I was going to say some of the same things. I am assuming this *is* the right future. John entered the picture in order to become the leader...it hasn't happened yet.

But now he has the knowledge about terminators, he knows why Cameron was sent back to him, etc. It makes a lot of sense.

It also explains the whole sub story...the John we know KNOWS that the Catherine Weaver metal is in the future somewhere and is working toward taking down Skynet.

I am just SO bummed that this show likely won't come back in the fall. It was just starting to get REALLY good.

Any thoughts about Savannah? Do you think we'd see her in the future if the show were to come back? She and John Henry have a special connection...I'm just curious now what her role was in all of this.

K J Gillenwater said...

"then why did some liquid metal drip off the drone"

That wasn't metal from the drone. It was the eel from the tank that exploded. It was part of her all along, which I thought was a cool little extra bit.

DonBoy said...

Yes, great, great. The John/Cam non-sex scene was like David Cronenberg working under broadcast TV constraints.

Future Cameron was definitely Allison, just based on her manner. The only time Cameron's been that human-seeming is in the pilot, when the point was to fool the audience, not any other character. In the show as we currently have it, Cameron can't do that. (I think.)

The flaw of season wasn't just the pacing, I think; I hate to guess about the circumstances of any creation, but the whole thing feels like they had a first episode and a last episode, and then needed 20 more to fill out the time. Never mind the Sarah-goes-nuts stuff; the entire season was mostly the Riley/Jessie story, and that story just couldn't bear the weight of the entire season, as fans everywhere shouted at the screen for something to happen, dammit.

Quick nitpick: the effects work involving Weaver pretty much proved that her clothing was part of her. So why does she seem to lose her clothing when traveling in time? Because it looks cool and sexy, that's why.

And...Josh Malina? Now there was an unexpected treat.

Anonymous said...

A great end to a great TV series - possibly the best SF show ever on broadcast TV.

I'm one of those (few?) who had no problem with the slower, quieter episodes. I like that the writers had the guts not to go the easier route of staging a weekly shoot-'em-up. The exquisite darkness which permeated each and very episode was surely a thing of wonder, especially in contrast to the skim-milk opposition on broadcast TV.

As to the finale - wow. Wonderful closing of the various loops, but with no letup in the bleakness. Everyone John Connor cares about is going, going, gone. Sarah probably *is* dying of cancer. John's only remaining companion has committed suicide in some sense (although perhaps giving herself up to the John Henry Opposition was always her mission).

And John is off to a desolate future (imagine waking up in *that* post-Apocalyptic nightmare only to reunite with a beloved uncle and to meet a father who have no idea who you are). I'll even forgive teen the return of Kyle Reese's peachfuzz.

Please, Fox, do the right thing and give us another mind-bending season.

(As an aside - why was Cameron's denuded Terminator eye glowing red? It had always been shown as glowing blue ('cause she's a new model) in previous episodes. Odd oversight.)

Danne said...

I fully agree, this was a great finale that makes up for the weeker Sarah focused episodes of season 2.

But it still makes me sad if we don't get more than this since it opens up to so much more. Being a huge Summer Glau fan (who isn't) it would be great to se her act as Alison in s3 and use her full range.

Only real problem I have are Camerons red eye. As said it should be blue wich makes me wonder if there are something more to that, seems like a too obvious mistake.

teregosa said...

great post alan, great comments everyone, and great episode! one of the best series finales ever.

i especially liked some of the small things, like how derek's reappearance was not cheap, the references to the pilot episode and the nod to the movie franchise (including cameron's 'hasta luego').

obviously the reason it has left people satisfied as a series ending is not because it ties everything up nicely. but it's because it gives this huge payoff to the people who stuck with it: we get a glimpse, a tease at how john connor's destiny was ultimately formed; and isn't this what every terminator fan was waiting for?

i agree that the show had problems with pace, but it's not because of the sarah plotline so much, but because of the split personality of the show that could never decide whether it was an action movie for the small screen, a post-apocalyptic nightmare scenario or a psychological read on the human condition.

it tried to be too many things at once.

but i think this was an excellent last episode that managed to bring together everything that worked well throughout the series' run, and helped us forget all the things that didn't

ProgGrrl said...

@KJ: aha, thanks. That makes sense (and is very cool)!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Interesting theory about this being the "right" timeline, but I have two problems with it:

1. Why would Derek, Kyle and other veterans of the resistance let a new kid -- even one who seems to know a lot about SkyNet -- be their leader?

2. Wouldn't the Derek we knew have commented on this at some point?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Manson's clothes disappeared for the same reason Robert Patrick's did in T2: because the time machine won't letnon-organic material through, even if it's part of someone's body. My guess is she turned nude right before the bubble expanded.

Freevo said...

Yeah, the disappearance of Shirley Manson's clothes is a mistake, since we saw her transform into the giant metal shield and then back to herself in clothes minutes before.
I agree with Alan that this must not be the "right" timeline, and I'm looking forward to seeing it play out. I believe that if there's a third season, we only would see 3-4 episodes of futureJohn, and then go back to (quite) normal, just like they did in BSG with the one-year leap. I think it wouldn't work well if the show's two main characters were separated for any longer period, not to mention the costs of maintaining two separate sets. :)

max_h said...

Great review, Alan, on a wonderful final episode to the show! Like Alan and most commenters said, I loved the ending because it works both as a season and (more likely) series finale. Would really like to see a season 3 with Summer Glau as Allison (especially since "Allison from Palmdale" was one of my fav eps of the series), but I just can't see Fox renewing it. Still, I'm glad I watched the show while it was on, and I couldn't have asked for a better finale. Thanks to Josh Friedman and everyone else involved!

Karen said...

I half expected the T-888 to use an Austrian accent in the gun store, myself... and loved Cameron's "Hasta luego" as well.

I really loved this show (and it finally got me to watch the first two Terminator movies, which I had never done before - possibly as a result of which, I'm one of the small minority of people who prefer Lena Headey to Linda Hamilton). Watching Summer Glau just walk has been a joy. But I agree: although I would hope against hope that it comes back, I think this was a fine, fine way to end the series, if that's what it did.

(Didn't realize dogs freak out around metal, although I suspected there was some reason Cameron or Alison pet the dog. Thanks for clearing that up.)

Hoosier Paul said...

If the show is canceled, maybe the DVD sales will be so good that they'll make it into a movie! Oh, wait ... never mind.

P@ said...

This episode was on par with Lost when it comes to the number of "Whoa!" moments. And the questions!! So many questions and possibilities for them to go in when it comes back next season. (I refuse to believe it is NOT coming back. It must. C'mon, Fox, throw us a bone. Please?)

But, yeah. Let's see. Things to wonder about:
Are there now 2 Weavers in the future? (And 2 John Connors, for that matter. Is the older John Connor dead? Or is it, as others have speculated, that this is how it was always meant to be, and John Connor will NOW grow up to become the resistance leader who will send his father (and Uncle and eventually Cameron) back? [which raises a smallish plot hole - if John knows that Derek (and Kyle) will die if he sends them back...then, um. Don't? Also, don't send Jessie on the sub mission. That will most certainly keep Riley alive, as well as Jessie's child.]
Where (When?) is John Henry? Is he also in the future? And what does it mean that he's got Cameron's chip in his head? Heh. Imagine a scene where John Connor and John Henry (re)meet in the future, and John Henry says, "I love you, John. And you love me." Ha!
Does Savannah play a bigger role in the future? I suspect that when we get to season 3, she probably will. Just a gut feeling.
Another great thing about having John in the future - now when Sarah changes things, we can see it have an impact. That's one thing that's always bugged me about the Connor Crew's plans - how could they possibly know if they're doing any good (or harm)? They need a "Ziggy" type thing in order to let them know - "destroying that lab just set Skynet back three months" type of deal.
All right. I've rambled a bit much here, and I apologize. Just very excited about last night's episode, and about the prospect of having it return for more. (Goes back to crossing fingers and praying for renewal)

P@ said...

Oh, and I completely agree, Alan, that the guest terminator from last night (and the previous ep) was hands down the best they've had. I believe because he actually terminated people (the babysitter, Derek), and just his look, he truly felt menacing.

Shan said...

Alan, my thoughts on your questions:

1. Because he shows up out of nowhere, with knowledge they can only dream about, adding to the "messianic" quality. Kyle, Derek and the gang may realize they are losing the war against Skynet, and here comes somebody that gives them hope they can turn the tide, and offers not only a roadmap (humans will eventually win, the machines know this, and will stop at nothing to alter history to prevent their downfall), but a plan (we're going to use time machines to stop Skynet, and I know how to do it).

2. I'd have to go back through the episodes to see if Derek ever said anything contradictory to this version of events, but Derek always played his knowledge of the future pretty close the vest. Either John just gave him a mission to go back in time and do what he "did" without a full explanation of past events, or John just told him to keep the info to himself, as not to influence past John on the path that led John to that moment. (hope that makes sense. Writing about time travel hurts the head).

Great, great finale, and it will be a shame to see this show go. With this, and Dollhouse, the FOX Friday night was really stellar.

Jason Smith said...

When john is discovered in the future, the fact that a guy is about to just guess he's metal and shoot him says to me that this is pretty early into the cyborg inteoduction into the war. They assume john is just a kid they find, I doubt they even know about time travel at that point. I dont see why he would reveal himself and cameron always said he was secretive He knows how to disable and then reprogram the cyborgs. I think this even may answer who the terminators who handed over the box on the jimmy carter were.(john henrys). At that point their all just holocaust survivors so anybody with a decent plan would start rising through the ranks anyway.
As for the terminator that killed Derick, I believe if the show was renewed that he would have been retrofitted to protect Sarah Ellison and Savanna using some of the tech that created john henry.
To me the craziest possibility is that if john succeeds and gets the chip and reinserts it into cameron when she comes for him then she will have known everything the whole time she was here and may be essentially caught in a time loop (cameron's brain that is) with the ability to try different things each trip. I always wondered what was the larger point of taking them into the future in the first ep. Why she took it upon herself to pursue skynet to this next point in time. It was bevause John told her too.

Anonymous said...

This isn't the "destined" timeline. In the Jimmy Carter ep, Weaverbot says that she won't join the resistance. But now she's clearly joined them. So Weaverbot and Cameron came from a version of the future that is different from the one that John has arrived in; it branches off from the one that held Weaverbot's decision -after that key moment on the Jimmy Carter- to maybe, just maybe, join the resistance after all.

Toby O'B said...

In a way, this episode followed a time-travel rule in the same way that 'Lost' did - "Dead is dead", as it were. Just as happened with Charlotte, Cameron was left behind when Weaver and John "leapt" forward in Time because she was dead.

If the series did come back, they should re-jigger the title to just be "Terminator: Connor" or something similar to cover both ends of the spectrum - John in the future and Sarah back in the present.

amysusanne said...

Even though the title is still very clearly "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", Dish Network (and possibly other systems information grids as well) has been listing it as "The Connor Chronicles" for most of this season. I started wondering if that wasn't what FOX was slowly going to shift to anyway.

I enjoyed last night and agree with everyone who will be happy whether it goes on or not. It was a good ending. Not a "Life" ending, but good enough for this show and the gaps and cliffhangers can be easily filled by my imagination.

Getting to see Dillahunt be so incredibly awesome on so many things this season has been a lot of fun. And if this show has taught me anything it's that I *really* like Brian Austin Green.

Doug S said...

I too thought this show really hit it stride lately and will miss it. One question I haven't seen here: the absolute final scene was a quick shot back to more blue time-travel electricity with Sarah's "I love you too" as a voice-over. What was that? Had Sarah somehow made it through after them? Remnants of their journey? Has to be important.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Doug, the last scene was supposed to be Sarah in Weaver's basement immediately after John and Shirley jumped away.

Rose said...

While I knew going in that this is likely the last ep of the show, the reality of it just unbearable. I SO want to see what happens next.

FOX would be stupid to throw away the Terminator franchise right before the movie comes out.

Alan, is there any chance that DirecTV could save this show like they saved Friday Night Lights? A little 12 episode deal will do nicely.

Oh and I agree with whoever said that they should change the name. The show is obviously about John, not Sarah. A name change might help the ratings and refocus the show.

ProgGrrl said...

@Alan + Doug: I thought the final shot had us back in the room that John/Weaver just jumped into. We see a second blue time-travel flash, and hear Sarah's words, suggesting she has decided to follow them...

More to chew on. Whether the series continues...or not.

Rose said...

I think the the final shot was just a time echo of some sort. Sarah's voice followed John to the future. It was the last thing she would have said to him, but it got there a little late.

Carl said...

I guess I'm one of the few who doesn't care all that much for teenager John Connor in the future. The idea of a resistance without Connor would be interesting to explore if they do it right, which should be that they are losing, reinforcing the idea that John is the only "savior" who could actually beat the machines.

The problem for me is that in any potential season 3, we already know that Sarah and Ellison don't stop judgment day, because otherwise the timeline John jumped into wouldn't exist.

I am curious as to what possible purpose is to be gained for Weaver/John Henry/Connor/Cameron to jump into the future. It seemed to me that the best chance of fighting Skynet would have been to continue developing John Henry in our time and combine forces with John Connor.

I did enjoy the moment of Sarah stepping back and finally letting John go out on his own.

I also enjoyed the confrontation between Weaver and the Connors, the revelation to them that she was a metal, and the jail break scene.

My one slight issue with this series as a whole, aside from the pacing, has been the difference between Terminator strength in the films and in the show. I realize there are certain budgetary constraints, but it just seems silly to me that a liquid Terminator pounded on a T800 for the entirety of T2 without destroying it, when in this finale a liquid terminator killed a T800 in about 30 seconds.

If they do manage to get a third season, I hope they keep the tone and pace of the last two episodes. Sarah Connor has a lot of potential, but overall there are only a few episodes that I'd consider great. The show has a great deal of flaws, and if those can be worked out I think Sarah Connor could be a really excellent show. It's too bad they might not get a chance.

Also, if they do get a third season, I'm already annoyed that we'll no doubt see the return of Jessie.

It just sucks this season had so many problems with pacing. It's ridiculous that it took soooo long to even get a hint as to what Weaver's agenda was. The idea of a Terminator civil war and an alliance with the human resistance is really intriguing, and it's too bad they took so long to really explore that.

Carl said...

I guess I'm one of the few who doesn't care all that much for teenager John Connor in the future. The idea of a resistance without Connor would be interesting to explore if they do it right, which should be that they are losing, reinforcing the idea that John is the only "savior" who could actually beat the machines.

The problem for me is that in any potential season 3, we already know that Sarah and Ellison don't stop judgment day, because otherwise the timeline John jumped into wouldn't exist.

I am curious as to what possible purpose is to be gained for Weaver/John Henry/Connor/Cameron to jump into the future. It seemed to me that the best chance of fighting Skynet would have been to continue developing John Henry in our time and combine forces with John Connor.

I did enjoy the moment of Sarah stepping back and finally letting John go out on his own.

I also enjoyed the confrontation between Weaver and the Connors, the revelation to them that she was a metal, and the jail break scene.

My one slight issue with this series as a whole, aside from the pacing, has been the difference between Terminator strength in the films and in the show. I realize there are certain budgetary constraints, but it just seems silly to me that a liquid Terminator pounded on a T800 for the entirety of T2 without destroying it, when in this finale a liquid terminator killed a T800 in about 30 seconds.

If they do manage to get a third season, I hope they keep the tone and pace of the last two episodes. Sarah Connor has a lot of potential, but overall there are only a few episodes that I'd consider great. The show has a great deal of flaws, and if those can be worked out I think Sarah Connor could be a really excellent show. It's too bad they might not get a chance.

Also, if they do get a third season, I'm already annoyed that we'll no doubt see the return of Jessie.

It just sucks this season had so many problems with pacing. It's ridiculous that it took soooo long to even get a hint as to what Weaver's agenda was. The idea of a Terminator civil war and an alliance with the human resistance is really intriguing, and it's too bad they took so long to really explore that.

Alf said...

I had also thought Sarah had somehow followed John to the future, so thanks for clearing that up. I was happy to see Derek again, but not Kyle.

FlopEJoe said...

Not to be a downer but... such a great episode makes me sad. This showed how great it could have been like many of the great episodes in both seasons.

But why did they (and we) have to slog though so many mind numbingly slow episodes in a row as the series bled viewers? I'm sure there were budget reasons but there had to be a better way to plan and spread them out.

And then there was the pile on of extra characters Riley/Jessie/Pregnant Neighbor, each one was trying to be more irritating than the next. Ah well.

Eugene Freedman said...

If it's not the correct timeline, then it creates a huge infinity loop. John isn't the one who teaches them to "smash those metal motherfnckers" so there's no reason for Skynet to send back the first terminator model 101, no reason for John to send back Kyle Reese to impregnate his mother, no reason for skynet to send back the T-1000 nor John to send back the second model 101 to protect his mother (not himself otherwise there would have been an infinity loop in T2).

If however, it is the correct future, the only thing is that they're pretty well organized before John gets there. They have dogs, they're not in labor camps, and they have weapons, and know how to distinguish b/w human and metal. But, unless he becomes the leader of this bunch it cancels everything, including the show, so he never gets there. Ooops, infinity loop.

I loved it, but until I read the posts on this board, I couldn't figure out how to avoid the loop. thanks for the insights.

spiderpig said...

Is she the same liquid metal that was being transported in the submarine by Jesse & crew?

@ProgGrrl - It had to be the same one because she specifically said to tell Cameron "Will you join us?" And that's exactly what Cameron said was the question Jesse and crew were supposed to ask it in that "transport" episode.

I absolutely loved this episode. In terms of shows being canceled (and I know there's very little chance this show will return), I would put it on par with the "Freaks and Geeks" ending. It definitely leaves the audience wanting more but gives them a sorta ending just in case. Just like Alan said "my imagination can have fun filling in some blanks if it has to". Loved it!

Chris Johnson said...

@ spiderpig

quote: "It had to be the same one because she specifically said to tell Cameron "Will you join us?"

Not necessarily. It's possible that a bunch of liquid metal terminators have spoken amongst themselves about the question and as a group are familiar with it or that the liquid metal terms are networked computers with a hive mind, or some other logical explanation.

I'm not saying that you are wrong, but I would like to point out that there is no conclusive evidence and there are plenty of other plausible scenarios I can imagine that suggest that you could be wrong.

Considering the lackluster chances for another season, I believe Jerri Blank would say, "Well, I guess we'll never know."

Doug S said...

Alan & ProgGrrl: Thanks, both of you. I must say I agree with ProgGrrl, Alan. I thought that was definitely the same room in the future as the one John had just jumped to, which is why I was intrigued. I think it was a cliffhanger should the series go on. To so emphasize the empty aftermath in Weaver's basement doesn't quite add up for me.

BTW, is anyone else getting sick of Fox running shows over their time slots? Not just American Idol overrun foolishness, but regular shows frequently get cut off on my dvr with a scene or two to go. Annoying, and Fox seems to be the worst of the bunch (surprise).

Chris the TV Sage said...

The show has a great deal of flaws, and if those can be worked out I think Sarah Connor could be a really excellent show. It's too bad they might not get a chance.

The showrunners have given us no reason to think they were capable of working out those flaws. They may not even consider them "flaws" as such.

ProgGrrl said...

I have a question for the room about Weaver...I am still pondering her now that we're at the end.

The T-1000 of the film 'verse was clearly programmed and clearly part of Skynet's plan to terminate John and Sarah. When Weaver was originally revealed to be a T-1000, we all assumed she was part of Skynet's grand schemes.

The main reason I get stuck on this is Weaver's reaction to The Connor Family. In the finale, she doesn't seem to recognize John's name, doesn't seem to see them as any threat. And most interestingly she protects them from the drone.

Are we to assume that Weaver is a T-1000 who has gone rogue, breaking away from the Skynet culture and seeking the destruction/re-evolution of her own kind?

Anonymous said...

I only watched about a third of the episodes. I loved the first two "Terminator" movies, but I found the series vaguely disappointing.

What it mainly lacked was action.

Let's not kid ourselves, although the movies had a lot of thought behind them, what made them successful was the fact that they served up non-stop action, edge-of-your-seat suspense and state-of-the-art f/x - only occasionally interrupted by the soap opera aspects.

The series, on the other hand, was 90% soap opera, and that just didn't work for me - not in something with the "Terminator" brand...

I did watch the finale, and it was better than most episodes (more action, more f/x), and I rather liked it.

One tech question: does Cameron's skin heal itself? If not, how does she go out in public after a battle like the one in the last episode?

Captain Sam said...

ProgGirl...of course. It's been pretty obvious there is some sort of Terminator civil war going on. Weaver even stated directly in the finale that she was building John Henry to fight Skynet.

Also, she definitely knows who John Connor is, so I think you've misinterpreted something or missed a few episodes.

Number Five said...

I pretty much agree with Alan's last paragraph. I would add that there were times when everything clicked, even the Sarah/John characterizations and acting, and there were times when very little worked...the show was maddeningly inconsistent, but it did give us some great episodes, asked some fascinating questions, and looked into some dark places.

I'm confused about the future they're in. It looks like both explanations currently fit. On the one hand, I agree with all the comments that it makes more sense if we were in the loop/paradox/this is how John arrived story, but the rest of the show, from the shifting Judgment Days to Derek/Jessie's conversations about their futures, support the alterable future, John never became the messiah concept.

The Terminator concept has always been a hybrid of both; you can alter aspects of the future but not change big events. Maybe this is the main reason why we don't see John in the future, because he would be in his 20s instead of 40s. Of course, with Christian Bale in the next movie...it's too confusing!

A couple of other cool things from the finale were all the callbacks (which made up a bit for all the random dropping of plot lines), and the way John Henry and Weaver seemed to be fusing together before he got his independence. And I agree that the most recent Terminator was the best since Cromartie.

If I knew the next season would have more of the great episodes and less of the weak ones, I'd be more broken up about the cancellation. But it was interesting to watch and a good way to go out.

Edd said...

One tech question: does Cameron's skin heal itself? If not, how does she go out in public after a battle like the one in the last episode?

Her skin not only heals, but it heals at a much faster rate than human. In several episodes, Cameron has has serious rips in her face which heal seamlessly and rapidly. In one episode, she put herself back together with staples, and that rip left no scars. I, should only heal that well!

Jean said...

Lena and Thomas can only do so much with what they are given. With Karen here, I am one who appreciates Lena in the role of Sarah more than Linda Hamilton, expecially her squealing, shrieking and whimpering version in T1. T2 was different: though I never bought her as a real warrior, she was a convincing bitch for her son.

Lena on the other hand is badass all over and then some more. And intense. And nuts. And all heart.

Sorry L.H.
But I loved the 'Beauty and the Beast' series.

Chief said...

Good finale. This show gave us a decent ride and I consider it like a miniseries (Rome). It was never going to be a popular 5-7 year drama.

Kalin said...

The Terminator: Salvation trailer: "This is not the future my mother warned me about. In this future, I don't think we can win this war."

I remember back before the second season began, there was talk that the TSCC seris would, in some way, have something to do with the fourth film. I wondered all year what it could be. And now that we're here, it makes me think: could this finale be it? That the final few scenes seemingly had John erased from the expected history the movies prepared us for?

Though the film still has him in charge...

Helo said...

No.

The films after T2 have absolutely nothing to do with the television series.

Also, I don't get how anyone thinks it makes sense that this timeline is the "destined" timeline that has always meant to be.

Don't you think Derek would have mentioned to John that John was a teenager? Why would an established resistance movement allow some teenager to be their leader? It doesn't fit with anything already established about the future war. This notion would work better if John was transported to something like 2013 or 2014 when the war was still new, but Derek and Kyle were both adults, and Derek was about the same age he was when sent back.

I suspect a third season would show us exactly how important John Connor was by showcasing how dire the situation is with the resistance without his leadership.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, McG has said that they decided it was better for both projects if they didn't try to link up the continuity of the TV show and the new movie. If, in theory, the show continues and there's a sequel to "Salvation," the two will continue to move in different directions.

Stacey said...

Okay, I realize this is probably pointless as the show will likely not continue next year (*sniff*) but I had to check. I rewatched the last minute or so of this ep, and the room shown where the mysterious blue time travel lightning flashes again and we hear Sarah's voice (voiceover?) is the destroyed lab in the future.

As Sheldon (I think) pointed out on an older ep of TBBT, you don't change location when you time travel (right?) so it's the basment lab regardless. It's the "when" that's important, and from what I saw, it definitely appeared to be the grungy, war-torn version from the future.

Whew. I feel better. :) I have no idea what it means, though...other than it implies Sarah follows, but I wouldn't be certain of that either. I was just SO happy to see Derek alive! :)

dez said...

If, in theory, the show continues and there's a sequel to "Salvation," the two will continue to move in different directions.
I thought the new film was conceived as part one of a new trilogy? Isn't Christian Bale signed on for three Terminator films?

Intriguing finale. It alternately satisfies me as the potential end of the show and makes me sad that it's the potential end of the show, mostly because we got BAG back and he was the main reason I stayed with the show this long. Oh, well.

Edd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edd said...

As Sheldon (I think) pointed out on an older ep of TBBT, you don't change location when you time travel (right?)This time travel issue is one of my pet peeves.

The earth, the sun, and the stars are all in constant motion. If you traveled six months into the future or past, the earth would be on the opposite side of the sun, 186,000,000 miles away. You'd pop into existence in the vacuum of space. A space suit would be necessary to survive and a space ship, to get back to earth. So while time travel, per se, wouldn't necessarily include a change of location, there's a real good practical reason to make sure you can.

The thing is, fiction, movies and TV shows usually don't show location changing as a necessary part of time travel. But I realize that's what shows do, so I accept it as a convention (just as I accept the convention that, in movies, cars never have rear view mirrors).

Stacey said...

@Edd, that's really interesting! I'd never thought about that. With your permission, I'm going to share that with some of SF writing buddies. :)

BigTed said...

Well, Michael Ausiello just wrote in Entertainment Weekly that "sources" are saying the show's canceled, even though Fox won't confirm it yet.

Arnold said...

Yeah I just read on IMDB it's been canceled.

I'm kind of disappointed because I'm curious where they were going to go with it. On the other hand, I didn't really like the show that much. It only had a few good episodes. They introduced some really cool concepts, but they waited a ridiculous amount of time to do anything with those ideas. This stuff about a civil war with the Terminators, John trying to make an alliance with them, Weaver being a Terminator with her own agenda trying to fight Skynet and build her own AI system...all such promising ideas that should have been introduced far, far, far earlier.

I guess overall this show has just left me extremely disappointed, because if you look at the basic concept there is a huge amount of potential. This idea COULD have been a really great television show. If they'd done it right it could have been on par with something like Battlestar Galactica, but they dropped the ball...a lot.

I think perhaps the initial mistake of the series might be evident in the title of the show. John Connor is the savior of humanity, not Sarah Connor. Sarah is a really interesting character, but John is 16 years old now, and it should have been HIS story. I think the smarter move would have been to completely center the story on John as the main character, and his arc would have been about him growing up and accepting responsibility, taking increasingly active leadership roles. Sarah should have been an important mentor character, but not the star of the show. She probably should have even been killed off at one point in a finale, to leave John at last on his own. Most of the great savior storylines feature the death of the mentor at some point. There's a reason for that.

I've always loved the concept of the Terminator films. Terminator 2 is actually my favorite action film of all time. The ideas are great, and the concept could have been a really excellent television show. It's too bad it went down this way, but I think almost all of the blame has to lie with the writers. I can only think of a few episodes I thought were truly excellent, and two of them were the last two episodes to ever air.

Oh well.

Edd said...

@Edd, that's really interesting! I'd never thought about that. With your permission, I'm going to share that with some of SF writing buddies. :)Sure, that's fine. :-) Go forth and write accurately!!

I'm sure Alan doesn't want these comments clogged up with tech talk, but I can't resist one last time travel-location wrinkle.

The Earth also spins about 1,000 miles per hour. I live on the west coast. So if I traveled one hour into the future, I'd pop into existence 1,000 miles out in the Pacific Ocean. Bad for me, 'cause I don't swim. ;-)

Jeremy said...

This concept is familiar to me because it appeared in an R.L. Stine story I read as a kid. Something about a kid went into a time travel machine and then wound up popping into existence in the middle of outer space and dying, because Earth had moved light years away.

Edd said...

This concept is familiar to me because it appeared in an R.L. Stine story I read as a kid. Interesting. I hadn't heard of it. Just did a Google search. Is it The Time Raider (1982)?

Michael said...

For what it's worth, John and Weaver travelled to a different timeline than the one that Kyle and Derek came from. From an interview with the Notorious B.A.G. on Comic Book Resources:

You have this episode where John Connor travels to a future where John Connor never existed. I don’t know if people completely get it because we work on a string theory, which we’ve dealt with during the season. We dealt with that with Jessie, in the future that she came from there was Charles Fisher, who tortured everyone. In the future I came from, he never existed. I don’t remember him. We were still together within these parallel futures but they were still different and they still had their own paths. This is the same concept. For John Connor to travel to a future where he never existed, where Kyle Reese never left, where Derek and Kyle are still fighting side by side, where Allison (the human Cameron was based on) is still very much present, what becomes of John? What better situation for somebody to grow up in and become the future leader than that? Than to be fighting in what he’s been trying to prevent? Not just being the top dog, being listened to for everything, but having to actually listen and follow.

fgmerchant said...

I loved the finale, yet I was pretty disappointed with it. I feel like it created more questions than answered. Unlike a lot of you guys, I would not be satisfied if the show ended this way.

Anonymous said...

"What better situation for somebody to grow up in and become the future leader than that? Than to be fighting in what he’s been trying to prevent? Not just being the top dog, being listened to for everything, but having to actually listen and follow."

Exactly. John learns even more stuff he can use to defeat Skynet in this alternate future, and then sends himself back to the past before the branches diverged, is my guess at least.

Paul Halsall said...

Great Review. I just watched the finale here in the UK. It has been so much better than bloody Heroes, I will be annoyed if its cancelled.

The possibility of future multiple time lines comes up on this one.