Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

We finally got around to watching the second hour of the Sarah Connor Chronicles. My initial impressions: Good enough to keep me watching for now, but not so good that I’ll weep if I miss an episode.

The highlight, of course, is Summer Glau kicking butt as the protector terminator. Unfortunately for Summer, she’s being pigeonholed as an actress. Admittedly, I say this having never seen her role in The 4400 or in The Unit, but watching TSCC, I can feel the ghost of Serenity and Firefly hovering in the background. Her character is almost identical, with slightly less psychotic tendencies.

Still, it’s fun to see her kick butt. I think I mentioned that.

The story is interesting, and they’ve thrown some plot points in that will need tidying up which should lend to a fun season.

Spoilers ahoy!

However! (And there are some big “howevers”)

1) What’s up with the vast number of people traveling through time? The impressions from the movies were that this was something that was very difficult and expensive. How are all these terminators and people ending up in the past? I suppose you could argue that the war between the machines and the humans goes on for a long time, leaving plenty of opportunities to send multiple parties back, but I don’t buy it. If time travel were really that easy, they’d be awash in time travellers. In fact, the only plausible reason I can think that there aren’t more of them around is because the Machines win the war and are disciplined enough not to send other machines back and screw up the time line. For sure, people wouldn’t leave well enough alone. So, there it is, the Machines Win.

2) One of the main plot elements has always been that only flesh can go back in time, not machine. They did an end-run around that in the movies by creating a flesh-covered machine. We can ignore the obvious craziness of this and just accept it, but how did the antagonist-terminator in the first episode make it through the time vortex? We see his mechanical skull come flying out, and from activites in the second episode, we must assume that the rest of him came, too. Where’s his flesh? Why did he manage to travel? That’s a huge plot hole, in my opinion.

3) Why are Sarah and John in the U.S., trying to be normal? Sarah knows that it’s John’s destiny to be the leader of the human resistance. I don’t think a public high school education is going to help him on that track. As things are going, he’ll graduate from high school with only about 2 years to go before the apocalypse. That’s not a lot of time to prepare. Why bother, other than the obvious story hooks it provides? It would probably have been more difficult to find nice easy stories in the middle of the Mexican desert, but they really need to give me a reason for this. Of all the people in the world, only John and Sarah and the time-displaced freedom fighters really have a mission. They aren’t advancing that mission by going to Home Economics or working in a diner.

I’ve got other niggling complaints, but they’re standard ones for standard American television. Not worth blogging about. I’ll keep watching the show. Hopefully it will get better, and not worse, otherwise it might go the way of Journeyman.

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2 Responses to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

  1. Tom Sisson says:

    1.) I like your hypothesis about the machine winning the war
    2.) Yeah, I thought the same thing about the head coming through. I think the rest of the body ended up in a junk pile somewhere for 10 years and came back to life when the head re-emerged in the future.
    3.) They’re in the U.S. to try to stop Cyberdyne from going online. They’re supposed to be more anonymous since Sarah was presumed dead from cancer in ’07.

    If the Sarah from the past jumped to the future then she didn’t really die in ’05 (which is why she went to get tested for cancer). So how did Enrique think she died if she really jumped to the future? She would have to jump back to the past in order to die. That also means that John has just skipped 10 years of his life so now you have the resistance leader with 10 years less experience???

  2. Bill says:

    Ok. I can grant you your rebuttal to #3, but something occurred to me last night while watching the latest episode. If the freedom fighters are back in time to kill cyberdyne, why are they pussyfooting around? Why aren’t they killing anyone and everyone in sight who might have an association with Skynet? It’s not like they can’t justify the actions on a “greater good” stand.

    I suppose you could argue that they don’t want to get picked up by the cops, but I’d think they could set up a nice plan and they go on a rampant killing spree (sorry, “mission”) and then be done with it.

    Of course, I’m trying to argue about a show from the standpoint that it is internally consistent, which it’s not. They never are. I’ll shut up, now.

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