Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 1, Episode 5 – “Queen’s Gambit” – Arraying the Board

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 Well the T-888 is finally gone and as is the more interesting character who is replaced with a more standard bitter hero. I really hope Derek Reese isn’t wasted, but I’m not having much hope on that, though I could be wrong…it’s just there wasn’t much with him this episode, he’s pretty much only there to cause drama.

    “Queen’s Gambit” was directed by Matt Earl Beesley and written by Natalie Chaidez.

     The plot unfolds when Andy is killed a Turk Chess competition as Derek Reese arrives on the scene and finds himself being tracked by Sarah Connor before he is captured by the police. Agent Ellison discovers past Terminator battles and seems willing to listen to what Derek has to say but the T-888 who killed the Resistance fighters appears to come finish the job it started.

The Pros: Agent Ellison – I’m starting to like this guy. He is after the truth no matter how crazy it is and is even willing to listen to Derek since he wants to know why there is synthetic blood at every crime scene. He loses his chance to learn the truth though after the Connor’s break Reese out.

Cameron – Cameron is ruthless and doesn’t get people but she also proves herself as an ally of the Resistance even when Derek Reese tries to kill her. She’s super alienated at school at this point though.

Sarah Connor – Sarah saves Derek as she sees family as all she has left. This leads to her being reckless but also gives her hope for the first time she’s had in a long time, especially after she learns Derek did not kill Andy.

The Battle – The battle to save Derek Reese is fantastic! The T-888 fights them at the prison, on a truck and later it’s chip is taken out by Cameron, which finally leads to it’s defeat.

Okay: John Connor – He’s just kind of there. He tries to be there for the girl whose sister killed herself but he is pushed away and he picks up a creepy friend who hits on Cameron.

The Cons: Cromatie – Cromatie questions Charley Dixon which is just to cause drama between him and his wife and we see him mimic Ellison’s words on getting back to him if they have more information. Just kind of there, doesn’t feel like a threat.

Derek Reese – He’s meant to be intense like Kyle Reese from the original “Terminator” film but he isn’t. He doesn’t do a bad job but he feels unnecessary and his character is wasted this episode as he is mistaken for the one who killed Andy and stole the Turk until the T-888 arrives on the scene.

  This was a good episode, though that has been the entire series so far…at the same time though there haven’t been any great episodes since they all lack focus. There are great character moments and events but nothing that really binds them all together which makes Sarah’s narration at the end have less power since it is hard to really place the theme of each episode since there isn’t focus.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 1, Episode 4 – “Heavy Metal” – First Strike in the Series

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     This is the episode where John Connor stops running and with that Sarah Connor begins to finally let go a little bit to let him develop into the leader he needs to be. It is a good episode as the stakes are high and we see Skynet in action laying the stakes for it’s future rise. We also see Cameron kick butt too.

     The episode was directed by Sergia Mimica-Gezzan and written by John Enbom.

     The story involves Cromatie adopting a new identity and another Terminator stealing a shipment of metal in preparation for Judgement Day. John chooses to fight rather than run away leading to a showdown in the Warehouse with Agent Ellison continues to research the mysterious events surrounding the deaths from the Terminators.

The Pros: Agent Ellison – He actually feels like a character this time as he questions the man whose identity Cromatie eventually steals and we see that he knows something is up giving the missing fingerpints and false blood.

Cameron – Cameron is great in this as we see her once again take on much larger Terminators than her and relate to Sarah Connor as she expresses she would have no purpose if anything happened to John, making Sarah realize how much of a psychological problem she has.

Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor goes through the process of starting to let go and let John become the hero he was born to be in this one. When John tracks the truck she allows it but panics later but later on is working with him to steal the metal that the Terminator is going to use to create more of it’s kind when Judgement Day arrives. It’s a powerful moment with good showing and not telling.

John Connor – John sets boundaries with him mom in this one and we see him be the leader and fighter everyone keeps talking about him becoming. From stealing the key to a hibernating Terminator and fighting it in the truck…in this he is coming to his own and is ready to fight.

The Cons: Cromatie – We see him creep and pretend to be human but he is still generic and the actor is no Arnold, just like the last guy who played this Terminator. He just isn’t compelling as a villain.

Terminators and Human Minions – The minions are stupid and don’t listen to John and the Terminator is a nameless soldier with nothing unique about it.

   The series still suffers from having villains that aren’t compelling but the leads are fantastic! Even John Connor begins to grow on you after a while even though Lena Headey and Summer Glau are clearly the ones carrying the drama and conflict and are the most compelling part of the show.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10