Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 15 – “Desert Cantos” – Secrets of the Dead

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     “Desert Cantos” was a powerful episode with a major “X-Files” feel that finally showed us the UFO is tied to the future thankfully and in a good way! It is a reflective  and another sign of just how good this series can be. I won’t be surprised if by the end I’m sad it got canceled.

     The episode was directed by J. Miller Tobin and written by John Wirth and Ian Goldberg.

      The story involves Sarah Connor and the Team investigating the massacre that happened at the facility Catherine Weaver took off. She hears the of the man she killed’s wife and John gets closer to the daughter of one of the men who may not be dead and is being hunted by an agent sent by Catherine Weaver.

The Pros: The Investigation – The investigation really makes the episode amazing as our team grows close to all the players. From Derek gaining the trust of the agent, to Sarah connecting with the wife and John connecting with the daughter of the man who is still alive and is an agent of Skynet we learn after.

The Funeral – Different events of the investigation unfold on different parts of the funeral and end with the wake. It is powerful and the theme of death is made more powerful as the drone we see is the prototype for the future drones that would drop Terminators and hunt humans.

Ellison – Ellison talks to Weaver about her daughter and the anniversary of the death of her husband, he is once again the human element among the machines and makes her reach out to her daughter and seek to connect. He also begins to suspect more as one of the scientists tells him how she changed dramatically after the death

Catherine Weaver – After the massacre seeing her try to connect with her adopted daughter whose mother she killed is powerful. Seeing her try to be human is good though and shows she’s never been a complete monster.

Sarah Connor – Tries to protect the wife of the man she killed by hiding the truth. She knows that the truth is too hard to know sometimes, especially when he and another man who faked his death are shown to be hitmen for ZeiraCorp showing that Skynet’s influence is already in the present and everyone is under surveillance.

   This episode had a wonderful layout and humanized a lot of minor characters as well as showing how easy it is to ignore the truth if it is uncomfortable. The illusion sadly helps people live and Sarah Connor realizes it and from it why so many see her as crazy. It’s powerful and shows that the people did nothing since the corporation provided jobs, even though so many people they knew were killed in the end and even the one they were trying to protect is being hunted. This is an episode on the folly of humanity.

Final Score: 10 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 1, episode 8 – “Vick’s Chip” – Terminator Illusion

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    This is an episode’s whose theme is about breaking down masks. Specifically we see the mask Vick was using fall as well as Derek’s too as he is much more of an infiltrator, Terminator and liar than Cameron is. We also see John Connor taking the lead again and being that bridge between both Terminators and humanity.

     The episode was directed by J. Miller Tobin and written by Daniel T. Thomson.

     The story involves hacking Vick’s chip and seeing the life he was faking, an attack by Sarah and Derek on destroying ARTIE, the system Vick was having his wife build. Chromatie also shows up at school to hunt John and Cameron goes under to see and understand Vick’s full mission.

The Pros: Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor is once again the moral center of this series as we see her value human life and not act like a Terminator, while still understandably having distrust of Cameron. In this way she is the most well rounded as her experiences haven’t made her bitter or traumatized but realistic in the situations they face. Her threatening Derek Reese for killing Andy Goode was great too.

Cameron – Cameron is honest, upfront and is incapable of lying unless ordered too. This helps her shine a light on the Terminators but also folks like Derek Reese in how they treat her. In this she is the one who takes the risk to jump into Vick’s mind to find out what Skynet’s agenda was with him. It’s a great moment she was with John when she does it.

Skynet is Everywhere – Skynet is everywhere. Every advanced system could become part of Skynet is what I realized in this episode. ARTIE is just a traffic control A.I. but Sarah and Derek go to destroy it. This is traffic control, which needs a lot of computing but there are things much more complex and things that aren’t complex that could become complex, “The Turk” for example. This is the power in the episode, and a theme of the show.

Masks We Wear – Masks is the other theme as we see Derek ready to kill two cops for trying to stop them and from his actions the reveal that he killed Andy and lied about it. Vick also murders his wife who was his cover and in both of them we see how the war made them into monsters, one by circumstances, the other by design.

Okay: Derek Reese – He is still an angry and bitter man who is only so good by how other characters interact with him. When Sarah or Cameron interact with him, things happen but he as a character is weak.

Chromatie – He appears, he kills the principle and leaves. He does feel threatening this episode so I won’t put him as a con.

Memories from Vick – Vick’s memories are alright but could have been better if he’d actually talked to his wife. The memories of him being silent didn’t make me believe it was an actual relationship that would have worked. Cool idea though.

   This was a good episode that is really only brought down by the Terminators who aren’t Cameron and Derek Reese (who is one of the weakest elements on the show). Next episode is the Season 1 Finale and after that we’ll start on Season 2…and see if this show had any idea where it was going.

Final Score: 8.2 / 10