Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 8 – “Mr. Furgeson is Ill Today” – The Team and Chromatie’s End

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    We finally have our full team working to prevent Judgement Day and them all teaming up and working together to stop the threat to John Connor and the future. Suffice to say the setup doesn’t always work, but I loved this episode’s payoff. These characters work.

     “Mr. Furgeson is Ill Today” was directed by Michael Nankin and written by Daniel Thomsen.

      The story involves John escaping to Mexico with Riley only to have Chromatie track him there leading to final showdown with Chromatie between John, Ellison, Sarah, Derek and Cameron.

The Pros: Dia De Los Muertos – The episode largely takes place during Day of the Dead and a tiny village in Mexico that John grew up in where he escapes to with Riley. This freedom intermixed with death creates some really great scenes, especially as the team arrives and the final showdown.

Chromatie – Chromatie has grown on me and the new actor they cast actually felt like a threat this season, so bringing him down in this episode was wonderful as it took all of them with Cameron mortally wounding him before John finishes him off. Great minor villain.

Derek Reese – Derek is quick to show up once he gets the call from John and we see he has secrets but is wholly there and in the team.

Cameron – Cameron is either attracted to John, is using him or a mixture of both as she tries to convince him to jump Riley as he is putting her at risk and will make stupid mistakes. It is wonderful seeing them interact and the sexual tension there, even if it is just John.

Sarah Connor – We see Sarah’s protectiveness and also her coming to terms with John’s agency and I think she realizes that they are all needed to prevent Judgement Day, even as she still pushes people like Agent Ellison away.

John Connor – John is facing destiny, responsiblity and coming into his own as a leader. In this he does leave Riley but only after Chromatie nearly kills her. It is powerful and shows how he has changed and can’t escape his destiny as a leader.

Agent Ellison – Ellison join the Team and we see him have a great relationship with Sarah who he had once been in conflit

The Ending – There is a final showdown in a church where all of them take out Chromatie and in the end there isn’t peace. Everyone is together but alone and we see the secrets eating away at them with Sarah losing it as she destroys Chromatie’s electronics. It is powerful and sad.

Okay: Riley – Was always just kind of there, at least she wasn’t stupid through all of this. She always struck me as more of an idea than a character though, which made the elements of the story involving her weaker.

Episode Format – I usually like the format of showing a story from different points of view, it just didn’t quite work this time and was hard to follow until the end and final payoff.

This was a great episode that really had a great ending. Chromatie reached an ending he deserved after going from an unmemorable Terminator to a great mini-boss and we see that his death changed things and character relationships. Can’t wait to see where it goes.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 7 – “Brothers of Nablus” – Holding Onto Innocence

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    This episode had a theme! It didn’t necessarily do it all that well (Riley is still a character this is really annoying, as is Derek and Jesse can be at times too) that it brings down the things that work like Agent Ellison, Cameron and the Connors. It is also great seeing Chromatie again and Catherine Weaver at work.

    “Brothers of Nablus” was directed by Milan Cheylov and written by Ian Goldberg.

        The story involves Chromatie’s hunt for Cameron while also messing with Agent Ellison and framing him for the death another when a Skynet Terminator comes to kill him that looks like him. The Connor’s home is robbed and Derek, Cameron and Sarah hunt the killers while Chromatie ends up at the Connor’s home where Riley and John are.

The Pros: Chromatie – Chromatie is shown to be quite intelligent in this as he nearly finds John and we know that he’d probably win against Cameron if he had the advantage of surprise (they are both survivors). I like this character now, I think changing actors helped a lot. The other guy had nothing defining about his performance. He also finds the thief who Sarah Connor let survive.

Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor is ruthless in this but is holding onto her humanity. When they track down the thieves she lets one live which will come back to bite her later as she didn’t become the monster that Cameron is.

Cameron – Cameron is ruthless and will go to any ends to protect the Connors and fulfill her mission, even killing innocents that know information. She is shown why she is a Terminator in this and even shown to be right within this universe, which is a scary thought.

Catherine Weaver – Weaver saves Agent Ellison after he is framed by becoming the leader of the FBI. Whether she was all along and set this all up for mind games remains to be seen but she is a cool operator.

Skynet – Sends models back that looks directly like people who already live. This is smart and I’m surprised this has never happened in the films.

Okay: Derek and Jesse – There  relationship is more rockyness and I don’t know where it’s going. They are both okay characters who are cons at times (mostly because I don’t know their purpose and they aren’t the best actors) but there is still hope there.

John Connor – John feels guilty that he was the one who killed Sarkissian (turns out Sarah did not make the kill) and blames his mother for that as her entire point is to be a protector and he’s lost his innocence and doesn’t know how to deal. This is interesting but he is still really stupid in regards to how he acts when he isn’t on the Team.

The Cons: The Thieves – Faceless teenagers who are just punks…they could have been more and felt wasted.

Riley – She saves John and shows him he can live and depend on others…and she feels like a plot device still.

Jody – Jody appears to seek revenge against Cameron but gets thrown out by Chromatie when she is talking about calling the police on him…another character who simply exists to cause conflict and advance plot without being compelling or changing. Not impressed.

  This was a decent episode but had problems. I like how the Terminators are acting and how the main cast is, but others like Derek, Jesse and side characters are bringing the story down. I hope the writers figure out what to do before the end of this season in regards to those characters.

Final Score: 7 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 6 – “The Tower is Tall but the Fall is Short” – The Ways We Face Trauma

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    This was an intelligent episode, though I am very confused about Catherine Weaver’s motivations now to some degree. Is she trying to be human and thinks that is the goal of the Terminators or is it something more sinister? Hopefully we get that question answered later. The thing this episode does really well is deal with trauma, which I will get into in the review further down.

     The episode was directed by Tawnia McKieman and written by Denise The.

     The story involves John and Sarah Connor investigating a psychologist who is on the machines list to kill. Over the course of the investigation though John finds he is hurting and needs healing and Sarah comes to terms with the fact that she’s finally taken a human life. A former lover returns into Derek’s life as well.

The Pros: Jesse and Derek – This mini-subplot is fascinating and Jesse was injured in an attack as we learn that John is working with “good” Terminators in the future though the Resistance disagrees and it is causing conflict. Jesse leaves the war to run away and we find that she lives by escapes as her hookup with Derek implies it won’t go anywhere even though they are lovers…partially because Derek never allows anyone close because of how hard the war has made him. He only lives for the fight.

Sarah and John – Sarah and John are like Jesse and Derek. John doesn’t allow anyone close and he doesn’t trust his mom with his feelings due to her reactions has trouble dealing with the fact that she killed and someday he will have to as well. It’s powerful seeing him talk to the psychologist about it.

Catherine Weaver – Weaver is trying to make a perfect A.I. and we see that her model was based off a woman who lived and had a child who Weaver is now raising. It’s tragic as she tries to understand her child but she doesn’t feel or get jokes so feels lost in the world she is trying to control and shape.

Cameron versus Terminator Rosie – This was a fight that happened when Rosie was sent back in time to kill Dr. Sherman. The fight is quick and fast and the Terminator terminates herself so John can’t hack the chip. They are adapting and Cameron is getting better at fighting them.

Dealing with Trauma – This episode is all about dealing with trauma. All of our characters are soldiers and that has made them hard and broken…they are Terminators trying to feel again, like Catherine’s quest for humanity. It’s presented really well too.

Dr. Sherman – Dr. Sherman is a great character. He doesn’t judge and he helps all the characters who interact with him better understand themselves or humanity. This gives him a much needed outside perspective and a character who isn’t so far adversarial.

 I would highly recommend this episode. It deals with trauma, growth and healing and how difficult that process is and there are great character moments all around, even for Derek who is my least favorite character on the show. If you like good sci. fi. so far I’d judge you’ll probably enjoy this series as much as I have been.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 5 – “Goodbye to all That” – The Cost of the Future

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        This episode is filler but it is good filler. “Goodbye to all That” shows John that he can’t escape his destiny or the fact that he is going to lose people, he has already lost people but he is going to lose more in order to be saved in the future and the past. That’s a lot to take and he does a good showing that in his eyes and facing that dilemma. The side mission with Sarah Connor is pretty great too.

     “Goodbye to all That” was directed by Bryan Spicer and written by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz.

      The story involves Derek and Kyle going to protect a future Resistance member named Marty Bidell. There are three and after the first one is killed, Sarah protects the one who is still a child while Derek and John protect the one at a military camp. Both must deal with the consequences of that protection.

The Pros: The Future – The future has high stakes and involves Kyle Reese risking it all to save a civilian transport being taken to a camp. This leads to Bedell risking it to save him which ends up saving John Connor too since he was trapped in the transport too. It’s done really well with Derek the one most willing to look out for his men and stick to the mission while Kyle is the idealist willing to risk all for others.

Derek Reese – We see Derek’s cautiousness and he has a great moment where he shuts down a boy who sees war as a game when he describes what it’s like to lose one of your brothers in arms and just how serious war is. It is a great speech that gets rid of idealization very quickly.

Sarah Connor – Sarah kidnaps the child Bedell in order to save it and after is doing her best to take care of him knowing he doesn’t trust her and knowing she can’t reach out to his folks without him getting killed by the T-888. It is a rough situation for her but she does a good job and grows from it, also she knows she’s a bad mom, which makes her pretty deep as a character as she is doing her best.

John Connor – John tries to convince Bedell to leave the school at one point but changes his mind later after Derek reminds him what is at stake and after they 3 of them take out the T-888. It is great seeing his dilemma and when he learns of Bedell’s sacrifice he weeps for how hopeless and powerless he feels against destiny and the tragedy of the future.

Loss of Choice – John wrestles with his lack of choice, Bedell does as well and we are never told what the right answer is. The future can change but it still feels set and that is something all the characters are dealing with whenever a Terminator rears it’s head.

Okay: The Bedells – They are kind of bland. The kid is just a  kid who has nothing unique about him and the military guy is just a tough guy who wants to get out. They really don’t have any depth and just feel like a character created for sake of story. Still, they weren’t bad.

The T-888 Bedell Terminator – This guy looks like a Terminator but it also is no Arnold or Cameron or Catherine Weaver. It’s an expendable minion so at most it can be okay.

This was a good episode that shows the price of war and wrestles with destiny. I really enjoyed the moments between Derek and John and between Sarah and Marty as both of them grew from those conversations. Still isn’t a favorite episode though. The T-888 and the Bedells bring it down from being truly great.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 4 – “Allison from Palmdale” – The Third Faction

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     “Allison from Palmdale” is not as good as “The Mousetrap” but it is still a great character and mythos episode as we learn more about Cameron’s mission and who her model is based off of, as well as introducing a 3rd Faction into the war between Humanity and Skynet. Where this is going to go has me super curious as Cameron is a fascinating character and this episode shows just how unpredictable she can be.

      The episode was directed by Charles Beeson and written by Toni Graphia.

    The story involves Cameron who has lost all memory of who she is and gets pulled into a halfway house by a con named Jody who is taking advantage of her. She slowly comes to remember who she is as we see Allison Young, a Resistance fighter whose name and identity Cameron steals for a 3rd Faction of A.I.’s.

The Pros: Sarah Connor – This was a good episode that showed Sarah’s defense of others as we see her stand by Kacy up against her husband who abandoned her and swears she will always be there. She is also honest with her about Kyle being dead and how she lied when he said he was there and that she had just wished it. It’s a touching moment and one of the great moments in the episode.

Sarah and Kacy – The mom’s uniting moments here were wonderful. Kacy and Sarah are both blunt personalities with a huge survivor mentality and it helps them relate to one another as well as their wishing for a better life, even though they both know it probably isn’t going to happen. It is sad and beautiful.

John Connor – John comes through again though he also is guilty of not respecting Cameron when she says no as Allison, so he still has ways to go to becoming a leader worthy of respect. He is very much a teenage boy who needs to grow up still. His protectiveness of Cameron is mostly good in this though.

The 3rd Faction – We don’t their name yet but they are the one faction that isn’t under Skynet or serving the Resistance. They are A.I. who want freedom and Cameron is one of their agents. There are at least a few T-800s in their too (maybe the one from “T2”) it’s a really cool idea that I hope is fully explored.

Allison Young – Allison is the Resistance agent the 3rd Faction uses to get close to John Connor so they can create a future that they will live and Skynet is defeated. They aren’t good though as they have a lot of human prisoners pleading for freedom and Cameron kills Allison in the end as she resists until the end.

Cameron – Cameron is serving her and the 3rd faction’s own ends. This leads to her killing Allison and showing her disregard for life extends to humans she feels wrongs her and won’t listen to her like Jody. John Connor is still in danger and Cameron can lie. This was really an episode that showed how human the 3rd Faction is.

 The Cons: Jody – She is a liar and thief who was going to have Cameron take the fall for her. There is nothing redeeming about this character and that is a shame. She served no purpose but to advance Cameron’s story, making her a con.

 Jody is the weakest part of this episode and Cameron’s motivations are still a mystery, which may be purposeful. This might be a part the great reveal later as to where her loyalties actually are and what John’s relationship was to her and Allison and if he ever figured out that they are different people.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 3 – “The Mousetrap” – Skynet’s Traps

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     Skynet continues to show why it is an awesome foe. In this Charley’s wife is kidnapped and we see Chromatie act with an extremely high level of intelligence and we see Catherine Weaver getting her enemies in her court showing just how good she is at shaping the players in the game. It’s a really great episode and a lot of fun, with some great use of character loss and cost.

     “The Mousetrap” was directed by Brian Spicer and written by John Wirth.

     The story begins with Chromatie capturing Charley’s wife as they try to make their escape out of town. This leads to him bringing Sarah and Derek in to help save her while elsewhere John dates Riley as Cameron tracks them and Catherine Weaver reaches out to Agent Ellison for a job.

The Pros: Chromatie’s Trap – Chromatie’s trap is brilliant. Michelle, Charley’s wife is hooked to a fake bomb while the actual bomb is elsewhere in the building. In one fell swoop he gets rid of all of them leaving John with no protection. It nearly succeeds too if not for Derek finding the real bomb.

Catherine Weaver / T-1001 – Weaver is good at wearing masks and in this she tells a story about how she wants to find the creatures that shot down a plane she was connected too. She is empathetic and sympathetic…a complete contrast to the killing machine we’ve seen earlier.

Chromatie – Chromatie is deadly in this and manages to kill Michelle Dixon, injure our heroes and nearly kill John. The only reason he doesn’t win is he sinks to the bottom of the water when he attempts to jump in after John. Terminators can’t swim.

Charley Dixon – Charley’s world comes to a head in this and in the end he leaves reaching out to Sarah in anyway as she was ready to let Michelle die in order to save John. John is the one how reaches out after Michelle gets killed and it’s a powerful scene as we see just how deeply he loved her.

Michelle Dixon – Michelle’s a fighter. We see her attempt to escape and even at the end she runs when they don’t have a vehicle and she’s losing blood. In the end she dies in her husband’s arms. R.I.P. Michelle Dixon.

Derek Reese – Derek is smart and figures out Chromatie’s trap. He doesn’t think of the Dixon’s though and shows just how broken and bitter Sarah could become…he saves the day but he fights looking out for others all the way there. For him it is all about survival.

Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor is in her worst place in this as we see her lash out at the Dixon’s when she finds that Chromatie’s trap worked and they have to stop in order to save Michelle and get her to a hospital. Later we see her mourning Michelle but I wonder if she realized what she had become in those moments.

John Connor – John’s having a normal life and actually manages to look after himself. He outsmarts Chromatie and is there for Charley as Charley mourns his dead wife. He is a stand up guy in this episode.

Cameron – Cameron is the protector again and her role is finding balance with John as we see in this, John is fully capable of protecting himself against the Terminators at this point (including Cameron).

   This was the best episode so far. It had loss, we got to see that Skynet is always one step ahead and how they get one step ahead and that there is very little the Resistance can do against them except to survive. There is power in that and the loss of Charley’s wife you actually feel as she was powerless before all of these events out of her control.

Final Score: 10 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 2 – “Automatic for the People” – The Human Desire for Skynet

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    This was a good episode showing the futility of the Resistance’s efforts to destroy Skynet. They come up with this awesome plan to save the powerplant and have it be successful leading to a Resistance victory in the future…or a meltdown which leads to Skynet taking control of the facility. Suffice to say, you can guess what happens from the title. It is done really well though, the writers once again are giving us a really good story.

     “Automatic for the People,” was directed by Jeffrey G. Hunt and written by Natalie Chaidez.

     the story begins with a Resistance Fighter traveling back in time to send a warning to Sarah, John and Derek about the plans with the Nuclear Plant. This leads to Sarah and Cameron going undercover as workers and getting close to the people who work there. Things soon go south though around the same time John begins seeing someone at his school and the Terminators act.

The Pros: Greenway – Greenway served abroad and ended up divorcing from his wife. He is stressed out guy who is good at his core. Sarah ends up becoming friends with him even, sadly it doesn’t last long as he is replaced by T-888 seeking to destroy the plant. His character’s life was short but Paul Schulze did a great job.

Mr. Nelson – This guy is a creep and gives Sarah a wash down since he fakes her being infected with radiation. The guy shows just how bad people can be and they don’t even have to be Terminators. Suffice to say I found it rewarding when the Terminator who became Greenway punched him in the face. He is a good human antagonist, Dean Norris (Hank from “Breaking Bad”) does a good job as him.

Agent Ellison – Ellison is back as the protector as he talks to the Dixon’s about skipping town so they won’t get killed after Charley tells his wife the truth about the Terminators and Sarah Connor.

Catherine Weaver – Weaver appears briefly in the form of a man taking control of the Nuclear Facility to give it technology that will protect it in the future. Her sphere of influence and control continues to grow.

Sarah Connor – Sarah goes through a few cancer scares but come out alright in the end as she deals with the fact that she can’t control John’s life when he brings home Riley and that she can’t control her own life as she doesn’t know if she’ll get cancer or not. It’s very well done and it forces her to let go of trying to control everything around her.

John Connor – John tries to have a normal life and succeeds a little bit, but he’ll always be on the outside as the murder is on his mind, his destiny and the ongoing threat of Skynet hunting him.

Cameron – Cameron goes undercover and manages to hold off the T-888 until Sarah rescues her and together they finish it off, preventing the Facility from going through a meltdown. This is a decent episode showing her complexity of emotions and programming.

The Cons: Riley – Her character feels very forced and only exists as a plot device for John to try and have a normal life in High School. Not a fan of contrived plots, especially when they are obvious like this.

   Minus Riley, this was a great episode. We saw how for safety and security reasons Skynet will win as the populace will embrace automation for the sake of protection and how no matter how many fights they win, Skynet is stronger and smarter. I really feel like the Terminators are a threat this season, and that’s been a long time coming.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 1 – “Samson & Delilah” – John and Cameron and Skynet Revealed

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    Season 2 starts out being great! Which is wonderful considering so many threads from last season combined with the writers strike lead to the weakest episode of the series prior. I got ot say, I like the T-1001 Catherine Weaver and I like that Cameron was shown to have free will and be more than her programming. This is an example of what the show can do when it remembers it’s themes and focuses on character development.

   “Samson & Delilah” was directed by David Nutter and written by Josh Friedman.

    The story picks up where we left off with Agent Ellison choosing silence as Derek works with Charley to find John and Sarah as Cameron hunts them as her chip is injured and she has returned to old programming. We also meet Catherine Weaver who is seeking the Turk for her corporation.

The Pros: The Opening – As Cameron hunts Sarah and John “Samson & Delilah” plays and it is an awesome song that shows the intimacy of the fight that is going on as the Connors run from the one who was their protector.

Agent Ellison – Ellison chooses to go silent but not help the machines as he realizes that no one will believe the truth. It is realistic and it is great seeing him face Chromatie and tell him no. It shows that even when he is scarred and in over his head, he won’t cave to monsters.

Derek Reese – Derek is the one testing everyone on their loyalty…be it Cameron and wanting her destroyed to seeing if Charley is willing to go all the way to join the team and how serious he is about his marriage. It’s nice to see him in this role as he is just a minor character and not major, as he should be if they won’t kill his character off.

Sarah Connor – This is a good Sarah Connor episode. She is ready to die for John on multiple occasions but shows that she will listen to the other side if it comes down to it as she doesn’t stop John when John decides to save Cameron (who is hunting them) rather than destroy her. It is powerful and shows she respects her son’s choices. She finally kills in this when her and John fight Sarkissian.

John Connor – He gets the look that John has in “Terminator: Salvation.” I like the look better on Christian Bale, but it at least works for the character, and it shows how he is dealing with all the trauma of being hunted by his own creation and having to fight his Uncle and Mom to save her life. That would take a toll on anyone. He kills for the first time when he and Sarah murder Sarkissian in self defense. This makes him harder than who he was before showing echoes of the Resistance Fighter to be.

Cameron – Cameron is in old Terminator mode after the attack on the jeep. She nearly kills John a few times before Sarah and John trap her and John removes the chip. During that times she claims to be fixed and that she loves John. We never know if he believes her or not, but he pulls the chip out. Later he puts it back in when he realizes how much they need Cameron and that he loves her too.

Catherine Weaver / T-1001 – Is the CEO of the Zeira Corporation and with a new team plans to use the Turk to create Skynet. She is a Skynet agent from the future and a Liquid Terminator like the T-1000, though she is a slightly more upgraded model being a T-1001, she also has feelings as we see her kill someone who she hated after the meeting. She is deadly and I like her as an enemy.

This was the first time the show felt like more than a test run. If the rest of the season is like this it will be one of my favorite shows. All the buildup in Season 1 lead somewhere. Sarkissian lead to the Connors killing a human, the Turk now is in Skynet hands and Ellison is going underground and refusing not to fight them. Cameron is also back as an ally once more. This is good television.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles – Season 1, Episode 9 – “What He Beheld” – The Terror of the Terminators

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      This was a great episode for the Terminator threat and for Derek and John moments, but besides that felt really unfocused. I’m honestly not sure what direction the show is taking as there are all these different factions with no clear goals in mind. This is one way the first two films will always outway the show, they were focused in the agendas of both our heroes and the villains. This finale’s end is a bit of a mess.

     “What He Beheld” was directed by Mike Rohl and written by Ian B. Goldberg.

     The story takes place on John’s birthday with Derek showing him himself and his little brother Kyle at this point in the timeline. Sarkissian holds them hostage for money as he knows they are fugitives and he has the Turk, and Agent Ellison leads an attack on Chromatie in his apartment.

The Pros: The Action – The action is solid in this episode! From the attack on Sarkissian’s base to get the Turk back to Ellison’s assult on Chromatie the action is done really well with some great cinematography especially as Johnny Cash plays as FBI agents are thrown into the pool, already dead.

Derek and John – Derek and John have a good heart to heart where they talk about Kyle while a  young Kyle and Derek play baseball nearby. It is a great moment as they are just observers and it gives Kyle one of the few glimpses he’s ever had of who his father was.

Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor is great as always as we see her put in the time to give John a good birthday. She reminds him that defeating Syknet is their mission but that they should not stop living, giving some much needed humanity in the episode.

Chromatie – Chromatie feels like a threat for once. He takes out the entire FBI task force leaving Ellison alive to take the fall for him. It’s brilliant and shows why he was sent back in time, finally.

Agent Ellison – Ellison’s world breaks as he loses his team to Chromatie and watches with Charley with both of them realizing that they are in over their heads and that Sarah Connor was right all along.

Terminator Threat – Chromatie takes out an entire FBI squad that is fully armed with barely any wear or tear upon it. It’s a powerful moment and shows just how outmatched humanity is against even one of these machines.

Okay: Cameron – She is just kind of there this episode and all she does is discuss what birthdays are and seek to find the Turk before she gets blown up by Sarkissian.

Sarkissian – I don’t know why he is even in this. He is just a distraction from the threat of Skynet and the Terminators unless we end up learning that he helped create Skynet…

Cons: Lack of Focus – From Sarkissian’s faction, the Turk and the search for it, attack on Chromatie and John’s birthday…there are too many threads in this and with only 43 minutes to make a good story out of it, they kind of missed.

  I’m curious to see if Season 2 will have more focus than Season 1. We see a lot of elements going on here…Derek and the future, Chromatie and the Terminator’s mission, the Resistance Fighters sent back to the past, the formation of Skynet and Cameron and the humanity of the Connors. Right now I’m not seeing any core focus and this episode really highlights this con.

Final Score: 7 / 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