Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 2 episode 15 review

Is it too early for a Terminator funeral?

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. To put it bluntly, if this show was represented by the original Terminator, he’s limbless and crawling through a giant press, where the American viewing public is sat at one end with its finger poised over the terminate button. What is wrong with people? Last week’s show had a massive decline in viewers despite there being little or nothing wrong with the episode from my perspective. Is this show too smart, or paced differently, or just the wrong Terminator TV show?

Since last week I’ve strived to understand what it is about this show that isn’t grabbing viewers, even if I adore it. I wonder if they came to it with the misconception that, like the movies, it would be one long chase, for 22 episodes per season! That would have been incredibly boring, and what they ultimately chose to do with it, I can’t fault. There is little wrong with the scripts, the production values or the performances; they’re great. Yet somehow it’s not clicking with people, who seem more interested in dumb ‘reality’ shows.

I just hope they let it air out the season, because chopping it Firefly-style would be horrific for those who have followed this show.

Anyway, back to this week’s dark and brooding episode, Desert Cantos. It takes all the main characters on a trip to the town near the facility Sarah found, where the townspeople are mourning the loss of 32 warehouse workers. Mingling with those attending the funerals and wakes, they hope to find out what really went on there.

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But it soon transpires that they are not the only ones who have an interest, as an obvious ex-cop turned PI has also been dispatched to find out more by Catherine Weaver. As she obviously knows what went on there, what’s peaked her curiosity?

It seems that there is a person missing from when she went on her killing spree, and this isn’t a situation where witnesses are allowed.

I’m not going to detail all the interactions in Desert Cantos, because it’s a nice slow burn where we’re given a hint about what’s wrong, and then it’s almost a detective plot to work out exactly what. I liked it because, unlike so many action related shows, Terminator does concede the implications of people dying, and not in a Mike Myer’s henchmen-have-families-too type way.

Sarah end’s up talking to the wife of the man who shot her, who she subsequently killed, which makes for a tense interaction. John befriends a girl of a similar age, who doesn’t seem to be reacting as she should, which as Cameron ultimately deducts, isn’t ‘normal’. It’s her father who’s alive, and Catherine Weaver’s minion is hot on the trail of.

As a slight diversion to these events we’re given a glimpse at some curious behaviour that Catherine Weaver exhibits on the anniversary of her ‘husband’s’ death. She’s asked why her daughter isn’t with her, and she realises she’s not acting sufficiently human and asks that she be brought to her. The scenes with her and the child are always chilling, and the one in here was exceptionally so. I don’t know where they found Mackenzie Brooke Smith who plays Savannah, but she’s superb.

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They have a short conversation where the Terminator offers some words of comfort to the child about her father, borrowed from Ellison. Savannah tells her she misses him, and sitting on his lap. For one horrible moment I thought she was going to morph into him and the little girl would freak out entirely! She didn’t. She asked her to sit on her lap, and Savannah did, but complained that her lap was cold!

Freaky. Quite why Catherine Weaver’s Terminator character feels it necessary to do all these things is unclear, and given the status of the show, we might never find out.

The main proceedings end with the gang finding the body of the PI next to a lake where a number of cattle are also lying dead. Exactly what killed them is unsure, but the lake is bubbling. Suddenly the prototype hunter-killer comes from underwater and takes off above them and then zooms off. It travels a short distance before the missing worker meets it with a big truck, then he drives off with it inside.

My only real complaint about this story is that, again, it was a Cameron light affair. I hope we get another episode where she’s at the forefront, as the ones this season where she’s important are probably the best.

Next week, Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep, apparently. Perhaps it would be better if they all watched.

Read a review of the episode 14 here.

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