It’s hard to type, when you’re hyper-ventilating! But having watched the final episode of the second season that’s the condition I’ve been left in.
What a mind scrabble! If you’ve not seen it, then please do not read this now, watch the show! It’s bloody brilliant.
The penultimate episode had left Sarah held by the police, John and Cameron on the run, and poor Derek dead. John Henry and Catherine Weaver were increasingly interested in the Connors, presumably because they want to stop Skynet and that is possibly what John Henry becomes.
Right, forget almost all of that, because in the 43 minutes that Born To Run takes almost all of that and anything else you concluded about this show gets entirely turns on its head.
The story starts normally enough, with Sarah in jail while John and Cameron debate the next course of action. Catherine Weaver really wants to meet Sarah Connor, and John Henry really likes playing D&D.
In jail Sarah is questioned by Agent Auldridge, played by Joshua Malina who is so good that if the show does make a third season I predict he could become an important character. He appears to realise that this isn’t a straightforward investigation, and that Sarah has secrets that would shake the very foundations of society.
Sarah asks for a priest, and Father Armando Bonilla reappears, brought back from the start of the season where she took refuge in his church. She sends a message to John that they should leave, which is communicated to him by Chola (Sabrina Perez), who you might recall was the girl who Cameron emulated when standing outside Enrique Salceda’s den in season one. She brings false identities for them, which is still the family business it appears.
The Terminator who killed Derek has a nice scene where he goes into a gun shop, which is a nod to those in the first two films. He asks for silencers for his pistols, and the shop owner directs him elsewhere. As he leaves the shop keeper comments that the nicest thing about his weaponry is the sound they make, and the Terminator replies, “No, it’s not”. Great.
Ellison tracks down John and Cameron, presumably using John Henry. He’s got a message for Cameron from Catherine Weaver, and that message is “Will you join us?”
Cripes! My mind began to spin at this point, as the implications of this one statement pervaded my understanding of this series. My assumptions that Weaver was a bad Terminator, sent to make sure Skynet was created, flew entirely out of the window, where I’ve left it circling menacingly for a later scene.
The Derek-killing Terminator turns up at the Zera building, and shoots one of the guards with his nice new silenced weapons. Catherine Weaver appears and comments that he broke the gates, and she really liked those gates! She stabs one blade through his power source and the other through the electrical substation behind her. He was somewhat overmatched here, I suspect.
After some more strange Ellison, Weaver and John Henry conversations comes possibly the creepiest scene in the show so far, where John tries to assess if Cameron is leaking radiation, which may be making Sarah ill.
Cameron strips to the waist, and gets John to pin her down, while slitting part of her torso open and reaching up inside her skeleton. It was very creepy and sexy at the same time, not sure how best to explain it further. She seems ok, but very shortly after this scene she’s certainly not 100%.
We are given a classic Terminator sequence where a determined Cameron enters the jail where Sarah is to release her, taking massive amounts of weapons fire as she does. The makeup of her face in this sequence is awesome, better than all the films so far. She also chooses not to kill the guards who confront her, by either making them run or disabling them.
But she’s also got help, from unseen guardian angel John Henry. He invades the security system and opens all the doors to all the cells, releasing all the prisoners! It’s chaos, but exactly the sort of craziness they need to get Sarah away.
From here John and Sarah head to see Weaver, and they instruct the now badly damaged Cameron to deal with John Henry. Except they don’t realise what the message meant, and Cameron does.
They enter Weaver’s office where she and Ellison are waiting. At this point none of the humans know she’s a Terminator, and they also don’t know that she’s actually on their side! But that all gets revealed just as the prototype hunter killer appears outside the window and crashes into the office in an attempt to kill everyone.
Weaver turns herself into a big metal shield, absorbing the impact and keeping the humans alive. It’s all very cool and in a blink John, Sarah and Ellison’s world is inverted.
There is an amazing extra bit to this incident which took my breath away. Weaver tells them to run and the room explodes. The flying debris takes out the fish tank where Weaver keeps her pet eel. The creature propels itself across the floor, becomes liquid metal and then merges with Weaver! Wow.
The eel form was the same shape that the liquid Terminator took when escaping the sub in that story, so this might actually be the same Terminator.
Form here the action heads down to Cameron, who’s found John Henry. When the rest of them arrive John Henry has gone. Cameron gave him her chip and sits deactivated. John Henry was built by Weaver to fight Skynet; she’s part of the breakaway faction.
A counter is running. Stupidly, I assumed that John Henry had set the building to explode, but it’s actually something much more interesting than that.
Before the next crucial event I should also mention that they find the ‘Turk’ computer system, which has the three dots on it that preoccupied Sarah so much earlier in the season.
The countdown is for time travel, but who is going where? The bubble forms, Weaver asks Ellison if he wants to come with her to “get their boy”. He declines, so she efficiently redirects him to collect Savannah from school. Sarah steps backwards out of the bubble, leaving John and Weaver. John desperately wants to save Cameron, and goes with Weaver in pursuit of John Henry. They travel though time…back to the future…
Ahhhhhh….my brain exploded…and dribbled out of my nose in a very unsightly manner. It wasn’t part of the show, but I thought you ought to know.
Weaver and John materialise in a dark post-judgement day world, where they are soon located by freedom fighters. Weaver hides and John is left to prove he is a human.
The fighter who confirms he really is human is Derek Reese! John gives his name, but they’ve never heard of a John Connor in this future. But Derek isn’t the only character that’s back from the dead or alive in the future past, or whatever. Kyle appears, and not far behind him is Cameron. John has entirely jumped over judgement day, entirely trashing whatever chronology the third movie represented.
The electrical spark of another time bubble indicated another traveller is coming. We hear Sarah say, “I love you too,” and then the credits ran. I shouted ‘NOoooooo……’ in that really childish Yu-Gi-Oh fashion at the TV.
And then… the person next to me on the sofa became unemotional. I sensed a red glow from their eyes and they asked, “Will you join us?” Ok, so I made that last bit up because I didn’t want the story to end.
There aren’t really words to describe how good in places this show has become, and how superb the writing and performing was in the episode. It’s an overused phrase, but it was seminal. Almost none of what happened I expected, and the convoluted spaghetti of plot twist and chronology is currently causing a major re-plumbing of my neurons.
If this show doesn’t come back next season, I’ll make it my personal mission in the future to send killer robots back in time to get the TV network people who cancelled it.
TV doesn’t actually get much better than this, in my less than humble opinion, and everyone involved with the show should be congratulated. If there is one word for this show and the creative talents behind itn then that would be ‘awesome’.
I just hope what they’ve done fits with the fourth movie, because I’d love to see some synergy with that narrative.
Read a review of the episode 21 here.