Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 2 episode 3 review

A terrific episode keeps the momentum going with season two, and there's even a bit of a shock in store...

The title of this week’s Sarah Connor Chronicles is ‘Mousetrap’, and that’s not a reference to murder mystery plays that have record-breaking runs. It’s a metaphor for Cromartie’s quite devious plan to get to John, using Charlie and his wife as the cheese in this particular trap.

Cromartie abducts Michelle Dixon at a desert gas station, and then leaves a convenient trail of crumbs for Charlie to lead Sarah and Reese to him. His plan is to isolate them so he can pursue John without their interference and also to find his location, when Sarah foolishly calls his mobile phone.

In the meanwhile John’s taken it upon himself to escape Cameron’s attention for the more flirtatious Riley (understandably), thus leaving him almost entirely defenceless.

Once the trap springs it’s really only blind luck that saves the day. They’re all been cleverly outflanked by Cromartie, whom the TV News think is a psychopathic ex-TV personality from a cheesy Hercules-alike show. The Terminators here are much smarter than their film counterparts, but then to sustain the story over successive episodes they’ve got to be. Miss Weaver makes an appearance, now intent on employing soon to be ex-agent Ellison. This is the long term story arc they like to keep warming over, but it’s not something they’re ready to deploy for a while it appears.

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What we do get is a tight storyline that reinforces the idea that they’ve done with running from the Terminators, even if there are costs associated to that. We’re also given a vital flaw in the Terminators’ abilities which is never exposed in the movies: they can’t swim, which is how John survives. But not everyone is so lucky, one regular character doesn’t, but I won’t spoil which one here. There is a sombre end to the proceedings, which considering what they’ve been through seems entirely appropriate.

What really stuck me about this episode were the production values, which are really high. From the beautiful desert locations to the chase on the pier near the end, there are plenty of outdoor locations and relatively few soundstage shots. This gives the proceedings a filmic quality that many TV shows lack, and makes it that little bit more believable.

My personal favourite parts of this episode are the increasingly strange nature of Cameron, who’s obviously not the Terminator she once was. At one point she stands motionless in the middle of a room and tells John that this is the absolute centre of the building. She’s also obsessed with killing a bird that’s nesting in the chimney, for less than logical reasons. Which bodes well for next weeks instalment, which I’m told is a Cameron-centric story called ‘Allison From Palmdale’…

Read our review of last week’s episode here