The Sarah Connor Chronicles is one of the smartest shows on TV, and the latest episode goes out of its way to prove that this week.
In ‘Allison from Palmdale’ the damage Cameron previously sustained has unforeseen consequences when she loses her memory and starts to relive the experiences of the human Skynet used as a template for her. This gives Summer Glau the opportunity to throw off her Terminator persona and act her little cotton socks off.
The story is told in a combination of present day events and flash-forwards, with ‘Allison’ being caught in the future and her fruitless attempts to escape. Juxtaposed with this is Cameron’s total loss of memory and her falling into the life of a homeless person. After some nice development they deliver the first real spine-tingle moment of this season, when in a distant future Cameron tells Allison that she’s from a group of Terminators that don’t want to exterminate mankind. Is this actually true, or just a hook to gain her confidence and be taken to John?
We also discover that Allison is sent by John to be captured, presumably so he’ll meet Cameron. You then realise that Cameron’s drifter friend Jody has a necklace that the future Allison wears, and a second shiver hit me. As this point in the episode it was me that was experiencing the acrid whiff of arcing electric contacts, as my brain began to melt.
There is a meandering subplot about the nice pregnant lady, Casey, who rented them the house, but it’s mostly there to make you rabid for the Allison storyline.
How does it end? You really want to know?
Future Cameron kills Allison, present Cameron nearly re-enacts that on Jody except she lives surprisingly. John finally catches up with her and she remembers enough to go with him, which is the only part of things where credibility got a little elasticised.
In all the excitement I also forgot to mention that Agent Ellison takes the job offer from shape shifting Terminator Catherine Weaver, but he’s yet to realise who he’s working for.
Actually what’s really clever is that all three plotlines running this week had the same theme, telling people what they need to hear rather than the truth.
Season 2 of Sarah Connor is quite brilliantly written and is starting to make me excited about the fourth movie, which is probably entirely misplaced because I’ll be stunned if it’s as good as this show.
Next week I know the Ellison story gets progressed so I’ve got a week to fully process what happened in this one before they unleash more twisted events on my sorry noodle.
Till then, stay frosty!
Read a review of the episode 3 here.