Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 2 episode 7 review

A religious overtone is at the heart of Brothers of Nablus, this week’s episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The writing in this show never ceases to amaze me, it’s so elegantly crafted. Instead of the overblown machinations that Heroes employs, there are just two main plot threads this week that intertwine beautifully. It’s like watching two fighter jets engaged in a rolling scissors of aerial combat, each one getting momentary guns on its opponent. It could either end with one winning, or a mid-air collision.

In the first two minutes these plot elements are launched. There’s the arrival of a Terminator at Agent Ellison’s house and a break-in at the Connors’ safe house. From that point onwards it’s turn and burn all the way.

Ellison’s Terminator encounter is quite shocking, because it seems reasonable to assume that, as he’s working for one, he’s not a target. But it appears that Skynet and the Terminators lead by Catherine Weaver are actually at odds. Cromartie appears and kills the ‘Elision’ Terminator, explaining that, “Skynet does not believe in you like I do,” and “You will lead me to the Connors,” before exiting stage left with the disabled Terminator over his shoulder.

From this point onwards, Cromartie is hot on the trail of the Connors this week, and gets very close indeed.

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The burglary at the safe house exposes the Connors, as the thief took fake IDs, credit cards and other items that might lead someone back to them. But actually this isn’t what gets Cromartie on the scent. It’s a photo of Cameron scanned by a lady at the homeless refuge that she visited in the ‘Allison from Palmdale’ story (which had the same director, Ian Goldberg). He’s tapped into the Government computers, and turns up at the refuge to find Jody, who, as you might recall, Cameron chose not to kill. She agrees to help him find them to get revenge, although she’s already starting to think this man is strange.

Garret Dillahunt’s portrayal of the T-888 is becoming highly polished; he moves seamlessly between the psychotic robot modes and something much more subtle. Twice or more in this episode, he tries to smile, which all turn out to be horribly creepy attempts. Some Terminators understand humans more than others.

Jody and Cromartie end up in the same store as John and Riley, who are shopping to replace the food that was stolen. They don’t actually meet, but some finely-tuned tension is cranked as Jody’s clumsiness distracts Cromartie at the right moment.

Meanwhile, the Ellison Terminator killed someone before making his house call, and Ellison is arrested for that murder. Eventually, he’s extracted from this by Catherine Weaver, who brings back the religious theme by likening him to Job.

Another reference to the Bible comes when pursuing their stolen stuff; the Connors come across an orthodox Jew who trades in diamonds. He sends them off on a wild goose chase before telling them who really has their gear. In a conversation with Cameron, Sarah talks about the Brothers of Nablus. For those who passed on Sunday School, this is an unfortunate tale about rape, mass circumcision and death. The underling message is that agreements can be made, but sometimes they’re not enough to stop your brothers turning up and killing everyone.

I’m leaving plenty out, but the upshot is that the four men who robbed the Connors are tracked to a bowling alley, where Cameron then dispatches three of them. The fourth is a kid who Sarah finds hiding in the toilets, and doesn’t kill. This is her mistake, because Cromartie isn’t far behind.

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Their decision to stop running is becoming harder to maintain. How much longer will the safe house be ‘safe’? It seems compromised already. And what’s going on with these rogue Terminators? Have they found god?

Along with Fringe, this is the show I get most excited to see each week. I just hope where we go eventually is as good as the journey to get there.

Read a review of the episode 6 here.