Here's the moment where Friday's Terminator episode lost me, and never quite got me back. You keep waiting for Summer Glau to say something awesome, and then she just adds to the banality. Spoilers avaunt.
Maybe it's the jet-lag from my New Zealand flight talking, but the latest Sarah Connor Chronicles episode left me almost totally cold. It was another crazy melodrama-fest, but this time around I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of these people. Even Summer Glau was less interesting to watch than usual. I just couldn't get myself to care about whether Zoe loves Henry.
I got what this episode was trying to do: Sarah Connor wants to get some leads on the mysterious factory where she saw the flying saucer/Skynet drone, and so she drags her posse to the funeral for all the factory workers. And along the way, she has to confront the fact that she killed one of the factory guys after he shot her, while she makes nice with the guy's widow. And meanwhile, in a neatly parallel storyline, Shirley Manson's Terminator tries to simulate human grief on the anniversary of her "husband's" death. (The husband of the woman she killed and replaced, Catherine Weaver.)
There were some really awesome moments. I really did like Sarah trying to comfort the widow of that security guard, while having flashbacks to shooting him. And I loved Sarah proudly owning the "terrorist" label. And the scene between Brian Austin Green and Shirley Manson's cleanup guy, where BAG gives the guy a lift, was terrific.
But all in all, the episode felt a bit lifeless. (Sorry if that's in poor taste for an episode about funerals.)
Here's what worries me: we've been told, over and over, that the Sarah Connor Chronicles is getting more serialized for the rest of season two. That means fewer Terminator-of-the-week episodes and more ongoing arc stuff. It sounds terrific in theory, especially for a show that has so many dangling loose ends and cool stuff waiting to happen. (And which may not get another season to play with them in.)
But arc-based storytelling only works if you feel like we're getting somewhere. Even the merest hint that the show is treading water can be deadly. This is the second episode since Sarah found that factory (in the midseason finale) and it felt a little too incremental for my liking. Sure, the episode did end with another glimpse of that Skynet drone, and we saw it going into the evil mullet guy's truck. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is actually going somewhere cool.
About that ending, though: I'm even more confused than ever. So Shirley Manson sent the bald guy to track down Zoe's dad - mullet guy - because she suspected he was still alive and was a loose end. And then mullet guy killed bald guy, right? So presumably mullet guy isn't operating on Shirley Manson's instructions when he loads the Skynet drone into his truck at the end? Is this another indication that Shirley's goals and Skynet's are no longer sympatico?
This is still one of my favorite shows, and I'm still really excited to see where it's going, especially with some of the the hints people have dropped about what's coming next. But I can't help feeling it's not a good time for the show to be having too many slow, melodramatic episodes.
Again, it could be the jetlag talking. What did you guys think?