Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is firing on all cylinders again, with an episode that unravels more secrets of the future, and gives us a major turning point in the Riley-Jesse storyline. Killer-robot spoilers below.
We've all been praying fervently for Rileys death for almost six months now, and it's finally here. And yet the show actually managed to make me care, amazingly enough. The scene in the garage/barn thingy, where Riley manages to talk Cameron out of killing her by repeating Cameron's cover story ("You're his sister") over and over was actually pretty impressive, and reminded me of the one other time Riley was awesome: the episode where Beastwizard comes to the Connor house and she faces him down.
I actually found myself wishing Riley would just come clean with John, when he asked if there was anything she had to tell him. (And it might have actually made John perversely care about her more, once he knew what she'd been through, and realized she was another link with the future.) And I was actually a little sad that Riley was dead. Okay, not really.
And the full craziness of Jesse's plan was also terrific, and made a lot more sense than the vague "seduce John away from Cameron" plan we'd been privy to before. I'm still not sure it'll work, but the psycho way Cameron was acting this episode certainly doesn't help her case when she insists she didn't kill Riley. (Plus Cameron came close to killing Riley so many times, it's not like she wouldn't have done it.)
And I liked the fact that the Killer Robot From The Future in this episode was actually Jesse, not Cameron — Cameron was framed, man. Jesse may not be a Terminator, but she's robotic and ruthless in her desire to get her own way, almost as if she's been socialized to become Terminator-esque.
In the clip above, Jesse says something about how weird it is to be in the past, where Sarah's running around and "the metal is alive and well." Does something happen to Cameron in Jesse's future? I can't quite make out what she's saying at that point.
I thought it was interesting that Uncle Derek makes such a big point about how "his" Judgement Day is April 21, 2011, but Jesse's is probably some other date, since she came back from an alternate future. (I wonder if hers is sooner than that, and that's why she's so convinced it can't be stopped.) Every time Cameron says something about "Future John" in this episode, I can't help wondering about that. Even if Cameron is telling the strict truth, her "Future John" is not the future of this John. The present-day John, on the show, could easily know stuff that Cameron's "Future John" will never know and could never know.
Cameron's chip malfunction is getting more interesting all the time. I don't think there's anything wrong with her hand, and her twitchy acting is spot-on. The scariest thing about Terminators has always been the fact that they're so relentless and unstoppable. So it's kind of awesome that in this episode, Cameron's indecision is even scarier. "What am I going to do with you?" Turns out a Terminator that can't make up its mind is actually more alarming than a Terminator who knows what it wants — because we never quite know what Cameron will do next.
I love the fact that the show hammers home what gun nuts these people are. Uncle Derek can tell at a glance that the sights on his gun are off kilter, and John knows the intricate details of state gun laws by heart.
All in all, a pretty solid episode, and one which seems to set up some pretty interesting developments in weeks to come. It's also an arc episode, that'll mean nothing to viewers unless they've seen all the previous episodes that set up Jesse's motivation for wanting to make John less dependent on Cameron. But for those of us who've been following the show closely, it felt like a welcome payoff. What did you think?