Monday, 27 July 2015

Terminator: TSCC Episode 5 ‘Queen's Gambit' Review

With Andy Goode having rebuilt the Turk, Sarah is left once again with the difficult decision of whether to kill him or not for the sake of humanity. Meanwhile the resistance fighter who had travelled back in time reappears and manages to get himself arrested. Will Sarah save him before the Terminator tracking him down finally completes his mission?

So the episode opens with a flashback. The flashback shows John as a child, being trained in the South American jungle. The back story of John’s childhood in training has been alluded to before but never shown. Hopefully any future glimpses will be similarly brief as viewing this part of John’s life could undermine somewhat the strong mental pictures built up in ‘Terminator 2’.

Andy Goode invites Sarah to a chess competition; his rebuilt Turk is competing against other chess robots for a chance of winning a military contract. Having lost the competition it seems safe for Andy to be left alive, unfortunately someone else had other plans and Andy is killed. Andy was a good (pun intended) character and it’s a shame to see him killed off, particularly as Sarah was about to tell him the truth about Skynet. It would have been interesting to have had Andy join the team but it is a credit to the show for making me think that about a character with so little screen time.

The top suspect for Andy’s death is the last surviving resistance fighter from the future, Derek Reese, brother of Kyle Reese, but he was not the one who killed him. In addition to murdering Andy, the assailant also stole the Turk. Setting up this mystery is interesting and should lead to a good confrontation between Sarah and the Killer.

Sarah decides to bust Derek out of his prison transport but they are being hotly pursued by The T-888 sent back to kill him. The resulting fight between Cameron and this Terminator is really well directed, particularly with the majority of it taking place in the back of the prison van. The resulting deactivation surgery of the T-888 is interesting and does a lot to sell the mechanical nature of the Terminators, and distances us from the true human actor nature of the enemy.

In other evil Terminator news, Cromartie is doing his best James Ellison impression to pose as an FBI officer looking for Sarah Connor. In doing this he goes to visit Charley Dixon, stirring up a lot of buried feelings about Sarah as he does so. I still feel he went through an awful lot of trouble to rebuild himself  for not much apparent benefit but at least he is a good villain, even if his reason for still existing is a little stretched.

The stage is beginning to be set up for troubles at school for Cameron and John.  This episode introduces a school counsellor who seems to have had a much closer relationship with the recently dead student Jordon Cowan than he is letting on. Numerous plot elements are set up for future episodes. Derek seems to really hate Cameron, for reasons that I’m sure will surface in future episodes. Seeds are also planted for further involvement from Both James Ellison and Charley Dixon. The Terminator hand that Ellison found in particular may lead him to believe some of Sarah’s claims about judgement day.

So ‘Queen’s Gambit’ is a pretty strong episode. It does a lot of prep work for future episodes but manages to have an engaging story by itself also. It will be interesting to see what will be made of these new plot points in future episodes. I’m enjoying the direction this show seems to be taking, so far we're 5 for 5!   

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