Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Terminator: TSCC Season 2 Episode 1 ‘Samson and Delilah' Review

The attack on the Connor household has caused enough damage for Cameron to somehow reset herself to her original mission, terminating John Connor. Meanwhile The Turk has changed hands once again and now Catherine Weaver of ZeiraCorp has acquired the machine. What does ZeiraCorp have in mind for The Turk? Will John even live long enough to find out?

‘Terminator: TSCC’ has a new title sequence which I like for entirely the wrong reasons. It’s a ridiculous intro which introduces the characters of the show, via narration and explains the wider lore of the Terminator franchise. It reminds me of one of those intros you got back in the 1980's in how overblown it is. See for yourself!


So the second series of ‘Sarah Connor Chronicles’ starts off with a bang, literally. The explosion of the Connor’s truck that ended the first series is just phase one of an attack on the group. Sarah and John are tied up and beaten by Sarkissian as Cameron struggles to get to them. By the time she has reached them Sarkissian is already dead but the chaos is not over for the Connors. The explosion has rewired Cameron somehow and she is now trying to kill John. Sarah and John manage to escape her due to the house exploding and go on the run.

The attack on the Connors is a great way to launch the new series, it's really exciting. The actual attack itself however leaves quite a lot to be desired. For some reason the entire attack is filmed in shaky slow motion. The first series generally shot some scenes in this ‘Documentary’ style to add realism but those were very short shots. This sequence must have two minutes worth of this effect without interruption.

Slow motion digital video really feels cheap and it is somewhat nausea inducing when done for long periods. I’m reminded of that joke in ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ where they say that they would fill up episodes using slow motion in every scene where they could, this sequence gives me that impression as it feels pointless to do it for so long unless they needed to fill time.

The premise of returning Cameron to factory defaults is brilliant. Not only does it allow the show to have a bit of fresh energy but it also gives the audience a quick reminder of just how dangerous a Terminator can be, particularly one who has lived with you and knows your secrets. They do make a big deal of the fact that she knows all their weaknesses but in reality she doesn’t really make use of them much. At one point they manage to catch her and as John is about to deactivate her she starts begging for her life, insisting she’s ok now, again and again. I particularly like that they don’t establish if she has genuinely recovered or not in this scene.

This moment is brilliantly acted by both Dekker and Glau but there should have been way more moments where she was manipulating them. She could easily have been the villain for numerous episodes in fact but they resolve things before this episode is over, hitting the reset switch as TV shows always tend to.

The actual resolution is pretty well handled however, Sarah and Derek want to destroy the deactivated Cameron but John defies them to reactivate her, believing he has repaired her chip. This confrontation is so severe that he has to hold them at gun point to be able to test his theory. Upon being proven correct he throws a flare between himself/Cameron and Derek/Sarah/Dixon, creating a metaphorical burnt bridge between them.

The big question of course is what has come over John? Well given that we didn’t see who killed Sarkissian and Sarah allows everyone to assume it was her, I think it would be reasonable to assume it was John who killed him. It will be interesting to see how this new John Connor, forged in blood, will affect the dynamic of the series.

As it is, it seems that the evil Cameron would have been the least of the gang’s troubles. ZeiraCorp’s Catherine Weaver has managed to buy The Turk and, having bought it, is now putting all the company efforts into a new project, code named Babylon. This has upset the head of I.T who quickly realises that Weaver may not be the best person to upset, in fact she isn’t even a person.

It is pretty cool, ok, amazingly cool to have a liquid metal Terminator join the show but why was she hiding out in a urinal? Does she do this often, have the T-1001’s got a new fetish chip installed or something? Oh well it says a lot about a villain that they are still cool after pretending to be a toilet, so I’m looking forward to what they do with her next.

In turns of the rest of the episode both Ellison and Dixon get some recognition. It will be interesting to see how Agent Ellison’s storyline plays out now that the higher ups at the FBI doubt his version of events after the shootout with Cromartie in the previous episode.

So aside from a few minutes of shaky cam this is a very hard episode to fault. My only criticisms are things I would have liked to have seen possibly go alternate ways but those are only from personal taste. This is a strong opening and I’m happy to see that the show still seems to have a lot of energy. I look forward to seeing where things will go from here.

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