Thursday, 24 September 2015

Terminator: TSCC Season 2 Episode 22 ‘Born to Run’ Review

Sarah remains in police custody follower her arrest in the previous episode. Meanwhile Catherine Weaver wants to meet John Connor, what does she have planned for the saviour of humanity?

So here we are at the conclusion of ‘Terminator:TSCC’. Now I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible while watching this show so I wasn’t aware of exactly how the show ended. I’d heard that the show ended in a good way, that’s about it. Having reached the conclusion I can say I don’t entirely agree with that statement.

So Sarah’s case is being handed by an FBI Agent, Auldridge, he wants to know the location of John Connor. Sarah persists that John died when the bank vault exploded. Sarah requests a priest, Father Bonilla from the opening of the series, to visit her in lockup. Sarah instructs him to pass a message onto John, telling John to leave her and escape with Cameron.

So while Sarah is being held by the police, John and Cameron are holed up in a motel. John is suspicious that Cameron’s power source may have leaked, giving Sarah cancer. Cameron strips and gets John to reach his hand under her skin to check her power source. Cameron and John have always had a sexual tension, which is complicated by us not knowing how human Cameron really is.

Upon verifying that Cameron’s power source is not leaking, the pair are visited by the girl who worked for the gang before, the one who didn't speak. She passes on new documents for them and passes on Sarah message about leaving her with the police. Shortly after her visit, James Ellison also arrives to pass on a message to John, telling him that Catherine wants to speak to him. Ellison also passes on a message to Cameron from Weaver, “Will you join us?”, which freaks Cameron out. The message is a repeat of the one that future John asked the machines in the future.

John and Cameron decide to break Sarah out. Sarah and John go to visit Catherine Weaver while Cameron sneaks in via the basement, where John Henry is. Weaver is in the middle of explaining to John that they are on the same side when her office is targeted by the drone that the Connors found before. Weaver manages to protect Ellison, John and Sarah by turning her body into a flying squirrel shape.

Upon reaching the basement the group discover that John Henry is missing, Cameron gave him her chip and John Henry jumped into the future. Catherine and John jump into the future to find John Henry/Cameron’s chip, leaving James Ellison and Sarah behind to attempt to prevent Judgement Day. John and Catherine find themselves in the future, but it is not the future that John expected. In this new timeline Kyle Reese is still alive, as it Allison Young. John finds himself in a future where nobody knows who he is, where it seems he was never born!

That’s it, that’s the conclusion; that’s how the series ends. The previous few episodes had clues which suggested that the creators knew that the show was unlikely to return. Yet we end the show on a cliffhanger which was clearly meant to be resolved in the third series. I appreciate that when they got the news of cancellation certain things would have been set in stone, story wise, but surely the ending could have been a bit more resolved.

It’s hard to rate this episode entirely fairly. As an episode in its own right it is pretty good, as a conclusion to the series it is rather lacking. Regardless of whether this was the finale or not the cliffhanger still feels a bit odd to me. I appreciate that taking John Connor, who is destined to be the saviour of humanity, and removing that destiny from his shoulders is interesting. 

As a stand alone episode I could see how this could show an interesting alternate universe, I just don’t see how this could work for multiple episodes. It is also far too convenient that John travels to an alternate timeline and just happens to run into Derek, Kyle and Alyson within minutes. This really gives the conclusion a ‘Wizard of Oz’ feel where John wakes up surrounded by his friends, “and you were there, and you!”.

‘Born to Run’ may not entirely land on its feet but it has a lot to recommend it for. We finally get to see Catherine Weaver fight a T-888 for example. We also get to see Cameron and John breaking Sarah out of Jail in an explosive shootout. The emotional weight of the episode is also high, with nice scenes between John Connor/Cameron and John Connor/Sarah Connor.

I wish that the conclusion has been a bit more developed but I can’t blame ‘Terminator:TSCC’ for being cancelled. Despite a few slightly poor episodes the show remained exciting, emotional and intelligently written throughout. I can understand why this show has such a loyal fan base. A lot of considerably worse shows have continued for far longer than ‘Terminator:TSCC’ and it deserved to be recommissioned for a third series.

I have a feeling that had this show been on TV now it would have had a better time of it. Fantasy and science fiction are currently doing brilliantly in terms of ratings and I think that ‘Terminator:TSCC’ would have fitted in quite nicely alongside shows like ‘Gotham’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. Hey, if we’d been lucky maybe we would have got a crossover where Sarah Connor and Cersei Lannister teamed up to beat robot dragons?... A man can dream.

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