Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: 3

Episode 3 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles was excellent, and brought back most of the exciting complexity of the pilot.

First, to bring these reviews up to speed - because my intro review was non-spoiler - our trio of heroes used a time machine in the bank to travel to our present. Which opens up all sort of possibilities.

And the trio is Sarah, John, and beautiful Cameron Phillips (yes, homage to James), a new terminator model played fetchingly and cold-bloodedly, sweetly as in innocent and angel of death, as needed, by Summer Glau. Cameron is a fine addition to the Terminator crew, and even brings some continuing lines of humor to the story, as Sarah reminds Cameron in just about every episode to keep her clothes on when at home. (Sarah doesn't John want to get too attracted and who knows what else to Cameron. I say - go for it, John.)

But don't let the humor fool you. Episode 3 and The Sarah Connor Chronicles in general are deadly serious, and grapple with profound moral dilemmas much like Battlestar Galactica - which, come to think of it, bears a kinship to the Terminator universe, if only because of the flesh-and-blood and "toaster" model interplay that characterizes both series, in different ways. (And Bear McCreary also does the superb music for both series.)

The moral issue in tonight's Episode 3 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles is as wrenching as it gets: should Sarah kill a guy who is working on a life-like chess program, which could well be the basis of the killing machines. Of course, one of the conceits of all the Terminator movies is that, however much we humans and good Terminators try to prevent Skynet from arising, something always slips through someone's fingers in the past or present, and Skynet happens anyway. Still, it's fun to play this game, and when you add into the mix that stopping Skynet will likely erase Cameron (Phillips not James) from existence, and we wouldn't really want that - she's much more lovable than Arnold - we get a nice, complex story. (By the way, is it only me, or do you feel like you might be using something connected to Skynet every time you make a call or IM on Skype?)

And there are other dangerous things brewing in this series - including a really bad Terminator (maybe the bad Terminator from T2) who is trying to get some meat on him, and sort of reminds me a little of Darth Vader, another good movie resonance.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles is touching a lot of good bases, juggling a lot of flaming pins, and I'm very much looking forward to more.

See also: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1 and 2 ... 4: A Robot Primer ... 5 ... 6 ... 7 ... 8-9: Terminate with Puzzles, Surprises, and Soul

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