”Terminator” finale recap: Cliff-hanger alert!
Gotta say I’m a little sad to see Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles go, freedom fighters. Obviously, the compassionate and thought-provoking discourse on the message boards here has been a real treat each week, but more than that, I’ve enjoyed watching this fledgling series fumble to find its footing. I remember loving that first mess of an X-Files season on Fox back in the day and hoping it would stick around so I could make heads or tails of it. I wonder if Chris Carter’s masterpiece would have survived in this instant-gratification, hair-trigger world?
Since T:SCC is still on the bubble — and I can’t see tonight’s ratings spiking high enough to make a real difference in its fate — we may never be pulled back over the cliff from which we now hang, but I can’t get too upset about that. After last week’s incredibly strong showing, tonight’s ”two-hour season finale” — little more than back-to-back episodes — was disappointing. It did have its moments: Turns out the strength of this show is not in the crash-bang-boom but in the quieter bits. I think the scene where Bag took John out to the park to watch his dad and Bag playing baseball as pre-apocalypse children was well worth the price of admission, don’t you? Sweet, thoughtful, mind-frakky — now that’s a series I want to watch. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it once again involved a big heaping pile of acting from Brian Austin Green, who should walk away from this series with his head held high.
We opened the first of tonight’s two eps with Cromartie attempting to identify a snow globe. He was unsuccessful (and my hopes that T:SCC would all turn out to be an autistic child’s dream, à la St. Elsewhere, were unrealized), but he did get the information he was looking for: a list of all the Caucasian boys who had enrolled in L.A. schools recently. One by one, he set about tracking them down, looking for John Connor. Back at HQ — I do wish the term ”Scooby Gang” weren’t already taken so I could use it for the Mom-John-Cam-Bag investigative unit — Bag emerged from Cam’s room with the CPU she had swiped from the now-fried T-888, and after another fight about trust, they set about watching its visual memory. And we learned that Eightball had a wife!
My goodness, I think that settles the sex-with-robots question right there, and what we found is that you should not do that. You see, Eightball — or as he was known in the human world, Vick — was just using his wife, Barbara, to get at her traffic computer, ARTIE. That’s right, L.A. drivers! It’s not just something you mutter when you’re stuck on the 405 — the traffic in this town really will bring about Armageddon! Enjoy your commute! Turns out that ARTIE can function as Skynet’s nervous system, if the Turk is its brain — and that Vick/Eightball’s mission was to seduce Barbara as she finished programming it. He did this by touching her lips in a fun, sexy-time way, which was significantly more information than I needed. Also, he strangled her in the shower. Showers were not a good place to be in this episode.
Mom and Bag headed down to City Hall to plant a virus in ARTIE’s brain. They snuck in using the same tunnels Bag would later use to hide Kyle after Judgment Day — even blasting a hole where a hole should be in the future — but it turned out the traffic network was already too smart to be dismantled by such straightforward means. The only thing to do was plug Cam’s CPU straight into a stoplight and let her shut the system down from within. This worked — somewhat miraculously, considering they picked the world’s least deserted intersection to hack. Also, as Bag pointed out, Cam very well could have gone into the system and never come back. Thankfully, she returned. Score one for trust! Or…maybe not. When John rebooted Cam and asked what she saw — another sweet, if short-lived moment — she rather ominously answered, ”I saw everything.”
Speaking of seeing everything, Mom walked in on Bag in the shower, threatening him with the big ”Lie to me again, I’ll kill you” re: the death of Andy Goode. These two spent all night giving each other increasingly meaningful looks, and I wish they’d just get it on already, if that’s where we’re going. Sigh. Add that to the cliff-hanger pile.
Episode 2 kicked off with the precursor to a scene I’ve already mentioned: Derek and Kyle Reese are in a park, playing baseball on Judgment Day, which for our purposes here has been moved to April 21, 2011. And hey, if you’re going down, playing ball with your brother is not a bad way to go. But as we know, Derek and Kyle don’t go down, because Derek grows up to be Bag, and Kyle grows up to be Michael Biehn, father to John Connor. And in case you were wondering, Bag knows about that little tidbit. But we’ll get to that.
NEXT: Meet the new baddie