TV’s version of Terminator had its season wrap-up this week and all I can say is, “what?” But before we get to the last episode, let me give you my thoughts on the whole season.
This season was a real mixed bag. The episodes with the ‘3 dots’ were flat out lame, with the worst being the Kubrik-esque episode “Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep” that attempted to be artistic (or something) and ended up being merely confusing. But we also had episodes like “The Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter” which were excellent. I really liked the episodes leading up to the finale – it became super-sci-fi with alternate timelines and time alteration galore. I give the series writers a lot of tackling the challenges of time travel head-on and acknowledging that they people we are watching are changing the futures they knew. That’s awesome and treats the audience with a higher intelligence than most shows.
Derek, Jesse, and others admited they have come from alternate versions of the future with different dates for Judgement Day, different outcomes to various altercations, and different people alive and dead. All good, if only there was more.
The actors this season didn’t really get it done most of the time. Lena Headley was passable, but wasn’t given much to work with other than brood and whine a lot. Garret Dillahunt (aka John Henry/Cromatie) was fantastic – the lone bright spot. But the rest were weak, especially Summer Glau. It was sad that in many scenes, Mackenzie Brooke Smith (aka Savannah Weaver) turned in the best acting job – she is 8 years old, by the way.
The last few episodes did answer a lot of questions for me. Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched. It is clear to me that the T-1000-line represented by Weaver have decided that they need to coexist with the humans. Weaver is back trying to create a Skynet alternative that respects humans, but is capable of creating the robots (after all, without any Skynet the T-1000’s don’t exist.) But she’s now having to fight the standard Skynet faction who sees what she is doing as a threat. That’s awesome – a 3rd party in the fight is a tremendous plot element that would really make things a lot better. The fact that they would end up also fighting Sarah (but not John) makes sense too – she’s hell-bent on destroying all metal. John has demonstrated that he is willing to respect the robots a little and I can see Weaver’s faction as willing to work with him, eventually forging some kind of peace.
But then we have this last episode. Weaver takes John to the future, but it’s a future timeline that is different from the one they all came from. In this timeline John doesn’t exist, and Kyle Reese is still alive. I’d be willing to see where the goes, but I’m OK with it. By the way, we can only assume it’s the timeline that John Henry went to with Cameron’s chip, but we’re not sure yet. In this timeline Allison Young is there and still alive (as evidenced by the dog liking her), either not yet modeled into a T-888 or not going to be.
But then we have some problems. Sarah didn’t try to protect John? Why not? And she didn’t go along with him? Again, why not exactly? And finally we get that tiny bit at the end where we don’t know if she simply came through later or what – just a blue flash and her voice telling John she loves him. Huh? But I guess there had to be some kind of cliff-hanger. I just with it didn’t come at the expense of the character.
But sadly, I hate to break it to people, but that season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles we watched this week? Yeah…it was the series finale. The ratings are so bad they only beat one other Fox show – Dollhouse (Joss Whedon should take his shows to A&E or USA, but I digress.) Reruns of Family Guy and NCIS are kicking this show to the curb. It’s too bad because I think there could be a lot done with this property and the season ended with a lot of promise. Oh well, unless something very surprising were to happen the lights are out on another sci-fi show.