EPISODE REVIEWS: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: “The Good Wound” (Season 2, Episode 14)

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Bless me father, for I have sinned: It’s been Five Months (And 11 episodes) since I last watched The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I apologize. To be honest, I don’t know why I don’t watch the show. I really like it. I really do. It’s clever, well acted, well paced, it has a nice tension to it, I generally dig the soundtrack, there’s some great characters and a wonderful twisty oily kind of plot that I frequently can’t predict. I love it.

I can’t bring myself to watch it, though. I don’t know why. I actually prefer this show’s version of John Connor to all the others we’ve seen, and I prefer this version of Sarah herself. And I always really enjoy the show when I’m watching it, and I can never remember *why* it is that I don’t watch the show. I always say “Wow! I’m going to watch this every week!” and then, six days later, I’m like “Oh, yeah, that show again,” and once again you have to drag me kicking and screaming to the couch and force me to watch it. And as I’m a formidable man who is disturbingly effective with his kicking and screaming, no one’s really willing to do that.

I had this problem with Taxi when I was a kid, too. I don’t see any causal relationship between the two series, but I just mention it because it’s similar.

So I’m going to jump in to this more than halfway through the series, with no real clue what’s going on, and as an experiment we’ll see how long it takes me to catch up on the backstory and stuff.

Events: Sarah breaks out of custody in a hospital, evidently her presence there was the result of a mid-season cliffhanger that involved a shootout. She’s got a bullet in her leg, and she’s having visions of Kyle Reese, her deceased baby daddy from the original movie a freakin’ Quarter Century ago. The visions - or is he a ghost? - are urging her on. She finds a doctor, and threatens her (The doctor) in to helping her (Sarah.) This doesn’t work, and on Kyle’s urgings she tries cajoling her and using emotional sympathy. The doctor sees Sarah’s legions of wounds and assumes she’s an abused woman. Sarah utilizes the lie to get the doctor - who’s also clearly been abused - to help her.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a sheriff and a deputy are evidently trying to track Sarah Connor down. They have an Ipod or flash drive or something that they think she wants.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Riley, John’s attractive-yet-chubby girlfriend is being treated. At first I thought she was injured in the theoretical midseason cliffhanger, but it becomes apparent that she tried to kill herself. John moons and broods over this, and asks Cameron what the future iteration of himself would do about Riley. “The future you has more important things to worry about.” An Australian woman shows up and removes Riley from the hospital, evidently to debrief her (In a logistical sense, not in a wah-wah guitar sense) and says “I hauled you out of that sewer, took you to paradise, and this is what you do?” Something is up here, Riley is not what she seems, but I don’t know what.

Meanwhile the ever-fascinating Agent Ellison visits Cromarty the Terminator. Cromarty has evidently had his brain wiped, and is amiable and innocent as a child. He’s learning, mostly by surfing the web. He’s obsessed with Bionicles. He asks Ellison why God didn’t make people with more ball-socket joints, as that would have given us more mobility. Ellison goes to talk to Shirley Manson from Garbage, who’s a female T-1000 under cover running a company in the present for some reason. She’s sponsoring the research in to Cromarty’s apparent rehabilitation. Later Shirley goes to talk to Cromarty - who in his present reborn state has been renamed “John Henry” - and discovers something about something which reveals something else that I didn’t understand, and therefore she goes and kills an entire warehouse of people who were doing something very important and mysterious with rented equipment that I didn’t understand.

Meanwhile, the doc sneaks Sarah back in to the hospital to work on her leg, and the sheriff comes in to arrest Sarah. Uncle Derek shows up and a Mexican standoff ensues (I’m so sick of those), but then the doctor shoots the sheriff. Turns out he was the one who’d been abusing her all along.

The good guys get away and try to get to the secret factory of the secret somethings, but of course it’s destroyed.

The end.

OBSERVATIONS:

Wow, there’s a whole peck there that I didn’t understand.

My assumption is that Riley is from the future, and has been brought back in time by an Australian terminator to get info on John Connor. She’s a collaborator, pretending to be from the present. Conversely, the Aussie could be from a rival rebel faction that wants to usurp John’s power in the future. I’d appreciate any info anyone could give me about this.

Does Ellison know Shirley Manson is a Terminator? I assume she’s evil, but I don’t know what her motivation in coming to the past is.

I like Agent Ellison. He’s got a very reserved, but forceful delivery. I like that he’s a moral presence who’s clearly weighing everything he does. I like that he very overtly believes in God in a very traditional sense, and puts that faith in to practice. Ellison is probably the most positive portrayal of a Christian on American TV today, and I’m told a lot of that came from the actor himself, who simply brought it to the role on his own initiative, and then the writers started using it. While this is not a Christian show, and it’s morality is often quite muddy, I would strongly advise any Christians reading this to watch the show (Perhaps after the kids have gone to bed) merely to support the character, as he’s so unique and quietly noble. The way he deals with all this ambiguity is interesting to see, because while he is a Christian, he is not in any way portrayed as a nut job.

John and Cameron had very little to do in this episode. Sad, as they’re my favorite part of the show.

Uncle Derek had little to do as well. I’m undecided on that.

No clue what was going on in the factory.

The heart of this episode for me was John Henry/Cromarty. I’m a sucker for an innocent Pinocchio-like android asking lofty questions and unawares of social taboos concerning some of them. It played nicely off of Ellison’s own religious beliefs. “The hinge joint is not nearly as good as the ball socket joint.” “You were not designed to look like a Bionicle. You were designed to look like us.” “Ah. Who designed you?” “God.” “Ah. I have a question. It is not for you, it is for God.” and so on. I love that stuff.

One of the more compelling aspects of the show for me have been the roving loyalties and motivations of the characters. People come and go (The ex-boyfriend paramedic was conspicuously absent tonight. Is he off the show?), there are wheels within wheels. Some alliances are pro-tem and others are long term. Enemies become friends and vice versa. I love how oily all this is.

Alas, not much insight. I apologize. As of right now I’m looking forward to watching it again, so tune in again next week when I’m dragged kicking and screaming to the couch…

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