EPISODE REVIEWS: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: “Born To run” (Season 2, Episode 22 - Season Finale)

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…And so it all comes down to this: The Season finale, and very likely the series finale as well. We start off where we left off last week, with Sarah in Jail, and John and Cameron on the lam. Shirley Manson from Garbage tells the bald dude to move John Henry, but he points out that they can’t - JH has progressed to such a level that there’s no longer a clear distinction between machine and software. Much like a human brain, you can’t point to a specific location and say “That’s my soul,” rather who and what we are permeates our ‘hardware’ holographically. That’s the point JH has gotten to.

The feds have Sarah on several murders and a lot of terrorism, and she’s facing a death penalty. She asks to see the priest they holled up with for a few episodes early this season when Cameron was sketchy, and he comes to hear her confession. She quickly enlists the aid of the priest, and uses him to get messages and aid to John and Cam. A Hispanic woman - I’m not sure who exactly, but I think she was the chick who was hanging out with the gangbangers early in the first season - delivers a message to the kids: “As soon as it is safe for you, go, get out of here, do not come back, do not think about me.” She leaves.

Shirley Manson of Garbage sends Ellison to make contact with John and Cam as well, and delivers a message to Cam specifically: “Will you join us?” Wow! That’s a hell of a reveal! Shirley Manson of Garbage was the T-1000 that got released on the USS Jimmy Carter a few episodes back/a few decades in the future! Wow!

Ignoring instructions to the contrary, John has Cameron bust Sarah out of prison, and they go to Shirley Manson’s company. Cameron is sent to the basement to kill JH while the Connors distract the boss lady. While talking to Weaver (Shirley Manson) in her penthouse office, Weaver frequently mentions skynet, and one of those hunter/killer skynet airplane dealies - the same one we saw at the end of “Desert Cantos” a few months back - kamikazis in to her office. She instantly tells the Connors to get down, and transforms in to a wall, shielding them from the explosion. They run away, and once the worst of the blast is done, Shirley Manson/Weaver converts back to human form and follows them. Meanwhile, downstairs John Henry asks Cameron, “Will you join us?”

In the basement they find that John Henry is gone, and Cameron is hooked in to JH’s external mainframe, repeating the message, “I’m sorry John” over and over on tv screens. JH has evidently gone in to the future. Shirley Manson asks Ellison and the Connors to come with her, but Ellison declines - “very well, pick up Savannah from gymnastics.” Sarah balks, frightened, but John goes with Shirley.

They appear naked in the future ruins we’re all so familiar with now, and John bumps in to Uncle Reese - not dead yet because he hasn’t gone back in time yet. John introduces himself, somewhat confused, but no one’s heard of John Connor yet. John’s dad-to-be comes in (!) with an earlier version of Cameron in tow. She and John share a mysterious glance of recognition…

THE END.

OBSERVATIONS

So does Sarah have cancer or not? We still don’t know, though the subject comes up a couple times in this ep. The only real payoff for this is when Cameron begins to suspect her nuclear power source is leaking, so she gets semi-naked and has John climb on top of her and cut her open to check. He puts his hand inside her - offscreen - and it’s uncomfortable and awkward and kind of sexy, but of course this really goes nowhere.

So there *are* two factions of killbots in the future as I surmised! It’s become increasingly apparent that Shirley Manson of Garbage wasn’t opposing Team Connor, nor really helping them, but was actually working at cross purposes with them. She says “Your son may save the world, but he can’t do it without mine,” referring to John Henry. She later refers to JH as “Our son” to Ellison, who’s too freaked out to really go along with that in his normal calm way. She states that she’s been trying to create a way to fight Skynet, interestingly enough.

In any event, Cameron gave JH her chip so he could leave the basement lab, and she plugged herself in to his mainframe so she wouldn’t die.

Curiously there was an extended commercial during this episode for the upcoming movie “Terminator: Salvation” in which John Connor (This time Christian Bale) comes in to contact with a killbot who actually thinks it’s human. Is this John Henry? I don’t know, but I got the fleeting impression that the producers of this show may have dovetailed their plot somewhat with that film, which, if true, makes this show ‘count’ again. It’s not a pocket universe if it ties in with T:S. It may *not* actually tie in for all I know, but the commercial and the show definitely gave that impression, though it could just be a clever merchandising scheme.

The Federal Agent in charge of the Connor Case now said he’d gotten 38 calls from people Sarah had been around in the past couple years who told stories of strange machines and whatnots, and that he believed her story entirely and wanted to help. Sarah takes this as a trap, and says nothing, but was he telling the truth? There was no payoff to it if he wasn’t, and as awkward as an offscreen conversion may have been, it’s easier to believe than that no one in the FBI would ever have seen corroborating evidence.

The scenes where Shirley Manson only spoke to John and ignored Sarah were kinda’ nice.

Watching how quickly Shirley took down that killbot from the last couple episodes was fun.

Cam’s explanation of how she wants to kill John all the time is kinda’ cool and cilling.

THINGS WE’LL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW THE ANSWER TO:

- Miles Dyson’s son disappeared three or four months ago. What’s up with that?
- Did the new Federal Agent really believe Sarah?
- Now that Sarah and Ellison are together again, how will their team up go?
- Where in the future is John Henry?
- The Cam we saw in the future is friendly and smiling at a dog, she appears to be in “Infiltration” mode, so she’s probably not “Tamed” yet. So what did her ‘knowing glance’ mean?
- How does JH help JC save the world?
- How do these two factions of killbots break down, exactly?

In the end, this was a pretty good show. Occasionally frustrating, and frequently slower than Noh Drama, it was never quite as action packed nor as thought provoking as it should have been, but at the same time it was never as dumb or embarrassing as it could have been. It’s well cast, well acted, and engaging if you can adjust yourself to the somewhat mopey attitude of the whole thing. I found myself engaged by the characters, I liked the show, it moved the mythos forward quite a bit, and I hope like damn that it’s tied in to the next movie so it’ll ‘count’, but even if it isn’t (And it probably isn’t), I’m sorry to see it go.

Pretty clearly we’re not going to get a third season, and unlike most of the other shows on at the moment, that's a shame..

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