Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2 Review

The second and first full-length season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has come to a close, and sadly, it looks like the series itself may be finished. As of this typing, the rumours I hear are that the series will not be renewed for a third season, which is really too bad because of how interesting the overall plot's gotten.

The second season addressed a lot of the issues I had with the first season, mainly by the fact that it's much more focused and the character development is a lot stronger. The first season focused on Sarah Connor (Lena Headey), John Connor (Thomas Dekker), and Cameron (Summer Glau) going off on odd-job missions in an attempt to prevent the creation of Skynet and Judgement Day. The season ended with Sarah and John held captive in their own home and Cameron apparently damaged after the vehicle she was in exploded due to sabotage. It wasn't the strongest of seasons, but as I originally commented, it had potential.

That potential was, in my opinion, realized in the second season. The general plot line left over after Season 1 was quickly wrapped up with a few lingering psychological elements left in play, however Sarah, John, Cameron, and Derek (Brian Austin Green) quickly gained a much more rational and cohesive outlook on their war against Skynet, while balancing protecting John from any additional threats, machine or otherwise.

Sarah became more OCD on her task, shouldering the burden of what was to come and trying anything to prevent it. John rebels against the constraints placed against him, but slowly begins to grow up and become the man and leader humanity will need him to be. Cameron continues to be an oddity and an outcast, fulfilling her primary function but expanding at the same time.

A new key character, Catherine Weaver (Shirley Manson) is also introduced, the CEO of a high-tech corporation who is actually a T-1001 with questionable motives. Also of import is Jesse Flores (Stephanie Jacobsen), a resistance fighter who happens to be Derek Reese's girlfriend and who plays critical influence between the developing relationship of John and Riley Dawson (Leven Rambin).

The relations and complexities of the characters are all much more complex than the first season, and a large number of issues and themes carry from episode to episode, creating a much more engaging viewing experience. Characters who you assumed to be good, bad, or who were trying to stick to the middle line turned out to be other than expected, or they're forced or manipulated into situations they didn't want to be in.

In fact, I must say that by season's end, the show was clearly reaching an excellent climax where the whole world is once again turned upside down, which is why I dearly hope the show is renewed for a third season. I don't want to give too much away in case some of you are waiting to view the season on DVD, but I'm very curious as to what could happen between the dynamics of John and Cameron and what role John Henry (Garret Dillahunt), a rather unique T-888, really has to play.

There's a great deal more that can be explored in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, even greater character dynamics and plot lines that can be expanded upon, and it'd be a shame if these weren't pursued in some form or another.

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