Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.5: "Goodbye to All That"

This show has certainly taken its licks this season. Despite supplying one of the best episodes of the series last week, the ratings continued to scrape the bottom of the barrel, prompting rumors of impending cancellation. Some are already calling this the next "Firefly", but the situation is dramatically different; this series made it past the first season on its strengths. The problem is that it's not failing on its weaknesses, either.


This episode is another good example of what works. Pairing John and Derek for a mission to protect a future resistance soldier was a stroke of genius, because both characters were explored in equal measure as a result. It's important to show John taking some steps towards leadership and discipline (never mind using those skills acquired from his mother), and Derek has a vested interest in making sure John is on the right path.


At the same time, Derek's reactions to John have been just right. In Derek's time, John is a strong and capable leader, the kind of man that anyone would die for (and many have). He's a confident presence and a symbol of enduring resistance. But the John Connor that lives in the "present" is still unsure of himself and rebelling against the knowledge of his future role. Even if the Future John had told stories of his misbegotten youth, reality can’t be kind for Derek Reese.


Neither has the war, and this is depicted well in the episode. Derek's character is the touchstone to the dangers of fighting the machines without human compassion. The war has hardened Derek, and he struggles with perspective. In contrast to Cameron, Derek weighs the human element, but he's colder than Sarah or John. It's that quality that continues to keep Derek in questionable territory; he may still have an agenda of his own.


Ironically, Derek's rough edges expose the one fundamental problem with the series: Sarah Connor. This is the second episode in a row where Sarah is dealing with a largely emotional situation, and it plays counter to the familiar elements of the character. While this Sarah has never been the Sarah Connor from the films, one would still expect her to be closer to Derek than John in temperament. Certainly John acts like Sarah has been more than Derek. It's the apparent contradiction that the writers still haven't tackled well.


On the other hand, I like where the Weaver/Ellison subplot is going. She's playing him very well, which in turn points to a consistent explanation for Cromartie's decision to let Ellison live. The obvious conclusion was that Ellison would end up helping SkyNet, and Weaver's gambit appears to be the process by which that happens. That said, there's still a chance, based on the implications of this episode, that Weaver is not working to aid SkyNet's creation, and that Ellison's road to personal damnation is more complicated than we've been led to believe.


Unfortunately, because of the ratings situation (and for that matter, the possibility of a SAG strike), we may never know what the writers were intending. I hope that FOX shows patience, however, because this show is far better than the ratings would otherwise indicate.

Comments

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Oct 8, 2008 1:48AM EDT

Its about time this show gets cancelled. Thank god for cancellation!!!

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Oct 10, 2008 11:27PM EDT

to pornking, you've got to watch it before you hate it.That being said, besides the terrible idea to cast Summer Glau as a terminator (WTF were they thinking!?) the show has some strong points to carry it. I think the show was, in reality, Doomed by FOX for three reasons.
1. FOX kills everything it touches. For Reference see Family Guy, Firefly, Futurama and thats just the F's.2. Poor budgeting from the start. The casting, visual effects and promotions for the show doomed the show to mediocrity from day one, and The...Chronicles has been fighting that ever since3. The show is on FOX.

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Oct 14, 2008 12:10AM EDT

if fox cancels this show, then thats just one more reason why FOX sucks... this is a good show give it some time and things will work out but of course its on FOX eitherway it will fail eventually

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Oct 14, 2008 1:58AM EDT

this is a great show...so good i'll probably be shot for this but every episode of both seasons are better than every new episode of season 3 of heroes.ye ok it has to be a little predictable because john won't die because the show is set between T2 and T3 but still shows all the action he had to go through, how he's actually developing war and leadership films which im pretty sure by T4 will make more sense im guessing if they actually do a film of the actual war against the machines and you see john and others sending the terminators back in time (which could mean arnie may only need a cameo appearence in T4)i really like this show DO NOT CANCEL IT!!!this also has a setting a little bit like smallville showing our heroes days growing up, we know what the end game is but that doesn't stop us from wanting know a little bit more of their life story, does it?and i don't know about this hatred for fox, because i live in the UK but are you saying this show could be better if it was given more funding from another TV station?i think this show has just the right amount of action, not too much not too little.besides i want to know how he decided to fall off the grid and live like a junkie (which is how he is found in T3)

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Oct 15, 2008 8:46AM EDT

@markyj - I am from Germany, where we have NO good tv at all, it sucks big time. You can be so lucky, as in the UK, you have several great tv shows (Black Books, Afterlife, Diary of a call girl, The Office, Extras, The IT crowd, The Fixer, No Heroics, Life on Mars, How not to live your life, Absolutely Fabulous) and a long tradition for the sickest and most funniest humour around.
I agree that its a good show and indeed I also think some of the episodes for TTSCC have better writing than the new Heroes eps. Sad as I loved Heroes in season 1.Keeping in mind how big the budget for Heroes is and how not so big the budget for TTSCC, specially in terms of marketing, its obvious who has a better chance.
I also hope, they dont cancel the show. I started watching it, because Summer Glau is in it and she used to be (River Tam) in my favourite show of all times "Firefly".
Speaking of which, you asked why people hate FOX - one word:
F I R E F L Y
They cancelled the best show EVER on TV.
I love tv series since my childhood, I watch a lot of them, specially since I discoverd the possibilities of the net. Thats where I found Firefly and I am more than glad that I did. I am a huge fan and some people might say I cant be objective anymore, maybe thats true, but Firefly is so very special that I just HAVE to tell people about it.
The fans fight for this show since 8 (!) years now. Incl. putting up a self paid full page ad in VARIETY, several podcasts (still aring), tausend of webpages (still active), a fan dvd documentation about the show, that has sold a few 100.000 copies (!) already, even a whole wikipedia page about those hillarious, incredible, amazing, witty quotes from the series, tons of emails, letters and calls to FOX from fans around the globe to make FOX change their mind, - dint happen, Idiots.
Result of the fan protests and the insisting of its creator Joss Whedon is a 100 Mio $ movie called "Serenity" based on the cancelled (!) tv series, THAT has NEVER happened before in Hollywood.
Also til now, several Mio DVD boxes of the TV series have been sold for a show, that didnt even had a full season. That all lead to a fan following, "The Browncoats", that is very passionate, loyal and is as huge as for Star Wars or Star Trek, committed never to give up, since 8 years.
FOX is known for cancelling shows that were actually very good and they are also known of fucking up shows from the beginning in terms of changing time slots, mixing up episodes and making the creator change their ideas so the shows are more suitable marketing wise but would not make sense creatively.
I can only recommend to check on FIREFLY, its so unique, witty, charming, unusual, with a perfect cast, excellent acting and the writing, the writing, omfg, its just perfect. Its different from anything else I have seen on tv til now.
Western in Space with no aliens, 500 years from now, where space is actually quiet, no laser guns, just simple people on a rotten space ship, that want to survive. Sounds different, is different, its a Joss Whedon thing ;)
Enjoy
YOU CANT STOP THE SIGNAL !

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Oct 15, 2008 12:24PM EDT

Emma:
The budget for "Serenity" was actually around $30-40M dollars, not $100M.
Otherwise, yeah, that's why Browncoats in particular are rather wary of FOX...

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Oct 18, 2008 11:17PM EDT

I think Fox show excellent programmes and I don't know whether they are to blame for the cancellation of programmes or whether it comes down to foolish reviewers or lazy viewers who don't tune into their favourite shows enough but TTSCC is an excellent show. It provides a fantastically detailed explanation the story which I feel the multi-million movies don't even address. There is a perfect mix of drama, emotion and action. I would also have to disagree with a previous comment that condemns the casting of Summer as a robot. I think she is an incredible actress, perfect for the role. Simmilar to her role in both Serenity and Firefly, she is excellent at portraying an emotionally devoid character who is curious of the workings of normal life, she is simply brilliant in my opinion. This series is dynamic and exciting, each week I am desperate for the next episode due to its tense and climatic endings. I will be most upset if this show is cancelled and may even boycott fox entirely for the cancellation of this and firefly as so many people have rightly complained about in earlier comments. I have seen so much protest over the cancellation of firefly I don't understand why they wont bring it back? Furthermore, if the series is good enough to make into a movie surely it has the longevity for a second series, no? I don't understand ratings, because if this show ends up cancelled along with Firefly when we have shows like Lost producing a fifth series of more enigmatic nonsense, then I have lost all faith in our televising system.

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