Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.9: "Complications"

After the events of the previous episode, one would expect things to settle a bit in this installment. And for the most part, that's true. It's a transitional episode that sets up the next direction for the season arc, but it's also a capable denouement for the confrontation with Cromartie. Sarah's band of merry men (and cyborgs) continues to deal with psychological trauma.

Sarah is a mess, and I'm torn between being annoyed and being impressed. I'm annoyed because this occasionally swings too closely to genuine weakness, and as damaged as Sarah is in every incarnation, she's best known for honing that damage into battle armor. I doubt she was a blubbering wreck in the mental institution. Yet Sarah has had it together a little too much this season, and it's time that her grip on sanity slipped a bit.

Cameron and John were on more conventional duty, charged with hunting down Cromartie's remains and destroying them. Cameron was back to her usual unsettling tendencies, switching back and forth between clinical brutality and uncanny human response, and looking damn good in the process. More interesting was John's error (or, more correctly, his lack of insight). Ellison completely fooled him, despite the torture.

Ellison's resistance ties into Derek's experience with Charles Fisher, a collaborator from the future. Derek eventually persuades Fisher to admit his identity after struggling with the future as Jesse remembers it. Derek ultimately offers an explanation for his memory gap: perhaps he's from a different version of the future, since he and the Connors might have changed the timeline. That's certainly an interesting possibility.

But what makes this such an interesting episode is the lack of success. John's mistakes are more obvious, and one wonders if Sarah or Derek might have noticed some subtle clue that John missed. Ellison's decision to take Cromartie's remains and hand them to Weaver will hardly end well. Surprisingly, Derek is just as mistaken; he believes Fisher when he says that his time in the past was a reward. Clearly, whatever Fisher did to bring about his own incarceration will factor into future episodes.

I had mentioned in the review for the previous episode that defeating Cromartie should just be the beginning in terms of dealing with the psychological issues plaguing the Connors and their allies. This episode is a good sign that the writers are on the same page.


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