Review: ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Episode #203
Note: Click here to relive the past episode!
This Week’s Operation: "The Mousetrap"
Charley Dixon and his wife Michelle are fleeing town from the big bad Terminator, when Cromartie himself shows up and abducts Michelle. Charley enlists the help of Sarah and Derek Reese, who track Michelle to an abandoned shack in the desert. She’s strung up to a series of explosives, that turn out to be fake. Cromartie was trying to lure Sarah out in the open so she’d contact John, and then he could trace his location. His mission successful, Cromartie blows up the shack and drives off in pursuit of John. Michelle is severely injured in the blast and needs a hospital, but Cromartie has sabotaged Sarah’s car. They hijack a van and race against time to save both John and Michelle.
Meanwhile, John goes to buy a computer with Cameron, but ditches her to hang out with his new friend Riley. Cameron stalks them from a distance, but Riley and John catch on and run off. John gets a phone call from Cromartie posing as his mother. Using Sarah’s voice, he tells John to meet at a nearby pier. John shows up and sees that it’s not his mom at all, unless she’d undergone extensive work in the past couple hours. John pulls some Mission: Impossible moves to evade Cromartie, and the two eventually wind up in the ocean. Luckily for John, Terminators don’t move so well in the water, and Cromartie sinks to the bottom. John and Cameron later reunite with Derek and Sarah, and John notices blood in the hijacked van. It’s revealed that Michelle died from her wounds, and Charley is not happy at all.
Elsewhere, former FBI agent James Ellison is contacted by mysterious CEO Catherine Weaver, who is secretly a T-1000. She tells him that her company has been trying to reverse engineer Terminator technology from parts they’ve found in recent years, but their attempts haven’t been successful. She wants answers, but more importantly, she wants Ellison to help her find another Terminator.
As is often the case with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, this episode was unbalanced. The plot continues to inch forward, but inch is the operative word. Focusing the third episode of the season on Charley and Michelle feels like a waste of time, when we’d rather be paying more attention to the Connor Clan tracking down The Turk and preventing Judgment Day.
One of the highlights of this episode, and of the series in general, continues to be Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese. Whodathunk that little ol’ David Silver from 90210 could be so hardcore? Still, he hasn’t shaken his West Beverly roots entirely — someone’s gotta teach BAG how to handle a gun more convincingly. Derek prancing around with a grenade launcher looked positively laughable, not to mention that a grenade launcher mighta been overkill given the job.
A real strong point of Terminator is Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie, the ruthless robot tracking down the Connors. He gets screen-time this episode as both his cybernetic personality and as his human counterpart, an actor from what looks to be a fusion between Conan the Barbarian, Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules, and The Beastmaster. That was the highlight of the episode. Pure comic gold.
The Catherine Weaver subplot is developed further as she recruits Ellison into her fold. This is a story that needs more attention. Ellison is probably the least compelling series regular — next to Riley that is, who we won’t get into this go around. Teaming Ellison up with the liquid metal femmebot is the wisest thing the writers could’ve done with the character, save for terminating him. Hopefully as the season progresses, this storyline will get more airtime in favor of the "crisis of the week" mold that was seen in this episode.
We can’t forget to mention the most important reveal of tonight’s episode. Apparently, if a Terminator is chasing you with a .45 aimed at your back, just jump in a pool. Terminators can’t swim. Just ask Cromartie, who sunk to the bottom of the ocean after diving in after John. Or ask Cameron, who pointedly declares, "I don’t swim." Look, we can suspend a lot of disbelief when we’re talking about killer robots from the future, but seriously… water is a Terminator’s kryptonite? Water? Really?!
Final Assessment: B-
Again, not the best episode of the series, but there have certainly been worse. And with Sonya Walger off the show, maybe she’ll spend more time as Penny Widmore on Lost, and that’s excellent news for everybody, especially Desmond.
In The Future…
From Fox: "A software glitch causes Cameron to forget who she is. She goes missing from the Connors and is taken in by a street kid named Jody. Cameron and Jody end up at a halfway house where Cameron meets with a social worker who uncovers some of Cameron’s distant memories. Meanwhile, Catherine Weaver meets with Agent Ellison to discuss his future at Zeira Corp, and Ellison does some digging into Weaver’s past."