Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 2 Episode 4

Allison From Palmdale

3
Aired Monday 9:00 PM Sep 29, 2008 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

9.0
out of 10
Average
546 votes
  • Cameron takes a trip down memory lane.

    9.5
    And finds out she's Allison from Palmdale, obviously the title for this episode. I'll get the little stuff out of the way. Pregnant neighbor lady is taken to the hospital by Sarah, who decides to stay and look over her, because Sarah knows how it is to go through that alone. This was interesting to hear, but not my favorite part of the episode. The daddy to the pregnant lady, Casey I think, is a cop and can take John down to the gun range, so training camp looks to be up for next week.

    But what the show really centers on this week is Allison/Cameron. As Cameron's chip goes haywire, she gets flashbacks of when she was interrogating the real Allison to find out the location of John Connor. What is unclear to me is how big of revelation this is. Besides the fact that this explains how John got a hold of Cameron to reprogram, why was Allison picked by John and what for? If those questions aren't answered, then Allison is just the reason we get to look at Summer Glau every time Terminator comes on. Summer Glau really shined this week and the emotional scenes really powerful enough.

    Agent Ellison's reasons for teaming up with Weaver/T-1001 seemed a little hazy, but I am interested to see what role this will have in the greater picture.

    Where was Reese this week? Not like I minded due to the overload of Cameron/Allison/Summer.
  • Cameron flashes back to the future, Sarah supports her neighbor, and Agent Elision takes the job with Catharine Weaver.

    9.5
    Pros: This episode had me hooked from start to finish. The twists kept on coming with Cameron/Alison's plot line, Sarah's plot was very well done and Agent Elision's plot was very interesting. Finally Summer Glau proved to me that she is more than a pretty face in this episode. Her scenes where she was Alison, and even when she was talking to the guidance counselor were very gripping, they all depended on her acting ability, and she sold it. I'd like to see where all the different plots are going at this point, and I am very interested in Catharine Weaver.

    Cons: As much as I liked the Sarah scenes and the Agent Elision scenes, I thought some of them could be cut to make more room for the Alison flashbacks. And the halfway house scenes really got on my nerves, even if the ending did show where the writers were going. Overall: Great episode, very gripping and informative.
  • We get to see Cameron's origin and it's awesome!

    10
    This season keeps delivering bigger and bigger revelations! Showing Cameron's origin was really cool even though it was very sad. And the fact that they get you to keep questioning Cameron's true motives really creates great tension when you see her and John on screen together now. It was also cool to see the little time loop they created when Cameron talks with her mom on the phone. Reminded me of the one established in the first Terminator with Kyle Reese being John's father. And Catherine Weaver has a daughter? Oh, I can't wait to see the truth behind that one!
  • This episode tries something different.

    9.5
    Allison from Palmdale is a welcome change from the sometimes tiresome formula of this series: Connors run from a Terminator. Summer Glau may be relieved to have been allowed to show emotion in this episode as she also plays the episode title character, the human template that Cameron impersonates. We learn that Allison may have had some relationship to John Connor which ads to more of the predetermination paradox that is known Terminator series. The whole mythos started with a movie where John Connor sent his best friend back in time who turned out to be his father. Same with his uncle. Could John Connor have been in love with Allison because she looked like the Terminator he reprogrammed then sent back to the past? Interesting possible plots stem from this episode and I await more from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
  • Reversed our view of this series!

    9.5
    My wife and I were just about to stop watching this series because it had gotten so repititious and dark. It seemed that every week was about escaping from a near-omnipotent robot from the future. Then they unleased this fine episode and we're back! I hope they continue to add more humor and character deveopment to the program and do a LOT more "stand alone" type episodes!

    In addition to the good acting and character development, this episode also filled out our understanding of Summer Glau's character's past in a variety of ways. We now know how she came to look like that and how she was recruited as an infiltrator. And we know what dark things she's capable of doing to innocent people...

    A strong episode to rescue interest in a program that seemed to be repeating itself. 9.5 stars.
  • Cameron remembers Allison. A dark but revealing episode. I hope this isn't the last time we see Allison.

    10
    I think this episode brought the series to a new level with the "Plot A" storyline. It sure makes Cameron more interesting and I hope we see more of the future in episodes to come. I also strongly hope this is being done in conjuction with the folks writing the movies. It will be interesting to learn how Cameron was found out and re-programmed. The "Plot B" storylines were less compellling but interesting none the less. The reviewers who complain about a lack of continuity with the Terminator storyline show a lack of understanding of what the writers are doing with the series. Each incursion into the past changes the future so it lets the writers not have to be perfectly semetrical with the previous movies and storylines. Bear McCreary's soundtrack also was superb.

    I just hope this series keeps people watching because sometimes when a series gets deep many viewers get lost (remember Journeyman and Jericho?). I hope this show doesn't suffer the same fate.
  • Not great IMO.

    7.5
    This is definately one of the more boring episodes.

    Alirght, I may be wrong, but it seems like it was a filler, and im not to pleased by fillers when I watch that show because of the great and exciting storyline.

    It seemed it started out of nowhere and ended nowhere, so in the end, the viewer didnt seem to get anywhere along the overall storyline, well for me anyway.

    It was also low and boring to watch IMO. They better pick up the slack because they have enough competition with ratings and all and I dont want to see such a good show (well from Season 1) be taken off the screens.

    7.5, only that high because I really like the show.
  • Cameron use to be a real live person. Wow.

    9.0
    Great episode, totally fixed on Cameron. She loses her memory(interesting) or hard drive! And gets flashbacks from her real live? Actually it was very sad that Cameron was made as an image of Allison and that she killed her own image. The scene that she calls home to her mother is heartbreaking. And the image of the pregnant mom reveals that Allison is yet to be born. Maybe there will be more episodes like this, it makes Cameron more human and you can emphatize with her. Which i find difficult to do so.
    But in the end its the cold strange Cameron back again.
  • Of course, every terminator has a human prototype, and in Cameron's case, it was someone John in the future knew, chose for something, and perhaps, loved.

    10
    This is the story of Cameron's origins, and is wonderfully executed. It raises many interesting questions about, for example, why John "chose" Alison, and why he later chose to send Cameron back in time. Did John and Alison have a relationship based on love? Is that what Cameron meant when she told John that she loves him and he loves her? Or did he come to love a machine who eventually learns to be lovable? (Of course, the pre-Cameron future John would have been much older than Alison, but what the heck, it's after the apocalypse, so anything probably goes.)

    In any case, Glau is simply superb at being these two characters, one of whom is heartbreakingly human, and the other, utterly inhuman. You never doubt which one is on screen. In terms of future plot complications, was Cameron lying when she claimed to belong to a peace faction? Hmmm.
  • A very significant episode along with major developments for a major character in the present and the future.

    9.0
    "Allison from Palmdale" was a great and very important issue that developed the plots surrounding the character Cameron and her origins. Ever since the jeep explosion in "Samson and Delilah", we've seen Cameron's character act out of the 'norm', with her temporary revertion to her original orders and human-like personality quicks. But ever since her rampage, her abrupt loss of memory and self has been the first major consequence of her damaged chip.

    After crashing her cart in the supermarket, Cameron blanks out and believes she's a girl named Allison Young. Flashforwards (more flashbacks) into Cameron's memory reveal that a resistance fighter named Allison Young has been captured and interrorgated by an initially unknown cyborg.

    The post-Judgment Day visions add to the terminator mythology--a move that has attracted both positive and negative response from some viewers. While it is easy to conclude that the terminator's were built using a human model, this is (to my knowledge) the first time it's ever been explicitly stated in the franchise. But as the flashforwards/backs continue, it is revealed that Allison is being questioned by a pre-captured Cameron, who is trying to obtain a better understanding of her template.

    Allison is initially rebellious, but after an unspecified amount of time and an unsuccessful escape attempt, she breaks down and begins to tell Cameron about herself. This all leads up to the reveal that it is Cameron who is questioning Allison and that she wants to meet John Connor.

    Cameron mentions to Allison that not all of the machines want the human race destroyed, that some of them want piece. Cameron has been called out as a liar before and to me this is a prime example of her lying in an attempt to gain information. It seems obvious that there is no seperate movement in the machines. Cameron's attempt to kill John in the past back in "S&D" emphasises that point.

    ---

    Back in the present, we are treated to glimpses of Cameron's shattered persona. The lines between her machine nature and her suddenly overpowering human nature are blurred. The fairly significant point is made: "She does not remember she is a machine." The length and depth of her programming and nature is hinted at in this episode, which is blatent foreshadowing for future episodes in the series.

    Cameron/Allison's visits with the shrink and her interactions with Jody also give insight into the complexity of her character. The move here is a major one. Cameron's character is developing and it is incredibly hard to develop a character who is not human. If Cameron had been called shallow and uninteresting before, this episode took giant steps to prove those opinions wrong.

    I'm really looking forward to see where the writers are planning to take this the plots and developments introduced in this episode. They made a bold move with Cameron here, and despite some critism, it's paid off.

    ---

    Also, ending with this point, which has been a point of contention among various forums and boards. Did Cameron kill Allison Young?

    Personally, I'm saying no, she didn't kill her. The way the episode intertwines the clips of Cameron picking up and strangling both Jody and Allison is fairly significant, and if that's not enough to convince someone, then the way that the actions are mirrored should be.

    Cameron didn't kill Jody, answering John's question with a shrugged, "Apparantly not." This implies that she did not kill Allison either. ---

    My favourite bit in this episode was when the councillor asked Cameron what she was going to do when she found John Connor. Cameron replied, "I'm going to kill him and hang his head on a pike for everyone to see."

    And people think there's a faction of machines that want piece.
  • This show needs a shot of adrenaline fast or else its future will be as bleak as the one it depicts.

    6.5
    The ailing Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles tossed the rulebook into the radioactive blaze of post-Judgment Day Earth this week by presenting us with an episode in which not one – yes, you read that right, not one – of the central cast were chased through the streets of west coast America by whacked out cyborg killing machines. Instead, Toni Graphia's 'Allison from Palmdale' tried the altogether more dangerous approach of concentrating squarely on character development, weaving together three rather less-than-action-packed, highly introspective narratives with a needle labelled 'identity'. Yes, the show had a lot to say with the fourth episode of season two, suggesting (a) that we can't always trust that others are who they say they are, (b) that you can't escape your past, and that it is as much a part of you as anything present, and finally (c) that those parts of yourself that you wish to deny, both to yourself and to others, will always out in the end. Which would all be fine and dandy really, if Terminator was that kind of show, if it wasn't marketed as an all-out sci-fi action fest of monumental proportions (maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the point). Now don't get me wrong, I support Graphia's attempt to take the series in a different direction, to expand its narratalogical horizons, and the execution of this far more allegorical tale was, for the most part, highly effective. It's just, when you read reports like these that suggest that the show is heavily in danger of being cancelled, if it's playing against the viewing habits of its natural demographic, it's not hard to see why. Since the exciting season opener, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has slouched towards a narrative pace that can only be described as lethargic and, for your average, explosion-lovin' 18-30 year old, that's not really going to make you want to return week after week. Granted, the poor scheduling is crippling the programme more than anything (Heroes, Dancing With The Stars and Monday Night Football all play at the same time) but it's at times like these that the big guns need to be brought out, that the mythology needs to be moved forward, that Thomas Dekker needs to start taking his shirt off again. No amount of Summer Glau demonstrating her fantastic acting ability – this was, after all, very much her episode: she got to effectively play three parts in 45 minutes which is no mean feat – is a substitute for rip-roaring, heart-pounding action… and nor, for that matter, is the continued inclusion of Shirley Manson, whose very clunky performances I am no longer willing to write off as 'method acting'. This show needs a shot of adrenaline fast or else its future will be as bleak as the one it depicts.

    (Oh and, as an aside, how gloriously inappropriate was the leering male prostitute's sizing up of John? 'Delicious', he mused, in as objectifying, and camp, a fashion as possible, just to reiterate that, you know, we pray on the young and innocent and all that… not like I objectify Thomas Dekker at all. Ever. No siree.)
  • Story of Allison

    8.0
    Mm.. I did like it.. I think the way it was little off the main storyline but the insight for Cameron char.. and the way that there was human and she is based on it.. and she really went into the camp for kill Connor and he started to trust her (or was it before that moment or later?) I did love that insight to future.

    Also the call Cameron made to "her" mother and the whole thing with that another girl - they all playing themselves and she just hanging out in wrong company and being weird as she is..
  • Cameron manifests serious programming flaws, remembering a future with the young woman Allison, after whom she was modeled. She begins acting out Allison's last experiences and words from that time.

    8.5
    "Allison" is an intriguing display of Ms. Glau's acting ability both as a human being and as a Terminator - simultaneously! This tour-de-force begins with a young woman desperately trying to escape - presumably from the machines, post-JD, but it appears to be Cameron who is running. In the present, John carelessly drops Cameron at a grocery store, trying to get rid of her so he can do something without her constant oversight. Memory lapses or flashbacks begin to impede Cameron, and to the police officer who responds to her accident at the store, she appears to be a young lady in trouble, or drugged. The flashbacks come quickly, from the present to the post-Judgment Day future, where she's a captive in a steel tunnel, then suffers a bar-code burning into her arm by a Terminator. Under this pain, she gives her name as Allison Young.

    In the present, Cameron lands in a jail cell, chatted up by another young lady, Jody, also incarcerated for the day. Cameron has memories of a tatto on her wrist, but that was from Allison's experience in the future. Her memory seems so imprinted from Allison that we could wonder if Cameron is a clone, a concept that has not been explored in TSCC so far, but Cameron might be a special case. John starts trailing Cameron, too late to the store and to the police station, and all he gets is the name "Jody." His role in this episode is minimal, consisting only of a search for Cameron.

    There is a more important subplot - Ellison meets Weaver at her office, still considering her offer for a position, and their discussion of the Cromartie-FBI massacre ensues. "These things, they're evil," he says. Weaver spins a yarn about the death of her husband in a helicopter accident. Even the most calm men panic, she states, but she doubts they will find evil if they take apart a machine.

    Cameron meanwhile, bums around with Jody, who has a tale of woe about her wasted life. When Cameron remarks about Jody's necklace, she says, "I got it from this awesome thrift store in Echo Park." When a low-life acquaintance spots her and accuses her of stealing, he whacks her on the face, but Cameron thrusts a wad of cash at him, exhibiting fear as if she's channeling Allison. So now we are challenged and intrigued by the idea of a terminator acting like a fully functional human. Pure acting skill makes Ms. Glau's portrayal so effective - I'm actually seeing her as a machine playing a human, instead of the other way around.

    When Jody signs them in at a shelter, Cameron lists her last name as "Alison," and first name as "Young," managing to convince Jody that she's just another lost youth, and convincing we viewers that she's having some serious software problems, but we still don't know how she picked up the memories and the behavior patterns of a young woman from the future. Jody gives her the necklace.

    Ellison asks his ex to run an off-the-record FBI check of Catherine Weaver. "You leaving the Bureau?" she asks. She knows the strain he suffered in the murderous rampage by Cromartie in North Hollywood, and seems willing to run the check. Ellison's motivation is still a mystery to me - why would he be so interested in joining a company that seems on it's face to be enabling AI, something he should see as a terrible threat to peace and order?

    Another inventive scene with future Allison and present Cameron shows them both answering the question, "Where are you from?" In the now, the shelter counselor is interviewing her; in the post-JD future, it's an unseen interrogator, to whom Allison responds, "I live in a tunnel, I eat garbage for dinner." In the present, Cameron recites a plausible story, using Allison's words, of a birthday party at Griffith Park, which ended with everyone dead. Allison witnessed Judgment Day! The contrast between Cameron's placid, lovely face and Alison's wounded, strained, and tormented face are striking. And tears roll down Cameron's face! We did not know she was so functional. "I want to go home." "Where is home?" the counselor asks. "Palmdale." Thus the episode title, one of many which I find fascinating. After seeing a TSCC episode, I discovered the title later evokes a strong memory of the story line, and the mood it created. It's fun looking for the source of the title - at times it's in the script, or it's related to a character, or in one case, a Biblical reference!

    Cameron calls home, or rather what she recalls as the home of Allison, and it is, in fact, a Mrs. Young who answers. After a few moments of suspense, we see she's pregnant - with the once and future Allison! Here's more inventive screenwriting - the name Allison is now suggested to the present Mrs. Young, and a circle is complete. But Cameron, acting out as Allison, wonders why she has been rejected.

    Ellison's ex finds no criminal history on Weaver, easing his concerns about her. She urges him to get some counseling, but he declines and leaves with the file.

    When John finally finds Cameron in the shelter, she's playing foosball, alarming John by laughing, then denying she knows him. My name is "Allison," she insists, as he offers to "fix her chip." When she flings him against the wall, security removes John from the building.

    The real Allison of the future runs through steel tunnels, trying to escape, while dozens of other caged humans, reduced to animals, grasp at her. She reaches the surface, on the bow of a derelict aircraft carrier, and jumps a hundred feet into the water, but is immediately trapped in heavy netting and brought to the surface. We finally see her interrogator - it's a Terminator, a clone, it's Cameron! "I'm not your enemy," the clone says, "You're very brave, it must be why John Connor chose you..." They'll hunt you down, she tells Allison, until every human is gone. She offers a way of salvation. "Some of us (machines) want peace," Cameron continues, "you were chosen, not just by John Connor, but by us. Tell me where his camp is." This conversation reveals that Allison was an ally, perhaps even a close friend, of John.

    Cameron says, still with the counselor, "I think I'm a machine. From the future. I'm an infiltrator, to find John Connor." "He's the one who saves mankind." "From extinction. I'm going to kill him and hang his head on a pike for all to see." End of interview! The counselor calls the police, believing she has a dangerous psychotic on her hands, but Jody and Cameron skip. John is waiting outside in their new 2009 Dodge pickup, a product placement vehicle, but at least they don't make it as obnoxious as some corporations do.

    Ellison returns to Weaver's office, where daughter Savannah seems very withdrawn. Ellison wanted children, but his ex-wife did not - it just wasn't meant to be. He read the official report on the helicopter accident - the NTSB found mechanical failure as the probable cause. But Weaver had led him to believe that she thought it was something different. The script lost me at this point, so I just assumed Weaver was manipulating him. However, he accepts the job offer - he's hooked.

    In this scene I noticed again how good the sound engineering is in TSCC - all the vocals have a unique immediacy, and the editors refrain from throwing in a musical track when the scene is more effective with just the sound of heels on flooring. I've never detected any annoying post-production dialog, or bad foley editing or ADR editing, if those are even used. I appreciate honest on-location sound - street noise in the background, the breeze audible, far more that heavily-massaged edited material. It's like eating fresh seafood versus processed macaroni and cheese, all fake.

    When Jody leads Cameron to a house, she claims it's owned by a former baby-sitting client. Cameron bypasses all that door key stuff and breaks the door open to start their robbery. Jody breaks into the safe and retrieves all the jewelry. In a flat terminator-tone, Cameron asks about a necklace, which matches the one she gave Cameron. Jody admits it's her parent's house. Flash to the future - the jewelry comes into play as future Cameron confronts Allison about bracelet her friends were wearing, asking "Why do they all wear them?" Suddenly Cameron guesses - the bracelets are a pass to get into the Connor camp. "You lied to me," she says. Allison defiantly replies, "I'll never help you get to John Connor." Cameron kills Allison, then takes a bracelet, and now has the means to infiltrate the camp.

    In the present, Cameron repeats the same lines, but to a different person - Jody. "You lied to me." "Tell me who you are." Two confrontations separated by two decades and an apocalyptic war become one, and the same dialog fits, a most interesting approach to this script. Jody admits being cut off by her parents, but they have tripped the silent alarm, and as Cameron continues to re-enact her future, she now assaults Jody just as she assaulted Allison in the future. John breaks in, and Cameron finally seems to be herself, saying "John, we have to go." Jody survived the attack, so apparently she will return in a future episode. John and Cameron drive home - when he asks about the necklace, Cameron repeats a line she heard from Jody, "I got it at this awsome thrift store in Echo Park." Such a simple statement, but so chilling, coming as it does from a flawed and potent killing machine. But I enjoy the Cameron character so much, and Ms. Glau's engrossing portrayal, that I want her to continue to be an ally and defender of John, and not so flawed that it must be destroyed. However, that duality is what creates good stories and tension. Cameron is just too cool.

    The rest of the episode, involving a trip to the hospital by pregnant neighbor Kacy, seems to have little point, unless her baby, or her common-law husband have something to do with a future plot or story line. I'm willing to wait on that, because a significant amount of time is spent on this subplot, and TSCC usually does not do throw-away plots. Still, I could do without Kacy exposing her swollen belly and rubbing herself. This detracts from an otherwise intriguing story.

    "Allison From Palmdale" is a fairly dense episode - even after watching it twice, I know I've missed or misinterpreted some details or important background. Then again, TSCC isn't a trivial action-explosion production. It engages the mind, offering layers of meaning if you want to ponder it more, and keeping up with the story arc is downright challenging, even for a long-time sci-fi fan. I'm glad this production team has come together on a new interpretation of the Terminator franchise - I don't even think about the previous film history or casts - TSCC has been creative enough that is now the definitive Terminator legend, stand-alone, solid, and worthy of many more seasons. I'm telling everyone I know about TSCC. Engage brain, watch episode. Re-run rating B.
  • Imformative but more of a filler episode.

    8.0
    Slightley confusing but a good insight of what has happened to Allison I mean Cameron.

    Cameron temporarily loses her memory, and ends up discovering her distant memories. Ellison uncovers information about Catherine Weaver.

    The fourth episode of the second season of Sarah Connor Chronicles is one of the stronger episodes so far. I found Cameron's backstory confusing so I may have to rewatch this episode and then the ending was a bit confusing aswell. Am I right in thinking Cameron is tricking John? Sarah's story was boring. Her just sitting in a hospital was pretty annoying. Also the absence of Derek was dissapoiting. Next week looks better so I'm looking forward to that. I give this epiode a 8.0 out of 10.
  • What was the point? They devoted an entire episode to the least interesting character - a non-character really - actually, in a way they based it on someone else!

    2.0
    Complete filler. For a start, the "Cameron" terminator is only just barely interesting as a character. Perhaps if they'd explored the relationship between her and Future John Connor - the reason he decided to go with this one particular model, this particular unit - I might be more interested in her, but I'm not.

    What puzzles me about this episode is that the implication seems to be that the Cameron terminator has somehow managed to inherit the memories of this Allison person it has been based on.

    This, frankly, makes no sense whatsoever.

    It took almost the entire episode before any kind of story arc was advanced - that there is some kind of "Fifth Column" among the machines not actually interested in exterminating mankind. This is an idea familiar to anyone who's seen the new "Battlestar Galactica" - or anyone who's seen "V" for that matter.

    Unfortunately, once again the writers abandon all hope of making some kind of sense whatsoever and decide to have "Allison" declare her mission is to kill John Connor and put his head on a stake??

    Pitiful.
  • This episode represents the continued lack of continuity in the Terminator franchise… and just plain poor (and inconsistent) writing and story telling.

    1.0
    Don't believe the hype here… unless you have no feeling for the continuity of the Terminator franchise at all; or good story telling for that matter. I think some of the reviewers simply think some of the characters are "pretty" and that is enough to garner a 9+ review.

    The "Cameron" and "Catherine Weaver" terminators are so out of character (in the series) at this point it is just too hard to ignore. Both "Cameron" and "Catherine Weaver" are so expressive at this point that they seem to have nothing in common with the robotic characters in the films on which they are based. Somehow in this episode we are led to believe that the Cameron "Infiltrator" terminator model can regress to the person she was originally modeled after because of software problems. This goes on to the extent that she gets (and laughs at) odd jokes, cries, whines and has emotional fits. Of course why this has happened is never explained and as we see later this whole plot twist was only to show us (once again) that keeping terminators as pets is a dangerous thing.

    This whole episode exists only to foreshadow and set up future events. Because of this it is an incomplete package and can never be watched as a well-written, stand-alone episode. This series is quickly becoming very boorish indeed.

    P.S. If you happen to be a pedantic, blind fan of all things Sci-Fi then this review is not for you. Sure, any story point in a fantasy world can be quickly explained... but that does not make up for good writing now does it?
  • Cameron losses her memory and remembers the last moments of the human life that she copied.

    3.0
    I was extremely excited fort his episode and enjoyed it thouroghly, until it got to the end. I have not been this dissapointed in the end of an episode since, i can't even remember. The writing staff had a real opportunity to make Cameron different and give that character depths beyond the likes of any cyborg. At the end they threw all that out the window and reverted to elementary juvenile crap that a five year old could've written. It's not hard to write for a cyborg. but a cyborg with human emotions, well that's a different story.
  • All About Identity

    8.0
    It feels like the right time for the writers to deliver a few advancements to subplots, so this transitional episode fits the typical design. The difference is that the story is tied together with questions of identity and the dependency of machines. Thematic episodes are often fun, because it gives the audience a glimpse into the depth of the writers' room.

    Cameron's origins are revealed, and as expected, her model is based on someone close to John Connor. Allison Young was, at the very least, a member of John's cell, which means there was a solid basis of trust. The terminators attempted to exploit that trust with an infiltrator model, which explains why Cameron seems more adaptive than the typical terminator.

    But the implications are a bit more complicated. John obviously has a close relationship (and attraction) to Cameron in the "present". Within a generation or less, John will meet the real Allison Young and it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't recognize her. Does John therefore make the connection, knowing that Cameron will eventually replace Allison, and does that prepare him for the moment of her "betrayal", giving him the chance to reprogram her and send her to the past? (Another thought: was Cameron channeling Allison when he was telling John that she loved him in the premiere?)

    There's also a possible connection to the first season episode "Dungeons and Dragons". Derek wound up captured by terminators and held in a bizarre facility where something strange was being done to the captives. Could that operation have been similar to what happened with Allison and Cameron in this episode? If we hadn't already seen Derek with some severe yet very human wounds, I might even suspect he was a terminator.

    But the fact remains that this is Cameron's second glitch since the premiere, and while it may not have been immediately dangerous to John, there's little doubt that it was a serious problem. John should say something to his mother and Derek about it, but it's also clear that his judgment is less than stellar when it comes to Cameron. At the very least, she should be volunteering to have her chip repaired, or John should be insisting on it.

    Exploring the similar theme of machine malfunction and identity, Agent Ellison decides to accept the job with Catherine Weaver. Weaver seems to be designed closer to Cameron's "infiltrator" mold, though obviously a more advanced model, capable of emulating human behavior better than the average terminator. I'm not sure about her goals yet, though I suspect it is tied to Cromartie's decision to let Ellison live. If nothing else, this episode did much to flesh out Ellison's character, which was good to see.

    There was some exploration of Sarah's psychology in the final subplot, but it was mired in a tedious pregnancy drama. I can't be the only one who doesn't give a damn about Landlady. The only interesting point was that Trevor is a cop, which presents Sarah with slight situation. He could be a potential ally or a serious impediment, depending on when the inevitable violence occurs.

    Summer Glau made this episode, and she's currently blowing the rest of the cast out of the water. I'd like to see the writers give the rest of the cast such powerful material. In particular, Lena Headey needs to get more consistent material as Sarah Connor, because right now, the title character is not quite deserving the focus. Hopefully, despite the falling ratings, the series will last long enough for the season and cast to gel more completely.
  • Summer Glau really stood out this week in her performance. She basically had to play three different people.

    8.5
    Summer Glau really stood out this week in her performance. She basically had to play three different people. The terminator, before she was reprogrammed, Alison from Palmdale, and a memory lost Cameron. It was a very impressive performance. It reminded me of that episode of Angel where Amy Acker had to play both Fred and Illyria. However I am kinda unclear on what happened with the memory loss thing. Did she just suddenly get it back at the end of the episode?

    I thought the scenes set in the future where very cool. The set design was done very well.

    I'm still waiting to find out the significance of some of the characters and I'm a little disappointed that we haven't gotten much information yet. Two Characters in particular. One, Kacy Corbin, the neighbor, who is she and what significance does she play? She's getting too much screen time to not be important. We get a little bit of character development with her when we find out that the baby's father is a detective. Another character that I am wondering about wasn't even present in this episode, and that is Riley. I understand why she wasn't in this episode, but I really want to know how she is significant.

    Also I wish they would get somewhere with the Ellison and Weaver story line. Yeah, he makes his decision to work with her in this episode but the story is taking to long to unfold in my opinion.

    I review more TV shows @ www.extremecritic.com
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