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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

‘Sarah Connor Chronicles’ blogging: “Heavy Metal”

(previous: “The Turk”)

Shows like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have gotta be a producer’s dream, and an actor’s nightmare. Oh, you don’t like the way you’re being treated on the set, Actor Boy? Not getting enough lines? Asking for more money? Well, hey, look: We’ll just strip your Terminator character down to his metal skeleton, grow him some new skin, and get him some plastic surgery, and if that means we have to recast, well, shoot, that’s what we’ll do.
So: Cromatie is back, but he’s forced some poor boob-job doctor to fix his face up so that he can pass for human again, and he’s stolen the identity of the out-of-work actor whose face he’s borrowed. (Maybe this is a not-so-subtle warning to all those Screen Actors Guild members who may be getting ready to strike this summer.) Now his name is Laszlo, or maybe he’ll keep calling himself Cromartie — we’ll see. It works to put Agent Ellison off the scent, for the moment at least, but I’m guessing Ellison will only continue to become an even bigger pariah at the Bureau, and that the chip in his shoulder will keep getting bigger and bigger, as he keeps chasing down the weird not-blood that keep showing up at crime scenes. He reminds me of the fanatical government agent who kept chasing Starman around on that old show, or the obsessed reporter who was always after Dr. David Banner.

While all this is happening, Sarah, John, and Cameron are chasing around after whom they believe is Cromartie — they know he’s active and after them again — and turns out to be another Terminator back from the future on another mission to destroy mankind. This one has hijacked a shipment of Coltan, a metal vital to Terminator construction, and ends up storing it in a protected warehouse in anticipation of Judgment Day. Things are not looking good for the human race.

I mean, really not good. John’s getting itchy, desperate to start fighting now, and of course Sarah is worried about keeping him safe till some future time, and Cameron’s all, Hey, the world ends in four years anyway, you wanna live forever? Yikes.

(Need a more complete episode recap? Check out Fox’s official site for the show.)

Random thoughts on “Heavy Metal”:

• John has to tell Cameron to switch from Video 1 to Video 2 to watch the videotape. Even a superadvanced cyborg from the future can’t figure out how to work the HDTV, huh?

• Turns out Coltan is a real mineral, and is the cause of current ongoing political and military strife in the world. Can we do anything without killing one another over it?

• C4 in the bathroom, under the towels? Homey.

Lesson for the week: If you’re gonna be a hero, you’re gonna have to learn how to drive a stick.

(next: “Queen’s Gambit”)

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