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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

‘Sarah Connor Chronicles’ blogging: “Vick’s Chip”/“What He Beheld”

(previous: “The Demon Hand”)

Man, I hate it when a network promotes a season finale as a two-hour spectacular or something and then it turns out to be just two one-hour episodes smashed up against each other. What a cheat.

Well, not really — these were two pretty good episodes. But could be this is the end, full stop, of Sarah Connor Chronicles, too — Fox still hasn’t decided whether it’s gonna renew the show. So it was a little bit cruel to leave us like this till whenever, or always: With Cromartie dumping bloody FBI agents into a motel pool to the strains of Johnny Cash. With poor John all teary-eyed over seeing his five-year-old day playing baseball. With Cameron all blowed up.
And what’s with all the Terminators suddenly getting all human? Terminator Vick managed to fool a woman enough to marry her? I mean, sure, women complain about men being unemotional robots, but we don’t mean that literally. Terminator Cameron is painting her nails and “making conversation” and has more than one male admirer at school. That’s pretty scary. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator was obviously an early model — it’s pretty scary how human the machines are getting these days.

Actually, Derek has seemed rather less than human until these episodes. Or, rather, too human. I mean, he’s been living in a postnuclear robot holocaust for most of his life, so you’d think he’d be a little less casual about hot showers and ice cream and other creature comforts that are, presumably, not so readily had where he’s come from. So it was nice to hear him say that the first thing he and his posse did when they came back in time was stuff themselves at a mall food court. I’ve been wanting to hear something like that since he showed up.

If traffic lights are gonna bring on Judgment Day, are guys who play violent video games gonna save us from the traffic lights? It kinda turns everything we think we know about what’s good for us and what isn’t on its head. Like, be suspicious of safety devices, but let the kids indulge their electronic blood lust because that kid with the joystick callus just might save the world someday.

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

Random thoughts on “Vick’s Chip”/“What He Beheld”:

• I told you! Cromartie is hunting for John by checking out new student enrollments! I knew John should have been staying away from school. Do you really need algebra and biology to fight Terminators?

• Are they really gonna leave us hanging with the blond girl at John’s school? Why is she freaked out about being thought to be from Wichita? Can Wichita really be that bad?

• Great quotes:
“Why are the boys out here and the girls in there?”–Derek
“Because one of the boys is still wanted for murder, and one of the girls is harder than a nuclear nail.”–John
“And the other one’s a cyborg.”–Derek

Lesson for the week: You can get really cool electronics stuff from Korea if you have family there.

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  • Well, put me down as someone who will be more than disappointed if this show isn’t renewed.

    I agree that it seems rather a cheat to call it a “two-hour season finale”, but both episodes were really good. We’ve got plenty of cliffhanger material to jumpstart a second season.

    As far as the Terminators becoming more and more human: Could this be a result of timeline contamination? Each time a Terminator comes back in time, inevitably some part of it ends up on the scrap heap, or incorporated into some piece of technology that ends up getting used in Skynet. This means that Skynet “starts out” more and more sophisticated each time the timeline recalculates; the Terminators start out more sophisticated, and the process of “machine evolution” gets further and further along before Skynet and John Connor start sending things back through time. It seems like eventually, through the process of sending back progressively more advanced technology, that we might end up with organic (or bioengineered) Terminators that have more than just living flesh over a metal endoskeleton; we might start seeing Terminators that are truly human, the only real difference being that they are programmed to serve Skynet.

    And if that ever happens, then what? Does humanity become obsolete, to be replaced by its new organic artificial life? Would these new organic Terminators be any different from the replicants in Blade Runner?

  • boz

    “when there are things to celebrate they should be celebrated” that was a good quote.

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t want the Terminators to become human. Much as I love Commander Data, I’ve had enough of machines that want to be human. I want to see machines who are machines. At least from the standpoint of dramatically interesting fiction, that’s far more intriguing. What’s so great about humans, anyway? That should be how the Terminators feel. And to its credit, that seems to be where this show is going, so far. Even Cameron’s experimenting with dancing and understanding beauty could work in that context — how *would* a machine experience beauty, if it could?

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