Eye For Film >> Movies >> Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Season Two (2008) Film Review
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Season Two
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
Much like mankind in James Cameron's visionary Schwarzenegger-starring movies, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles constantly has to live with the threat of extinction hanging in the air. However, despite a muddled first season that only took off after the introduction of Brian Austin Green's Derek Reese, a larger second year was commissioned and the show faced a judgement day of its own...
As for the Connors, Sarah (Lena Heady) decides its time to move on with Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) still pursuing them in a bid to stop their efforts against Skynet. Meanwhile, John meets a pretty girl called Riley (Leven Rambin), Derek (Brian Austin Green) receives a visit from his ex Jesse (Stephanie Jacobsen) who warns about Cameron (Summer Glau) and Agent Ellison (Richard T Jones) forms a partnership with the mysterious Catherine Weaver (Shirley Manson).
Season Two sees Sarah get the occasional break from stoic frowning with some paternal storylines (looking after a pregnant mother, babysitting), John behaves more like a leader (making decisions and, erm, shaving his hair) and the best episodes are still those which focus on Derek or offer flashes to the future like last year's best episode, Dungeons and Dragons.
However, recurring problems from the freshman year bring it down. The Terminators are too easily defeated for them to pose any form of threat, the sheer amount of time-travellers coming back plays havoc with the internal-logic and there are simply too many killing-machines out there for any of them to become memorable. Having said that, Dillahunt is effective as the returning Cromartie and Patrick Kilpatrick makes you wish he got more than one ep as a T-101.
Additionally, Chronicles also falls into the all-too common trap of padding the series with filler episodes and non-essential material (Cameron’s late-night library trips, a family out in the woods, Sarah at a sleep clinic). Had a smaller, more mythology-focused approach been taken, the average quality would have soared like one of Headey's eyebrows.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that there's plenty to be admired here as we get a lot more than just mindless action. The characters remain well-drawn and sympathetic, the understated-yet-beautiful score grafts an emotional heft to proceedings and there are plenty of welcome fanboy nods. Furthermore, as stated, the glimpses into the post-apocalyptic future (such as the machines learning how to interrogate or Jacobsen's unlikeable Jesse talking about rabbits) are superbly done.
While Green and Jones - arguably the two best characters on the show - should get more screen time, Dekker improves as John, Headey does her best with a tough role and Glau continues to come across as a strange girl instead of a methodical killing-machine. Of the newcomers, Rambin is sweet and Manson oscillates between (don't use garbage as a pun) overly-wooden and suitably-detached.
As Linda Hamilton’s once stated (paraphrased from Michael Beihn’s Kyle Reese of course), there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Aside from a poor mid-season string of pointless episodes, Season Two ought to have done enough to change the show’s destiny - unfortunately Fox thought otherwise and cancelled it.Reviewed on: 31 May 2009