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We gave our "first look" at the pilot back in June (clicking here to read it). Here we take a "second look" using the show's second episode.
WARNING: While we try to avoid them, some spoilers may follow so read at your own risk.
TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (FOX)
(Mondays at 9:00/8:00c starting January 14; premiered Sunday, January 13 at 8:00/7:00c)
The network's description: "Sarah makes contact with an old friend to ask a favor, while John decides to pay a visit to Sarah's ex and Cameron makes a new friend. Together they infiltrate a resistance safe house and discover they are not alone. Meanwhile, Agent Ellison realizes that Sarah is still alive and a dangerous person from Sarah's past is reawakened in the "Gnothi Seauton" episode of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES airing Monday, Jan. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX."
What did they leave out: We haven't seen the last of Cromartie (Owain Yeoman)... or at least what's left of him.
The plot in a nutshell: Safe for the moment in 2007 Los Angeles, Sarah, John and Cameron turn their attention to setting up new identities but not before the latter drops the bombshell that additional resistance fighters from the future have been also been sent back. She suggests seeking out a particular cell, only to find all but one of them - another Terminator no less - murdered. Said bridge apparently burned, Sarah suggests they seek out an old friend, a retired forager (Tony Amendola), who in turn refers them to his nephew. His price tag however proves to be too high, leaving them no choice but to... well, you'll have to wait and see. Along the way both Sarah and John find themselves adjusting to life in 2007, whether it be the former learning about what happened on September 11, 2001 or John discovering how far technology has come in the past decade.
What works: I continue to be impressed by the way the show incorporates various aspects of the franchise's mythology - whether it be a reference to Kyle Resse's work camp tattoos or how the fact the events of the third film, despite being essentially negated in the pilot, aren't going to be ignored. It's very rare to find a TV series based on a film that can find a way to walk the line between being respectful of what's transpired and creating its own unique identity. There's also a lot to be said about Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker - what could easily be written off as your typical overprotective mom/rebellious son routine gets some additional dimensions thanks to the fact they both know Sarah is right, that there really are boogeyman out there. This helps curtail John's more irrepressible teen aspects but not so much that he won't disobey her when it comes to the thing he needs most - a father figure. It's also quite remarkable that two episodes in that the producers have established a clear moral dilemma about what's at stake for Sarah - will she do what's necessary to protect John, even it means becoming like Cameron?
What doesn't: Only that next week...
The bottom line: ...we only get one episode instead of two.