Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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Daniel: C+ | Grade It Now!
Come on, Eileen
Oh, terrific. The "previously on" scenes tonight are very Riley-centric, which can only mean one thing: the episode following suit. So I'm already in a crabby mood as we kick things off with Sarah starring in an SUV commercial and blathering on about some explorer named Cabeza de Vaca who was captured and then learned his captor's ways and became a healer and was freed, and I could probably learn all about this over on the H channel, but since I am watching a show about killer robots from the future, I'd much rather people start making with the bullets. I know it's going to relate, and I know it's all deep. I can get deep and relatable elsewhere.

So Sarah's going to a UFO convention, and there are reasonable looking displays of things like alien skulls, because yes, I'm sure alien visitors will one day prove to have our exact same bone structure except for the size of the cranium.

And a woman at some crackpot seminar is talking about the world being pulled out from under her feet, and some woman standing at a lectern with a cheap poster that says "Flying saucers have landed" on it. "I don't know what's real and what's not," she says. The woman at the lectern says what "Eileen" is feeling is very common among "experiencers" such as her. Yeah, not knowing what's real and what isn't? Sounds about right. And then the woman asks "miss fly on the wall" (that would be Sarah Connor) what she's doing here, and says there have been reports of UFOs with a pattern of three dots, and she needs to know what it means. "It's important to you," says the lecturer, because those are some amazing deductive skills. "I've been having nightmares," says Sarah. "Are they nightmares or are they memories?" asks the lecturer all mysteriously, and Sarah, instead of saying, "No, they're NIGHTMARES!" just says her son's lost faith in her. "He's never doubted me before," she says, and the lecturer says if there's something they understand her, it's doubt.

Elsewhere, some other basement-dweller is pontificating about the "California drones" that have been spotted all over the state. The pictures are of some kind of circular craft that he claims is some alien thing, and Sarah says, "Alien, not military?" and the guy says these things are far beyond the capability of the military. How he knows this, given that he and the rest of the conspiracy freakshow there assume that the government covers everything up, I have no idea. Another diagram suggests the three dots are centre points of three different parts of the spacecraft. He tells Sarah about the "Abraham blogs," which were written by someone claiming to be a scientist working on some secret government project involving some kind crazy metal that could withstand fire and explosions and gingivitis and whatever else. Sarah asks where she can find Abraham, and Buddy says he posted a few times and then disappeared. "Think someone killed him?" she asks, which turns Buddy to stone because now he thinks she's just out to watch the freakshow, and he has a temper tantrum and goes stomping off.

"Interested in Abraham?" says a voice from behind Sarah. It's Eileen. Come on, Eileen!

So Sarah's driving again and risking lives by talking on her cellphone with John to tell him she's following up a lead, some blogger who may have been working with endoskeleton metal, and John cracks wise about how reliable bloggers are. "Why do you have to be so sarcastic?" says Sarah, her voice practically cracking. You can tell she's tired of having this same fight with him. He tells her to be careful, and she hangs up without saying goodbye.

John's stripping the child's wallpaper from the walls of his bedroom, and here comes Riley to annoy us all, but at least she's bringing smoothies. She's not quite her bright chipper self, and John asks her about it, and she says she flipped out on her foster mom, because they don't know how good they have it, and everyone at school is the same way. "They complain about every little thing. It's like one big whineathon," and I hope it's just coincidence that "one big whineathon" is generally how I'm tempted to write up John's story every week. "You're so lucky your mom's home-schooling you." "Yeah, it's been awesome," says John.

Here comes Cameron! Maybe she'll shoot something! No, she's coming to complain that Riley didn't bring her a smoothie. "I didn't know you were here," says Riley. "I'm always here," says Cameron, which isn't even true, and John can't get Cameron out of there fast enough, so he asks her to go get some more paint, and she tells him what he's got there will be sufficient, and she goes into the other room, staring Riley down the entire time.

And this clears up the lingering doubt I had about Riley actually being from the future: here she is as some filthy waif rummaging through people's things in one of the resistance's underground bunkers. There's Jesse, spotting her and tracking her down. Jesse brushes the hair off her face. "You're a pretty girl," she says. Like Riley's a parrot.

Eileen and Sarah pull up at a Slipstream trailer in the middle of nowhere. Sarah asks if Abraham is going to be cool with this. "Abraham doesn't live here. I do," says Eileen, adding that if Sarah's interested in Abraham, she's going to want to see this. They go inside, and the walls are covered with the same pictures the guy at the UFO conference had. Sarah drove all this way for this?

After the commercial break, Sarah has already figured out that "Abraham is a pseudonym." No, he put his own name on the blog that reveals military secrets. "Alan Park" is his real name, and he graduated from MIT specializing in Lidar, which is "light detection and ranging," which Sarah already knows, and its primary application is in robots. And then they have some tea and talk about the solitude of the desert, and how Eileen loves the solitude, most of the time.

Then it's back to business, with Eileen showing Sarah a map displaying drone sightings, and Abraham sightings. She points one out that's the most recent. "Then that's where we'll start," says Sarah.

Oh no! It's one of those deserted, windswept alleys that attract bright electrical balls that deposit humans or Terminators. In this case, it's Riley and Jesse. And then, having scored clothes, they're in a hotel room where Riley kind of oversells the skittish-waif-who's-never-seen-towels-before. And I realize Riley was filthy when Jesse found her, but she couldn't have at least WASHED before she went back to the past? But then we wouldn't get the dramatic shower scene with all the dirt and grime running off Riley down the drain. And then Jesse brushing Riley's hair and tucking Riley into bed.

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles




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