Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles 2×10 Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point should have been the episode to redeem the series’ recent slump. For one thing it was written by the writing team of Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller, who have a fairly good track record on the show. For another it actually offers some big events. Unfortunately though it’s rooted in Sarah’s bizarre obsession with three dots, set up in the previous episode, which lead her to investigate an AI company without funding, and then bizarrely enough fund it, only to realize that the whole thing is a scam.
On the Ellison vs Scottish Terminator front, not only are the gratuitous biblical references and metaphors back, but Skynet actually gets two names, Babylon and John Henry, while the Scottish Terminatrix seems determined to have people teach the poor kicked around AI some morals and ethics, which is a bit on the inexplicable side.
Meanwhile it turns out that Riley comes from the future and has been working with Jessie as part of some operation aimed at John. Her story is that he’s gotten fixated on Cameron and is making bad decisions, this sort of pays out considering that John’s behavior took a turn for the wacky after Samson and Delilah when Cameron told him she loved him, while in evil killer mode. This is a marginally better explanation than the ridiculous “John is all shook up after killing a man who tried to murder him and needs therapy” story we’ve gotten so far this season. The likelier story though is that she’s a Gray.
The bulk of the episode though involves Sarah getting to know and getting involved with the head of the AI firm, who’s also the father of the firm’s chief and only researcher, who plays her easily, followed by Sarah bursting in and beating the crap out of him. Now I’m all for a tough Sarah Connor, but I don’t think anyone buys Lena Heady beating the hell out of a man her own size, let alone shoving him around the room like he’s a rag doll. Linda Hamilton maybe. Lena Heady, certainly not. But the real issue is that the series’ Sarah is a weaker more diffuse character, not the tough mother who stuck to her guns above all else. She crumbles when the CEO begins his pathetic hammy routine about doing it all for his son and his dead mother. Just as she crumbled back in the bowling alley bathroom and when faced with the snitch and so many times before.
In the first two Terminator movies, the humans survived in no small part because they were as willing to fight for their lives as the Terminators were to kill them. In the series that is increasingly no longer the case.