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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Automatic for the People 2×02 review

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns with its second episode of its second season that goes deeper into the show’s apocalyptic mythos as a dying resistance fighter arrives from the future carrying an inscrutable message warning them to stop Greenway, an employee at a nuclear power plant taken by the resistance that serves as its base of operations. With a beginning that has Sarah Connor dismissing faith, Cameron warning John that some unspoken “They” will not be happy with him for risking his life to save her and ends with bloody writing on the wall and Skynet positioned to control six nuclear power plants, as the resistance and Sarah have failed, while Sarah may also have contracted the dose of radiation that will become her cancer.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Automatic for the People 2×02 is not an altogether grim episode, in ways beyond the REM reference in its title. It is however probably the darkest vision now on network television. It’s really clear now that things have moved beyond the old “Send someone to savekill John” premise of Terminator into an all out temporal war with both sides conducting deep cover operations in the past to prepare for victory in the future. And Sarah and John Connor are out of the loop.

As John begins the familiar struggle with his destiny, he encounters Riley, a girl with her own problems, whom he forms a bond with. Some viewers will again complain why John is in school, a short answer is that he needs to be socialized if he’s going to lead a human resistance. A loner who’s rarely been around anyone except his mother and a fembot might know strategy and tactics, but he will lack the ability to relate to and command people. John’s isolation has already caused him to depend emotionally on Cameron in ways that are unhealthy. But what should be a normal teenage relationship instead has ominous notes, as John gives Riley the signal to call him so that he will know it is her, and human. And that in a nutshell is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

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