After the rather anemic Gnothi Seauton, The Turk is a welcome promise of the potential of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the show I dubbed as the most promising new series of the season when I first saw the pilot. The Turk is coherent where Gnoti Seauton was a mess and it’s intelligent, suspensefull and disturbing, all the things that The Sarah Connor Chronicles needs to be to be a truly great TV series.
The Turk brings the reality of Sarah Connor’s war to prevent Skynet from being born home as a morally ambiguous campaign that may itself be hopeless. After all if even the former Cyberdyne internet who sells cell phones is really harboring an AI in his closet, how can anything stop Skynet from being born. Sarah Connor also brings more complex reserves and abilities into play here, manipulating her target and playing spy.
A lot of people have been condemning John Connor going to school as a silly plot and on a certain level it doesn’t make sense, but the other side of the coin is that a teenage boy not in school is more conspicuous than one who is and if he’s going to lead the Resistance, he needs to be able to handle and take control of the kind of gregarious social environment he’s going to encounter in school or at work. Keeping him at home won’t prepare him to save mankind. And indeed in The Turk, unlike T3, John Connor begins to show the the attitude and calculation that suggest he may be the man we need, from interrogating his mother about the AI to trying to save the suicidal girl and arguing with his mother that we don’t need to be like them, this puts Sarah Connor Chronicles on track to emerge as John Connor’s version of Smallville.
Meanwhile The Turk turns a sow’s ear into a silk purse by taking the female terminator’s sudden revert to robotlike behavior in Gnothi Seauton when she was quite real and humanlike in the pilot, as something more complicated and buried with a deeper agenda. “I fooled you”, makes it rather obvious that the machine like behavior is itself a pose. The reasons are unclear but one explanation for such behavior in school is that in the pilot she was supposed to blend in, alongside John Connor though she’s supposed to stand out to make him look normal by comparison and to allow her to intervene when she has to, as she did during the suicide scene, without stepping out of character. By being a “freak”, she can also be invisible and not draw attention to herself because weird behavior would already be in character for her.