Friday, November 7, 2008

Terminator Nov. 3 (spoilers)

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Mondays 8pm ET/PT
Episode : Brothers of Nablus
Air Date: Nov. 3, 2008
Spoilers below
Some material described below is pretty gross

In the opening sequence, LAPD Sgt. (Ret.) James Ellison reaches to open the door, and the door swings open, knocking him to the floor. Facing him is someone who appears to look exactly like him. Knowing that cyborgs can take the form of any human they choose, we know the intruder is probably another Terminator. “James Ellison?” the intruder asks. Ellison nods or says yes, the intruder reaches for his gun, and then….
….a metal rod protrudes from the intruder’s chest. We see Cromartie, a Terminator charged with killing the Connors, behind the cyborg Ellison, reaching inside him and ripping out his power source. “I believe in you more than Skynet does,” Cromartie explains to Ellison, still on the floor. “I believe you’ll lead me to the Connors.”
It’s rare that a tv episode opens with such a gory sequence. I was comforted with the thought that it wasn’t a human being impaled like that; it was just a cyborg pretending to be a human. Still. Gross.
Before heading over to Ellison’s house to take him out, the cyborg apparently strangled someone shortly after he reached this time period. LAPD arrested Sgt. Ellison because he looks just like him, but he was released when Det. Kaplan (Kaplan?) showed the judge a written statement from the witness, which made the witness sound crazy. As I suspected, Det. Kaplan turned out to be a shape-shifting cyborg Catherine Weaver, who dropped her Scottish accent for her brief role. The shape-shifting is a lot more impressive than the voice imitation that cyborgs can do.
Apparently when Weaver arrived in L.A., she took the form of a woman, killed that woman and her husband, and is now raising the woman’s 7-year-old daughter as her own. Creepy. I can’t figure out Weaver’s mission. I think she wants to track down the other cyborgs. (From what I can tell, she has plenty from which to choose.) Anyone?
It’s not often we see frum Jews on tv series that are not about frum Jews. The last time I remember such a sequence was a couple of episodes of NYPD Blue, and that was more than a decade ago. It’s probably better that way. In this episode, part of the plot—burglary of the Connors’ home—led them to a jewelry dealer/fence, who was “Moshe,” wore a kippah, and discussed the Torah and Hashem’s plans for him. He turned out to be pretty sleazy, and Jesse (Reese’s girlfriend, played by the talented Stephanie Jacobsen) shot him in the head.
Antisemitic undertones were mild or nonexistent. I caught Moshe’s kippah once, but no one commented on his Jewish identity. The discussion between Cameron and Sarah of Jacob, his daughter, and her rapist’s hometown’s mass circumcision and subsequent massacre didn’t mention Jews.
It seems the show’s writers decided to sideline Cameron’s character in favor of the Connor family unit. John decided to drop out of school, so there’s hardly any interaction between John and Cameron. She just stands around acting as the Connors’ security detail. I understand that’s her job. Still. The show drags with Cameron in the background.

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