In the fourth episode of the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John feels confined by his new life, eager to do something substantive, and then EVERYTHING IS AWFUL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
I’m just sort of realizing that this show has to be serialized for it to work, and the part of me that loves serials (EVERY PART OF ME, FOR THE RECORD) is happy that The Sarah Connor Chronicles is the kind of show that is committed to a constant growth of its own mythology. We are learning more about the future and about the resistance, all while getting a chance to see how Sarah and John cope with their absurd life. There’s a story-of-the-week feel to these last three episodes, but they’re not so self-contained that they don’t serve the overarching plot of season one. Which is… well, there’s a lot going on here, and I’m thankful that I’ve got a lot to worry about it. Seriously! I didn’t know how this show could have 31 episodes, and I’m getting a fantastic sense of the potential of this narrative. So, we’ve got two main plots at work here in “Heavy Metal,” ALLOW ME TO DISCUSS THEM.
Agent Ellison / Laszlo
I get to say that Ellison is literally close to the answer to his “case” because HE LITERALLY IS. HE WAS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TERMINATOR AND HE HAS NO IDEA. I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on where Ellison’s story is going. He’s becoming increasingly frustrated by his colleagues, since none of them are interested in pursuing the murders. He knows that there’s something to the strange blood he keeps finding at all these crime scenes, and eventually, that’s going to lead him to the truth, WHICH IS THAT SARAH CONNOR WAS RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME. What happens if we reach that point? Does he ally himself with the Connors? Does he fight them? I don’t see him as an antagonistic force anymore, you know? And I totally thought he would be, given that he was so set on capturing her. So I’m absolutely interested in seeing where he goes next. HE’S SO CLOSE.
I’m still uncomfortable that Jordon’s suicide was used as character building for John Connor. That’s the basis for what John does in this episode, in addition to his desire to stop running from every possible confrontation. Now, I think this story shows us that it’s not that Sarah wants to flee at the first sign of trouble. Her purpose here is so drastically different from John’s. She has to keep him alive, so when she realizes that the situation in the warehouse is not what they expected, she wants to pull away. She wants to assess the risk to them all! (So did Cameron.) But John doesn’t interpret this sort of behavior as sensible or necessary. He perceives it as the same pattern as always: things get dangerous, they all move again.
So John Connor goes and gets himself locked in a truck with an armed guard.
Seriously, this episode is just one absurdly tense moment in John Connor’s life after another. THERE ARE SO MANY GREAT SCENES OF TENSION IN “HEAVY METAL.” I love the way that they’re composed, since it’s like a giant letter to John Connor that says, “STOP FUCKING EVERYTHING UP AND THINK FOR FIVE SECONDS, JOHN.” Which he does! He devises a way to knock out the guard, Mike, in the truck right when his cellphone nearly blows the whole thing. He’s able to avoid the guards and the other Terminator once they arrive to the correct depot, and he figures out a way to communicate with Sarah once he’s trapped inside the fallout shelter. The kid isn’t a fool, and he’s crafty as hell. The problem is that he clearly is in over his head here. He had no way to know the scope of what the Terminator was tasked with doing way out in the Antelope Valley. (More on that in a second.) He just wanted to make a difference, to stop this horrible future he’s always told about.
And I do get why this is so frustrating for him. He hasn’t had any sort of glimpse of what is to come, so he always hears about himself in the third person from people who knew him or know what he’s going to do. He’s spent nearly all of his life being told that he’ll be some great hero to the Resistance, and his actions in “Heavy Metal” are an attempt to become that person instead of always hearing about him. In that sense, John’s got a hellish identity crisis at work here because none of us ever get the chance to know how we’ll turn out. John can’t see how he got to Point B from his Point A, and it causes him stress and anxiety over it. He doubts himself all the time, he’s still working under the authority of his mother, and he doesn’t understand how anyone could see him as a leader.
Yet, that is.
It’s so intriguing to me that Sarah and Cameron have such different views of John Connor based on their time with him. We keep hearing that John hasn’t become the man Cameron knows yet. Is there a clear moment in time when that happens? I would imagine that it’s a lot more gradual than that. It’s a process!
Speaking of time, how is the timeline affected by what these characters did here? Cameron reveals that she was made in the terminator factory at Depot 37, and they just got rid of all the coltan that was supposed to be used to build the terminators in the future… so did Cameron throw away her own supplies? How does she still exist? Was she made from another stock? IMPORTANT QUESTIONS WITH MARK.
The video for “Heavy Metal” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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