Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E06 – The Tower Is Tall but the Fall Is Short

In the sixth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I CAN BARELY BELIEVE THIS SHOW IS REAL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of PTSD/trauma, suicide.

THIS SHOW IS TOO MUCH OH MY GOD. Seriously, this was so good, y’all. Introspective, boldly emotional, thrilling, and COMPLETELY UNSETTLING. Where do I start?

Catherine Weaver

Who knew that a mother learning to be affectionate with her daughter could be so utterly horrifying??? I think it’s to this show’s credit that they’re keeping Weaver’s motivations such a huge secret because… well, it creates this. We are constantly uneasy when we’re watching Weaver at work because we never quite know if she’s this season’s big antagonist or if she’s… something else? It’s hard for me to see her as any sort of ally or force for good because of how pervasively creepy she is. With the recent casual reveal that Catherine has a daughter, Savannah, matters are only made worse.

It’s clear now that the helicopter crash was the actual infiltration point, and Savannah confirms that. That’s the point where she became terrified of her mother’s behavior. (So, she’s not a mini-Terminator. PHEW.) The show brilliantly mixes in multiple therapy sessions with Dr. Sherman to explore the traumatic past of many of these characters. In Savannah’s case, she’s frightened of her mother, and Catherine knows that if she’s going to stay hidden in plain sight, she’ll need to do better. She can’t have anyone suspecting that there’s something wrong between her and her daughter. So she studies old tapes of Catherine Weaver. Oh god, it reminded me of the way Cameron studied Allison, y’all. IT’S SO CREEPY. Even though Savannah is thrilled that her mother is more affectionate, I couldn’t help but feel immensely uncomfortable about what was happening. JUST… WHY IS THIS SHOW DOING THIS TO ME?

It also looks like Dr. Sherman is going to be part of the team, which confuses me. Not from Catherine’s perspective, that is. It makes sense to bring on a psychologist who could examine the Turk’s own development. But if Dr. Sherman is destined to help Skynet come to fruition, why the hell was that Terminator dead set on killing him? Seriously, nothing makes sense in Catherine’s storyline, and it’s tormenting me. BUT WHO CARES, BECAUSE THE FIGHT IN THE ELEVATOR BETWEEN CAMERON AND THE OTHER TERMINATOR IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THIS SHOW HAS EVER DONE. EVER. OH MY GOD. I can’t get over how bizarre the choreography is between Terminators, and I’m so thankful they’ve stuck to the mechanical style for them instead of going with something more fluid. It’s brilliant.

Derek / Jesse

So much of “The Tower is Tall” relies on this idea of trauma and tolerance. How much can a person take? Are some people expected to be tougher than others and is that fair? I think you can see that in the Connors’ story, but I wanted to talk about both of these characters and how that relates to them. Jesse is a fascinating character (even before her duplicity is revealed) because there’s a direct parallel to John Connor within her characterization. Well, not just John either. We find out that Derek also was suicidal at one point, and Jesse inadvertently saved him from that. Both of them have been dealt so much trauma over the years, and it’s really great that the writers are letting them unpack it in this manner. Of course, it’s hard to truly talk about Jesse because the last image of her in this episode reveals that she’s lying about her mission. If that’s the case, how much else is she lying about? Did reprogrammed Terminators really take out half of a bunker? I don’t want to believe her story about wanting to spend time back in 2007 with Derek; that’s clearly a cover. (And one he’s falling for.)

So what gives? She’s not a Terminator, so what’s her deal? What possible mission could she be on that would require her to stalk John and Derek for days on end? Who is she gathering intelligence for? Why am I turning into someone who distrusts everyone on this show? It’s your fault. YOURS.

The Connors

JUST… HOLY HELL. Look, I think one of the big reasons I enjoyed “The Tower Is Tall” so much is because it validated the idea that both Sarah and John needed therapy. No matter what Sarah intended with her relationship with her son, John didn’t feel comfortable being entirely honest with her. And it’s now true, based on the final scene, that the reverse applies as well. John occupies a frustrating and confusing space in the world because, as I’ve mentioned before, he’s between identities. He’s John Connor, but not quite the John Connor that is savior of mankind years into the future. It’s a lot of pressure to be put under, obviously, but that’s compounded by the many horrible things he’s already experienced. From the violence, to the constant threats on his life, to his need to compartmentalize his experiences, to his longing for normalcy… it’s a lot. It’s a lot for one human to be asked to deal with and have no way out.

So I loved that the show put him in front of Dr. Sherman and then gave him an outlet to begin to talk about the myriad of problems that he’s had. It’s not easy for him because in addition to the monumental task of unpacking all of the trauma he’s gone through, HE CAN’T ACTUALLY TELL THE TRUTH. Unless he somehow gets a therapist that’s totally aware of the upcoming apocalypse, he’s shit out of luck. And yet, he tries. He tries to explore his own notions of agency and self-worth. He tries to open up about how he feels stuck.

Does it work? I don’t know think a couple therapy sessions are enough for John. Hell, neither did Dr. Sherman. I’m hoping that they’ll continue since Catherine Weaver has recruited him to work with her. Perhaps that means we’ll see him more frequently. Because the truth is that John hasn’t dealt with the most traumatic part of his life yet.

He was the one who killed Sarkissian, not his mother.


The video for “The Tower Is Tall but the Fall Is Short” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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