Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E14 – The Good Wound

In the fourteenth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I honestly can’t fathom how amazing this show has gotten. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Trigger Warning: For discussion of suicide, domestic abuse, body horror/blood/gore.

You know, I found it challenging to talk about The Sarah Connor Chronicles over the holiday week. A lot of people, particularly those I haven’t seen in some time, were curious what I was writing about. (And yes, a good deal of my close friends don’t actually read my stuff with any consistency. It doesn’t bother me, and I usually find it refreshing since I don’t have to talk shop with them.) It was fairly easy to gush about things like Star Trek or to groan and hold my head in my hands when I talk about how Supernatural has pulled me in without any care in the world. But then I would say that I’m watching this show, one no one has apparently seen, and I’d hear the same thing: “How can you have a whole show about the Terminator movies?”

You have no idea.

There’s a literary quality to The Sarah Connor Chronicles that I find hard to pin down at times. I think you can see that aspect in an episode like “The Good Wound.” The writers take ambitions concepts and lofty narrative devices, and they try their damnedest to give us something that doesn’t feel like anything else we’ve seen. In particular, the dreamlike sequences in this episode are something that normally might only work in a book. That’s not to say they don’t work here, but it’s something that is hard to pull off in a purely visual medium. Plus, this show could have been nothing more than a long action sequence. While I find The Sarah Connor Chronicles to be endlessly terrifying and shocking (HOW DO THEY KEEP DOING THIS), there’s an equal attention paid to the emotional drama as well. And that makes this show stand out. There’s such a deep respect for the ongoing emotional serialization of these characters in the writing of every episode.

It’s simply a pleasure to watch this all unfold.

Riley

I still don’t necessarily trust Jesse; she’s proven herself to be so dedicated to her mission that she’ll do anything to succeed at it. Unsurprisingly, that means she sees Riley’s suicide attempt as a sign of disrespect towards her. LIKE… REALLY??? REALLY? Way to make everything about yourself. Despite that Riley appears to agree with Jesse about her intentions here, I don’t know that I believe this is the case. I think that Riley was clever enough to reference Jordan’s suicide in order to dispel Jesse’s suspicion and criticism. But there was so much we saw prior to the attempt that wasn’t for John’s benefit. She genuinely had a breakdown that had nothing to do with manipulating John any further.

So what is she going to do next??? Keep up her deceit? Tell John the truth? She doesn’t seem to like Cameron at all, but she’s also not exactly willing to keep up this mission anymore.

Ellison / Catherine Weaver

HOW IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING. Okay, one thing at a time, because HOLY SHIT. First of all, Garrett Dillahunt is just unreal as John Henry, and in “The Good Wound,” he manages to find this unnerving balance between childish wonder and his growing intelligence. He plays with Bionicle toys while talking to Ellison about the failures of God’s creations. He regurgitates the fictional history of those toy characters while questioning Ellison’s faith. IT’S SO DISTURBING TO WATCH. But it’s also a sign of how quickly John Henry has been able to learn about… well, anything he wants. His curiosity is without boundaries, and this upsets Ellison, particularly after John Henry demonstrates his ability to put together the details of the case that ended Ellison’s career. (And he does so in a matter of hours.)

But let’s be real: the true spectacle in this episode is Catherine Weaver. I continue to be unable to determine what she’s doing here in 2007, and I have to give the writers their due. How have they been able to keep me guessing for so long??? Even though it’s obvious she retaliates against the factory that Sarah nearly discovered because someone was too “chatty” about what they were doing, I still can’t figure out what this has to do with her ultimate goal or what that goal actually is. If that factory posed a risk to John Henry, then it makes sense that she, like Sarah Connor, would eliminate that threat. But if they’re working with coltan, the very metal she was made of, why would she destroy something that inevitably led to her own creation? Is she possibly working against Skynet? WHICH DOESN’T MAKE SENSE BECAUSE SHE BASICALLY IS SKYNET, AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Holy shit, that scene where she executes everyone in the warehouse is terrifying. TERRIFYING.

Sarah

Lena Headey is a gift to humanity, and you cannot convince me otherwise. While I do have a lot of lovely things to say about Laura Regan’s portrayal of Felicia Burnett, it’s Lena who holds this entire story together. Her acting is one of those things that’s hard to wrap your mind around because I absolutely believed that she was in immense pain. I believed that she was openly hallucinating glimpses of Kyle Reese, and I believed that she was struggling with her trust for Felicia. I didn’t question a single aspect of this whole story. What’s so fascinating is how Sarah’s toughness actually works against her at some points, so her subconscious (through Kyle) reminds her that ferocity won’t get her through every situation.

Hell, even the hallucinations are brilliant. At no point does “Kyle” ever provide Sarah with information that she doesn’t already have. His guidance is part wish fulfillment (since she desperately wishes that he was there by her side to help her along this journey) and part bravery and courage. Sarah is the one who gets herself through the mental aspect of this. As for the physical… bless you, Felicia. It’s amazing to me that this character – who gets her own story within Sarah’s – sees Sarah’s fear and recognizes herself in it. She sees a woman who is in extreme pain and covered in blood, and instead of questioning the details, she does whatever she can to help her. While I do understand Sarah’s lie at the end of the episode (she’s protecting John by lying about his existence), I do think that these two shared an experience that’ll always be meaningful for them. Felicia saw her own abuse at the hands of Sheriff McKinley in Sarah, and it enabled her to finally fight back against him when he threatened her again.

I know I said that Catherine Weaver was the spectacle here, but it’s hard to be hyperbolic about any part of this episode. It’s all so fucking good. It’s well-written, thrilling, compelling, and it constantly surprises me. As I said in the introduction, it’s hard to believe that this show is real. And yet, here I am, utterly destroyed by it.

The video for “The Good Wound” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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