In the twentieth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I am more done than I was before. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Trigger Warning: For talk of cancer and nonconsensual medical procedures.
It’s truly a tragedy that this show got cut short. I don’t know what the viewership was like, but it was on FOX, so LET’S BE REAL. It was probably decent but not GROUNDBREAKING, so therefore, FOX ruined it. It’s just… everything here is so good! The acting! The writing! The storytelling! The way this show continually ruins me! WHY ISN’T THERE MORE?
I’m utterly fascinated by the pacing in “To the Lighthouse” because of the way that John Henry’s story unfolds differently from the one involving the Connors. While the events at the lighthouse and the storage unit are part of a slow burn that leads to three separate confrontations, we know right off the bat that there’s something deeply, deeply wrong with John Henry. The imagery is scary enough because how do we know that John won’t hurt Savannah? I initially believed that we were witnessing a glitch, akin to Cameron’s glitch from the beginning of the season. But it’s so much more awful to find out that this was an outside attack. By whom? Who knows about John Henry? It’s not like Ellison or the Connors are trying to take him down. I also had to worry about what would happen when John was restarted. Would he blurt out Catherine’s secret? Would he be reset, losing all of Ellison’s teachings?
What I wasn’t anticipating was the toll it would take on John Henry. It’s deliberately framed as something that’s remarkably close to an emotion. John experienced “death” when he was powered off, and it lasted an eternity to him. When he’s brought back to life, he feels betrayed. He knows what loneliness feels like. THIS IS A HUGE DEVELOPMENT and also very unnerving? Did his “brother” inadvertently help him grow?
Oh, right, HE HAS A BROTHER. Well, that’s a loose definition of what’s here, but John Henry confirms that there’s another version of him out there with code from Cyberdyne and Miles Dyson within him. How? How??? What role does the Kaliba company play in all of this? I’m guessing they’re a progenitor to Skynet, which… shit, that would mean that John Henry and Catherine Weaver aren’t Skynet either. WHY IS JOHN HENRY SO IMPORTANT???
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To the Lighthouse
I believed that Sarah Connor had reunited John and Charley as a concession of sorts. They were about to disappear in the desert again, to make a new life and use new identities as they always did. Before they did so, Sarah was giving John some familiarity before their lives became new again. At least, that’s what this all meant to me. It was eerie seeing Charley again because there were so many signs of how his life had changed. He physically looked exhausted in all of his scenes here. It’s also revealed to us that his lighthouse home – set up by Sarah herself – is rigged with an escape plan. That’s the life Charley was living. After the death of his wife, he had to accept that one day, he’d be a target.
However, I was so wrong. So wrong. When Sarah finally confronts Charley in private in “To the Lighthouse,” I thought she was hitting on him. I thought she was asking him to come with her. After the events in “Today Is the Day,” Charley really was the only person in Sarah’s life who she trusted. (Which is actually satisfying to watch, for the record. As I mentioned in the video for this episode, I’d not considered how Sarah would react to Derek’s relationship with Jesse. It makes total sense for her character to view Derek as a risk after this. THE WRITING ON THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD.) She could use someone else on her side, right?
I was wrong.
I appreciate, as the son of someone who survived cancer twice, that this episode openly portrays Sarah’s journey with cancer, despite that it ends up not being cancer at all. (I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS.) She sought out Charley out of fear that her time was up. Cameron’s message about Sarah’s fate has haunted Sarah this entire time, but she never could know if time travel negated her death from cancer or if it accelerated it or if something else happened that stuck her back in 2005. So when she discovers a lump in her breast, she assumes that her time has come. Sarah’s singular focus throughout this series has been on protecting John at expense to everyone and everything else, including herself. Even when her own life might be threatened, she’s thinking of John. (Those flashbacks to South America demonstrate that; even though John’s still playing a game, Sarah never is.) Who else would protect John truthfully and loyally aside from Charley? Cameron and Derek might, but she can’t ever trust them as she’s trusted Charley.
TOO BAD, THOUGH, BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A FUCKING DISASTER. I remember vaguely catching on to the Kaliba stuff in “Some Must Watch…,” but that didn’t prepare me for the onslaught of terror here. I FORGOT ABOUT IT. Ed Winston implanted a tracker into Sarah back in that episode, JESUS CHRIST THAT IS SO AWFUL. So why did they all strike now? Because they knew it would be easier if they were all separate? Probably. I mentioned the pacing of this episode in the beginning of this review, and I want to bring it up again: I love the slow burn here. There’s a lot of introspection in the middle of this episode as Sarah, Charley, John, Cameron, and Derek all consider what their role is going to be. Can Sarah ever trust again? Will John ever get a normal life? Can Derek now trust that Cameron is working in John’s best interest after she rescued him?
I don’t know because WHERE IS JOHN??? Who is this Kaliba group, and are they really Skynet? Is their goal to disable Cameron and kill John Connor? How are Catherine Weaver, Ellison, and John Henry going to play into this? Will forgive this show for killing off Charley? That’s particularly cruel since this is the same episode where Sarah puts her faith in Charley, and he validates that faith by DYING FOR JOHN CONNOR.
Everything is a mess, and I’m scared.
The video for “To the Lighthouse” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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