Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E07 – Brothers of Nablus

In the seventh episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, everything is frightening and uncomfortable, and this show is a gem. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Let me start off by echoing what I said near the end of the video for this episode: I don’t understand how this show is real. I enjoyed both of the films; they were a lot of fun and could be pretty creepy at times. But this show… I was unsure how you could pull 31 episodes out of the premise. How? How was that possible? And yet, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has consistently impressed me with its storytelling, acting, and incredible mythologizing. I’m still amazed at how scary this can be. How sad it can be. How detailed and layered and subtle this show can be. SUBTLETY. IN A SHOW ABOUT MURDEROUS ROBOTS FROM THE FUTURE. How??? How???

Let’s discuss.


Instead of helping us understand what the hell is going on with his storyline, this show confuses us EVEN FURTHER. The opening scene of “Brothers of Nablus” is horrifying: Ellison comes face-to-face with a T-888 that’s imitating him. As if this sight isn’t terrible enough, Ellison’s machine doppelganger is immediately killed. BY CROMARTIE. Who then tells him that Skynet has no faith in him, but he does. Cromartie. Has faith in Ellison. That’s interesting to me, though, because it supports the idea that Cromartie doesn’t eliminate a possible source of information for the Connors. He still thinks Ellison can lead him to them, so he spares him. Again. It’s eerily reminiscent of the events in “What He Beheld,” since Cromartie could have easily murdered Ellison then.

So how does Catherine Weaver fit into this? There’s an eerie parallel between Cromartie and Weaver, since both of them express faith in Ellison. But why? Why does Weaver go out of her way to exonerate Ellison of the murder he’s charged with? I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND. Isn’t she part of Skynet? But Cromartie just proved that Skynet wants to exterminate Ellison, so… ?????? NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE.

I just… shit, y’all. It’s interesting to me that in the same episode where John lashes out at his mother because of what his life has become, we get a scene where Ellison longs to return to his own sense of normalcy. He’s realizing just how surreal and uncomfortable everything is now, and how it will never be like that ever again. Ever. This is Ellison’s life now. It’s so sad, y’all.


Speaking of NOT MAKING SENSE, I don’t get what Jesse’s role is. We know she’s lying, but why? Why get close to Derek? Is she trying to get John Connor? But WHY? It’s not like we’ve heard of humans siding with Skynet! Is that even possible? WHY IS SHE DECEIVING DEREK? What’s her connection to the jewel seller? WHY AM I SO SCARED.


Garret Dillahunt is too good as Cromartie. He’s too good. One of the things that unnerves me about his character is that he’s rarely like Cameron or Catherine. He does not aim to assimilate into this world beyond what is absolutely necessary, and despite that he’s constantly criticized (to his face!) for being super wooden and creepy and gross, he just keeps on truckin’, determined to terminate John Connor. While Sarah and Cameron try to track down their stolen possessions, he’s busy getting closer and closer to John. This time, though, he enlists Jody to help him, who is eager to betray Cameron. AND IT’S JUST SO AWFUL TO WATCH. There are a number of near misses in this episode that all made my heart hurt, which is a feat in and of itself. He’s still so creepy!

I feel like Cromartie will remain a threat on this show for a while, at least because he works so well as an immediate antagonist. And what I mean by that is that he shows up on screen and my whole body turns into a ball of nervous energy. HE’S IN THE GROCERY STORE OH GOD. And then: HE’S AT THE HOUSE DON’T TALK TO HIM RILEY OH MY GOD. And at the end of the episode, we’re faced with the very real possibility that he’s going to torture one of the thieves in order to get the Connor’s address.

It’s too real. I DON’T LIKE IT.


I think another aspect of The Sarah Connor Chronicles that I find compelling is how willing the writers have been to take us to these deeply uncomfortable places. When the Connor residence is robbed – and not by any machine – their safety is threatened once again. We know exactly what’s going to happen because we’ve seen it unfold so many times before. Sarah’s main concern is to keep her son safe, so she’ll put aside nearly every other concern in order to guarantee that John stays alive. She and Cameron therefore go after their IDs and credit cards so that no one can ever trace them back to their home.

But exactly how far will Sarah go to protect her son? There’s been a single line she hasn’t crossed so far, though I totally fell for the misdirect and believed that she had killed Sarkissian in this season’s premiere. We see her same struggle near the end of “Brothers of Nablus” when she doesn’t take revenge on the thieves. It’s Cameron who executes them all, reasoning that they knew the house’s address and could potentially give it up. So when Sarah faces down the one surviving thief, she spares his life because she’s never taken one before. It’s her own moral line in the sand, but how long can she hold on to that?

It’s also the one thing that has set John against her. We find out in this episode that John resents Sarah for not being the one to kill Sarkissian. Like… christ, this fight in any other context would seem outright absurd. John is furious that his mother didn’t stop someone she didn’t know was coming so that he didn’t have to kill him. But in John’s world, a world where Sarah has repeatedly enforced some rather brutal rules to protect him, this is an undeniable contradiction. Given his mother’s reaction to Riley, John can’t fathom how his mother can order him around out of a need to “protect” him when she couldn’t actually protect him when he needed it.

Is it messy? Of course, and it’s supposed to be. This poor family has been living in hell for nearly two decades, and these are the sort of standards they judge one another by. It’s incredibly awkward to watch, but it’s also IMMENSELY HEARTBREAKING. We know John wants to have some normalcy; we know these two people love each other; we know Sarah is doing the best she can. But is that enough for both of them? It’s cosmically unfair that this is the sort of life they have to live, but that’s what they’ve got. It’s messy as hell, and it’s never going to get better.

The video for “Brothers of Nablus” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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