Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E12 – Alpine Fields

In the twelfth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Derek tries to save someone who is important to the future Resistance. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles. 

Trigger Warning: For brief mention of suicide.

This show is just so rewarding, y’all. There’s a serialized arc present in “Alpine Fields” that’s also its own story, and I do love it when shows find a good balance between the two of them. LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS, IT’S SO NEAT.

The Past

I’ve been trying to parse my thoughts on the storyline that is set six months prior to Derek’s interactions with Lauren and Anne Fields, and I realized that the writers are almost giving the Fields’ family destruction a soap opera feel. I don’t mean that in a negative way; as the Fields cope with the Terminator who is out to kill Anne, we watch their lives fall apart in an almost comedically absurd fashion. All of this is deliberately juxtaposed with the drama of Sarah’s life, which is a lot more muted in comparison. While these people talk about their family secrets, their betrayals, and their issues with one another, Sarah’s busy building a trap to hopefully disable the T-888.

It’s through this that we’re given hints about Lauren’s future interest in the Resistance. She floats around Sarah, eager to help. I think Derek was right about her willingness to adapt; she’s young enough to be able to shed her preconceived notions of the world and change herself to fit within it. (I have another headcanon-y thought about this, though. I think Lauren’s line about watching “lesbian porn” on her father’s computer wasn’t a joke at all, and she just covered it with a dismissal BUT IT’S ACTUALLY TRUE. Which leads to her having a bit of a crush on Sarah Connor, which inspires her to be like Sarah, and THIS IS A REALLY GOOD HEADCANON, OKAY.) It’s why we do see her in the future, doing what she can to save humanity. The events of this day changed her forever, and I don’t think that’s an awful thing. She looks so radiant in the future, and it’s one of the few beacons of hope we’ve seen on this show.

The Present

But it doesn’t seem hopeful in the present time. If anything, Anne and Lauren’s life is more chaotic and upsetting than it’s ever been. Again, I think this show constantly takes risks with its story, and this non-linear episode is a great example of that. There’s not one shot of John Connor or Ellison or Catherine Weaver, and we’re asked to care about characters who probably won’t matter in future storylines. But they matter now. It’s a compelling story because we watch how these people adapt to a life that is no longer ordinary. Lauren’s much better at it than Anne, which is sad because that inevitably led to her husband’s death and Roger’s death as well. Shit, and her own! Which is why it felt so bleak to me, y’all. These people didn’t deserve to go through this, but… well, no one did. No one deserves to suffer like this, and that’s one aspect of this series that’s pervasive throughout the show and the movies. Life is utterly unfair for everyone embroiled in this nightmare. But The Sarah Connor Chronicles gives us a chance to see how “ordinary” people fight against an oppressive future in their own ways, one victory at a time.

The Future

That’s why it’s important for The Sarah Connor Chronicles to give us signs of hope and signs of progress. While the writers aren’t afraid to be grim, they’re not being dark for the sake of it. The war against Skynet is a complicated nightmare, we’re getting to see the small ways in which the Resistance gains ground against the machines. By helping save Sydney, Derek saved himself. It’s another predestination paradox, as is her name. But this episode does more than show us the Fields’ importance to the future. We finally get to see how Derek and Jesse first met, and OH MY GOD IT’S SO HEARTBREAKING. When we first got a glimpse of that pregnant woman and her daughters, I thought it was a shot of some random people in Derek’s bunker. I had no idea that it was actually a glimpse of all the dead humans in Sydney’s bunker, the ones who had succumbed to a bio-weapon. And shit, I do like that this story gives us some worldbuilding, too. Of course Skynet would pursue any means necessary to exterminate humanity!

Sydney is the exception to their act of terrorism, and her blood holds the key to humanity’s survival. But Derek is so overwhelmed by the sheer inhumanity he witnesses in that bunker that he contemplates killing himself, and it’s here that we see how Jesse’s appearance actually saves his life. (And there’s some neat worldbuilding in that, too! I’m so happy that this show has now confirmed that other countries are also dealing with the Skynet threat in their own way.) And it’s in these details that the future is made. Jesse saves Derek, they both save Sydney, who saves them with the antidote to Skynet’s weapon, and both of them head back in time to save the world. It’s all connected, and it’s the only hope we have that the Resistance can truly beat the machines.

The video for “Alpine Fields” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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