FROM JASON’S INNER ROBOT — So the big cliff-hanger: Was Cameron (Summer Glau) ‘sploded? The season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was left wide open, which means that at least the writers are expecting to be back next season.
Be warned: If Fox goes all Firefly on me on this one, I shall be very put out.
The 2-hour finale (which was really just episodes 8 and 9 shown back-to-back) introduced new characters and new intrigue. Who has The Turk? Why did Cromartie kill all the FBI agents but blatantly leave Ellison alive? Will Cameron live?
At least it put one fear to rest. Episodes 7 and 8 were kind of hinting that Derek Reese might be a terminator sent to infiltrate the Connor gang, gain their trust, and then go boom. A scene in which Derek and John see Derek and Kyle as children pretty much negates that.
For those who have missed so far:
John Connor from 2027 has sent back Cameron — a Terminator — to protect himself as a boy in the 90s. She helps John and his mother, Sarah Connor, jump forward in time to 2007, where they can start hunting down the people who make Skynet happen.
That means destroying The Turk, a chess-playing computer that ultimately becomes Skynet’s brain. It also means taking out subsystems that will be used to help awaken Skynet — like a massive traffic control AI that will one day serve as Skynet’s eyes and ears.
Yeah. It’s complicated.
Unfortunately, the Connors et al are being hunted by a Terminator agent named Cromartie and a detective named Ellison. Fox’s website has already blown a plot element by saying Ellison will eventually become the Connors’ ally, and the finale confirmed that.
In the final half of episode 9, Ellison discovered Cromartie was posing as an FBI agent and took a squad to arrest him. Cromartie decimated the heavily-armed agents in an incredibly beautiful scene shown from underwater as they landed one by one in a pool bleeding ribbons of red. For some unknown reason — and this is really bothering me — Cromartie quite deliberately decided to let Ellison be the single survivor.
So the story isn’t over, but that doesn’t mean Fox won’t can the series. Once again, Glau and company might not get a chance to say “I’ll be back,” thanks to flagging ratings.
Season one was originally supposed to be 13 episodes but was cut to 9 because of the writer’s strike. The January premier grabbed 18 million viewers but last week that had fallen to just 7 million (according to Nielsen ratings — and I’m not sure whether that gauges iTunes downloads).
Maybe the problem is the show’s title, which insists the show is about Sarah. But at this point I have far more sympathy for Cameron that anyone else, with John Connor coming in a middling second. Sarah is too cold, in many ways more robotically one-minded than her son’s metallic protector.
Another issue: I worry the plot might be too difficult for casual fans to follow. Yay, elitism! But mix computer jargon with time travel, multiple timelines, flashbacks, a large cast of characters, and a host of rabbit-run sub-plots, and you’re bound to lose viewers. At least the writers like to tie up loose ends on a regular basis instead of pulling a Lost.
So will there be more? I really, really hope so.
It’s not as though the franchise doesn’t have fans. Studios are still willing to invest in the Terminator mythos — Sony’s recently purchased the rights to a fourth Terminator film starring Christian “I Resurrected Batman” Bale as John Connor. Warner Bros. will release the movie in May 2009 with the title Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins.