Did you catch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles last night? In a season many fans found thus far ho-hum and uneventful, the past two parter “Today is the Day” and “To the Lighthouse” has been shooting on all cylinders. The newest episode “Adam Raised a Cain” had a shocker that could be considered either amazingly brilliant or devastatingly awful. Find out which category I felt the episode fell into. Full review with spoilers inside.
The character of Derek Reese, Kyle’s older brother and Tech-Com soldier, is a great introduction to the Terminator mythos. He provides a much needed connection to the human side of the future war that cannot be viewed through the eyes of Cameron. And who knew that Brian Austin Green had the acting chops to pull off a character constantly plagued by his inner demons? The character treated death of fellow soldiers and friends (for the exception of his brother) in a very impassive way, shrugging it off as a small price to pay for humanity’s survival and the mission at hand. His death, sadly, is treated the same way in this episode. Derek is shot in the head by a T-888 even before the second commercial break of the episode. Rather than focus the episode on Derek’s demise, the story continues on the Connor’s investigation into Zieracorp. Sans the final moment where Derek is buried, “Adam Raised a Cain” does not really dwell on this shocking turn of events. And incidentally, Derek’s cremated remains are buried in an unmarked grave in the same way his brother was.
I haven’t been this shocked by a television show since 24’s assassination of ex-President Palmer. And, even in that case, Dennis Haysbert clearly was only given a guest appearance credit at the beginning of the episode. I myself thought wrongly, based on the spoilers presented, that the three major deaths this season had already come and gone prior to the airing of “Adam Raised a Cain”.
Derek clearly had the odds set against him in the past few episodes. The love of his life, whom he may/may not have killed, betrayed John Connor and his own trust. And while we are on the subject of trust, he never gains that level of respect from Sarah Connor. Derek does manage to overcome his prejudice of Cameron and thank her for the information she gave him. In that respect, he does reach a major milestone for his development, his character arc. While his death is attributable to how Derek both lived and viewed life, is it fair to the fans? Not so much.
We never get to see the course of events that occurred in that dark basement (as seen in the episode “Dungeons & Dragons”). It still remains a bone headed decision on the show’s creative team to waste the character’s potential for most of season 2 on merely driving the Connor truck. And it also remains fallible that audiences (or maybe that I just speak for myself) never get to understand why John sent specifically Derek through the time machine in the first place. I never found an underlying mission accomplished by the elder Reese, besides saving a potential resistance fighter. The character had a deep closet full of stuff to sort through for upcoming seasons (should they actually happen). He died, however, as true to the nature’s character as possible.
Of course, other events transpired in the episode too that boosted it as one of the show’s best. Catherine Weaver’s motives continue to be mysterious, suggesting that (maybe Skynet) John Henry is the key to humanity’s survival. John Henry’s brother continues to be a threat to both Weaver’s camp and the Connor’s. The relationship with his brother even gives Henry the perception to compare his situation to that of Cain and Abel. When he asks Weaver which one of the brothers is he, she gives him the possibility that he may, in fact, play the role of God in that story…though human sacrifices may be the offering to God.
The episode ends with Sarah being ratted out to the police and, judging from next episode’s preview, Cameron will have to engage in much kick-as*ery to break her out. But then again, as we saw, Sarah doesn’t take too kindly with police threats, kicking and punching the officers until she is clubbed to the floor. Very Sarah Connor, a far cry from her daily couch-brooding seen for much of the season. Only one episode left, let’s see if series creator can take another shot in the dark and hit the target.
Rating: 8 out of 10