Sarah Connor Chronicles – S02E15 – Desert Cantos, episode review

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In the aftermath of the explosion at the desert factory, the Connor crew visit the town where the factory employees lived. They mingle with the grieving relatives in the town square. Sarah meets the wife of the man she killed at the factory, who seems totally oblivious to the fact that he was an evil expendable henchman (all those Austin Powers jokes about henchmen’s families coming back now?)

Many reviewers are aghast at Sarah Connor Chronicles, and this episode could be at the epicenter of their irritation. Where last week’s episode had Sarah mostly talking for ages to a cross-dresser/transsexual, this week she has endless boring discussion with the woman she unknowingly made a widow.

Meanwhile, the rest of Connor’s Scooby gang are investigating the mystery literally underlying the town’s bereavement. Yes, the town seems to be a SkyNet work camp, where – according to Derek – humans work for the robots watched by other humans working for the robots.

Normally, I’d go into a bit more detail with an episode review, but herein lies the problem. Desert Cantos was a tepid mess. I was actually happier watching the awful Shirley Manson in the Catherine Weaver subplot than the hapless Connor crew bumbling around trying to work out what was going on at the factory and what secret lurked underneath the town.

But after watching Sarah hallucinating through an entire episode, another dull episode wasn’t welcome. I found myself watching Sarah skulking around a house, finding the worst bookshelf-concealing-secret-passageway in the world, and scratching my head wondering what the hell was going on. Is this how Sarah Connor would spend her time, randomly stumbling upon hives of SkyNet activity, and narrowly missing detection by Weaver’s organisation?

There’s a good critique of the episode over at FilmSchoolRejects, saying:

 

The Sarah Connor Chronicles works against itself. A final battle would end the show, so it doesn’t serve a television series. A revelation of the real villains would also break apart the show, so the Garbage Terminator can only have a brief moment of her real self. And any spectacular action sequence would bankrupt the series. Ultimately, we’re left having to watch the characters mope around and sort-of engage the machines… but not really.

For my part, a scene in which the lead characters stood around a grave looking down at the impending death of this show would not have been totally out of place. A terrible, yawnsome episode in a series which is currently losing its way.

I think the producers need to go back and look at where they’re going with this series. How would Sarah Connor behave? What is her primary motivation at this point (protect her son)? How does she respond to the new threat of the Terminators? Is Judgement Day a given, or should she still be trying to fight against it? When she discovers a pocket of SkyNet activity, should she run like hell away, or should she fight against it?

My feeling is that being the primary carer of the future leader of the resistance, Sarah needs to protect her own rather than haphazardly stumble upon cyborg activity. What do you think?

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