Monday, February 4, 2008

Terminator Update

So, I'm still watching that terminator TV show. Yes, River is still the only reason I'm watching it. I'm actually starting to get a little concerned for the show. Mainly because Sarah is somehow managing to just keep getting increasingly lame.

I'm really questioning whoever it was that decided "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" was a good title. I mean, seriously, who could have thought that would be catchy? It conjures up images of lame sci-fi book series or maybe some random comic book story arc. It also conjures up images of Riddick, who would make a pretty badass terminator. But, in any case, it does not sound good (that's right, Chronicles of Riddick wasn't very good, even with Judi Dench). But, even if you wanted to argue that we HAVE to use the word "chronicles", why does it have to be Sarah Connor's chronicles? She doesn't deserve to be the main character and, more importantly, she doesn't act like the main character.

She's just kind of wandering around aimlessly. For example, she gets a lead on a dude who happens to be doing some impressive stuff with AI in his basement. So she burns the house down. That's her response. In medicine, that would be considered treating the symptoms, instead of the disease. It's freaking lame. Infinitely more cool, and sci-fi-esque (that's right, two hypens in one word, yeah, that's how I roll) would be to work with the dude to create some sort of virus (computer virus, just to be clear, after that medicine analogy) that might attract a young, blossoming (the term from Bungie's pre-Halo shooter, Marathon, would be, that's not relevant, and yet, somehow, Marathon is always relevant) AI just discovering the internet and kick its Goddamn ass. But, no, her solution is to just burn down the house of anyone who thinks AI is cool. Which could get boring after awhile, you know.

They should at least give the title to John. I mean, he's more of a star than her. He does stuff. Not well, but, hey, that's better than Sarah. Plus, he's actually developing as a character. He's both confronting the fact that he's going to be a hero someday and realizing that he has both the desire and the capabilities of actually being a hero. And Sarah is trying to stop that. Which is lame. Just because her character is weak and indecisive and definitely not Linda Hamilton, she feels this need to stop John from becoming the savior and all out of this desire to protect him. Only, it's really just a desire to protect herself (she's scared of the idea of losing John, both his life and her conception of him as her son). So, yeah Sarah's lame. And I don't like her. Even though she was in 300...although, I guess I didn't particularly like her in 300 either, so, whatever.

And then there's River. First, my complaints. Err, complaint. It's been two episodes in a row where she didn't do anything to try to seduce John or send him mix signals or act like there's anything remotely like the odd, human-robot romance that I totally want to see going on. That's unacceptable. The only reason I'm watching is to see if that happens, and if they don't keep this metaphorical carrot in front of me, they're going to lose me pretty fast. They're excuse is that River pissed John off in the previous episode and so he's not really happy with her. But, that doesn't excuse her for not doing anything to try to win him back, especially considering that all she really has to do is bat her eyes or giggle in his general vicinity and he'll be back on her side...or, at least I would.

In fact, I actually have more complaints. Considering that River is the only reason I'm watching, she's not getting to do very much either (if you've noticed the pattern, no one is doing much). Which makes me sad. Also, she hasn't been randomly naked since the first episode. Once again, this is the type of thing that can be remedied quite easily, but the show doesn't seem to understand it's strengths. Also, she's a lot more fun when she's trying to hang out with John in high school than when she's kicking ass and taking names. Admittedly, that's pretty much all that can happen in high school for the show (River being hot, not the ass-kicking), so I would probably complain that nothing was happening if they spent too much time in high school (oh wait, nothing is happening, and I'd rather have nothing happening while River is trying to act like a really hot high school girl than nothing is happening while River is trying to act like an ass-kicking machine).

Story-wise, there is actually one thing I find interesting. Sarah and River's relationship is a major part of the story, for reasons I don't totally understand (but the fact that I think it's interesting could be a fair argument for why), but it adds some interesting dynamics. First, I have to say that I like it when they get to connect. For example, when John accidentally gets himself into trouble and Sarah's all pissed and doing nothing but shouting and making angry noises, she yells at River saying that River could not possibly understand how it would feel to lose John. River's response is that if John dies, her life loses all purpose and she would be as nothing. Sarah turns away and pretends she didn't hear her. But at least she shuts up, and maybe she gets a little appreciation for this terminator, which is complex enough to conceptualize what it would be like to fail.

Their relationship is interesting, though, because of the way they can't help but seem to be competing for John. Sarah believes that she needs to protect him from the dangerous world outside by keeping him away from it. Her response in nearly any situation is to get John out of there, then maybe go back and try to do something. Her hope is to prevent John from ever having to become the savior. And, in doing so, she is also trying to stop him from developing into that person as well. When the show starts, that's pretty much how things are going.

River, on the other hand, is from the future and only knows John as he was when he was the savior of mankind and shit (and, I think she was as enamored with future John as a Terminator can be, either through programming on John's part or otherwise, I'm not sure). To her, protecting John merely means keeping him alive, but she still wants him to develop into the savior (it's important to keep in mind that she does put keeping John alive well above his development, as far as priorities go). She believes that he has to develop into the hero he will become for two reasons. The first reason is because that hero clearly can keep himself alive, which would be useful. But, she also wants him to develop into the guy that she's in love with. She wants him to become future John, savior of mankind. Even if in this timeline that means stopping the terminators from ever being created, she wants it to be John who does it and becomes a hero for it. So that she can have future John.

Remember, she's made it clear that only future John can give her orders, but someday, she hopes, John will be able to give her orders (okay, that last part was just theory). Of course, I'm a little curious how her programming distinguishes between future John and present John, but we'll just assume it's a mixture of age, personality, and whether or not she's sleeping with him (oh wait, terminator's don't sleep...that's kind of hot).

In any case, it's almost certainly worthwhile to watch out for any instances when she immediately obeys John. Of course, we then have to immediately wonder if she let John try to infiltrate the bad guy's truck on purpose or not. She did a good job of distracting Sarah while John snuck away, but was she merely distracted, or was it an act? Or is she just not really able to detect lies without lightly touching the back of John's neck? We'll never know, but it's good to keep in mind, anyways.

I guess I kind of think of Sarah and River relationship as a kind of weird mother-in-law/daughter-in-law kind of thing. Sarah wants him to stay as her little boy, but River wants him to grow into the man she sees in him. Both their lives are dedicated to him, but can he be dedicated to both of them? Well, that's up to Sarah.

In any case, this is a competition that Sarah is doomed to lose. John is pretty much destined to become the hero of mankind. It's happened in every timeline, so she should really just stop fighting it. And, even after four episodes, we're already seeing John developing into that hero. We've gotten to see him make quick decisions to fight the fight and he's shown the empathy to care for the people around him. We can tell he's on the road to becoming a leader. For that matter, he can tell he's on that road (and it makes him both excited and scared, understandably).

And, someday, Sarah is going to realize that and help in his development, instead of trying to prevent it.

And I'm looking forward to that day (primarily to see if River starts taking orders from him...).

Okay, fine, I'm enjoying the show. I just hope it's going where I'm thinking it's going, because if it's not, I'm going to be disappointed (or, possibly, pleasantly surprised).

By the way, did I mention that River is really hot?

That is all.


No comments: