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13 November 2008 @ 07:55 pm
Sarah Connnor Chronicles 2.08 Mr Ferguson Is Ill Today  
The episode title harking back to the Pilot is quite fitting for an episode in which several characters that haven't crossed paths for a while, connect. I was particularly delighted in Ellison doing so. I feel like we've waited so long for this. And while is 'Sarah Connor, come with me' was melodramatic, it w

The split-up narrative allowed for some interesting observations to be made about the different character perspectives.

Sarah
Sarah is 'right'. She is always right. Riley is endangered just by being near John and by the end of the episode the bullets that Sarah predicts have indeed flown near her.

Sarah does not believe she is getting through to John--and she's right: things are worse than she knows, with John running away with Riley behind her back. While neither Sarah nor Cameron noticed John's absence, Sarah was quicker to question it than Cameron.

Sarah did NOT get what she wanted. John did not stop seeing Riley, he escalated the relationship and the danger. In Mexico, once again, Sarah advises Riley to leave. Her first attempt is polite and almost warm towards Riley, giving practical advice about how to get out. Once that fails, once Riley digs her heels in, a switch flicks back and she talks about her in the third person to John ('get her out of here'). She gives Riley an unimpressed look. Sarah forgets that one form of human 'stupidity' is loyalty and selflessness, something she distrusts in Ellison as well.

Cameron
The most remarkable thing about Cameron's 'story' was the flickers of emotion we saw from her. There was a hint of a smile when she watched Riley leave, which would seem to belie her statement later that she can't be happy.

Cameron is deliberate in her approach with John--she removes her jacket and curls onto the bed beside him. John notices what she is doing.

Cameron believes John has listened. She repeats his own words and cites as evidence the fact that he is 'not stupid' (even though she herself made the point that he does do stupid things. She bases her knowledge of John on future!John. It seems like she has learnt to listen to John in order to understand what's going on with him: she says she knows it is lonely being John Connor. And when John says he 'knows' about Riley, she takes that as an indication that they are on the same page. What she does not see is the lie. If John does have a 'tell', she does not spot it here.

Cromartie later asks Sarah if Cameron has damage to her chip. She does. And yes, she makes mistakes. But does that also make her more human? And if so, would they take away her touches of humanity to make her a better protector of John?

Cameron's exchange with Derek made me realise how similar they are--their military thinking is mirrored but so is the dry bitchiness with which they greet each other. Derek is annoyed at Cameron depleting the store, Cameron counters by saying Derek's been hard to find. Behind that dig is genuine curiosity--she spies on his phone call. At this stage of the episode I thought Cameron might stumble on to Jessie, but I guess that's still to come.

I also really liked Derek seeing Cameron be almost emotional in Mexico, saying she can't let anything happen to John. Derek is the more practical soldier here, pointing out that they're no good to him dead. (It is, admittedly, harder to kill Cameron though!)

John
John's replay of the scene with Cameron was more intimate than Cameron's version. He is hyper-aware of her presence and at first I wondered if they were hinting at attraction, but we soon see that he was waiting for her to leave so he could skip town with Riley.

It's totally the wrong thing to do, but I kind of liked John for doing it. It was spontaneous and rebellious but it also isn't what you'd expect a teenager to do to piss off their parents. He revisits somewhere that meant a lot to him and his conflicted feelings about the past come to the surface there whether he wants them to or not. I also liked the way they played the romantic undertones between him and Riley. Both of them are cautious about getting involved and they're flirting round the edges of each other. It was convincingly teenage and awkward.

Things turned dangerous very quickly in Mexico and this whole episode works as a lesson in rashness for John if he chooses to heed it. But the truth is that deep down he always knew it was a bad idea to revisit the town, he just chose to wish otherwise for a while.

Riley
Riley does not get her own 'story' because she does not advance the narrative. But her character journey in this episode is interesting. She may come across as brash and confident but we see that she's also awkward in moments of greater emotional intimacy with John. She sends mixed signals about wanting this--she tells him they should be getting to know each other but says 'people are crap'. Her foster family background may be influencing her here. I liked that character touch because it gives her and John some common ground. Riley too has had to be someone new in a new family, though John's version of that is so much more extreme.

I also liked hearing about Riley spotting John's jumpiness. Again, I can buy that she would be drawn to someone in whom she saw expressed emotions she has probably felt herself at times (but for different reasons). As dislocated, 'homeless' individuals who distrust others and hide it, Riley and John have something in common. They also have similar coping mechanisms. Riley accuses John of deflecting unwanted questions with humour--she defuses an awkward situation by doing something goopy (jumping in the spa with her clothes on). Not to mention Riley's courage but sometimes misguided rashness. ;)

We didn't get much of a chance to see Riley's emotional response beyond her initial shock. She got points from me for not wanting to leave John, but once again Sarah was right--she had to go.

Ellison
Finally we get to see Sarah and Ellison interact again! I liked their exchanges though Sarah was so tightly wound in them (until her final release of rage) that they felt very staccato. She is suspicious of Ellison, thinking he wouldn't have let John go, and she's unwilling to believe that he's simply grateful for his life because she also knows how much he's lost, even if she's quick to point out that other people have lost more.

Ellison looks for more than what he sees/experiences here: 'Then what?' Sarah offers him nothing. She has her role and it excludes all other investments, however fleeting. She wants no connections, no obligations/liabilities for any of them. But Ellison is still trying to make sense of his role. Unfortunately I fear that means we'll see more of Weaver.

Cromartie
Wow, EPIC ending! Visually so spectacular!

The ending I liked best though was John hugging Sarah and Sarah letting go briefly. At the end of it all, it really comes back to these two, and while Sarah is the cold, hard reality-speaker for most of the episode, for most of their lives, for one moment she's able to let go and admit just how awful it feels, how full of rage at how 'stuck' they are in these roles. It is John, who usually rails against his role, denying it, who comforts her. He hugs her protectively but also looks up, watchful, knowing that it will all happen again. Sarah and John express two sides of the one situation. In reality they both hold both 'stances' within them.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
 
 
 
Nora Norwich: Jess etherealnorwich36 on November 13th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
Great review! I am still kind of processing the episode, but I definitely loved it.

Things turned dangerous very quickly in Mexico and this whole episode works as a lesson in rashness for John if he chooses to heed it. But the truth is that deep down he always knew it was a bad idea to revisit the town, he just chose to wish otherwise for a while.

Yes, I really agree. He *knows* he's making bad decisions--how could he not? he's been trained by his mom his whole life--but rather like Jesse, he needs to get away from his life. He can't escape it, but that doesn't stop him from wanting it--and I kind of wanted it for him, in this episode.

At the end of it all, it really comes back to these two, and while Sarah is the cold, hard reality-speaker for most of the episode, for most of their lives, for one moment she's able to let go and admit just how awful it feels, how full of rage at how 'stuck' they are in these roles. It is John, who usually rails against his role, denying it, who comforts her. He hugs her protectively but also looks up, watchful, knowing that it will all happen again. Sarah and John express two sides of the one situation. In reality they both hold both 'stances' within them.

Oh, yes. I think that's what I loved most about this episode. They're so alike (unsurprisingly), and this scene was so perfect for me on so many levels.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TSCC Cameronbop_radar on November 13th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
He can't escape it, but that doesn't stop him from wanting it--and I kind of wanted it for him, in this episode.
Same! If his escaping had lasted longer it would have been annoying but as it is I felt heartbroken for him that the reality came crashing back in so dramatically and violently and swiftly.

so alike (unsurprisingly), and this scene was so perfect for me on so many levels.
It was great. I was really impressed by Thomas Dekker in this episode. And I've just learned that we share a birthday and he is exactly 10 years younger than me. Both freaky and cool, ne? (I feel like I should have an icon of him now!)
mahaliem: T:SCCmahaliem on November 13th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
Great review! I missed the first 15 minutes or so of the episode so spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out what was going.

I loved Cromartie's ending. Even though Cromartie didn't kill Ellison before, it must have taken guts for Ellison to lure him into the church and kneel with his back turned toward him - if not guts, then faith, and I thought Ellison had lost his faith.

And god! Sarah losing it there for a second. It was a very powerful scene.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TSCC Sarahbop_radar on November 13th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, good lord! Yes, that woudl be confusing!

Ellison was so very brave. I pretty much couldn't believe that he would turn his back like that even though it was obviously a set-up. I think it needed a kind of faith, even if it wasn't a conventional Church kind. But I think the qualities that made him a believer once served him well in that scene--his ability to put his life in the hands of someone else but to simultaneously act fearlessly and with honour.

Sarah losing it was so powerful, yes, and also kind of scary because she never does.
random_seriousrandom_serious on November 13th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
I hink TSCC has been getting better lately, although I still think more Derek would be a good thing: I would especially like to know how h sees the differences between future!John and now!John, and how they affect him. Derek still acts the soldier, and I would like to see him participating in making John future!John.

And Cameron. She is turning out to be sooo interesting, whether because of flickers of emotion, or, as I rather see the changes in her, her learning to manipulate the situation. And also, I would like to see more interactions between her and Derek.

Sarah. The biggest peeve with this show is that they make Srah seem, IMO, a lightweight. A character so hardcore that if she wouldn't die of cancer/ old age, there would be no need for John, who is essentially her continuation. And yet, here, she makes rash decisions, seems incoherent and irrational.. I can dig her not being a superhero, and e.g. breakig down due to pressure, but I cannot accept a situatio, like what occured in this ep, where she would allow John to see her/ to take on her burden/ view her as something needing protection.

Jihn. I think it is fine that he does there teen things sometimes, but, IMO, he just comes off bratty and less than ready to be the big leader. That is exactly why I think this show needs more Derek.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TSCC Sarahbop_radar on November 13th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
I would especially like to know how h sees the differences between future!John and now!John, and how they affect him.
I would like to know more about that too, yes. I think Derek isn't allowed space with John because of Sarah, and I have mixed feelings about that. It is, after all, the Sarah Connor Chronicles so I kind of do feel Sarah should still be centre stage, and I'm not sure I want Derek to make John into future!John--or not exactly the same incarnation.

that they make Srah seem, IMO, a lightweight
Really? Do you really think so? I don't feel she's a lightweight at all. The reason I was so struck by her breakdown here is because it is so very rare--we just never see it--and it's kind of scary. Because we don't want to see our hero characters (and she is one to me) breaking down under the pressure. But it's a one-off--and in this case serves the purpose of showing that John is able to step in when she does so, which is kind of the point of her parenting. It totally worked for me.

And while I've come round to Derek and I really like his plot with Jessie and hope it advances, I am really thrilled that this show has not allowed his presence to dominate. For me, the strength of the show lies in the female characters and since it is so rare to see a show allow that to continue, I was worried that Derek would take over and become the 'hero'. Instead it's very clear that Sarah is the leader and imho, rightly so. I would be happy to see exploration of Derek and more use of him as long as that remains the case. But I think when you have an alpha male like Derek around, you do have to be careful that the audience's attention doesn't naturally drift there because it's more conventional. TSCC is delighting me by not falling into that trap.

random_seriousrandom_serious on November 14th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
While I would love to see more Derek (what can I say, I would like to know more about the future and future!John), I am totally with you in appreciating how women/ females (Cameron is now excatly a woman, you know..), and I agree that Sarah should be the central figure. But that is somehow exactly why I dislike John being at the forefront so much (if the action does not include Derek): Sarah being the central figure should somehow, IMO, be explored without John sucking up all the space. I know, John is the messiah, and all, and that Sarah's task is teaching him/ keeping him safe, but I really feel that Sarah can be explored without giving John so much weight and airtime.

As for Sarah being a lightweight... What can I say, Linda Hamilton is still my Sarah Connor, and that was a very different character from LH!Sarah. Sarah is not a lightweight compared to others, but compared to LH!Sarah.

And also, I could be way off the mark here, but Derek, to me, does not scream alpha male, rather someone who was thrust into position of authority/ responsibility, and grew to handle it. More of a beta dog, really. That's also a thing I would like to see explored more: The dynamic between Sarah and Derek, in terms of what needs to happen for John to be ready.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Boppybop_radar on November 15th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Oh, I can kind of see what you mean about John being in the forefront and it is a hard line to tread. On the one hand the whole point of Sarah's life and awesomeness is John, but that can easily throw the focus onto John. Especially this season with him being more rebellious and decisive.

I was never completely attached to Linda Hamley's Sarah Connor though I respect that it's an iconic role. So I don't feel that lack personally but I understand a lot of people must.

With Derek, what I've found is that everyone who really likes him sees him as a beta dog (that's pretty much exactly how queenofthorns described him too), whereas I didn't, at least not at first. I didn't like how judgemental he was of Sarah in season 1 and it took me ages to warm to him. I am now a lot more interested in him and I've perhaps grasped his character more accurately now. But when he first came on the show it felt to me like 'oh, the big hero's here now to save things'. So that's where my resistance with Derek comes in, but it has eased off a LOT and I think there'e a lot more they could do with him. I'm hoping Jessie will bring that out.
aychebaycheb on November 13th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
The ending I liked best though was John hugging Sarah and Sarah letting go briefly.
Yes and for exactly the reasons you said.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TSCC Sarahbop_radar on November 13th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Ambassador Dummy Dummy Dumb Dums: TEXT. what in the gosh darn heck?!?!crickets on November 14th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
I love reading your reviews. I always feel like I don't have much to add by I'm done reading them, they're so thorough. Hehe.

However I am dying to know the end of this sentence:
And while is 'Sarah Connor, come with me' was melodramatic, it w... it what? it what? LOL.

I agree. EPIC. I've watched it twice now and have the urge to watch again. Just so good!

Completely random sidenote: I wonder if anyone is ever gong to explain to Riley what she just experienced? I mean imagine she never sees John or any of them again. Mom's in the trunk, there's a random FBI agent and another random guy shooting everyone. All for a camera. Hehe. She must be so confused right now.

K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TSCC Cameronbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
it what? it what? LOL.
HAHAHA, I totally forgot about that! I got interrupted by the phone while writing and when I came back I couldn't remember what I was saying. But I thought I had deleted that sentence. Doh!

She must be so confused right now.
she really must! when the shock wears off she is going to be even more confused because it really makes no sense when you try and piece it together. I would say I hope they do explain to her except that the burden of knowledge is so dark!
Ambassador Dummy Dummy Dumb Dums: TSCC. come with me if you want to live.crickets on November 15th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
I guess I will never know hah. I'm in the dark, just like Riley.