I have been fidgeting in my seat at work all day, waiting to get home and watch this, and it did not disappoint. In fact, the season premiere immediately reminded me two of the reasons why I loved the first season so much: it did not take the path I expected, and it was completely action-packed.
I had expected Cameron to be more damaged by the bomb blast. However, I was delighted that she was immediately back on her feet, because she makes the show for me. And until John pulled his emo!kid rebellion, I was really getting into the idea of having her as this season's villain. Having said that, I think the show stayed really well grounded and believable in having the plot unfold the way it did. In different hands, this plot would have been dragged out over at least a couple of episodes, but realistically there was no escape for John and Sarah in the state they were in.
I may be in a minority, but I initially believed Sarah killed Sarkissian. I think it's just wishful thinking though! I sort of would prefer it if she had, as I had a few issues late in the first season with the implication that Sarah wasn't quite as tough as she seems/makes out, and this would have been a good way to offset that impression. Also, when she was getting kicked around, I really wanted her to be the one to fight back, not John. I think it would have caused interesting tension between her and John. Having said that, his silence and withdrawal also make sense if he killed Sarkissian himself--and of course regardless the angst was piled on massively by what happened subsequently with Cameron.
I love Cameron but I really did think her 'dying' words were a trick. And the 'I love you' did seem like manipulation, clear and simple--and I believe it was, even if she was fixed. I think intelligent Cameron appealed to John based on human behaviour patterns in the best way she could think up. And I think he knows that. John's angst this episode arose from a tension between logic and emotion--logically he knows what he must do and he knows why, emotionally and instinctively he rebels against it.
While I don't ship John/Cameron, I fell a little bit in love with him for being so determined to give her a shot at life. It was UNBELIEVABLY STUPID and on Sarah's behalf I was screaming at him not to do it, but I also found it courageous and beautiful. He's such a kid, and yet also a budding hero. The conviction combination of both aspects in the one person is an impressive thing for this show to pull off. And I continue to like the fact that on this show, the male lead is emotional and intuitive and the female lead is colder, hard-edged and logical. Yes, still a sucker for gender reversal. ;)
So John's intuition paid off. Cameron is fixed. Somehow. I can live with that, though it's a bit handwave-y. It was cool to see her override the termination programming and makes me even more intrigued about what makes her different from other terminators. I loved that she told Sarah never to let John do that if she went bad again.
Poor Sarah! That was one hell of a bad day. I know it was John's birthday and I should feel sorry for him most of all, but actually it was Sarah I ached for at the end. Her speech through the door to him was really moving and what struck me is that she spoke to him adult-to-adult, not parent-to-child. She's honest about her limitations and she tries to signal to him that they need to accept what's happened has happened. John was so defiant, angry at his mother for wanting to torch Cameron, but I do believe that he understands why she did so at some level. He may be acting out the rebellious teen at the moment, but he loves Sarah really, just as she loves him. Right now it's just very hard to deal with the reality of where their roles have forced them--for both of them.
I am indifferent to Shirley Mansun's character so far. She wasn't awful but she didn't blow me away, and that speech about people crossing the road was a bit too cliched super-villain for this show, I thought. I'd quite like to be able to stake people through the head at work when they pissed me off though. *jealous*
I continue to dislike Reese and like Charlie.
Cool new credits!