I loved the premiere but it kind of pushed things pretty far in terms of believability (particularly with the Shirley Mansun character, who makes less and less sense the more I think about her) and in terms of the shippiness between Cameron and John. This week was a reassuring return to realism for me.
Is Cameron pissed off with John for resurrecting her? That's awesome! John's new haircut gets my tick of approval, but I entered familiar ambivalence regarding his adolescent angst. On the one hand, I kind of want to slap him and tell him to pull it together and focus on the real issues. On the other hand, I find it believable and way less irritating than it could be. It helped that I really liked Riley. She felt like a very real teenager, and her scenes with John were very strong.
Cameron is completely awesome and I loved her in this episode: touching the pregnant belly to connect with the mysteries of human life or playing pool shark in the bar... it was all great. Of course she rocks most of all as an action hero. I could watch her kick butt and blast the frak out of people all day. *happy sigh*
It was Sarah who really carried this episode though. Finding out she died (or was going to die) of cancer was one of the most powerful parts of season 1, and revisiting that idea in this way was really creepy. I was left pretty anxious: will the power plant have given her cancer? It didn't feel like there were a lot of 'wins' out of this ep for our little band of heroes.
Is Charlie really leaving? :(( *wobbly lower lip* I hope not. I like him.
Lots of great Cameron-Sarah moments in this. Yay! I'm really glad they showed Sarah's residual anxiety arising from Cameron having malfunctioned. Cameron is so hard to read and in many ways Reese is right: she is all wiring, and she could just 'go wrong'. That's been proven. Sarah's fears are two-fold though, because she also wonders if she herself is a 'ticking time bomb'. I liked that Cameron drew the parallel between them, even though it doesn't hold up to close analysis. Cameron 'going off' would result in the deaths of others, Sarah 'going off' would result only in her own death. Or would it? On the other hand, neither of them predict the future, but the evidence on the table is stacked against either of them managing to play protector(ess) or hero much longer.
I loved that both Sarah and Cameron had their lines down pat: 'car accident!' I also liked that their information gathering was on par. Sarah's manipulation of Greenway was pitch-perfect. Cameron was more direct and obvious but she too gathered useful evidence (I loved her 'I hacked into the computer system and read his notes' moment--for all that Reese and Sarah tried to ignore it, that was very useful recon). The fact that they make such a great team reflects well on both of them. It says a lot about Sarah that she can match Cameron's machine-like focus, and it says a lot about Cameron that she's managing to have come-backs for Sarah's most human appeals.
Aaaaand .... that's about as much as you'll get from me in the way of thoughts this week, I'm afraid. Work's been driving me mad and I need to leave emotional/squee space for the Smallville premiere tomorrow night. ;)