TTSCC – Comments on Josh Friedman’s Post-0215 Comments

With just seven episodes left in the second season of Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles, creator Josh Friedman published a post on the official blog: josh friedman: (almost) spoiler alert. It’s an instructive read from the head of the creative team about what it’s like from where he sits, and teases about what’s to come.

I found one of the comments about story direction interesting:

Is it difficult starting up with dark, psychological episodes after being gone for two months? Seems that’s the case. People are worked up about the Friday night thing and the ratings and I probably underestimated that microscope in my desire to explore Sarah and her demons. To be completely honest, the network warned me not to do it but I felt (and still feel) these stories (and I consider the upcoming Some Must Sleep… as the third part of the Sarah triptych) were/are vital parts of the show.

It’s one of those things where if it works, despite the naysayers, then you are a genius. But, if you don’t hit it out of the park, especially when the network expresses misgivings (and I ttscc-termcam-260can’t tell you how much I hate ever agreeing with the suits), then it leads to questioning of a lot of creative choices. I still say the jury is out on this. As a writer, I can see what Josh wants to accomplish, but even I think it’s a bit plodding at times for a series of this sort.

But that’s not what I really want to comment on.

In his post, Josh gives us a number of teases that, since they are all but finished up for the season, he can be definite about. I’d like to take those one-by-one:

the resolution of the Riley story

I think it was a given that his needed resolution (and quick). Riley hasn’t exactly set the fan world on fire. With all do respect for Leven Rambin, I think she was mis-cast. It also didn’t help that the character was just plopped into the story. It just never left right, and the sooner it’s resolved, the better.

the resolution of the Jesse story

This is a story that just fell short. This one I think is a problem with storytelling. I’ve never been a big fan of the conceit of peeling away the onion to reveal more onion plot device. The riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma style of story reveals I’ve long felt are a symptom of egocentric writing. If the audience doesn’t connect with the idea that the writer knows where they are going, then the viewers just end up feeling used and start walking away.

The Jesse story has had the central problem of not revealing enough (or the correct) information at the right time. Suspense is not built. Hitchcock taught us that if the audience knows something that the characters do not, then that’s suspense and it can be sustained. Otherwise, you get this big reveal to everyone at the same time, but once it’s done, it’s done. You’ve wasted an opportunity. I think that has been the case with Jesse. If the audience knew her agenda, but the characters didn’t, then she’d be interesting. As it is, she’s just a plot device.

a future story about Jesse’s Terminator-piloted nuclear submarine explaining how Jesse got to be how she got to be and how it relates to John Connor’s present and future

Unless this is setting up future seasons for the audience, I’ll refer you to the previous comment and say that it might be too little too late.

the return of Cameron’s glitch in new and deadly ways

I’m not sure how I feel about this. You all know I loves me my Cameron cyborg. Cameron works as both a hero and a villain. The trick is that you have to make sure she still has depth…certainly more depth than terminator-Cameron did in “Samson and Delilah”. As for being deadly…if she goes all Skynet on Jesse’s ass, I wouldn’t mind.

much more Jameron (for those of you who like it)

As long as you have them “connect” and not get all googly-eyed at each other, I’m all for this.

not too much Jameron (for those of you who don’t)

But I’m a “do”. A little bit more? Pul-eeze?

an explanation of the three-dots

Honestly, I don’t care anymore.

But getting back to that. Consider how long it took (and the energy expended) for soon-to-die-future-guy to write all of that on the wall in his own blood. Think of all the info he could have conveyed had he just met up with anyone in the house and talked to them.

Catherine Weaver’s backstory/origin story

This is well-timed. We’ve filled in the blanks well enough to this point, but more is necessary for her to be more than a 2-d villain, I think. It might also help explain some things from T2 as well.

Savannah in mortal danger

I saw a bit of this in one of the behind-the-scenes that were posted on the blog during the hiatus. Looks interesting. It also make me wonder if the small amount of “bonding” time Catherine has devoted to Savannah will come into play in this situation.

the revelation of Catherine Weaver’s exact mission

Oh yeah. Finally. This would be wicked cool. I still say it would be really nifty if it’s either: a) Catherine is working for Cameron; b) Cameron is working for Skynet and Catherine is trying to thwart her (talk about turning a series on it head).

a fight between Catherine Weaver and another Terminator

Again, could be very cool. T-100x models are notoriously tough.

a faceoff between Sarah Connor and Catherine Weaver

It’s about time someone faced off with CW. Seriously, she’s running this cybernetics group in the middle of L.A. and the Connor Cadre haven’t focused on it yet? Seriously?

a deadly attack on the Connors by agents of Skynet

I think this one has always had be a given. My thinking is that this is where Riley and/or Jesse buys it. Regardless of any other agenda, they will still try to save John Connor.

the death of a loved one
the death of a loved one
the death of a loved one

I’m not naive enough to think that saying this three times doesn’t mean that three different characters aren’t going to die. It could easily be Riley, Jesse, and Savannah. After all, they are all loved by someone. Derek is also in the mix. I truly think that Sarah, John, and Cameron are the untouchables…and given how well she’s be integrated into the plot, I’d also add CW to that group of survivors.

And that’s the list Josh gave. It teases a lot without actually revealing anything. He also teases that there are also some “big” reveals that he’s not even going to hint at.

So…seven episodes. That list above covers quite a bit. The rest of the season should be one heck of a ride.

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