T:TSCC 0216 – Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep

A whirlwind of dreams and reality mix to reveal how difficult it must be to be Sarah Connor. She views the world in her own special way. Mostly, though, her world revolves around John. John and Cameron. But mostly John. John and Cameron and terminators. But mostly John.

Once we figure out this muddle of a story and figure out that the hospital scenes are dreams and the van is reality, the episode makes more sense. Ed Winston, the guard who Sarah killed in “Earthlings Welcome Here“, turns out to be not so dead after all. Why? I may ttscc0216-01-260have missed it…but I don’t know. He was probably wearing a vest being that he had been following Sarah through much of “Earthlings…” All info points to him being the mystery motorcycle shooter, and was pretty much just setting up Sarah at the warehouse.

From the dream sequences, we realize that Sarah views Cameron as a seducer of John—not much removed from when Cameron first (innocently) walked around in bra and panties in the first season—which was recreated here in Sarah’s mind. She also sees terminators and conspiracies around every corner. ‘course, it ain’t paranoia if they’re really out to get ya.

The big lesson that we learned: Sarah will, indeed, kill in order to protect John, as she whacked Winston rather unambiguously this time. (Head shots tend not to be ambiguous.)

I’m just annoyed that, with TTSCC struggling in the ratings, we get this triptych of Sarah’s demons episodes that could have been resolved in one. In all honestly, I found “Some Must Watch…” to be dull and plodding. With just nine episodes following a long hiatus, I don’t think it was the time for Josh Friedman to go all artiste and insist that this part of the tale had to be told. If the ratings were stronger, I’d say fine, but I think that the odds of TTSCC being renewed for a third season got a lot longer than they were.

This is the Sarah version of “Allison From Palmdale“.  But while “Allison” was accessible, “Some Must…” was— er, not as accessible. Where Cameron’s journey of the mind had obvious ramifications, Sarah’s little detour did little but reiterate that Sarah is a bad-ass.

Of the things that irked me in the episode I think the one that bugs the most is that it was designed to show how clever the creative team was (I don’t mean that in a good way). See, here’s the thing. Prior to the episode, Ed Winston was dead. After the episode, Ed Winston was dead. The plot didn’t advance. Worse, the story was intentionally made to have it appear for most of the episode that the hospital was the reality and the van was the dream. I wouldn’t have minded this conceit as much if it gained us something, but all it did was intentionally create a confusion. Had any of the Connor Cadre been actively involved in the van story, I’d have said bravo. Since none of it mattered in the end, I say it was a writing trick designed to hide the lack of a story; not just a thin story, but the void of one.

Quick note from the dream: Dana was obviously representative of a past Sarah (Pescadero?). Hector was more-or-less Reese.

Regular readers of these analysis know that I can go on about the most trivial of things. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for this episode. When it was done I just turned to the person I was watching it with and said, “Well, that’s an hour of my life I’m never getting back.”

And that’s the worst possible thing I could say about a show. It didn’t even make me angry. It didn’t even rate well enough to score a “Meh”. Sure, perhaps Some Must Watch, but as I viewed the episode (twice…I had to go through it again for the fancast), I dearly wanted to be with the Some Must Sleep crowd.

I make no secret that I think the majority of the audience decided early on that TTSCC should be the John and Cameron show. The savior of mankind and his protector. Clearly the other characters were there for support. Enter Catherine Weaver, and you have what has turned out to be a really intriguing villain. But lately what we have gotten is the Sarah-is-a-depressive show. It’s a disservice to the character. I don’t mind if Sarah is brought to the fore, but at least give us something interesting to watch.

The fact is, since the obsession of the wall and especially with the three dots, Sarah has become a character I’ve cared less and less about. She’s being portrayed not only as a whack-job, but a whack-job without enough sense to rob a 7-11 much less take down Skynet.

The one character we have to care about is John. We must care that he survives and learns enough to become the legend he’s destined to be. Right now, the only ally he has that also seems to have a brain is the Tin-Miss, but the creative crew have conveniently imbued her with a glitch that will likely soon plot-device its way into the story to rob John of anyone who can be depended upon.

Although I think this Sarah trilogy has lost enough viewers that renewal is unlikely, I still want the rest of the season to go off with a bang. Key to this will be Sarah being once again at John’s side, teaching him to be the leader he needs to be and not coddling him so that his exposure to necessary experience is minimal.

I should say that this episode did give me a marvelous “Hmmmmm” moment. When in Sarah’s dream both she and John were killed, it raised a lot of interesting possibilities for how the series would go on. Six episodes left, your two main characters are dead, what do the rest do? Would Derek and Cameron just give up, or would they fight the good fight?

I still have a nagging suspicion that there might be a super-twist still to come. Certainly a death. I’ve speculated before that it would be very ballsy if Catherine were the one actually acting in John’s interest while Cameron was working for Skynet. I don’t think that’s likely, but it would be an interesting twist on things. It’s more likely that Cameron might end up being the character that ends up dead. Josh clearly is vexed by Cameron’s popularity wanting to wrest the show away from the character he views as the lead. Offing her paves the way for a new protector, provided by future-John because he knows the timing of these things.

I don’t think either of those events will happen. I think we’ll be left in a 70s-style ambiguous state at the end of the season that no one will be truly satisfied with, especially if it turns out to be a series finale.

In any event, I’ve done a lot of what this episode did. I’ve blathered on about pretty much nothing at all until I filled up my space. From the preview of the John and Cameron scene that I saw, I had hopes that this episode would elevate beyond what I though would be a bit of a slog given the Sarah-in-hospital milieu. Sadly, it did not. I’ve taken a peek at some of the forums, and I know that many of you feel very differently about this episode. If that’s you, I’m happy you enjoyed it. I don’t really get why you enjoyed it, but I’m happy that you did.

And with that, I’m going to watch the preview for next week a few more times. That looks like something that could make me one happy cyborg. (Threatening Riley is always good for a giggle.)

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