Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008 - 2009)

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I'm sure everyone heard of the Terminator movies, where Skynet, a computer from the future, attempts to exterminate all human life. A human resistance lead by John Connor fights back. In the first movie Skynet sends a cyborg to the past to kill John Connor's mother Sarah, before he is conceived. The resistance sends Kyle Reese, a resistance soldier to protect her.

In the second movie Skynet sends another Terminator to the past to kill a young John Connor, while future John sends a reprogrammed Terminator identical to the one in the first movie to protect young him. This TV series tells what happened after the events of the second movie. John and Sarah Connor with the help of another reprogrammed Terminator, Cameron Phillips, try to stay under the radar, as they attempt to destroy Skynet before it is created.

Final Verdict   ★★★★☆
It took me a bit to get used to the Terminator being played by a former ballerina, and not by former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Summer Glau won me over as Cameron. John Connor was childish and hard headed at first, but matured as the series went on, it was all part of the story arc...

I hated the way Sarah Connor was written, so different from the one in the movies! If she likes somebody he'll die or have his life ruined... if she trusts someone he'll try to kill her, if she doesn't like someone he turns out to be a good guy. She gets everything wrong!

The series story arc was very strong, and few episodes felt episodic. It expands on the Terminator universe considerably, and introduces elements such as human traitors siding with the machines, Skynet sending many terminators to the past on missions that will help Skynet's war on humans, and an early Skynet employing human mercenaries to do it's work. I found the episodes where Cromartie, another Terminator, repairs himself and regrows his flesh to be very interesting.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles started out with a sizeable audience, but viewer numbers declined steadily and it was cancelled after Season 2. The final episode is full of twists, and reveals lots of interesting information which made me very curious and disappointed there was no third season.

Is it worth watching since the story is ended abruptly? I'd say yes, although you might need some explanations to understand the final episode (see below).


De-Mystifying Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2 Finale

Below I'll attempt to explain the Season 2 finale, and what might have happened if there was a Season 3. Keep in mind in this TV series there is a strong time travel element which may make some parts hard to follow.

☠ Spoiler Alert »
Derek Reese - He's shot dead in the present, but reappears in the future. Present Derek came from the future, but the future Derek we see is from a time before he travelled to the past.

Leadership revolt - Some members of the human resistance dislike John Connor because he spends less time with humans, and more time with machines. He also seems to trust machines more than humans, and uses machines to relay his orders to humans. It's implied there might be a revolt against John Connor's leadership in Season 3.

John and Cameron's relationship - They love each other, but in several occasions Cameron tells John she's a danger to him, and she might kill him one day. There are two possibilities: Cameron might have killed John by accident in the future she came from. She then started acting in John's place to finish what he started, and she might have travelled to the past to prevent herself from killing him.

The other possibility might be that members of the resistance revolted and killed John because of his close relationship with Cameron. She might feel responsible for that, and travelled through time to save him.

Summer Glau as Cameron Phillips
Summer Glau as Cameron Phillips

Catherine Weaver - she and the T-1001 on the submarine in the future are one and the same. On the sub she says her answer to John's question is 'No'. The question was 'Will you join us?' It's implied she's involved with a second faction of machines which are fighting against Skynet, but aren't siding with the humans.

John Henry and Cameron - John Henry is the the second machine faction's counterpart to Skynet. When Catherine Weaver's office block is attacked Cameron is damaged and John Henry is not mobile. He asks Cameron 'Will you join me?' and she answers yes. He takes Cameron's chip out of her body and into the Cromartie body, then moves himself out of The Turk onto Cameron's chip / Cromartie's body. It's not clarified if John Henry overwrote Cameron, or if they co-exist on the same chip.

Cameron and Allison Young - Cameron's chipless damaged body is in the present, and the girl seen in the future is Allison, the human Cameron's looks are based on.

Young John Connor in the future - When John travels to the future to look for Cameron / John Henry he meets Kyle and Derek Reese. They have no idea who he is, and he finds out he didn't become the resistance's leader in the future. This is because he time jumped Judgement Day and didn't rise to be the leader. It's in the future that he is trained to become The John Connor, and half way through Season 3 he was supposed to travel back to the present so he can live through Judgement Day and rise to be leader.
« Spoiler Alert ☠

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