I’d like to thank Josh Lasser for entrusting me with this week’s recap of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. In order to become the best Terminator recapper he could, he decided to make like John Connor and go undercover at a military school for a few weeks. So you’re stuck with me, just for one week. Tonight’s episode asked a very important question: can one experience post-traumatic stress disorder from an event that technically hasn’t happened yet? That’s what Derek Reese worked through as he and John sought to protect a valuable asset from the future.

If you noticed the logo of the Presidio Alto, you noticed a rook. This is symbolic is two ways. On one hand, it harkens back to The Turk, the chess-loving computer that may or may not evolve into Skynet. But on another level, it’s an apt description of Martin Bedell: not quite the most important piece in the future war, but a valuable one all the same, ranking just below the king and queen of the future rebellion.

Ironically, Derek protects the present-day Martin from the T-888 so that he might die saving John Connor in the future. Once again, the relentless hand of fate tugs John towards the future. In shows like Heroes, the future is like Play-Doh: infinitely malleable. In the Terminator universe, nearly everything bends towards one pre-determined point in time. There might be different roads down which John can travel, but the final destination is always the same. He is assuming the mantle of leadership (note how he helped a fellow cadet unlock his gun), but does so reluctantly, almost viewing himself as a scourge, not a savior.

Not that we haven’t seen this weight upon him before, but for whatever reason, it seemed to resonate most clearly with John in this episode. Derek didn’t exactly cheer him up by saying, "He died for you, John. We all die for you." Derek has mad military skillz, but let’s just say he doesn’t have much of a future in the way of motivational speaking. That being said, Brian Austin Green just KILLS as Derek, with his impassioned speech to a bloodthirsty cadet as one of the highlights of this week. The understated way in which he and John interact is a constant highlight.

While the boys went all camo, the ladies went all Adventures in Babysitting, with the World’s Most Understanding Kidnapee in tow. At first, Sarah and Cameron unwittingly play Good Babysitter/More than Slightly Terrifying Babysitter, but eventually we realize that Sarah’s lost that maternal touch. We also learn this week that The Wizard of Oz works excellently well as narration for a nighttime attack upon a T-888. Who knew? Tune in next time as Cameron fights Catherine Weaver while Derek intones Where the Wild Things Are.

Indeed, the show seems to have intentionally sidelined Sarah over the past two episodes to showcase/highlight her "softer" side. Personally, I see WHY they are doing this, although I’m not sure it’s exactly necessary. Sarah can be both "warrior" AND "woman" simultaneously, but it’s as if the show either doesn’t understand how to do this or thinks the audience is too dumb to see it. In either case, I’m ready for Sarah to once again be on the forefront of the action. (They could have at least stuck her in one of those Dodge Ram ads, right?)

On the Ellison/Weaver front, we learned a potential date for Judgment Day: August 2009. That’s the day that the nuclear facility seen in this season’s second episode is due to be fully automated. One assumes Weaver sees this facility as the base of operations for the apocalypse. She’s so determined to keep Doomsday on schedule that she engages in the deadliest French kissing ever in order to silence would-be whistle blower Nelson. Thanks to Ellison, she also learns of the existence of another Terminator in her midst, so Cameron best watch her back in the coming months.

A few scattered thoughts about tonight’s ep:

  1. Thank God Dodge Ram sponsored this hour of television. If it had been a Mazda, I’m sure John Connor would have had to say, "Zoom, zoom, zoom," at some point.
  2. Did anyone NOT see the tar pit death coming from the moment they identified the substance? I’m about the worst plot guesser ever, and even I said, "And THAT is where the T-888 is gonna bite it."
  3. Thank God Martin Bedell was a cross-country runner and not a pole vaulter. That would have turned the future into a post-apocalyptic version of Cirque du Soleil.
  4. Loved the return of the Basement of Bloody Writing. It’s not quite the blast door map from Lost, but it’ll do just fine.

Thanks to the baseball playoffs, we’re going to have to endure a short break in the action before seeing if John can be a better leader, Sarah a better mother, and Weaver a better kisser. Will you come back after the mini-respite? I know I will.

Is John turning into a leader or merely a disgruntled teenager? Are you OK with Sarah’s current storylines, or itching for her to get back into a fray? And how many people want to see a Derek Reese Chronicles spinoff? Leave your thoughts on tonight’s ep below!

Posted by:Ryan McGee