Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles The Complete Second Season

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles The Complete Second Season
Sarah Connor has been terminated. The second season of momma Connor's Chronicles turned out to be the last. Picking up directly after season one's cliffhanger ending, Summer Glau's heavily damaged protector Terminator, Cameron, malfunctions, flipping back to "kill" mode. Unable to bring himself to destroy Cameron, John Connor insists on taking the risk of fixing her, thus spring-boarding the intensifying of their relationship and the implications man and machine love will have on the future. This exploration of feeling between A.I. and humans is absolutely central to the season's plot, forming by far the most fascinating emotional thread of the series. Shirley Manson, of late '90s alt-rock champs Garbage, makes her acting debut as Catherine Weaver, the icy cool head of a shadowy corporation developing a massively powerful A.I. Weaver's relationship with daughter Savanna, and Savanna's relationship with infant A.I. John Henry, sets up a lot of interesting questions about the effects of nature and nurture, the value of mutual respect in understanding morality and what creates barriers between types of intelligences. There are sloppy time travel subplots about subversive human defectors from the future and far too many digressions centred upon Sarah Connor's guilt and conflicted impulses as a justifiably overprotective mother. Brian Austin Green is quite the underused badass once again as Derek Reese, and even the wonderful Dean Winters is left floundering for any purpose beyond human sacrifice in a string of rudderless guest spots. The problem is, the relationships between humans isn't what make Terminator interesting. Garret Dillahunt steals every scene he's in as the avatar for emerging A.I. John Henry. Where his story and John Connor's merge at the end of the series is where the plot finally finds a purpose it'll never get to explore. Had series creator Josh Friedman realized terminating the show's namesake and pseudo-star could have taken care of the plot's weakest link, Terminator may have survived to fight the future for another year. It's frustrating that such a rich mythology is mired by a stubborn insistence on uncoiling from the viewpoint of Lena Hedley's rigid, winy Sarah Connor. Bubbly Thomas Dekker (much improved as John Connor) geeks his way through four commentary tracks, along with Summer Glau, showrunner Friedman and a couple of executive producers. He provides the meat of these surprisingly open discussions, though he's easily upstaged by a well-placed one-liner from Glau and the devious mirth of Shirley Manson's singular commentary appearance. A collection of "Terminated Scenes" are scattered across the discs, along with a storyboard comparison, a fight rehearsal video and a gag reel, which Garret Dillahunt also steals. Maybe the machines are on to something. (Warner)