Monday, July 30, 2012

Recap: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles S2E11 "Self Made Man"

WTF:  It's a flashback to the 1920s, New Year's Eve at some speakeasy.  The bar catches on fire and flappers run screaming into the night.  I repeat: WTF.

Now: Sarah makes John continue the search for companies with three dots in their logos because she is obsessed.  He reminds her that it is something she saw in a dream.  That night, Cameron goes out to the library after hours.  A guy in a wheelchair lets her in and she gives him doughnuts.  They appear to be acquainted with each other and he thinks she's a real girl.  As she looks at some old photographs, she recognizes a face as one belonging to a T-888.  It's a photo of the aftermath of that 1920s speakeasy fire and the guy is standing outside on the street, staring up at the sky.  Cameron is all, I need to know what happened to that guy.  Wheelchair Guy thinks this is weird but goes along with it because, damn, a hot chick in motorcycle boots is hanging out with him on the library nightshift.  They start going through microfiche and find a photo of the guy, "Myron Stark," on the red carpet with Rudolph Valentino and some old real estate developer, Rupert Chandler.  Cameron heads downstairs to search county records for more on Stark.

Back at the house, John gets a call from Riley.  She sounds upset and asks him to come pick her up from this house party.  When he finds her, she is no longer upset and wants to party.  John is a little annoyed at this.

Wheelchair Guy is pissed off that Cameron broke into the county records room.  He feels used and frets about getting fired.  It doesn't stop her from searching the old files but later she finds him and apologizes.  Curious, he asks if she found anything.  No, she didn't, which she is not happy about.  WG suggests that maybe Stark was an immigrant who wanted to stay off the books.  Cameron wants to see police records.  They find some old radio recordings about a bank robber who kept eluding the cops despite getting shot numerous times.  They delve deeper, into real estate records, learning that Stark bought a bunch of land and started a construction company.  He was in bitter competition with that Rupert Chandler

This storyline is needlessly detailed and a pain in the ass to recap, mostly because there's too much talking (about uninteresting things) and not enough action - which is really this show's strong suit.  If it has a strong suit.

At the house party, John gets roped into playing a first-person shooter video game.  It freaks him out a little since, you know, he often gets in actual gunfights.  When he and Riley try to leave, a guy accuses Riley of stealing his lighter.  The kid grabs and shoves at Riley and John beats the living crap out of him.  On the ride home, John wants to know why Riley called him.  She says that she wanted to see him.  "I shouldn't be around people," says John.  "People get hurt."  They start making out.  Whatever.

Cameron and WG watch a video clip of a modern news story detailing the discovery of a body of one of Chandler's associates who disappeared back in the 1920s.  Also, Chandler's son died in that speakeasy fire.  Cameron and WG think Stark may have set that fire.  They check out the film archives, finding an extremely convenient documentary about life in the 1920s in which a former flapper who survived the fire is interviewed.  This woman recalls seeing a flash of blue light and sparks, and lo a naked man appeared - although she may have been "zozzled" at the time.  Cameron surmises the fire was an accident, a by-product of Start teleporting into the world.  She also figures out that he ended up in the wrong time (she gets that because of the photo where he was looking at the sky, fixing his time and place in space from the location of the stars).  Also-also, she learns that Stark, after ruining Chandler, bought a piece of property formerly owned by the real estate developer, and built a skyscraper there.

Cameron goes to check out said skyscraper, due to open this coming New Year's Eve after having been retrofitted after the last earthquake.  She checks out the ballroom, noting that the governor is scheduled to give the keynote speech there, and then knocks out the back wall, pulling out a shut-down Stark who was hibernating there, waiting to bust out and murder the governor. OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF ALL THIS?  Stark is still wearing his 1920s suit and carrying a tommy-gun.  They have a Terminator fight and she disables him by crushing him with the elevator.  Then she digs out his chip.

There's some more stuff about how Cameron ruins her relationship with WG because she's a robot who doesn't understand humans and when she tells him that his cancer is back he gets mad because she's being a bad friend.  Whatever.  The next night she goes back to the library but he's gone.  Cameron gives the evening's doughnuts to the new nightshift clerk, who lets her in - and she's on her way to making a new "friend."

Pluses:  Lots of Cameron and no Sarah.  Minuses:  Didn't advance the plot AT ALL and there was no shirtless Derek.

Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T:TSCC

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recap: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles S2E10 "Strange Things Happen at the One-Two Point"

Ellison is woken up in the middle of the night by a digging noise coming from his backyard.  It's Cameron, probing with a piece of rebar, looking for Cromartie's body.  She tells him to go back to bed.

Sarah and Derek break into "Dakara Systems" (the logo of which is three dots in a triangle formation, which Sarah will start seeing everywhere and obsessing about over the course of this episode).  They pull all the hard drives out of the desktop computers.  Afterwards, John checks all the hard drives but there's not enough there to concern him - it's not the Turk, because that would need a dedicated server-farm to support it.  Sarah thinks they need to explore this further and when John expresses concern that she's pushing too hard, she snaps at him.  In the morning, John reports that Dakara is looking for start-up cash to built a server-farm.  They should probably investigate that and he's got Sarah's cover story all ready for her: a rich divorcee looking to put some money into a tech start-up.

Derek lets himself into Jess's hotel room and finds her poring over those surveillance photos of him and the Connors.  He demands an explanation.  She says that she was sent back to separate John from Cameron because in the future, John is beginning to make bad decisions, depending on Cameron too much.  "She's in control.  If he spend the next twenty years with her, how bad will it be then?"  Derek waves his gun around (not a euphemism) and says he needs to think about this.

Ellison reports to Weaver's office and sees a body bag being wheeled out: it's Dr. Sherman, who was "accidentally" cooked to death when he was working with the Babylon Project's A.I. during a recent black out - when the power went out, the A.I. redirected all emergency power towards maintaining its servers, allowing the ambient temperature elsewhere in the lab to rise to unsurvivable temperatures.

Sarah and Cameron dress up and have their interview with Father and Son Akagi, who own Dakara Systems.  The son, who's the computer genius, is a little odd.  The office is in some turmoil because of last night's break-in which has set them back in their software development for an A.I. for the Air Force.  Before the theft of the hard drives, Akagi Sr. says they would have needed $100,000 and a couple of weeks to finish the project; now, he needs ten times that and a miracle.  Back at the Connor house, Sarah tells Cameron to collect enough cash to get the Akagis their miracle.

Oh bite me - it's Riley time.  John stops by Riley's foster home and tells her that there's nothing he can say to her that would explain Mexico.  "You don't have to explain," she says, "You could just sit here with me." "Sorry," says John and leaves.  Later, Riley goes shopping and meets up with ... Jess!  "There are a lot of mirrors in this world," mumbles Riley, "I don't think I can do this anymore.  What if I want out?" "You can do this," says Jess, "You have to do this."  So either Riley is a human sent back from the future to get close to John, or she's a cyborg sent back from the future to get close to John.  Either way, Jess is her handler.

Sarah goes back to see Akagi.  He has found the miracle he needs:  the Japanese team who won the chess tournament (at which the Turk was stolen) has offered to lease out their supercomputer chip, which will get Dakara what it needs to meet its Air Force deadline.  It'll cost them $1 million to lease the chip, though.  Sarah looks both smug (because she thinks this has to be connected to the Turk) and nervous (because that's an effing lot of money).  Later, she and Cameron go through their stash of diamonds: it'll take all they have to put together that $1 million.

Ellison goes down to Weaver's lab and asks a tech about the A.I.'s relationship with Dr. Sherman.  The tech scoffs that the A.I. couldn't have know that it was killing him.  But that it would be creepy if it did.

Sarah and Cameron have a fancy dinner with the Akagis and the Japanese chip-lender guy, Mitimoto.  Cameron wins the table over by offering a toast in Japanese and listening to Akagi Jr. ramble on and on about computer stuff.  Finally Sarah has had enough and tells Mitimoto to hand over the chip.  She, Cameron and the Akagis go back to the office and check out the chip: it's no good, an older model refurbished to look like what they needed.  They've been duped - and the Connors have lost all their money.  A distraught Akagi promises to get Sarah's money back - except that Mitimoto is Yakuza, so that's a bit of a problem.

Back at her foster home, Riley starts to freak out at her foster parents and the other foster kids in the house: "It's all going to burn and you're going to be nothing but bleached skulls! You're all dead!"  Her foster mom tries to soothe her and Riley lashes out, pushing her away.

Ellison reports to Weaver that he thinks the A.I. might have intentionally killed Sherman.  She says he should just ask the A.I. itself, instead of talking to lab techs.  And, by the way, the A.I.'s name is "John Henry."  Ellison goes back down to the lab and starts asking John Henry questions.  The A.I. can communicate with images and also binary code, "1" for yes, "0" for no.  Ellison asks to see what happened to Sherman and the computer runs the security footage.  Ellison asks John Henry how it felt about killing the doctor but the A.I. hasn't been taught any morals so it doesn't care.  Ellison chastises Weaver and her techs for not teaching the machine to value human life.

Sarah, Cameron and Derek break into Mitimoto's place, guns drawn.  Turns out he's not really Yakuza but an actor hired by Akagi to help fleece Sarah out of her cash.  Sarah is PISSED OFF.  She goes back to Dakara Systems and kicks the shit out of Akagi Sr. as Cameron holds Akagi Jr. hostage.  "Who are you working for?" she demands.  But he wasn't working for anyone, just after the money and trying to provide for his son.  Cameron fetches their purloined money from under Akagi's desk and they leave.

Derek is back at Jess's hotel room.  He tells her that John is actually his nephew, making her only the fourth person to know this secret.  He says that he is here in this time to do whatever it takes to stop Skynet so if there's anything else she's been keeping secret, it needs to come out now.  She says no.  I don't trust her.

The next morning, Riley shows up at the Connor house.  I find her slightly less annoying/more interesting now that I know she's a spy.  Riley, to John: "I reject your rejection [of me].  You wanna take a walk?"  He grins, because he's a teenage boy, and goes out with her.

Weaver tells Ellison that she's not qualified to teach John Henry morals, or the Ten Commandments, or whatever Ellison thinks the A.I. needs to learn - would he do it?  She takes him back down into the lab where they've got Cromartie's body wired up to the John Henry A.I.  The machine greets Ellison and is extremely creepy.

Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T:SCC

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recap: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles S2E9 "Complications"

Ugh, a dream scene.  This show's dream scenes are YAWN.  Sarah and Cameron, wearing pink dresses, are watering cacti growing on Cromartie's Mexican grave.  The cacti grow and encircle John in their prickly arms.  Sarah wakes up in the car as they're driving home from the debacle in Mexico.  She's sick to her stomach and feverish; by the time they get home, she's pretty sick.  She wants to go right back down to thermite Cromartie's chassis but John and Cameron say they'll take care of it.  Cameron seems to have picked up some new cowboy boots on their recent trip south of the border.

Derek gets a call from Jess: come here now and bring a gun.  She's at a warehouse, ranting about having seen "Fisher."  Derek: "Who's Fisher?"  Jess is all, you know, Charles Fisher, sent back from the future and working for the machines, really bad guy?  Inside, she's got some poor guy taped to a chair.  Derek's all, explain this to me again, would you?  Jess insists that this guy is a traitor, working for Skynet.  The guy pleads with Derek, saying his name is Paul Stewart and this is all a mistake.  Derek: "For your sake, brother, I hope you're right."  So then we all know it's Fisher, right?  Jess interrogates Stewart/Fisher but her fuse is very short, so Derek pulls her off him.  He tells her that if this guy is Fisher, then he deserves everything he's going to get - but not before he admits that's who he is.

Sarah has another fever dream that she finds very disturbing and I find boring: a hospital nursery full of baby turtles.  When she wakes up, she's sleep-walked over to a mirror and is pointing a gun at it.  Meanwhile, when John and Cameron dig up Cromartie's grave to melt him down, all they find are his boots - the body is gone.  They immediately assume Ellison took it since he was the only other person who knew about the grave.

Derek brings Stewart/Fisher a cheeseburger as it's now time for good cop/bad cop.  Stewart/Fisher maintains his innocence.  Derek notices a tattoo on the inside of the man's arm: a clock with no hands.  This is a prison tattoo meaning "'til the end of time" and indicates a life sentence.  Stewart/Fisher: "How could I be here if I had a life sentence?"  Um, time travel?  Derek: "That's what we're going to find out."  He emails a photo of Stewart/Fisher's face to Cameron, asking her to check her memory banks.  She doesn't recognize the guy, which makes Derek doubt that it's Fisher.

John and Cameron stake out Ellison's house until he comes home.  Cameron grabs him by the throat and tosses him around the living room for a bit until he chokes out that he didn't take the body.  John believes him  and they leave.  Sarah goes back to Dr. Sherman's office, wanting to talk about her nightmares.  She's resistant and defensive, however, and he tells her he can't help her if she won't open up.  She pouts that she doesn't have anyone to talk to.  Sherman: "Nothing is going to happen in here until you decide to be honest." Sarah leaves.

Jess has kidnapped someone else: Warren from BtVS, a/k/a Charlie Fisher, an engineer at some local technology firm or something.  This kid and Stewart/Fisher have identical birthmarks on their shoulders so, yup, the old guy is Fisher, face-to-face with himself as a kid. Jess beats on old Fisher for a while as young Fisher freaks out.  The kid has no clue as to what's going on.  Jess tells Derek that it's his turn and it's going to stay his turn until Fisher talks.  Derek starts slicing into the younger Fisher who shrieks until his older self comes clean: I'm Charles Fisher from the future.  Derek: "Why are you here? What's your mission?"  Old Fisher: "I'm not here on a mission - this is my reward."  Seems he'd been captured by the machines and this is sort of a vacation for him.  I think he's lying.

The two Fishers talk a bit, the younger one skeptical about Judgment Day and the machines until the older one drops enough private information to convince him.  Outside, Jess is all, this guy was the worst of the worst and he needs to die.  Derek:  "What did he do to you?"  As Jess talks, we see her captured, drugged, starved and tortured by Fisher for months, all so the machines could learn about how humans work.  Derek's all, but how did you get away?  Jess: "You really don't remember any of this, do you?  It wasn't me they captured, Derek - it was you."  And then we see the same events, but with Derek in Jess's place.  Derek has absolutely no recollection of any of this, despite Jess insisting that he was obsessed with getting revenge on Fisher.  Derek goes back in and starts beating on the older Fisher.  Fisher: "So you remember me now?"  Derek: "No, but she does, and that's good enough for me."  Derek pulls his gun, ready to shoot the younger Fisher, but Jess beats him to it and shoots the older one instead.

John and Cameron get home and tell Sarah that Cromartie's body is gone and Ellison doesn't have it.  Sarah apologizes, telling John that Cromartie got to him because of her refusal to kill that last kid in the bowling alley.  She's wracked with guilt.  John: "We're not murderers.  You're not."  They talk about how they have to find Cromartie's body.

Speaking of bodies, Derek and Jess have buried the one they made.  Derek is concerned that the younger Fisher will talk but Jess says they had to let him go as he wasn't yet the monster they just killed.  She asks him again if he really doesn't remember anything about what happened with Fisher and he says no, nothing.  He muses that maybe he came from a future where it didn't happen and she came from the future where it did - maybe the things Derek and the Connors are doing now have changed the future just enough.

Young Fisher goes to his lab and is arrested by the FBI and Homeland Security.  They have records that he was in the lab at an unauthorized time and that he's installed a roving back-door in the mainframe that they've been unable to dismantle.  Fisher protests that it wasn't him, plus he doesn't have access to the mainframe ... and in a flashback we see the older Fisher doing everything the younger is accused of. Not on a mission my ass.  Young Fisher decides to try to explain about being kidnapped but when the FBI check out his story, they find no evidence and lock him up.

Ellison meets with Catherine Weaver and shows her Cromartie's body stuffed into the trunk of his car.  Ellison: "We have to figure out how they work."  Weaver smiles.  Oh, Ellison, you idiot.

Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T:TSCC

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Two mediocre-to-bad, one fantastic

Here's a little half-assed post to tell you what I've been reading of late.

The two mediocre-to-bad books (actually, 1.75 books since I didn't bother to finish the second one when the fantastic book became available at the library) are Child of Fire and Game of Cages, the first two books in Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces series.  These must have been recommended somewhere, on a blog or a book review web site or someplace, because I had written the titles down as books to get.  I really shouldn't have bothered and I won't be dipping back into that specific pool.  This is pretty amateur urban fantasy, a la The Dresden Files what with the magician/investigator/tough guy narrator but without any sort of character development or basic writing skills, really.  A number of times I had to stop and go back a few pages to try to figure out what just happened, since the narrative skipped around, or who was in the scene, since the author has a tendency to simply refer to less-than-tertiary characters by their first names and no other identifiers.  I read the first book all the way through, thinking that since this was Connolly's first novel things might improve in the second book.  They didn't.

The fantastic one is the previously mentioned The Walking Dead: Compendium One, a massive paperback volume containing the first 48 issues of the acclaimed comic.  Damn, but I guess it should be acclaimed.  There is some seriously sick and heavy shit going on in these pages - and a fairly accurate guess, I think, at how the world might end up if the inevitable zombie apocalypse comes to pass.  Make no mistake: this book is extremely violent and twisted ... and it is so much better than the AMC series (returning in October, I believe).  On the one hand, I get how AMC had to cut a lot of the stuff from the source material - you just could NOT show that shit on television unless it was pay-cable.  On the other hand, how the hell do you just ignore the existence of a major character like Tyreese?  The comic moves much faster than the show - we spent much less time at Herschel's farm - and, I am pleased to report, both Carl and Lori are much, much less annoying in the book.  Reading The Walking Dead makes me awfully excited to see what the show does with Michonne and the Governor, and things get really intense once the survivors get to the prison.  Fingers crossed that AMC doesn't screw it up too badly because the comic is just amazing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The excuse this time: house-guests

The house-guests who arrived this past Saturday have put a crimp in my Sarah Connor Chronicles viewing - apparently it's poor form to recap outdated sci fi when people have traveled thousands of miles to spend their vacation with you.  But I've read a couple of bad urban fantasy books that I'll tell you about soon, and I'm tearing my way through The Walking Dead: Compendium One, which is a ginormous book containing issues 1-48 of the zombie comic.  In a nutshell: freaking awesome and so, so, so, so much more intense than the television show.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recap: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles S2E8 "Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today"

I'm not sure how the episode title fits, but this is one of the better eps I've seen.  Maybe it's the telling the story from the different viewpoints, I don't know.  I did want a little more Cameron though.

Sarah's story:  Sarah is working on the framework for a homemade safe out in the yard as John and Riley say goodnight.  Mother and son exchange some words about Riley: If you care about this girl, leave her alone.  Cameron strolls up after John rolls his eyes and leaves, and tells Sarah that even when John isn't listening, he's always listening.  She promises to talk with John about Riley.  Now Sarah rolls her eyes.  The next morning, Cameron tells Sarah that John won't be seeing Riley anymore.  Sarah replies that she doesn't like Cameron's influence (but who among us really thinks John is giving up his girlfriend?).  "You got what you wanted," says Cameron.  She leaves and Sarah works on installing her safe in the floor.  Suddenly Cromartie is there, grabbing Sarah by the neck and dragging her upstairs to John's room.  John isn't there and Sarah doesn't know where he is.

Cameron's story:  From an upstairs window, Cameron watches John and Riley say goodnight.  She tells Sarah she'll talk to John about the girl.  That evening, she goes in to see John, shedding her ever-present jacket and wearing nothing but a skimpy tank top through which her hot pink bra is showing, short shorts and her boots.  She lies down on the bed with John, telling him that he's bringing danger into Riley's life: "You do stupid things sometimes ... you should explain that to me."  She also says that she understands that being John Connor can be lonely, and that they've talked about that in the future.  "So what about Riley?" she asks.  "I know," says John.  The next morning, after telling Sarah that John won't see Riley anymore, Cameron heads out to a secret bunker Derek has established so that she can replenish the house's weapons.  Derek is annoyed that she's raiding his bunker when he set it up with his people for his people.  Cameron blandly asks him where he's been lately and he reminds her that he doesn't have a bed at the Connor house.  (Well, that sucks. Way to look out for your brother-in-law, Sarah.)  Derek gets a phone call: it's the alarm code from John, letting him know he's in trouble.  Derek and Cameron take off.

John's story:  After Cameron leaves his bedroom, John grabs his jacket and backpack and calls Riley, saying he'll be there in a few minutes.  He sneaks out of the house without anyone noticing.  The two of them take a bus to a little town in Mexico where John spent some formative years.  Riley asks if Sarah knows about this little field trip and John's all, no, don't worry about it.  She wants to know why they've come here but John doesn't want to talk about himself.  At dinner that night, however, a local recognizes John and calls him "John Connor."  John panics and he and Riley try to run, but the cops grab Riley and John won't abandon her.  The cops take them in and tell John that if his parents come to pick him up, they'll let him go with just a warning.  John calls Sarah but won't speak when she answers, instead pressing the buttons on the phone in some pre-arranged code sequence.  Then he does the same to Derek's phone.  The cops lock him and Riley up, saying they're going to run John's aliases through Interpol.  Later, Riley begs one of the guards for a phone call of her own, saying John is scaring her.  When the guard unlocks the cell door, John grabs him, pulling him into the bars and knocking him out.  He tells Riley, "If you see daylight, you run, no matter what."

Sarah's story:  Cromartie has Sarah taped up in the backseat of his convertible.  She pulls her feet free and throws herself out of the car.  Too stunned to run, she can't fight back when he pulls over, grabs her and stuffs her in the trunk.  Some time later, she manages to get her hands free when the car stops.  There's a big ruckus, and lots of gunfire.  When the trunk is opened, Ellison and John are there.  Ellison: "Sarah Connor? I need you to come with me."

Ellison's story:  Ellison is out for a run when his cell phone rings.  It's an FBI agent, a former coworker, who has flagged the Mexican cops' Interpol search on John Connor.  Ellison goes to Mexico.  He tells the cops that John matches the description of a fugitive in an old case of his, even though the ages don't match up (because of the time travel thing the Connors and Cameron did back at the start of this series).  He also tells them that if John is who he thinks he is, he's in danger.  Too late: Cromartie has made his way down there too and Ellison sees him through a window just before the T-888 starts shooting up the place.  The escaping John and Riley run past Ellison, who grabs John and tells him that he's here to help.  They run outside, jump in Cromartie's car and all three drive off as Cromartie chases them through town, shooting everyone.  They hear a noise coming from the trunk of the car and pull over, releasing Sarah.  The four of them abandon the car and run for it as Cromartie stalks through the town.  Regrouping in John and Riley's motel room, Ellison tells Sarah that although Cromartie has been watching him, he came down here to help.  John tells Riley that she needs to go home now.  Riley doesn't understand just how dire things are.  Sarah calls Derek for backup and when he answers, he tells her that he and Cameron are already in town, over at the jail.

Derek's story:  Derek and Cameron watch the absolute mayhem in town.  Cameron says that Cromartie is here and she walks into the jail, looking for John.  She will not be deterred, saying she can't let anything happen to John.  Derek gets that call from Sarah.  Where the hell's Cromartie?  (And, for the record, Derek didn't get much of a story here.)

Cromartie's story:  At the jail, he asks politely to see John and then just starts shooting - only cops, none of the prisoners.  He picks up a semi-automatic on the way out of the jail and watches in Terminator-vision as Ellison, John and Riley steal his car.  As Cromartie walks through the bloodstained and deserted town square, he sees Ellison ducking into the church.  The T-888 follows Ellison into the church where it finds the former FBI guy praying.  Ellison: "Have you come to repent?"  Cromartie: "I'm looking for John Connor."  Derek and Sarah start shooting at Cromartie from their positions on the roof.  Cromartie fires back and then in walks Cameron with a big-ass shotgun to rip pieces out of Cromartie's chassis.  Part of his skull is blown off, damaging his chip, and he drops to the floor, twitching.  Everyone surrounds him - Sarah, John, Cameron, Derek and Ellison - and John delivers the coup de grace.  You know, that seemed way easier than it should have been.

As they bury Cromartie, planning to come back later and burn out the evidence, Sarah tells Ellison that they all shouldn't travel back to L.A. together.  And he should just pretend that she's still dead.  And then what, wonders Ellison, who lost his marriage and his career the last time he thought she died.  Sarah realizes that he wants/needs an explanation and all she can tell him is that this is all she has, surviving and running and keeping John alive.  She says she's sorry for what Ellison's lost but she can't offer him any more than that.  Sarah takes Cromartie's chip and starts to crush it with the butt of her rifle.  Then she starts to get a little hysterical, moaning and shrieking as she pulverizes the chip.  Everyone stares until John gathers his mother into his arms, holding her as she sobs.  Ellison looks at all of them and just walks away.

Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T:TSCC

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Recap: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles S2E7 "Brothers of Nablus"

When Ellison answers his door, there's a T-888 that looks just like him standing there.  Before the T-888 can shoot him, Cromartie sneaks up behind it and kills it.  Why?  Because Cromartie needs Ellison to lead him to the Connors.  Well, that was weird.  Over at the Connors' house, they've been robbed: all their IDs, their cash, the diamonds, a bunch of food, Cameron's leather jacket.  Sarah calls Derek, who's still naked in bed with Jessie.  Derek gives Sarah an address to a diamond fence he knows and says he'll meet them there.

Back at the halfway house, the counselor is scanning in a backlog of files.  When she scans Cameron's photo, it pops up on Cromartie's laptop.  Oops.  He goes to the halfway house where Jody says she knows Cameron, and lets slip John's alias.  "Let's take a ride," says Cromartie.

Ellison answers his door again and this time it's the cops, there to arrest him for the murder of Peter Myers.  Who?  Ellison is as baffled by this as I am.  At the line-up, a witness picks him out.  During the interview with a detective, Ellison learns that he apparently, while naked, killed this Peter Myers guy and took his clothes.  Ellison wants to talk to his lawyer.

Derek, Sarah and Cameron confront the diamond fence, Moishe, who agrees to help them "for Jessie."  Sarah gives Derek a look.  Cameron checks out Moishe's stock of diamonds and identifies a bunch which were theirs.  Moishe says he got them from a guy named Walter Ostrowsky.  They leave without taking their diamonds with them.  Sarah asks Derek who Jessie is; he covers by saying Jessie was a guy who came across with him and Moishe who has since died.

John and Riley go grocery shopping to restock, at the same grocery store where Cameron was arrested and sent to the halfway house.  Cromartie and Jody show up there too.  Jody is so goddamn annoying.  They don't see John there and start canvassing the neighborhood.  Cromartie finds Jody annoying as well and tosses her out of his car.  Ha!

Sarah and Cameron find Ostrowsky, a dentist.  He bolts but Cameron quickly runs them down.  It soon becomes clear that he's not their guy: he actually owes Moishe money and thinks they're there to collect.  Sarah snipes at Derek for Moishe's misinformation and Derek retorts that the reason they're here at all is because her son is acting more like "John Baum" than the John Connor he knows.  They all go back to Moishe's and get another name, some deadbeat videostore clerk.

Cromartie has made his way to Casey's.  She says she doesn't know Cameron when he shows her the photo, but slips that the rental house next door has been taken.  When he leaves, she calls John and tells him that some scary dude is asking about Cameron.  Before John can get out of the house, Cromartie is knocking at the front door.  John freaks out.  Riley answers the door while John runs and grabs a shotgun.  Cromartie barges right in but, amazingly, believes Riley's story, which isn't important but basically is that she doesn't know Cameron who doesn't live at this house.  Cromartie leaves.

Sarah and Cameron talk to the annoying parents of the videstore clerk.  (Is every non-regular character annoying in this show? Jeez.)  The parents are able to give them the names of some of their son's friends, but that's it.  As Sarah and Cameron drive around, Cameron tells a story from the Bible about the brothers of Nablus [the title], a tale of revenge in which all the bad guys got slaughtered.  Then Sarah gets a call from her credit card company, saying that they got a hit at a bowling alley.  Cromartie, also driving around, picks up that call as well, somehow.

Back at the police department, the detective re-interviews the witness who saw "Ellison" kill that guy.  The detective's mannerisms are just enough off that I'm certain he's actually Weaver.  The detective gets the witness to say, on video, that he saw a completely nude Ellison appear in a bubble of energy that dug a crater into the street.  The witness is sure of what he saw.  Later, the "detective" tells Ellison that he's free to go since the witness is clearly a nutjob.  Ellison's all, seriously, WTF?  And yes, as the detective walks outside, he morphs into Catherine Weaver.

At the bowling alley, the videostore clerk and his friends are tossing around a movie idea about - get this - Abraham Lincoln battling zombies.  (Perhaps that flick would do better than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter did.) Sarah and Cameron show up and demand all their stuff back, which the thieves for some reason have with them.  Then Cameron shoots them, saying that they knew where the Connors live.  There's a fourth guy, whom Sarah finds cowering in the bathroom.  She lets him live, but says that if he tells anyone what happened in the bowling alley or anything about her or about where she lives, she'll hunt him down and kill him.  Oh, Sarah, mercy is never a good idea on this show.

Derek goes back to Moishe's place and finds him dead.  Jessie is there - she killed him so he wouldn't blow her cover.  Derek isn't that torn up about it and together they take all the diamonds.

Ellison sits in his car outside his ex-wife's house.  She goes out to talk with him.  He's a bit of a mess, feeling in over his head about the sentient machines.  She is kind to him but tells him not to come by anymore.  Then he goes to see Weaver and tells her about the Ellison-T, saying that he thinks he's being tested.  He doesn't mention his savior, Cromartie, however.

Back at the Connor house, Sarah tells her son that Riley is a security risk and is not allowed to come over anymore.  He gets petulant and she gets pissed: "You can hate me, but my job is to protect you."  John blows up at her: "Then why didn't you protect me when I was killing Sarkissian?  Why didn't you protect me from that?"  Sarah has no response and he storms off.  It's because she was tied up, you whiny brat.

Cromartie goes to the bowling alley and finds the three bodies and the fourth guy.  The guy says that he's not supposed to tell where they got those credit cards or "she'll kill me."  Cromartie tries on a super-creepy smile: "I promise you, she won't."

Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T: TSCC

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mini book review: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi was recommended to me by the guy who works across the hall.  Even though he's younger than I and a lawyer/new father/Mormon/guy - none of which I am - we tend to like  many of the same books, movies and t.v. shows: The First Law series (which he also recommended), Game of Thrones, The Avengers, Firefly and Sherlock, to name just a few.  So when he said to read The Windup Girl, I jumped right on it, even though it is straight science fiction which is not my usual bailiwick.

Set in a future Bangkok after some sort of global catastrophe where the seas are rising, fossil fuels are no longer viable and there is a critical food shortage, TWG follows several sets of characters in their machinations to survive.  There's Anderson Lake, an undercover agent for an American calorie-company - one of several global organizations that control the current supplies of genetically-modified foods and that also may be responsible for the genetic mutations and flaws wracking the world's flora and fauna - who is on the hunt for Bangkok's top-secret seed-bank.  His factory manager, Hock Seng, is a Chinese national, formerly a wealthy and powerful merchant and now little more than an illegal immigrant, trying to regain some strength.  Jaidee Rojjanasukchai is a captain of the Ministry of Environment's white-shirts, thuggish lawmen charged with keeping the Kingdom free of environmental hazards, investigating illegal smuggling of foodstuff and technology, burning out the wildly-contagious genetic plagues.  And then there's Emiko, the windup girl, a Japanese being engineered to be a personal assistant, translator and plaything.  She was brought to Bangkok by her rich businessman owner, only to be abandoned; now she survives as a stripper and a whore, humiliated daily by humans who find her both fascinating and repulsive.  Their lives all intersect, tangentially at first, and then Bacigalupi draws the plot tighter and tighter before the world-changing finish.

Bacigalupi's vision of the future is disturbing and far too possible-seeming in this world of ours that is getting hotter and hungrier, as our real scientists play God with genetic manipulations.  The windups are reminiscent of the replicants in Blade Runner [Note to self: watch Blade Runner again because it's awesome], innocent, otherworldly, scary, struggling to understand the world into which they were made, not born.  Because of its subject matter, and the very nature of science fiction, I had to work a little harder at reading The Windup Girl, think a little more than I usually do with my fantasy tendencies.  This book is absolutely worth a read, if only to see just where we may be heading.