As John, Mom, and Cameron attack Andy Goode's new Turk, Sarah's former fiance meets John's future uncle
Thomas Dekker, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

”Terminator” recap: John’s family ties

Man, freedom fighters! Is it just me, or did tonight’s ep of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles absolutely fly by? Let’s keep with that theme and make this short and sweet, because I’m still wiped from Grammy fever and wanna go to bed. Onward!

Here’s a way we could save time: Kill that dumb show intro. If you don’t understand the basic principle behind the Terminator franchise, why are you watching this? American Idol is on tomorrow, come back then; we’ve got plot holes to fill, dammit. Like, for example, ”Where were Sarah and John hangin’ out before she was committed to that one mental institution?” Why, Central America, it seems, where Mom spent a lot of time wandering around looking for the Predator, and John played patient, bold chess. This skill turns out to be handy, because back in the present day, darling young Andy Goode has rebuilt his possibly world-ending computer, the Turk (Terk?), after the house fire, and has entered it into a chess tourney. How did he do this so fast? Seems he rewrote the code from memory at a coffee shop in Van Nuys. (Get excited, Van Nuys! You end the world!) Also, for the record — tossing back to one of the questions I asked you guys on a previous TV Watch — it appears that Andy would totally sleep with a robot if given the chance. I say good for him. He has somehow managed to make what used to be a closet-size semi-sentient being into a toaster-size very sentient being with a slightly Peyton Manning-esque temperament in under a week. If I were a robot, I’d do him.

Speaking of people the robot me would totally hit on, Cute Cute Dean Winters, a.k.a. Charlie Dixon, Sarah’s ex-fiancé from back in the ’90s, was busy getting some action of a thoroughly more ominous variety. Our old pal Cromartie, now disguised as Victor Laszlo — wait, that’s not right — posed as an FBI agent to go ask him questions about the Connor family’s whereabouts. The Q&A session was awkward to begin with, but then when Charlie’s cell phone rang, Cromartie got extra jumpy. (Clearly, that cell phone was fighting on the side of good.) ”I never knew, and I do not know, Sarah Connor,” Charlie said to the awkward man, a line he reiterated to his wife, who is played by Penny, from Lost, and who I will be calling ”Penny” from now on, to minimize confusion. Penny, for the record, does not trust Charlie any farther than she could throw him. Which, as it turned out later in the ep, was probably the right call, as Charlie eventually admitted to having seen John inside the house! (Check on the babysitter!)

Back at the chess tourney, we learned all this stuff like that the winner of the competition would score a government contract, that Russians named Dmitri are particularly insightful when it comes to who is going to have sex with whom, and that the two options for a computer’s future are basically world domination or Pong. Once John and Cam got out of school — where Cam had a particularly sociopathic visit with the grief counselor sent to deal with the suicide of Roof Jumping Girl — they swung by the tourney, only to see Andy lose to the Japanese team. Which was good for Andy because now Cam didn’t have to kill him, and bad for plot logic because while I understand the Japanese team wasn’t in the Skynet file whence we got Mr. Goode, they have still built a thinking computer and I don’t quite get why they’re not qualified to bring about the apocalypse.

NEXT: Family reunions

No time to wonder what was next for Andy, sadly, as right after he lost, he got shot in the brain by what appeared to be a shadowy man-dude wearing a military jacket. But that’s no ordinary dude! That is Brian Austin Green, so far from the 90210 zip code where he was born (but no less smirky) and starring as the heretofore missing fourth bar-code-arm guy! Nice to see you, Brian Austin Green! Do you mind if I call you Bag? I didn’t think so. Anyway, so Bag’s apparent involvement with the death of Andy led him to a massive alley beat-down from Mom and an arrest courtesy of the LAPD. It also led to the activation of a T-888 who’d apparently spent the last several years staring at a computer screen, waiting for Bag to show up so he could terminate him. (I am starting to think the resistance movement has one hardcore mole at this point. Plug that leak, Future John Connor, or we’re all gonna die on the playground swings!) After waking up, the T-888 got into the prison where Bag was being kept, and when Mom et al staged a rescue mission for the former whitest rapping high school morning announcer in history, Eight Ball came chasing after.

Oh, did I mention that Mom cares about Bag’s safety because he’s effing Kyle Reese’s brother? Yeah. Wow. Unh! Hot tub!

From this point on, the ep was pretty crash-boom-bang: They broke Bag out! T-Eight Ball chased! He and Cam slammed each other against the walls of the convict transport truck. They fought! The truck stopped, and they got out and fought! T-Eight Ball shot Bag just as Cam was hitting him with a metal pipe, so the shots sort of missed but also sort of took out Bag’s kidney or something, because now he was bleeding badly! Meanwhile, Cam had subdued T-Eight Ball with said metal pipe, and she ripped out his CPU. That means, I believe, that he is dead now — unless Cam kept the CPU as a memento that she plans to store in a shoebox right next to the bar of coltan she snaked last week.

So Bag was bleeding to death, right? They needed a doctor, but John wouldn’t let Mom go get one, until he learned it was his uncle dying on the kitchen table and took a risk and fetched Cute Cute Dean Winters with all of his EMT skills to come take care of things. This is an interesting turn, and I love the idea that Sarah and Charlie are going to get a chance to rekindle their romance on a more honest footing. (Sorry, Penny.) It seems, according to the voice-over, that Charlie = hope. He’s very much the Barack Obama of this television show.

A couple annoyances tonight: John learned in auto shop — which he takes…why? and that school has an auto shop the size of an aircraft hangar…why? — that Cheri Westin, the Jessica Biel-if-you-squint emo girl who’s been sniffing around him the last couple episodes, is bad news and has an overprotective father. Neat. This matters…why? And as much as I initially appreciated the emotional conflict brought about by John’s inability to save Roof Jumping Girl from her splattery fate, I can’t quite see where that ongoing story line — including the previously referenced grief counselor and his Christian-pop-artist good looks — is headed. Should I just let that go?

And of course, who gives a nut what Ellison was up to? I’m not even going to address it. He’s FBI! He’s on the case! Sniff sniff! You get the picture. As soon as that story line starts to have any resonance at all, I’ll be sure to include it. But until that day, freedom fighters, I shall rely only on you and your wise comments below to get me through the night. Chime in!

And, PS, I am 100 percent certain I’m missing something tonight, as I am literally falling asleep at this computer. Don’t hate. Help. If there’s something huge I didn’t mention, please do so below. You know you love me. XOXO.

Episode Recaps

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
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