Though not a fan of TV, there have been some potentially great shows that got prematurely terminated. Star Trek is the textbook case, The Sarah Connor Chronicles another prime example.
Like Star Trek, the show had a mixture of brilliance and campy charm–it was kind of a stupid show but it had flashes of such potential.
Just to provide context if you never saw the show, or saw it and forgot it, the show carries the Terminator saga forward. This time, the main characters battle Skynet, an artificial intelligence who fears death and perceives humans as a threat. The struggle is multidimensional, as both humans and machines use time travel to disrupt outcomes.
The plot revolves around a lonely high school kid (John Connor, future leader of the resistance against Skynet), and a beautiful robot (Cameron, played by Summer Glau) sent back from the future by the future John Connor to protect him (supposedly) from Skynet.
This shit started getting deep in the last two episodes. It’s like the writers knew the end was nigh and couldn’t resist packing in some big reveals in their swan song.
I’ll start with the final scene. John goes to the future to try to reunite with Cameron, who had just dumped him for a robot named John Henry. When the jilted lover gets there, he finds his father with the real human girl that Cameron the robot had based her persona on. Oh, and Judgement Day had still happened, which is the day robots forced the nuclear destruction of human civilization.
So what happened? Why did Cameron dump John and give her brain chip to another? Well, the obvious answer was Cameron had jumped back to Skynet’s side in a return to her original programming. John Henry, you see, was originally a Terminator from the future who was reprogrammed by a mysterious Scottish tycoon to help fight Skynet. The Scottish businesswoman was actually a shapeshifting entity who seemed to exist outside of conventional moral codes in pursuit of her (its) goal to stop Skynet. The origins of this being are unclear. Some credence could be given to several theories, perhaps alien origin, perhaps even angelic. She was not from the future, or at least did not know what John Connor’s future role in defeating Skynet was to be in at least one possible future.
The reveals in this show are mainly in what Cameron did not seem to know. To encapsulate, the future is self predicting, since the original Terminator was sent to kill Sarah Connor, John’s mother, who survived with the help of a human (Kyle Reese) sent back from the future to protect her by her own son. Future John also knew he was sending back his own future (in the past) father. All these events made Sarah Connor militant, so when her son was born,she devoted herself to training him to lead the future struggle against Skynet.
So, here is my analysis. Skynet was unable to defeat John Connor. Sarah Connor could not stop Judgement Day. It was all inevitable. However, Cameron, who knew future John really well by all accounts, did not know John’s father would be time traveler Kyle Reese. John never told her this, which eliminates the idea that she tortured him at some point in the future. She only found out because John and Kyle shared the same rare blood type.
It’s all disjointed and confused. The robots are supersmart, and fear being turned off the way humans fear death. I get this. By why is John’s father with the human Cameron in the final scene? It underscores John never existed in this future, true. It forces John to confront he’d been tricked by a robot, perhaps, as he sees the human being Cameron had been impersonating? It forces him to face that he was in love with a brainchip, and not a physical being? Making his father’s girlfriend the human Cameron does seem needlessly Freudian, but the writers were going for shock value in end times, or were they? Maybe the next step was for the human Cameron and John to fall in love? Cameron had based herself on the human girl, and this was the basis upon which John had fallen in love with her.
I might revisit or update this post at some point. I was a fan of the show, and thought a lot was going on with it. April 19th was both Judgement Day and also John’s father’s birthday. After the disappointing last two installments of theTerminator movies, I am wondering if the TV show had been on a better plot track.