This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I think my bad guys are better than her bad guys."
11973 members | you are not logged in | 26 October 2020


October 04 2008

(SPOILER) Insightful review of Sarah Connor Chronicles "Allison from Palmdale" episode. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles had a very Cameron (played by Summer Glau) centric episode that really added depth and subtlety to the character. I think that the episode is well worth watching (and is available online, at least in the USA).

Interestingly enough, I was just trying to watch it on Fox's website, and I'm having issues. Anybody else having problems? Sounds like a good one too!!
Excellent post, embers! This episode lays a key to how the terminators duplicate their human designs and it's quite terrifying, no?

Summer really did some outstanding acting here and, as of moments when tears came to my eyes, I'd wiped away to watch on.

Here's the question. Will machines learn? If so, how will we teach them? I'll let you churn on that a bit.
I was watching this on hulu originally, when I got busy and turned away to work on something. Because I got to say Terminator doesn't usually hold my attention, but then I heard Cameron/Allison in that interrogation room and I couldn't keep my eyes away. This was the first episode I really enjoyed.
This was definitely the strongest episode of the series thus far, and possibly the strongest performance of Summer Glau's career to date. I hope the ratings pick up.
Just watched this episode today. It was, indeed, the best so far of the series and really added depth to Summer's character. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this wasn't a "one time thing", as so far T:SCC has rarely reached quite this level. I usually enjoy the show well enough, but the characters and story normally don't quite engage, and I find I'm mostly watching because a) the 'Terminator' franchise is cool whichever way you cut it and b) because of Summer.

I'd disagree that this episode was the best performance of her career though, zohrael. Yes, she was quite good, but we've seen her emote and act before. The best performance of her career, for me, is still probably 'Serenity'. The parts with her and Simon break my heart every time and her reaction when on Miranda is very impressive. And then there's quite a few great turns in 'Firefly' as well, and we shouldn't discount her role on 'The 4400' either (even though the role itself was in many ways similar to River). And let's not forget Mammoth either she's done more good stuff elsewhere (like, for instance, the River Tam sessions, which this episode reminded me of in a way). But I would agree that this was very strong and certainly very good promotion for what she can do as an actress, as it's quite possible that this is her most visible role to date.

If T:SCC does end up cancelled, I'm hoping Summer won't be out of a job for too long. She deserves a starring role in a hit series or major movie.
Great character development, especially for a robot. This episode reminded me of the Danger arc in Astonishing X-Men, where Danger has two different, conflicting programs -- (1) kill them all (2) don't.

Great name, too: Alison Young. :D
Ah! Saw it on Hulu. Loved it!!! It actually made me cry. Probably the best SCC episode I've seen. For sure this season, but maybe ever. Yes, I agree Pointy. Character development even for a robot...there ya go :)
I'm glad you got to watch all of it Harmalicious, I saw it this morning before dawn at the Fox site, which was working smoothly then. And if we are talking about Summer's best work I think I would always point to 'Objects in Space', but I am thrilled to see them expanding her character here on T:SCC, and I hope they continue in this direction.
Hah, I was totally thinking about her weight when I saw her on the top bunk, clearly they build 'em sturdy at that hostel ;).

Not a bad review/recap. It raises an interesting point in as much as, in the current time-line, John knows that Cameron comes back to him, so would he still send Alison to her torture and death in order to "fulfill the prophecy" ? That's just part of the burden he has to carry in everything he does. And it's a burden Sarah's placed on his shoulders (and knows it too).

And did anyone else wonder if Busy Philips' character's son is maybe someone we're kinda familiar with ? Seemed like it might be significant that Trevor didn't use his surname when he answered the phone, most of the time when you see cops answer their phone on TV they'll say something like "Crews here". Could it be they didn't want us to hear him say "Reece" ?

Great bit of work from Summer, maybe not her best but that's only because she's done such great work before - the actual performance was as good as anything River ever showed us but the writing doesn't quite match up to 'Objects in Space' or 'Serenity' (IMO).
I really enjoyed this past episode of SCC. It was very insightful character work of Cameron. Plus they gave Summer a chance to act like a human instead of a cyborg for once.

I don't want this show to get canceled, it's getting better and better with each episode.

[ edited by DaniVampsForJoss on 2008-10-05 03:50 ]
Saje, we've already see the present day Kyle and Derek, so the baby can't be either of them. Who else is there?
Bugger. Good point, they're already grown kids in the current time-line, somehow I managed to totally forget that while, err, one or two sheets to the wind ;).

The baby may still be significant though, seemed like there was a lot going on with kids in that ep.
That time shifting is a bitch. ;)
You guys should know that the show is in real ratings trouble - some sites say that it's on the brink of cancellation.

Maybe we should try to get people to watch it live, no TiVo/Hulu.
This is a test for Fox. As far as I know it's up against football which has got to hurt the ratings. Will Fox cut it or wait and see how it does on another night or when football ends?
This episode was godawful, worst of the show. Not that Summer's acting was bad, no it was great, but this episode just didn't feel like it belongs in Terminator canon.
This was my favourite episode of the show so far and makes me more disappointed that the shows future looks bleak. The concept of Cameron being based on a real person does add a lot of depth to the character, also gives Summer more chance to show off her acting skills (which really shone in this episode). I hope we get to see more of Alison in the future - her first meeting with John would be great to watch.
One thing in the article bugged me, where she said Allison swims long enough to prove she wasn't a machine. Didn't look like she swam to me. I thought she more or less sank until the net picked her up.
Of course, Cameron breaking her neck kinda settled the argument that she was human.

This show really should be called "Terminator: The Cameron Phillips Chronicles". I like Lena Headly but the character and story of Cameron is just so much more interesting and has way more potential.
Maybe I've just got a thing for hot robots. I wanted to see April become a regular on Buffy. Though the similarity to Anya ruled that out.
Well I've always liked robots/androids too (Data and Boomer are totally favorites of mine), and of course Summer Glau is the only reason I'm even watching T:SCC. I did have a different thought about the review itself, the writer refers to the apple Cameron picks up in the grocery store as being connected to the Garden of Good & Evil, and how that doesn't apply to robots (which is a beautiful and interesting point), but I had immediately thought of Sleeping Beauty's Snow White's apple. It seems to me that right after touching that apple Cameron falls asleep, but allows Alison to wake up.

[ edited by embers on 2008-10-05 21:51 ]
Nice insight, embers. It's too bad not all sci-fi shows can have episodes this interesting about identity and truth. They just prefer action and chasing, as we'll get next week. Let's hope we get an episode where futureJohn meets Allison-bot for the first time.
Weaver-bot's kid is cute, too. I wonder how she was "born"?
About fruit from the Tree of Knowledge: Cameron starts losing her innocence, her lack of self-knowledge, in this episode. She identifies at one point with the human woman she was modeled on and at another point with the killer of that woman (presumably Cameron and not another copy of the same model).She starts to learn that both the terminator and the terminated are part of her identity.

Cameron and Alison embody one another's definition of evil. To Cameron, Alison is part of what must be destroyed (humanity) and to Alison, Cameron is part of what must be destroyed (the terminators). Cameron has been designed to perfectly imitate a human, because that makes her a superior tool for destroying humanity. But the imitation is too perfect, Cameron has in part become what she hates.

Cameron's no longer Eve innocent in the garden, unconflicted. She has learned to loathe herself.
I really liked this review. I liked the theme about stories we make up that the reviewer picked up on; I didn't see that when I watched it.

Also, isn't the apple from "Snow White"? I think Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger on a spinning wheel.
xdmag, tuning in live will have no effect on the ratings unless you are a Neilsen family. To show you are watching you need to buy the show for $2 on Amazon.

After a weak first few episodes, they knocked it out of the park with the Sep 29 episode. I was getting so-so on the show before but Summer's performance tonight (as both Alyson and as her robot duplicate Cameron) was fantastic. Next week's preview again looks like they suddenly found their traction. I’m a fan again and it's about time.

Granted, the scenes at the doctor's was just low-budget filler to pay for the rest of the episode, but wow, the rest of the episode? The battleship turned into Terminator prison? Genius on both an art department level and on sheer wow-ness! And so, after seeing how Alyson was studied, maybe Cameron doesn't love John at all, she’s just parroting what she "studied" -- which suddenly makes her creepy as heck! This is good writing. This is almost, dare I say, Whedon-quality writing. So suddenly! I am so glad!

Up until now I was hoping that the machines would develop real feelings and would eventually coexist with humankind. I was hoping John and Cameron would somehow start to date, despite one being a robot. But, after seeing how Alyson was tortured by Cameron, I see it is more likely that when Cameron told John that she loved him, she was only glitching back to when she first emulated Alyson. Cameron herself is now more fearsome because just like the characters around her, I do not know if she experiences real feelings.

If she experiences feelings, she can be saved (”good” terminators can be allies and coexist). If she does not, then she is a tool that must be used towards the eventual elimination of all machines. John holds both the fate of mankind AND the fate of the “good” terminators in his hands, and he does not yet know (none of us do!) which course to choose.

This is suddenly a fantastic show again.
I found this episode to be horribly boring (especially the subplot with the insufferable pregnant landlady), but Summer Glau knocked it out of the park.
One thing in the article bugged me, where she said Allison swims long enough to prove she wasn't a machine. Didn't look like she swam to me. I thought she more or less sank until the net picked her up.
Of course, Cameron breaking her neck kinda settled the argument that she was human.

Or did it? I also thought that she sank awfully quick, and we were tipped off to look for that previously. Are we sure it was Allison who escaped into the water? There's only one human Allison, who we saw murdered, but there could be many other rooms with Camerons who think they're Allisons, and ones that don't think that they're anybody yet.
This show just keeps getting better, to the point that if Fox axes it because of low ratings due to Monday night football, I may actually join the Dollhouse panic brigade. This is the best show on Fox, give it a different time slot already, so it wont have to compete with football.
Put the far inferior (although still entertaining) Fringe in that time-slot, and see if it's still the network's "break-out hit".

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home