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'Sarah Connor Chronicles' 2.1: "Samson & Delilah"

Blogging as it goes. I'll try to turn this into something a bit more coherent in the morning!

Last season, I loved this show. This season, 24 minutes into the premiere, I'm not impressed. It's trying too hard to be exciting; it's gone the predicable place already; it's become less plausible than ever before. Two humans aren't going to escape a Terminator. Not without help. I'm already frustrated. And trying to write without spoilers, since I can't remember how to do a jump at the moment.

Also, it's remarkably unclear as to whether or not Shirley Manson's character is meant to have her Scottish accent or not. One second she does, the next it's gone, and regardless, she's a bit stiff. I hope she warms up to it. A nice appearance by Max Perlich — toward whom Buffy fans feel a bit of fondness for his role as Whistler on Angel — seems surprisingly brief, but maybe he'll be back.

Oh, political commercials: "And that's wrong." Speaking of Buffy, all I can think of is Faith in the mirror in "Who Are You?", saying, "Because it's wrong."

And I just keep telling the TV how stupid it is. The kid can't get a chip out of a Terminator's head when it's life or death, but he can hotwire a car in even less time? And yet then he dawdles when faced with the most predicable tactic?

I fail to understand these Levi's ads about unbuttoned jeans. I think it's a scam, a weird experiment on the susceptibilities of the youth of America. There's no other explanation for it. Or for Body of Lies, for that matter. How very tedious it looks.

... and just like that, the show redeems itself. Thank you, Brian Austin Green! (Words I never thought I would say.) However, the kid's total freakout - not that we know exactly what it's over - is a bit much; if they made him a bit more of a believable teenager last season, I'd buy both of his decisions in the second act a bit more thoroughly. They're piling on the push-pull between Sarah and Cameron, and the unlikely affinity John has for machines - but at the same time they're forgetting to give us enough Sarah in the show named for her. Being saved again by her ex-fiancé? The dynamic between her and the other Reese? Setting things up as they are is giving too much weight to the sulky teen, frankly.

... or not. Moments like the scene between Cameron and Sarah in the chapel are what powers the show, what gives it its exceptional heart; moments like the (not surprising, but still enjoyable) appearance of Manson in the bathroom are when it plays for the action fan's heart. The balance is totally vital, obviously.

I'd give this a B-, overall. The first half was tedious, standard action that never truly put any of the principals in danger; the second the character-driven interactions that raise the show above average. And did I mention the tiny, fraught encounter between Ellison and Cromartie? Beautiful. More of that, please. More that looks as good as the preview.