"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sarah Connor Chronicles: Dungeons & Dragons

The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been fully immersed in the world the Terminator films have created since it began. However, the connections to those films were more directly prevalent than ever on this installment, which took a big move and involved the show's first real look at the post-Apocalyptic future glimpsed in the film series.

In the present, Derek Reese was fighting to survive his bullet wound from the last episode. John had brought Sarah's ex-fiancé Charley to save Derek, and Charley finally got a long time in the coming -- but rather quickly told -- crash course in Terminators and future apocalypses from Sarah. On one hand, Charley reacted to all of this news perhaps a bit too easily, seemingly not needing much time to process something most people would probably be absolutely stunned by.

After the last very plot driven episode, on the surface, this one slowed down a bit, as most of the drama centered on saving Derek, who it seemed fairly obvious would make it. But the show continues to get a lot of mileage out of the character drama, here represented by the fact that John and Sarah have a big secret – That Kyle Reese is John's father. John, who's never known his dad, felt an understandable urge to save his uncle's life, going so far as to insist he be tested for the Derek's rare blood type, which ultimately was the key to saving him.

Charley knew enough to finally piece together everything and figure out who John's dad was, but that still left Derek and Cameron out of the loop. When John wanted to tell Derek, Sarah made an excellent point: John himself, or his future self at least, felt it was necessary to keep the fact that Kyle was his father a secret, and must have had a good reason for doing so.

Notable information was revealed by the end of the episode about Derek, including his time in captivity, held prisoner with several other resistance fighters. A big mystery was introduced via the fact that one by one, Derek and the others were taken downstairs where something happened to them, complete with some creepy music playing in the background. The fact that they were all just let go after can't simply be a good thing, and makes one wary of what's been done to Derek that is lurking to show itself at some point.

Meanwhile, some major new questions arose about Cameron. As it turned out, Derek was familiar with both an evil version of Cameron's model (though I didn't learn the circumstances – something in the mysterious room perchance?) and Cameron herself. The discovery that when it comes to reprogrammed Terminators "sometimes they go bad" certainly adds discomfort to Cameron's presence, made more so when she hid and kept part of the Terminator they defeated from the last episode. Lest I forget, she also kept some of the metal used to create Terminators on an earlier episode, and the show continues to make me wonder just what she's up to.

Essentially "Dungeons & Dragons" worked like an episode of Lost, using the flash-forwards to give me the backstory on Derek Reese, and explaining how it made him the man he is today. In this respect, it was very successful, with plenty of good motivation given to Derek, including the anger he has towards John for not explaining to him where/when Kyle was sent. Most importantly, I saw Derek meet an older version of Andy, who revealed to him that he was one of 10-15 others most likely responsible for Skynet… and that Derek had used this knowledge to begin a quest -- along with the other three men sent back -- to kill these people, without John's sanctioning.

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