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October 30, 2014

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Desert Cantos

by Mike Moody, posted Feb 21st 2009 12:10PM
terminator the sarah connor chronicles desert cantos
(S02E15) Have you ever been to a funeral? They're not usually very thrilling. All that awkward silence, standing around, and the hard-to-watch mourning will deflate anyone's day. So why set an episode of Sarah Connor at a funeral?

I guess the writers wanted to remind us about the Skynet war death toll. It's high. We get it. Can we move on now?

Thanks to Weaverbot's liquid metal skewers and some explosives, Skynet managed to take out an entire town in one day. That's pretty frightening, but we didn't' need an entire episode about a group of grieving town folk to tell us that.

TSCC has been resting on a downbeat since last December's mid-season ender. I don't mind a little sobering tragedy in between jaw-dropping revelations and robot-on-robot brawls, but this episode brought the story to a crawl. The first half of season two delivered some of the best and most thrilling genre TV of 2008. So it's more than a little disappointing to watch the show slip into a coma now that 2009 is here. Last week's ep was slow paced, but it was engaging. This week's main plot, which saw our heroes crashing a funeral to investigate the mysterious warehouse in the desert, felt dull and unessential – two words I shouldn't be using to describe one of my favorite arc-driven sci-fi shows.

You'd be forgiven for shutting off "Desert Cantos" less than midway through and instead searching the Interweb to learn if anything important happened in this ep. Some important stuff did happen in the final act after all the unearned gravitas. Let's get to that.

We learned that the entire desert town was set up like a Skynet work camp. Every house was wired with security cameras so that, according to Derek, people working for the machines could be monitored by "other people working for the machines."

One of the warehouse workers who was presumed dead, the father of a snarky girl John was chatting up for information, is alive and doing some dirty deeds.

The warehouse, possibly owned by Weaverbot's ZeiraCorp, was manufacturing flying Skynet drones. Derek and the Connors watched a drone fly out of a pond, confirming Sarah's sighting after she got shot in "Earthlings Welcome Here." The drone flew off and parked itself inside a big rig driven by snarky girl's father.

Weaver had Walsh apparently looking for snarky girl's dad. The Connors found Walsh dead right before they saw the drone. It looks like big rig drivin' daddy got away with a drone, but who is he and where is he going? And why does Weaver want to capture or kill him? Those are the questions we were left with at episode's end.

Seeing that drone fly out of the pond gave me hope that things are about to pick up. Let's hope I'm right.

Other Observations:

- Why is it so important for Weaverbot to bond with Weaver's child? Is it just to keep up the façade? I feel sorry for the kid. No one should have to be consoled by an emotionless killing machine on the anniversary of her father's death.

- I liked how Weaverbot is manipulating Ellison to gain his sympathy. His father died recently, so he threw himself into his work to dull the pain. Now he thinks Weaver is doing the same thing.

- We had more references to Kyle Reese in this ep. I wouldn't mind if he showed up again – for real this time.

- This probably isn't the writers' intention, but I think it's pretty funny that the Connors leave all their new "friends" feeling used and confused at the end of every episode:
Random Character: "Who are you? Please, tell me the truth. You owe me that much."
Sarah Connor: "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

Gossip Girl' Show & Cast Photos

    Actress Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine Leighton Meester cover party at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage.com

    Actress Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine Leighton Meester cover party at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine/Leighton Meester Event sponsored by Jose Cuervo Platino at Marquee Nightclub on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Brian Ach/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine/Leighton Meester Event sponsored by Jose Cuervo Platino at Marquee Nightclub on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Brian Ach/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine/Leighton Meester Event sponsored by Jose Cuervo Platino at Marquee Nightclub on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Brian Ach/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends a Gotham Magazine celebration at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic.com

    Leighton Meester attends a Gotham Magazine celebration at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic.com

    Blake Lively on location for "Gossip Girl" on September 22, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Cynthia Sparer, Dr. Herbert Pardes, Leighton Meester, Alex Cohen and Pamela W. Barnes attend the Kids for Kids celebrity carnival benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation at the Park Avenue Armory on September 20, 2008 in New York City.

    Jason Kempin/WireImage.com

    Actress Leighton Meester attends the Kids for Kids celebrity carnival benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation at the Park Avenue Armory on September 20, 2008 in New York City.

    Jason Kempin/WireImage.com

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ghottistyx

Just remembered another obvious reference I can't believe no one's caught. Dead cows and UFOs. There's plenty of footage of this available on YouTube, but I know that there were plenty of cattle farmers around New Mexico (home of Roswell, the UFO capitol of the world), California, et al., who claimed that UFOs were abducting/mutilating their livestock. There's a humerous take on this in the first full length South Park episode ever, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", in which it turns out that the aliens actually consider cows to be the most intelligent beings on the planet, and that the alien who was responsible for the cows being mutilated was simply "new on the job" and didn't know what he was doing.

But I digest. I knew something was up when they panned in on the dead cows at the beginning. Now, we see there is a connection between the mysterious dying cows that only sit around for a short period of time, the drone (proto-HK?), and whatever this factory was hiding. As a conspiracy theory buff, I can't wait to see where this goes.

We also know for sure that these aren't military sattelites that fell (what the "Foo Fighters" of Roswell probably were), as "Abraham" told Sarah. It is interesting that Ed Winston gave up a career in the military for his job. Are they going to bring the military into this one? Or is this just a red herring?

February 24 2009 at 4:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Two points:

1. For all the carping about the product placement in 30 Rock, I'm surprised nobody's more upset about it here. There are more "hero shots" of those trucks than the actual characters.

2. The best part of this episode was the Catherine Weaver bit with the kid. I swear, if you made this show all about cyborg learning to live among humans, it'd be a far more interesting. I say lose the family drama, and get back to the cyborg drama with Cameron and Weaver.

February 23 2009 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Tri

"Given today's automotive climate, I find it highly amusing that the ENTIRE funeral procession were GM cars and SUVs. (I guess Chrysler can only afford to give them a single truck now.)"

I noticed that too. To be fair, Chrysler contributed two trucks -- the one Reese drove and the one which tires he slashed.

The drone folded into the 18-wheeler, it was still fairly imposing. The ending definitely left some nice avenues for the show to follow. Here's hoping...

February 24 2009 at 1:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ghottistyx

I can't say I hated this episode; I can't say I loved it either.

The dialogue seemed a bit artificial at times. Nonetheless, it had its moments, like when John threw Henry out of the driver's seat. Then there was the short convo between Walsh and Derek. But for the most part of it, I found myself rolling my eyes for those parts where Sarah was talking with Mrs. Winston (she is trusting a total stranger with the keys that she found, and Sarah is reporting that she found nothing...what's going on here?)

Am I crazy, or is there a romance between Ellison and Weaver in the works? I don't know about y'all, but I half expected them to start kissing.

The drone...smaller than I thought! Small enough to fit in the back of an 18-wheeler rig. I was half expecting it to be much more imposing.

And oh yeah, Mrs. Winston's insistence that Ed was a good man. So much more could have been fleshed out with her. On one hand, she's strong enough to stand up to an entire funeral and bitch about this impersonal parent company donating flowers and buying off the town with insurance money; yet she still is too naive to see that her late husband was a murderer. I am slightly reminded of Mrs. Kurtz from "Heart of Darkness". Props to Sarah for keeping to herself that she's the one who murdered him.

And oh, most priceless moment in the episode...hands down...Derek being lectured on human nature by Cameron. "If you had a picture of Kyle Reese, wouldn't you be looking at it?" After he offhandedly commented on her lacking a soul in the beginning of the episode, she (in her robotic manner) schooled him on how humans behave at funerals.

February 23 2009 at 4:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Franklin

Tedious all throughout -- worse than last week's.

This episode made me finally notice that the producers of this series have been excessively fixating and dwelling on death throughout this season. Seriously, what's up with that? Did everybody in the writer's room suffer the loss of someone close to them during the writer's strike?

February 23 2009 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Echy

I enjoyed the episode. Every episode doesn't have to be fast paste to keep my interest and keep the story moving forward.

I do have a question regarding Weaver as well as the T-1000 in T2. I thought that only organic material could go back through time. That is why anyone coming back was naked when they arrived in the past. So when Weaver and the T-1000 morph into a human form are the skin, hair, clothing, watches, and jewelery still metal or is that stuff somehow converted?

February 22 2009 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Echy's comment
TeenWolfie

My guess is that the time traveling technology was upgraded just like the Terminators were upgraded. Or it could just be a massive continuity error. Anyone got a theory?

February 22 2009 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Probably the cheapest and easiest way to do it is to have the T-1000 pour itself down a human's throat and send the human back before he dies.

February 24 2009 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PORSCHE

I enjoy it for what it is.

February 22 2009 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

I agree that these first two shows back have been underwhelming, but I did thnk that in the past this was one of the best written shows. Some episodes have blown me away (Alison from Palmdale). But I'm wary of the direction this one is headed too, and for the same reasons: its a great show (with potential to be more than what it is now) with great acting, characters, and story potential, but it cost a hell of a lot and its really not doing great in the ratings. So we could lose this one. I wonder if Fox is trying to get to summer to see if they can get a boost out of the new Terminator movie. Otherwise, the entire cast needs to go on Colbert to get a little of that Colbert bump.

February 22 2009 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tom's comment
mb

I agree with you that Alison from Palmdale was a great episode. I'm just wondering what happened with these two episodes since then.

It seems that the writers just left, or perhaps the editing is just horrible. Either way, an unforgiving network like Fox won't tolerate this show much longer.

They just need to keep Summer Glau on tv.

February 22 2009 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mb

While not as boring as last week's episode, this show is still a snorefest at best. Could they drag the lame storyline out longer?

I'd be very nervous if I were these actors. For such a overpriced yet underwhelming show, I'm still amazed that Fox keeps it going... for now. The writing on other shows is so much better that TSCC offers, these writers better get something together quick.

For the record, I certainly hope that Dollhouse doesn't get cancelled just because it's lumped together with this wart on Friday nights.

And before any of you lame @sses say the usual "Well, don't watch it" crap, forget it. If the writers continue to put out crap episodes, then you'll get the same crap reviews. Freedom of expression, right?

And besides, Summer Glau needs to be on tv. Put her on Dollhouse and make us all happy.

February 21 2009 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mb's comment
Ryan

Dollhouse doesn't seem to need any help from Terminator in slitting its own throat, ratings- and quality-wise.

February 24 2009 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

Given today's automotive climate, I find it highly amusing that the ENTIRE funeral procession were GM cars and SUVs. (I guess Chrysler can only afford to give them a single truck now.)

As for the episode, it was a little blah. I think "net result" of the episode could have been achieved much differently instead of dragging it out like they did.

It's too bad the show was called the "Sarah Conner Chronicles" cause honestly, the less I see of her the better the show is.

February 21 2009 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
severus09

I tend to agree with your comments, but this is still one of the best shows on television. I didn't agree with the decision to have an entire episode about a funeral. Bad decision because it slows down the pace of the story.

February 21 2009 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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