'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' builds a better mousetrap

Deanwinters_terminator I wasn't exactly hankering for a Charley Dixon-centric episode on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I guess we were due for one. At the end of last week, Ellison sent Charley and his wife out of town, which we all knew wouldn't last, so it probably is better that they did this episode now rather than waiting a few weeks and trying to convince us that Charley was gone for good.

Tonight's episode started off with Charley and the missus in the middle of nowhere getting gas, you may recall that Ellison suggested they go far away in the last episode Charley was just there, getting gas, cleaning the windshield, and trying to get his wife not to be angry. Cromartie pulled up, hopped into the driver's seat of Charley's car while the man was getting a soda and drove off with Charley's wife, Michelle. Poor lady, getting kidnapped by a Terminator is never a good thing.

Back in Connor-land, John learned about the death of George Lazlo (the guy whose look Cromartie stole). That possibly important bit of information was quickly overshadowed by Cameron figuring out the rate the house was settling at and that they'd have to repaint the place next summer. Sure, that was almost as important as what came next -- Charley making the all-important phone call to inform Sarah that his wife was kidnapped. Charley actually spoke to John first, but didn't want to dish the dirt to him, and when Sarah got on the phone she didn't want John to figure out what was going on either.

That's one of those things I don't understand about the show -- if John is going to lead the resistance one day, surely at some point he should be fully informed about what's going on around him. As Derek hopped into the car with Sarah to go rescue Michelle, he pointed out that what they were doing was a mistake, that Cromartie had grabbed Charley's wife in order to get to John. Even if that was the case, shouldn't John know what was going on? Wouldn't he have been better served by being informed than by being kept in the dark? Instead, John was sent to get computers with Cameron, whom he promptly ditched to go hang out with Riley.

As Derek, Sarah, and Charley were contemplating how to find Michelle, she managed to get to her cell phone and give Chuck a call with her location. Now I assumed (and you probably did too), that Cromartie allowed her to get to the phone to make the call. Apparently Sarah, Derek, and Charley weren't quite that swift (or at least didn't discuss it). They were certainly expecting Cromartie to be ready for them when they arrived at Michelle's location, but there was no mention of Cromartie allowing her to make the phone call.

Cromartie certainly was ready for them. Once her phone call was made, Cromartie duct-taped Michelle's mouth and sat her chair on four mousetraps. It was apparently a little homemade booby trap designed to make her (and anyone nearby) go boom should she be removed from the chair.

It didn't take anytime at all for Sarah and company to recognize the mousetrap bomb once they saw it, which meant that there had to be a second part to Cromartie's plan. Charley went back to the car to get a bag so Sarah could disable the bomb and found that their car had been tampered with. Learning that little tidbit, along with seeing Michelle still alive instead of terminated, clued Sarah in to Cromartie's actual plan. The mousetrap bomb was not a bomb -- it was just some molding clay. The point of the whole thing was, she assumed, to get John to come get them.

As Sarah was working that out and calling John to tell him to be careful and stay away, Derek was exploring their environs and noticed some cell surveillance equipment and an actual bomb on a cell tower just outside. No sooner did Derek figure out what was happening and rush everyone out of the place than the bomb went off and the nearby cell tower was destroyed. Sarah couldn't make anymore calls to John and Cromartie (who had tapped the first call) had John's phone number and the date code they'd been using to confirm their identities to one another. Cromartie instantly dialed John, pretended to be Sarah, and told John to wait for her (which would actually be him).

The expanded Scooby Gang hijacked a van that just happened to be traversing a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and sped off to save young John. Michelle was moderately injured when the cell tower crashed into the shack they were in, and Charley was terribly worried about what the jostling on the van was doing to her. Sarah actually stopped the car when Charley asked her to and I was shocked -- shocked I tell you -- by that. On the one hand her son and future leader of the resistance is about to end up in the hands of a Terminator, and on the other hand some lady she doesn't care for is about to die. She opted to save the lady even though it might end the world, and the lady ended up dying anyway.

Luckily for Sarah, John spotted Cromartie at the pier before Cromartie got to him, and Cameron had learned from Riley about where John was headed too. A short little foot chase scene ensued, and John jumped into the ocean to try to escape. Apparently Terminators aren't swimmers and when Cromartie jumped in after John the metal man sunk to the bottom with nothing but John's jacket in his hand.

John emerged from the water to see Cameron and they both hooked up with Sarah. One has to assume that Sarah informed John about what she'd been up to during the day, because John went and comforted Charley outside an emergency room. At Michelle's funeral, Charley, in front of Ellison, dropped the bible the FBI Agent had given him onto the casket. Apparently Charley will not be finding solace in God anytime soon.

As the real story was unfolding, our liquid metal buddy gave Ellison a call and invited him to lunch, saying she knew the truth about the George Lazlo shootout. Curiosity piqued, he attended the meeting and was further tantalized with more Terminator stories. Weaver asked Ellison to help her find another Terminator, and while we didn't see what he answered, I have to assume he agreed.

Questions and thoughts:

  • I can't decide about Sarah, maybe you can help -- is she too weak and emotional? I assume she stopped the van because she loves Charley and didn't want him to hate her by causing Michelle's death, but weighing that against the end of the world... I don't know that I would have made the same choice she did.
  • But, my real question this week - how far do you think Weaver will be able to lead Ellison down the primrose path? How far is he going to go before he realizes that he's making a mistake?

The TV and Film Guy's Reviews - just about the best mousetrap there is.