‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: Cameron Can Dance, But Can She Sing?

No, Derek, I don't think it's necessary for you to 'monitor' her in the shower."Photo: Courtesy of Fox


Last week left us eager to see how the impending showdown between Uncle Derek and robogirl Cameron would play out, but this show focuses on FBI agent Ellison and on the Terminator franchise's biblical parallels. In case you somehow missed all the Mary/Christ and apocalypse references, episode seven hits you on the head with a large-print edition of the New Testament. If you find yourself wishing that Blade Runner had spawned two sequels and a TV series, this one slaps you with a laser disc's worth of babble about whether humans and robots have souls, or if teen electric sheep dream of them.

Mother Issues
Sarah's search for the defeated Terminator's missing hand leads her to Ellison's home, where she discovers videotapes of her time in a psychiatric hospital. She steals one; son John sees it and learns she once agreed to relinquish custody of him. She gets a little teary; he gets the chance to brood handsomely. It turns out she changed her mind and escaped from the hospital that very day, and all is now well in the Connor household — but first this subplot gives our fatherless savior the chance to confide in Uncle Derek.

Derek is now at the center of the family dramas. If his sister-in-law Sarah isn't threatening to bust his head if she ever catches him cleaning his gun (ahem!) in her room again, she's reminding him that in this family they eat at the table. And when Derek isn't hinting that Sarah's ex-boyfriend Charley might need to be eliminated, he's glowering at John's sisterly guard Cameron.

Robot Issues
Cameron couldn't find the hand, but she finds a solid lead on her ancestor, the missing chess-playing computer known as the Turk. To track the Turk's chess teacher, Dmitri, she stakes out his sister's dance class — conveniently giving actress Summer Glau the chance to show off her body, er, background, and grants us a one-liner about how Cameron has (ha-ha) a mechanistic upper body. Cameron bribes Dmitri to tell her who bribed him to throw the Turk's last match. Then, since there's no human family around to moralize about this, she lets a Russian gang kill Dmitri and his sister.

Agent Ellison hid that hand where everyone stores dismembered pieces of flesh-covered endoskeleton: in the freezer. He and the hand visit Dr. Silberman, who supervised the institution that once held Sarah. They're both ready to recognize her as a prophet, or at least realize that she's not crazy. Between references to the books of Matthew and Revelations, Silberman stabs Ellison to see whether he's a robot, then tries to burn him alive anyway. Sarah saves Ellison and retrieves and destroys the hand; Ellison has Silberman committed.

Cue Sarah's weekly portentous voice-over, telling us that machines can't commune with God, create art, or appreciate beauty. Meanwhile, Cameron performs ballet alone in her room. Or not quite alone, since Derek — disgusted? Terrified? A little turned on? — is watching from the doorway … —Kristal Hawkins