‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: Ladies of the Season Finale Both Scary and Hot

Sarah’s totally winning that stuffed panda herself.Photo: Courtesy of Fox

Thank to the writers’ strike, the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles was only nine episodes (thirteen were planned), so the final two that aired last night leave the Connors’ future up in the air. But the double finale presented some troubling reflections on counterterrorism and one of the coolest shoot-outs ever to take place on network television.

Mother Issues
Hot mom Sarah Connor’s final monologues let us know what to expect: masks and death, intimacy issues, and the heartbreaking passage of time. Mom is spending a lot of time with Uncle Derek these days — and is that a touch of sexual tension welling up between her and her son’s father’s brother? They fight over a toothbrush; they share a drink at a sidewalk café while plotting to blow up City Hall. But Derek is busy mourning the future, and Mom is contemplating bad parenting and superficial Los Angeles and understanding all too well why “they” want to drop bombs on us. Then there’s Derek’s ambivalence about what a badass Sarah is: Is she hot or scary?

Meanwhile, Sarah’s ex-boyfriend Charley is still lurking. He tries to persuade her to talk to the increasingly sympathetic and credulous Agent Ellison, but Sarah sends Charley packing and urges him to take his (ahem!) wife into hiding, insisting that he could accidentally lead the evil robots to the house and endanger them all. We’re guessing that Ellison’s rants about pale horses and the Rapture are not going to help him convince the rest of the FBI that humanity is in danger of robot domination.

Meanwhile, John worries that his mom won’t remember his birthday amid all the apocalyptic robot fuss. Good thing Uncle Derek is here to console him, buy him ice cream — and take him to the park where they can spy on Derek and his brother Kyle as boys. Derek has figured out that John is his nephew: John looks like Kyle, and Sarah is totally Kyle’s type. Um, Derek … hot-and-scary Sarah is everyone’s type. Oh, and, John? If your mom can save the world, she can manage to remember your birthday. Give a lady a break.

Robot Issues
Cromartie/Kester is hunting John, but the school’s administration isn’t cooperating with him. They assume the investigation is drug-related, scoff at the Patriot Act, and are basically like, Robot, please, haven’t you ever smoked a little pot? Cameron throws Kester off by using pal Morris as a decoy; Morris is cool with that, because now Cameron has to go to prom with him. John is less cool, because he’s just discovered that his robo-pet sister is capable of lying to him and because he keeps noticing that she’s almost as hot as his mom.

But that’s the least of Cameron’s trouble: bigoted-against-robots Derek discovers that she’s been hiding an enemy terminator’s memory chip in her room. She insists the mission required it. Indeed, scanning the chip — and finally getting a call back from the guy who now holds chess-playing robo-ancestor the Turk — helps the Connors piece things together.

That dead terminator had masqueraded as human and had a wife — who happened to be involved in setting up ARTTIE, Los Angeles’ Automated Real Time Traffic Information Exchange. Our heroes recognize ARTTIE as (1) anti-terror surveillance gone wild and (2) the central nervous system of the future robot empire. Sarah’s plot to break into City Hall and inject a virus into the system fails, and the Connors never let Derek just blow shit up. But John saves the day when he plugs Cameron’s own chip into a traffic light. Cue massive L.A. gridlock as well as John’s tender glances as he puts Cameron’s chip back inside her head.

Alas, the Connor clan doesn’t have the same luck in finding the Turk, though they do kill its salesman, and Agent Ellison’s attempt to arrest Kester fails spectacularly. Ellison and his FBI posse corner the terminator in a roadside motel, only to find that he’s bulletproof. We watch the aftermath from the bottom of the motel’s swimming pool as it fills with the bodies and blood of dozens of slain agents. Sweet.

And then there’s the end scene: Cameron and her hot ass climb into a Jeep, put the key into the ignition, and get blown up, Sopranos style.

Does Cameron survive and heal her meat-covered endoskeleton in time to make it to prom? Will the Connors save the world (again)? Just how many times in a single episode can Sarah and John get tears in their pretty green eyes? Will Terminator 4 suck as badly as Terminator 3? We await season two. —Kristal Hawkins

‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: Ladies of the Season Finale Both Scary and Hot