Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Perfect “Mousetrap”

Last night’s episode, “Mousetrap”, returned the show to the suspense and drama that we saw in the series initial episodes. And they did it without a lot of complications and terminator wars.

The episode begins with Charley Dixon (Dean Winters) and his wife Michelle (Sonja Walger) stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhereville. They are fleeing in order to protect themselves. While Charley is distracted though, Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) sabotages his own car, and steals Charley’s – with Charlie’s wife still in it.

Meanwhile, John Conner (Thomas Dekker) is stealing cable for his very pregnant neighbor, and sees a news story about an actor whose identity Cromartie used while he murdered a huge group of an assault team. Later, John gets a call from a crazed Charley, but Charley covers up his panic and asks to talk to Sarah (Lena Headey). She seems not happy to hear from him, but she’s really speaking to him in code. She manages to get Charley’s location and goes to help him, with Derek (Brian Austin Green) in tow. But, before she leaves, she tells Cameron not to let Charlie out of her sight.

Cromartie is holding Michelle captive, and he has her tied to a chair set up with wire and mousetraps so that any move she made would cause her to be blown up.

Meanwhile, while John and Cameron (Summer Glau) are loading computers onto their pickup truck, he gets a phone call from Riley who wants to see him. Cameron doesn’t like the idea but John takes off when she’s distracted and heads to find Riley.

Ellison (Richard T. Jones) is at home, and he watching one of Laslow’s movie when he gets a call from Weaver (Shirley Manson), who poses an opportunity to him and asks him to meet.

Michelle, despite being tied up, has managed to get access to her cell phone and calls Charley. Sarah insists that Charley ask Michelle something to be sure it’s really her, so he reluctantly asks her a question only she would know. It IS Michelle, and she gives them her location as she best knows. But unbeknownst to her, Cromartie sees that her phone is out of her purse. When Michelle pleads with him, he tapes her mouth shut and sets her chair on the mousetraps, and we can see what look like an explosive device.

While all this is going on, John and Riley are out having fun, when they see Cameron staring at them from across the street.

Sarah, Charley and Derek find the location where Michelle is being held, and enter with their guns drawn. When they see Micelle, Sarah warns that no one should touch her, seeing what looks like an explosive set up. While Sarah reviews the situation, Charley finds their truck had just been sabotaged. Sarah realizes the bomb is fake, and the Cromartie just wanted to keep them there. They free Michelle, and Sarah calls John, telling him to stay with Cameron. But Cromartie has tapped into the call and now has John’s number and the date code word. When Derek says he noticed some equipment tied to a huge cell phone tower right outside the window, Sarah realizes what is going on, and they all flee as Cromartie has the cell phone tower blown up to fall on the house.

Everyone seems OK from the explosion, and Derek and Sarah realize that Cromartie has heard her phone call to John and Cromartie knows the secret calling code. But, as Charley helps Michelle, he sees she is bleeding from her back. She insists she can go on.

Cromartie now calls John, posing as Sarah, and tells him to meet her at the pier and turn off his phone. Meanwhile, the group knows they can only make progress on foot in order to get help, and Michelle goes on, even though she is still bleeding.

While this is going on, Weaver and Ellison have their meeting, with Weaver showing pictures of a plane crash with terminator parts that were found in the wreckage. She said that she and her late husband spent $20 million to reverse engineer the technology, with no luck. She also indicates she knows about Ellison’s New Mexico case from eight years ago who saw a man with a robot leg trying to kill John Connor. She thinks Ellison knows what is really going on and who recently murdered all those police and agents. She wants Ellison to help her find another terminator.

Back in the desert, Sarah car jacks a lone van driver, and they escape. But Michelle is bleeding to death, and Charley demands Sarah to stop the van.

John, back at the pier, spots Cromartie, and runs, Cromartie also seeing him and begins to chase. It ends with both of them in the water, but Cromartie can’t swim, so John gets away. But, just like Star Trek the Next Generation’s Commander Data, Cromartie can still sink to the bottom and walk his way out, which he does. But John has already left the scene with Cameron, who managed to catch up with John.

Outside a hospital emergency room, Charlie is overcome by grief. Michelle is dead. Later, at her funeral, he drops a bible onto the casket and storms off. Ellison is there, and seemingly only a short way away is Cromartie. The episode closes with Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron lowering their heads at a dinner table, with a very subdued. serious tone.

This episode worked well because it was less of the terminator vs. terminator scenario, and a little more of a terminator using his brain, not brawn, to get to John Connor. Although I must admit, it seem a little odd that John, who knows the trouble he could be in when he goes off on his own, being unprotected no less, still does it. I realize that he wants to have his fun, but he’s seen the bad that can happen from complacency. One day, it would be good for John Connor to show that he is really learning from his mistakes.

Enhancing the story line is Michelle’s death, which puts Charley back on the market, and probably will give him a major chip on his shoulder. Nothing adds to the drama of a show with a guy who is angry and wants revenge. The question is – to whom will he direct his anger? To the terminators? To Sarah” Or to both?

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