Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Demon Hand
B

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Demon Hand

B

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The Demon Hand

Season 1, Episode 7


It crossed my mind: instead of "The Demon Hand," what if this week's episode had been called "The Penis"? Yeah, I sound like I'm 12. But doesn't this show need some laughs?

This week's about a hand - the ripped-off hand left by the T-888 model two weeks ago, in "Queen's Gambit." As we've learned, Sarah Connor and the gang have to find every stray piece of Terminator that winds up in their world, lest some mad scientist use it to bring us a little closer to Judgment Day. But James Ellison, the FBI agent who's starting to believe in killer robots himself, managed to find the hand - and that means trouble. Now, if you found a metal hand (or hey, a metal penis) lying in the road, you'd probably think, "Prank." Or if you were in California, you'd think, "Prop." But people on this show? No sense of humor.

For half the episode, Ellison chases clues on Sarah Connor, and Sarah Connor chases Ellison. First, Ellison visits the asylum where Sarah was locked up for three years, and then he drives up into the hills to see her shrink, Dr. Silverman, played by the reliably harried Bruce Davison. Her shrink was supposed to treat Sarah for her paranoid visions of the apocalypse and killer robots. But it turns out that Sarah was awfully persuasive: Silverman believes in the robots, too. In fact, he thinks Ellison could be a robot, and slips him a roofie, ties him up, and sticks a knife in his leg just to make sure. If I cared about Ellison, this would have been fairly disturbing. Later, when he finds out that Ellison actually has the T-888 hand with him, Silverman goes out to Ellison's car, pops the trunk, and reverently lifts it out - "the hand of God," the proof of the apocalypse. Like I said, a penis would've been funnier.

For the most part, this is not a happy episode. On top of Ellison's misadventures and Sarah having to shlep around looking for that hand - which she ultimately gets, and destroys - we have another bummer mother/son moment: John finds a tape from Sarah's days in the asylum, and gets to watch her sign away all her rights to him. Bad enough to see your mom's crazy tapes, but to see your mom signing you over to the government? That's a bummer. They patch it up at the end, sort of, but Sarah puts it best: "There was a time I was a hero to my son ... . He knows better now." In fact, that's the only good line in her entire voiceover.

And as for Cameron the Terminatrix, this week she goes to find Dmitri, the guy who stole that chess-playing computer that gave us that nail-biting action set-piece in "Queen's Gambit." And along the way, she winds up in a ballet class, where she learns that "Dance is key to language of the soul." That's right, it's another reminder that Cameron the Robot Girl wishes she had a soul. I'm waiting for one of these episodes to start, "There once was a little wooden boy named Pinocchio ... ." It couldn't be much more on the nose (get it?).

More effective is the way they remind us that for all her artistic leanings, Cameron's still a merciless killing machine. When she gets what she wants from Dmitri, she walks away - leaving him and his sister to get gunned down by Russian mobsters. Summer Glau plays it very cold as she hops down the steps; all she needed to do was kick a puppy on her way out the door.

End to end, this was a pretty good episode, but it's just setting us up for the finale - a two-hour extravaganza in which secrets are revealed! Cromartie the self-made Terminator is back! And maybe John will even go to school! Word on the street is that we're ending on a cliffhanger - so let's hope they call another writer's strike and Fox has to bring this back next year!

Grade: B

Stray Observations:

- I almost forgot that Brian Austin Green is still hanging around as Derek Reese, John's unemployed uncle, who's crashing on their couch, playing with their guns and bleeding through their t-shirts. He also has a secret past with John's sister-substitute Cameron. Yep, it's always a hoot when Uncle Derek comes to town.

- We're back to dissing Cameron. As soon as she walks into the kitchen wearing a police uniform, Sarah quips, "And somewhere in the city, a naked cop bleeds in an alley."

- If Summer Glau's ballet scenes felt a little indulgent, they should have: anyone who read Tasha's interview with Summer Glau knows that she's a trained ballerina, so this was an excuse to show off her non-acting chops - the same way that every single series with Mandy Patinkin has to let the guy sing. But somehow, I'm guessing the 18-25 male demo doesn't mind watching Glau do a duet a trois or whatever that was.