The 2008 Television Time Capsule: Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles – “What He Beheld”

timecapsuleterminator

“What He Beheld”

Season One, Episode Nine

Airdate: March 3rd, 2008

In the show’s second season, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles emerged as something quite surprising: a competent science fiction drama with a sense of character and a growing identity. So picking an episode to include in the Time Capsule to reflect this feels like it should come from the second half of the year.

But I kept going back to “What He Beheld,” the first season finale that convinced me the show was going to be capable of being something more than just an attempt to capture the franchise’s storylines in a serial dramatic setting.

The series has since gone on to delve into deep psychological issues, both of the humans within the story and the Terminators who coexist with them. But the sequence, set to Johnny Cash, of the various police officers being thrown aside by Cromartie was the one that showed me the show was aiming higher: what could have felt like an attempt at shocking the audience with violence was played entirely artistically. There was no sense that the show was exploiting their deaths, but capturing them in the most artful of ways: we see the pool’s stillness just as a body tears it apart. The apartment building setting isn’t designed for eye candy but the sharp contrast of the mundane living arrangement meeting with the trauma of the action involved.

The show’s second season has built on this development: it was one scene to begin with, but each subsequent episode has built on it. Yes, the show still has its down periods, and every now and then I think that its vague storyline could use some clarity, but Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles is everything Heroes wants to be:  a smart, sophisticated piece of science fiction that might not be Battlestar Galactica but certainly feels like the kind of show that, given time, could prove a worthwhile journey.

Related Posts at Cultural Learnings

[For more details on the Cultural Learnings 2008 Television Time Capsule, click here!]

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