Episode 1.3: The Turk
Airdate: January 21, 2008
"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
J. Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gita
After two action-packed episode, The Sarah Connor Chronicles goes for a change of pace. The Turk is a slow moving episode that seems designed to set up several story arcs rather than tell a story itself.
It begins with Sarah dreaming about Oppenheimer and the men of Los Alamos. Now me, I’ve read just about every book there is on the subject so I squealed with delight at the reference, but I think I was alone in that. I can’t imagine there were very many viewers who understood the significance of the reference, which was used several times throughout the episode.
Sarah’s arc takes her to Andy Goode (Brendan Hines), a young Cyberdyne intern who is now selling cell phones. (I keep forgetting that Sarah comes from an era where cell phones weren’t commonly used.) She agrees to go out on a date with Andy and thus discovers his closeted (literally) secret. He’s built a computer he calls The Turk and with it he’s doing research into artificial intelligence. Now, this is an interesting, and somewhat mind numbing, concept. That a human could build a computer so smart, that the computer could then build a smarter computer, one the original human could never even imagine. This is the idea behind Skynet’s attempt to take over the world, so it’s up to Sarah to nip this thing in the bud. While she contemplates killing a human who hasn’t yet done anything wrong. . .
John and Cameron go to school.
This is arc number two and it’s a weird one on a couple of levels. First off, as much as I find Cameron’s computer-brain interactions funny, they’re a bit over the top. In the pilot, we saw her fitting in nicely at John’s high school. She looked and acted like a normal girl. She spoke in short but relevant sentences. Now, all of a sudden, she doesn’t know that you have to sit down in class. She doesn’t know to enter a room when some calls, "come in" and she can’t interact with a bathroom full of teenage girls. What happened? Did her circuits misfire when Sarah tossed her out that window?
I did laugh during the whole, eyeliner is not brain surgery bit and John’s "no one tried to kill me and she didn’t kill anyone, so it was a good day," line is classic. So it’s finding a balance here that worries me.
Back to the story.
There’s an extremely confusing twist regarding a trompe l’oeil painting on the wall of the school. Trompe l’oeil is the art of painting an optical illusion. It means "trick the eye". In this case, the painting is a progression that appears to be a door that eventually opens to show — if my eyes aren’t deceiving me, the silhouette of a man and his bride about to kiss. A student sees the painting and gets hysterical then kills herself by jumping off the building. John wants to stop her but Cameron keeps him from doing this, which raises one of the moral conundrums of the series.
John is supposed to be the future savior of all mankind, but because he must remain anonymous to become that person, he can’t save individuals in this life because it would thrust him into the spotlight and that would be bad.
The third arc in the episode belongs to Agent Ellison, who is investigating the murder of his informant, Enrique.
Add to that, arc four, which follows the Terminator from the pilot on his quest for a brain. So he goes off to see the wizard. . . no. Wait. Wrong story. He wants flesh! And eyes! So he robs a hospital then gives a scientist the formula he needs to induce a chemical regeneration of human skin. It’s pretty gross and quite creepy when T-boy rises out of his bloody bath! And then there are the eyes. . . which, I’d rather not talk about. Yuck.
But I do want to talk about Phil Morris. Some fan with sharp eyes noted that in the pilot, the picture of Miles Dyson is actually a photo of Phil Morris and not the actor who played him in the movie. Why bother changing the actor when the man is dead? I’m thinking flashbacks. So, during the opening credits of The Turk, I see the name, Phil Morris. But unless you count the name of Miles Dyson on a tombstone, the character was no where to be found in the episode. Was he? Did I miss it? To make matters stranger, Sarah Connor isn’t even listed on Phil Morris’ IMDB listing. Now I know those aren’t always up to date, still, it’s odd.
All in all, I enjoyed the episode because I love the characters, but I found myself less forgiving of the faux pas than I was the first week. Let’s see where I am after episode 1.4, which, sadly, isn’t going to air until February 4.