This episode felt a little off to me and not just because of the lack of Derek. ;) Actually, I was forty minutes into the episode until I realized he was MIA which tells me he wasn't needed. I appreciate it when shows don't feel compelled to force a character into the story.
The theme for the episode seemed to be truth or, more precisely, what we desire to be true. Sarah and John, in order to survive, have been forced to live lives based on lies, but it's clear that those not dealing with trying to stave off an impending robot apocalypse are choosing to lie to protect themselves as well. Casey, whose becoming a more significant and interesting character than I had anticipated, lies to herself and to Sarah about Trevor. He's a good guy, wants to be a good father, but Casey fears how his life will affect that of their unborn son. Like Sarah, she's trying to guard her child against the violence of world she has not yet seen. Unlike Sarah, she is unable to fathom how out of her control her son's fate is.
I believe T-1000 Catherine Weaver was telling the truth about the helicopter crash, she just left out a few details. Likely, she had disguised herself as part the helicopter and, upon revealing herself, triggered the panic in Mr Weaver that caused the crash. She then assumed Catherine's identity. Interestingly, I felt there was some sincerity on her part as she expressed her views on technology and it's benefits to Ellison. And killing John and Sarah seems far from a primary goal. Maybe she envisions a robot empire not created through the destruction of humanity, but through undermining it and gradually controlling it over time.
Poor little proto type robot girl, also known as Alison. Summer gave, imho, her best performance to date, creating two distinct characters (three if you want to include Amnesiac!Cameron) and doing a great job of conveying Alison's fear and pain. Unfortunately, by Summer doing such a superb job she further emphasized Shirley Manson's shortcomings.
Seeing glimpses into Alison and Cameron's past raises a lot of answers. Why was Alison of all those in captivity copied? She was close to John, but how close? If Cameron was imprinted with Alison's memories and Alison loved John, Cameron's declaration of love to John in the season premiere may have been more than a fake out, it may have been the first sign of Alison bleeding into Cameron's consciousness. I'm also left to wonder, if Cameron was created to kill John, did John feel compelled to reprogram her, try to save her, because of feelings he had for her? Yet, he also made every effort to strip her of those memories. And this identity crisis is proving her chip was damaged more severely than anyone thought. That's more than a bit worrisome.
I loved that we now have an explanation for Cameron's desire to dance - Alison's mother was a music teacher. And, I can't recall, was the music that 'inspired' her at the dance studio Chopin? It would be nifty if it was.
We now have a little more backstory on Ellison. He and his ex-wife seem to be on very good terms so what drove them apart?
There was a lot to love about this episode. They managed to recap events from last season for the newbies while not boring me. That's something shows usually trying to 'reboot' fail to do.
The entire supporting cast has been upgraded to series regular status. I was a bit worried about that development until I saw that the writers toned down the more irritating aspects of the characters. Morgan even scored a better haircut!
Sarah seems happier at Orange Orange. A cuter outfit without the annoying smell of sausage!
Casey may have shown a layer! He'd never admit, but his reluctance to kill Chuck proves he likes the guy. And even if Sarah hadn't arrived to inform Chuck that the cipher was a fake and he remained the sole intersect, I don't believe Casey could have pulled the trigger. It seems to me that in protecting Chuck he now has more of a life than he ever had. Chuck and Sarah are the only people in his life he could possibly call friends. He occasionally gets to have a family dinner at the Bartowski's. He even has acclimated quite nicely at the Buy More, eying the "Single white female pining for the beastmaster" and not wanting to miss out on a big sale.
Big Mike has better management skills than my boss. I had to mention that.
Chuck finally got to be the hero! Yes, he was dropped from the building and Casey needed to stop him from going splat, but, before that moment, Chuck had done some pretty quick and impressive thinking on his own and with no expectation of anyone coming to save him. And, at the end, he was the one who led the troops in to save Sarah and Casey. Just as Chuck believes he's about to leave this life he never wanted behind, he embraces it, even referring to himself as 'Agent Charmichael'.
Overall, I enjoyed the episode. Reese seems a lot more excepting of her partner. They didn't drag out the search for Rachel (I can't even imagine where the therapist is going to have to begin with her). I actually felt sympathy some sympathy for the killer...up until he revealed himself to be a psycho. How utterly depressing is the thought that someone would be driven to kill because they are tormented to see other people's happiness?
What I'm possibly not pleased about is the addition of Tidwell. Not only did I like Lt Davis, I felt bringing in an abrasive, fish-out-of-water, possibly smarmy (Was he joking about the wife and girlfriend? And does he want to add Reese to the harem?) new boss was a cliche and the show has done a pretty good job up until now of avoiding cliche characters.
Happy Belated Birthdays! to pellucid and the_royal_anna. I know you lovely and brilliant women had great days and I hope you forgive my tardiness. I didn't forget, I wasn't posting! ;)