Archive for Desert Cantos

TSCC Episode 2.15: Desert Cantos

Posted in TSCC Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by severus

desertcantos_23After the action of last week’s episode, Desert Cantos slows down the pace a bit. The Connors are all together on a mission, which has been a rarity since season one. Sarah, John, Cameron, and Derek travel back to the high desert community of Charm Acres to further their investigation of SkyNet’s role in the Desert Canyon Heat and Air warehouse explosion. Sarah sees SkyNet’s fingerprints on everything that has transpired, and is slowly converting her skeptical family to her viewpoint. By the end of the episode, the conversion is complete. There is little doubt of SkyNet’s presence in Charm Acres.

The structure of the episode follows the ritualized elements of a funeral: the vigil, the service, the processional, the burial, and the recessional. It seems more like the acts of a play however, as the mourners appear to be no more than extras in the foreground of a command performance. Everyone is complicit in the cover-up  at Desert Canyon Heat and Air. No one asks questions, but merely do as their roles require in order to receive a king’s ransom at the end of the night. The insurance payments are generous.

It is Sarah who searches for deeper meaning within events. Sarah seems to critique all of us when she accuses Zoe and her mother Stella of sleepwalking through their lives. She accuses us of being dead to what is unfolding around us. Stella’s retort is equally profound when she answers with why would she begin asking questions now, just before she’s about to receive the payoff for not asking questions? We all want to hit the jackpot that puts us out of harm’s way, and we do so at the expense of searching for deeper meaning. 

To Diane Winston, who is just beginning to ask questions, Sarah’s response contradicts her prior exhortation to Stella. She repeats Diane’s own words to her: “sometimes it’s better not to ask too many questions”. This contradiction reflects the paradox of Sarah Connor: an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a puzzle. Is Sarah crazy? Aren’t we all.

desertcantos_11Other interesting aspects of Desert Cantos include how oddly Cameron was portrayed in this funereal setting. Summer Glau had very few lines of dialogue, but left a distinct visual mark upon the story. Cameron’s limbs were devoid of life, as though she were the walking dead. We have seen Cameron in multiple scenarios over the course of two seasons. She has even pondered death on several occasions. In the midst of so much death, her inorganic nature is highlighted. We see the unnatural robot inside the girl.

John Connor was much more engaged and assertive than ever before. He took charge when Henry petulantly demanded that Cameron and John exit the car during the processional. He also pulled his gun to threaten both Zoe and Stella in the underground cellar. Are we beginning to see the emergence of the heroic John Connor? I hope so.

The B storyline of Ellison, Weaver, and Savannah was also very intriguing. First off, it’s always great to see McKenzie Smith as Savannah. Second, it appears that Ellison is on to something. This was subtly conveyed in the elevator scene when Catherine Weaver inappropriately remarked that it was a beautiful day although it was the anniversary of her husband’s death. I don’t believe that Ellison is entirely obtuse. He may be in the beginning stages of formulating an opinion about what is transpiring around him.