“O Mary Don’t You Shoot”

The latest trend in Hollywood has been to re-tread nostalgic favorites, thus the return of Transformers, Rocky, Rambo, and Knight Rider (which threatens to become a series in the Fall). It makes sense: the properties have immediate name recognition and a built in audience, however, that alone isn’t enough (see Bionic Woman). However, I don’t think Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will be sharing the problems of Bionic Woman.

For a start, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has a well thought out mythology and the writers know where they are going with the show. It’s a simple premise: a mother and son on the run from robots from the future who are out to kill him before he grows up to become the rebel leader savior he’s destined to become. But the duo has their own robot protecting them in their travels.

Though the series picks up after T2, the second in the movie franchise, it avoids a lot of the continuity issues of T3 by time jumping ahead to present day 2007. This allows them to fulfill the words spoken in T2 about them writing their own destiny (and the show becomes the default T3).

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has a strong cast. Lena Headey (300) steps in as Sarah Connor, in the role Linda Hamilton made iconic. Add Thomas Dekker (Heroes) as John Connor and Summer Glau (Serenity) as the Cameron, the good Terminator, you have a cast that isn’t exactly a collection of strangers to genre work.

“Come with me if you want to live.” –Cameron

These are the first words the protective Terminator uses to introduce itself to either Sarah or John Connor. To draw a Biblical connection, we have the Terminator essentially functioning as the angel Gabriel in the story. He both announces Sarah and John’s role in the greater story of prophetic history, but serves as a guardian spirit.

“I’m not who they think I am. Some messiah.” –John

In a lot of ways, John’s story is parallel to that of Clark Kent’s in the series Smallville. Both are Messianic figures who have yet to come to terms with their future greatness and struggle with the idea of getting there. In the future, he will lead a war against a system programmed to destroy the world, so their present day adventures revolve around trying to prevent the future Fall of humankind, even though they know they won’t.

John constantly questions himself and his destiny (“Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be? A hero, isn’t that who I am? If it’s just going to sit inside me, if it’s just going to sit in my gut, then what are we doing? What’s the point?”) even as he slowly comes to terms with it. Hopefully John Connor having the initials J.C. wasn’t too subtle for people.

Also in a way, John communes with himself. His older self sits in some future realm, yet still aids his present self by sending messages, Terminators, and other rebel helpers to help him along his journey. Yet it is not John’s story that I think the biggest spiritual connection lies, but rather with his mother’s.

“Would he know my love runs through him like blood?” –Sarah

Sarah Connor assumes the role of Mary in the story of the one day messiah of humanity. She is the one who will teach him to become the soldier and leader he will become. She is the primary guiding force who helps him come to terms with his destiny. As much as she likes having no name, no story, as they move about in their adventures, it is her love, a mother’s love for her son—and her, in turn, fighting for him—that the show revolves around. Because she knows he has a destiny/mission/ministry to fulfill.

Debate rages around the issues of Mary (from her Assumption to her Immaculate Conception to her role as co-redeemer). In the Protestant rush to downplay her, we often overlook the vital role she had to have played in Jesus’ life, beginning with the fact that she carried the God-man in her womb. She was mother to the Savior. Hers was the voice that shaped him, taught him, disciplined him (we see that she at least got on him for tarrying too long at Temple), and helped him come to terms with his messianic consciousness.

Her role was huge in the Story we find ourselves in and she did play an important part in the story of redemption. So all respect is due.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is smart and entertaining, the epitome of how to reinvigorate a franchise. As both messenger and protector, Summer imbues Cameron with a likeability, warmth, and sly humor despite her robotic role. It’s not easy to raise a teenage boy these days, especially while being stalked in a battle between good and evil. And Sarah is one mother you don’t want to cross. Put simply, This. Show. Rocks.

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