This “CSI: Terminator” episode showcases the acting talents of Summer Glau and Thomas Dekker– with very different results.

Title: “Self Made Man”

Cast and Crew

Director: Holly Dale
Writer: Toni Graphia

Summer Glau as Cameron Philips
Lena Heady as Sarah Connor
Thomas Dekker as John Connor
Leven Rambin as Riley
Billy Lush as Eric
Todd Stashwick as Myron Stark
Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese
Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie
Shirley Manson as Catherine Weaver
Richard T. Jones as James Ellison
Dean Winters as Charley Dixon

Synopsis

While the John-Riley relationship continues to develop, we learn what Cameron has been doing during her sleepless nights—- and we discover a mystery involving a Terminator who found himself in the 1920s.

High Point

I liked the relationship between Cameron and Eric. Summer Glau does an impressive job of conveying her character’s oddness and isolation, in ways both humorous and touching. She’s emotionally detached and pragmatic, but not in a psychopathic way. We see here the potential for real feelings. Billy Lush plays off her well. He’s obviously disturbed but intrigued (a stance that could have been developed further), and I liked his delivery of the “Silver Nitrate” speech.

However, they find the correct information very easily.

Low Point

One expects that the show would include a teen love story, but I’m not buying this one. The depiction of teenage culture seems fake, the dialogue, uneven, and the chemistry, somewhat wanting.

The Scores

Originality: 4/6 The collage-approach better suits a written story (where it frequently has been used), and the out-of-hand dismissal of the web as a source of information on Stark seems heavy-handed (likely, some records would exist online). This nevertheless represents an original approach for the series.

Effects: 5/6. What effects they had worked fine.

Story: 4/6. I liked the solution to this mystery, but every use of time-travel raises the same questions about the series’ premise. It seems that, with the ability to travel time, the future adversaries take a very pedestrian approach to achieving their ends. Of course, if the show really developed this angle, it would quickly resemble Desmond Warzel’s “Everybody Kills Hitler….”

The writing and pacing of this episode created disconnections.

Acting: 5/6. See “High” and “Low” Points.

Production: 5/6.

Emotional response: 5/6.

Overall: 5/6.

“Self Made Man” receives 33/42.