Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Review: “Alpine Fields”

This week’s episode features three temporal settings, lots of Sarah and Derek, and too little Summer Glau.

Title: “Alpine Fields”

Cast and Crew

Director: John Enborn
Writer: Charles Beeson and Bryan Spicer

Lena Heady as Sarah Connor
Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese

Summer Glau as Cameron Philips
Thomas Dekker as John Connor
Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie
Fay Wolf as Lila
Shirley Manson as Catherine Weaver
Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie
Samantha Krutzfeldt as Lauren
Carlos Jacott as David
Oren Dayan as Mike
Rebecca Creskoff as Anne
Haley Hudson as Sydney

Synopsis

In the past, Sarah and Cameron try to rescue a family targeted by the Machines. In the present and the future, we learn why the family has been targeted, and we gain some insight into Derek’s character.

High Point

Despite some choppy pacing, I thought this episode did a good job of gathering together the disparate plots in different times. The pieces fit, Jetée-like, together.

Low Points

Given that the situation is “well beyond Dr. Phil,” it seems odd that Sarah, after all her experiences, driving away from danger of which she well knows the severity, would get herself distracted by the Fields’ squabbling.

Is it a script problem, an acting problem, or a directorial problem that the guest characters seem so blasé about the fantastic events?

The Scores

Originality: 3/6. It works, but anyone familiar with time-travel fiction won’t find this episode particularly original.

Effects: 5/6. The settings and effects were simple but effective, and they helped create a suitable atmosphere.

Story: 4/6. I enjoyed the story. It’s yet another choppy episode, however, which won’t appeal to everyone.

Acting: 4/6. In particular, I thought Samantha Krutzfeldt shone as Lauren, and we also received some insight into Derek Reese’s character. Acting from the others was mostly average. The fragmented script can work against the performers. And, of course, Glau stands out in this series, and this particular script downplays her character’s role.

Production: 5/6.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Overall: 5/6.

“Alpine Fields” receives 30/42.

Lingering Question

Shouldn’t the Terminators be better at identifying one another? And why did it take this one so long to get to the cottage after taking out Cameron?

8 replies on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Review: “Alpine Fields””

  1. rickyjames says:

    Scrambled Eggs
    I started venting all my pent up vitrol about this ep and decided it’s just not worth it. Crazy woman with gun! Dad’s a crook! And suicidal! The daughter is gay! And trusdting of crazy strangers! Mom is having an affair with the next door neighbor! And she’s pregnant! There’s a killer outside! And it’s a robot from the future! Oh, yeah, and since this is only one of THREE frame stories, there’s basically only one line of dialogue max to develop each plot point!

    Shakespeare is a little much to expect from such an omlette of broken eggs like this, but still…

    After this mess, I think the whole show should just be Cam roaming the library every night doing library research and finding natty Terms in walls with Tommy guns and such.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Scrambled Eggs

      After this mess, I think the whole show should just be Cam roaming the library every night doing library research and finding natty Terms in walls with Tommy guns and such.

      Usually I’m the one being hard on genre TV. I would agree with one point; the show works much better when they focus on Summer Glau. Of course, they have other characters to consider.

      Hmmm….

      • Fozzy_Bear says:

        Re: Scrambled Eggs


        much better when they focus on Summer Glau. Of course, they have other characters to consider.

        Hmmm….

        Great link.

        Now THAT’S a movie I’d pay 10 bucks to see… probably multiple times.

  2. Cerberus7 says:

    Mostly enjoyed it.
    Yeah, it’s got its issues, but I mostly enjoyed this ep. Mostly for the way they weaved the future-present threads together. It did suffer from some pacing problems, but the overall effect was interesting.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Mostly enjoyed it.

      Yeah, it’s got its issues, but I mostly enjoyed this ep. Mostly for the way they weaved the future-present threads together. It did suffer from some pacing problems, but the overall effect was interesting.

      I thought it was pretty tight. There were no wasted smoking guns, the acting was up to par, I enjoyed the pacing, and this show actually handles time travel rather well. The other thing that popped out at me is that even without a lot of knowledge of its backstory this episode is a decent standalone work. I finished watching this episode thinking that this series is really coming into its own.

      Oddly, this episode was more enjoyable for me than last week’s River Goes to Hogwarts episode.

      BUT, as always, your mileage may vary. :)

      I also noticed that it must be vacation, or secondary project time, for some of the actors. In the past two episodes the focus of the show has tightened to just a few actors from the ensemble. I’m assuming we’ll see the other actors popping up in other series or movies in six months or so.

      -Joe

  3. sjaskow says:

    Dead guy?
    My biggest issue with it was: did the guy who was Sydney’s father get killed by Cameron 6 months in the past and, if so, who did the mom call to get the triple 8 on their trail again?

    • obiwan says:

      Re: Dead guy?

      My biggest issue with it was: did the guy who was Sydney’s father get killed by Cameron 6 months in the past and, if so, who did the mom call to get the triple 8 on their trail again?

      I don’t think Cameron killed him, she probably just knocked him out. That was my high point btw.

      "Oh he’s human?"

      • Alexius says:

        Re: Dead guy?

        My biggest issue with it was: did the guy who was Sydney’s father get killed by Cameron 6 months in the past and, if so, who did the mom call to get the triple 8 on their trail again?

        I don’t think Cameron killed him, she probably just knocked him out. That was my high point btw.

        "Oh he’s human?"

        You two just summed up the dialog between my wife and I at that scene.

        Also, my catch: If Cameron was unconscious, and the Trip8 was so far back, who threw her through the window, or did she jump and pass out on the way through?

        -`Lex

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