Most of the cast– flesh and metal– stare down death in this episode. Death doesn’t always blink.
Title: “To the Lighthouse”
Cast and Crew
Written by Natalie Chaidez
Directed by Guy Ferland
Lena Heady as Sarah Connor
Thomas Dekker as John Connor
Summer Glau as Cameron Philips
Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese
Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie/John Henry
Dean Winters as Charley Dixon
Jonathan Jackson as Kyle Reese
Shirley Manson as Catherine Weaver
Richard T. Jones as James Ellison
Shane Edelman as Matt Murch
Mackenzie Brooke Smith as Savannah
John DeVito as Young John Connor
Sarah and John retreat to an old friend’s place, where they face life-threatening dangers. We’re also treated to a flashback to their earlier life together, and to a potentially fatal situation for Cameron and Derek. Elsewhere, John Henry gets taken offline after he begins behaving dangerously, and they discover he’s been in touch with something over the Net. He also gets to quote both Matthew 27: 45-46 and The Empire Strikes Back.
The writer has handled that cliché of conspiracy lore (and reality of this century), the tracking implant, in an interesting manner, and the result leads to Sarah, Dean, and John all making difficult, dramatically interesting decisions. This episode features an impressive fourth act.
I found the pacing and handling of the John Henry plot a little awkward—though the content tied in nicely with the rest of the episode and the larger Terminator world.
Originality: 2/6 The story works, without question. It features very little that is original.
Story: 5/6. This episode features a slow first act and an action packed conclusion. They do a better job here than some other weeks juggling the multiple storylines.
Acting: 4/6. Is it just me, or is this episode strangely uneven? The acting in the first half, in particular, seemed very “television.” The latter portions featured better performances, especially from Lena Heady.
Emotional response: 5/6.
Overall: 5/6. I enjoyed the way this episode referenced the movies and the series’ history.
“To the Lighthouse” receives 31/42.
The title has been borrowed from the landmark novel by Virginia Woolf, but the two stories only tenuously relate to one another. (Both feature a lighthouse retreat, both include time-shifts, and both concern relationships. Any similarity ends there).
I was reminded of Charles G.D. Roberts’ short story “Do Seek Their Meat From God” (reprinted in The Wild Animal Story) which shows us a conflict between human and panther from both perspectives. Both simply want to survive.