Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008) / Sci Fi-Thriller
Season 1: Episode 4: Heavy Metal

Cast: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Richard T. Jones, Garret Dillahunt, Brian Bloom, Brian Austin Green, Catherine Dent
Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan

Screenplay: John Enborn

1.4 - "Heavy Metal"

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" fourth episode is more of a transitional entry than one with any major developments, so it doesn't quite hold up to the promise delivered in "The Turk" in terms of interesting plot developments.  Nevertheless, it does have one very tense scene as a climax involving John Connor stuck in blast-shielded arsenal of metal (called "coltan") which is to be used to make future Terminator machines, guarded by a ruthless Terminator in "stand by" mode.  While Connor (Headey, 300) and crew seek to put a stop to the stockpile of material, Cromartie, the bad Terminator from the previous episodes, gets the assistance of a plastic surgeon in order to look human again.  On his tail is Det. Ellison, who suspects that there's more than meets the eye regarding the person whose identity he resembles, as he begins to put more pieces of this strange puzzle together to figure out who (or what) is leaving a string of murders around the town.

I'm guessing that those who were disappointed by "The Turk" due to its lack of action will be appeased by more of it in "Heavy Metal", as it features a decent amount of gun play, in addition to plenty of punching on the part of Sarah Connor.  There is also a hand-to-hand conflict between Cameron (Glau, Serenity) and one of the other Terminator robots, and while those confrontations are usually exciting, it feels prolonged here, and awkwardly presented. 

As with the previous episode, the controls are given to another director in Mimica-Gezzan, whose previous experience has resided mostly in TV shows including "Battlestar Galactica" and "Prison Break" after years of being an assistant director in many feature films directed by Steven Spielberg.   John Enborn, another newcomer to the series, but given that the series is developed by Josh Friedman, he didn't get the best episode to work with in terms of interesting developments.  Once again, this entry introduces yet more paradoxical time travel angles to give just about anyone a headache, including another Terminator in the mix.  What were unstoppable killing machines in the feature films are becoming little more than super strong humans, and easily duped ones at that.  There's just not much electricity in the air when a Terminator is close to his prey, which is definitely not scoring points in the intrigue department.

Given that you can probably sum up what you'd need to know to continue the series without seeing the episode in about two sentences, it's probably the most disposable of the series thus far.  All it really does is re-establish the story to have John and Sarah on the run from a Terminator they know not the identity of, with Cameron as protector.  If you need that refresher, it's fine enough as a solitary entry, but a string of mostly filler will weaken the series as a whole.

-- Followed by "Queen's Gambit".

Qwipster's episode rating:

2008 Vince Leo