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Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 1 Finale: “Vick’s Chip” and “What He Beheld”

There were so many ways this season finale could have gone wrong, but watching them pay-off many of the Sarah Connor Chronicles unanswered questions I had a strange new feeling that requires a borrowed chess phrase (in keeping with the show’s chess theme): “Candidate move,” which means any move in chess that at first appears to be a very good move but warrants further review.

So here’s further review:

Monday night’s installment began with an explanation for why Cameron was hording the T-888 brain chip. She wanted to replay the memory card and see where and who and what this machine has been killing.

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This was elegant and unexpected. Not that we didn’t know this particular scene was coming–the show’s preview pretty much gave it away–but with so much fuss being built around it, I was expecting this at the end of the evening. Instead, it was what set things in motion.

Replaying those memories, we got a grave lesson in the nefariousness of Terminators–that they can be programmed to liar, cheat and steal their way into human hearts.

If the original Turing Test (the fabled test for machine intelligence designed in 1950 by Alan Turing) was about fooling a human into believing they were having a conversation with another human (rather than a machine), then version 2.0 has to be getting a human to fall in love with a machine without knowing the object of their affection is actually nuts and bolts and, in this particular case, an exoskeleton made from cobalt.

Furthermore, the show sidestepped two messes–the question of why did Derek kill Andy Goode (because, apparently, when the future of mankind is at stake you shoot first and ask questions later) and does Derek know that his brother is John’s father (yes, because he’s Sarah’s type)–by simply addressing them out loud.

As a bonus, Derek finally got to display an emotion that went beyond his usual pissed-off attitude–turns out I may actually end up liking this guy.

Finally and, well, hot damn, they made good on a lot of fluff about Agent Ellison’s place in the hierarchy of doom. All those quotes from Revelations leading up to the final scene of FBI agents dropping, gut shot and D.O.A., into the motel pool was the prefect smorgasbord of violent foreshadowing to set up the next season.

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Yes, I’m really glad that Agent Simpson (Catherine Dent) is no longer among the living. She was, by far, the show’s stupidest character, the plot’s weakest link and just generally annoying. Sayonara!

Yes, I want to know why Agent Ellison is still breathing.

Yes, Cromartie, leaving him alive and alone with all those dead agents, was what you’d expect from a big-time show in need of a big-time push to make it to next season.

So, good job folks. See you next year.

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