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DVD cover showing a Sarah Connor cocking a gun while crouching with her legs spread apart


Here we go again, right?

Looking at this image, it’s hard to deny that "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" is yet another TV program being marketed with tired, exploitatively posed pictures, designed to please straight male culture. While Lena Headey looks hot in this shot, the way she's posed caters to the priorities and gaze of dudes, and indicates to women that just because there are ladies in this program that doesn’t mean that women are welcomed into the fanbase. Get away from that DVD, woman!

In this picture, Headey is posed in a suggestive way with her legs spread to draw the eye to her crotch. That's enough posing for the straight male gaze already, but the image has still more sexual coding to give up. The combination of that crotch shot and the gun in her hands presents another example of how our culture delights in playing with and posing powerful, interesting female characters for the titillation of men. In images like this, guns are positioned as tools of attraction rather than of genuine power. In other words, Sarah may be holding a gun which makes her look powerful, but that power is undercut because of the combination of that gun and the crotch shot which clearly indicates that the important message of this shot is 'girls with guns are sexually attractive and men should get on objectifying them' rather than 'women with guns could take your balls off just because they feel like it'. In this image, Sarah presents as the strong, weapon carrying woman that she is but she is reduced by the way the camera focuses the male gaze.

In other shots on the UK DVD covers, Summer Glau is posed with guns, but in positions which realistically would make it difficult for her to shoot anyone. In this official image, her clothes are deliberately fixed to be suggestively revealing. And as someone who is currently in the middle of watching far too many programs where all the things I want are accompanied by the mass destruction of women in ‘interesting’ ways this image in particular is a bit hard to take:

Cameron's top half hangs from metal supports - she is naked, her long hair barely covering her breasts and below the waist she is dismembered with wires trailing


Dismemberment - just an inconvenient detail if a woman is naked.

Oprah shakes her head, says no and rolls her eyes


All of which means I feel obliged to start this post by suggesting that you not to write off "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" because of these images. I am really excited to talk about the first series of this program because, despite what these marketing images might suggest, this is a program with a healthy respect for women and an interest in female characters. I swear! I mean it has its complicated gender stuff, but look other people agree with me that it is also a program full of women doing interesting things. In between those DVD covers is an awesome story about a female protagonist, the people who are important to her, and killer robots from the future, one of which is here to look at her significantly.



As its fandom already knows, "TSCC" is an intriguing whole which takes concepts that SF fans are accustomed to (time travel; the much debated 'Would you kill Hitler?' style narrative from these time travel stories; the potential humanity of machines; the notion of an unstoppable enemy) and adds an intelligent, original presentation to these ideas1. The program's commitment to original, artistic presentation is often inconsistent, as in this first series the creators of "TSCC" appear to struggle to work out exactly how to combine a killer robot action format and a deeper ideas driven SF. However, the cast’s ability to put emotions into the program, responding to difficult situations with faces that show a distinct but subtle change at different times, makes "TSCC" a shiny little gem that goes beyond a standard piece of robot mayhem. And that's why I want to spend a little bit of time musing over.

Before I get serious though, it’s really important that I acknowledge how attractive I find the whole "TSCC" cast in series one:

Lena Headey, Summer Glau and Richard T. Jones stand around looking attractive


The program’s creators put Lena Headey, Summer Glau, Richard T. Jones and Brian Austin Greene in one show. Then they filled their minor character roles with some of my television obsessions past and present, picking up Sabrina Perez along the way. It was never a fair fight. I mean, come on, look at Lena Headey’s face:

Lena Headey frowns and makes an emotive face in her role as Sarah Connor


This face has all the emotions all the time.

Heady plays Sarah Connor; the title character, and chin-up specialist. She became my favourite character within about five minutes. Although she’s the main protagonist and so kind of an easy pick my slavish adoration of Sarah may still surprise some people – despite her hard, driven attitude and her physical capability I can see her failing all kinds of ideal feminist standards. For one thing, her story is based around a typical Mama Bear drive and would not exist without the input of a child (a male one at that), her son John Connor, who provides her with a reason to live and act, and apparently sends one of his best friends back in time to impregnate her. Yargh. Alarm bells!

What else might compromise Sarah's feminist status? Well, despite her obvious aggression and competency with a gun, she always looks for ways to get around killing people who may harm her son and I imagine this could be seen as a weakness, or an unforgivable softness. She also appears to have made no female friends in her life and mostly interacts with other women by talking to them about her son’s destiny. Finally, she’s got a ticking 'Dead Mother' time bomb somewhere inside of her; early on in the series, the viewer is told that without taking a jump through time Sarah would have died of cancer before she could train John to lead mankind, and it's possible that the cancer will still catch her. Her basic creation is, in many ways, a mess of tropes that reinforce dominant generalisations about women, and her storyline repeats problematic story types that are used too often in relation to female characters.

See, this is kind of why I get edgy when I see female characters examined using just top line concepts and fixed, theoretical models. It’s extremely useful to point out problematic tropes, even if they are part of a complex woman’s characterisation, but just pointing out those tropes can also end up being a reductionist approach. If a critic ignores a whole layer of context that surrounds these tropes, they can end up presenting a filtered and partial version of a female character in the name of feminism. Most recently, both Mako Mori and The Black Widow were categorised as poor feminist creations, but other critics have pointed out that, while "Pacific Rim" and "The Avengers" contain feminist problems, writing off these women ignores whole realms of context. I don’t want to impose my own ideas about when I think it’s useful to only point out how a character fits these tropes, and when I think this is an ineffective approach. Nor do I want to set up the way that I think these tropes should be contextualised as a definite rule, or some weird set of feminist commandments. These are personal, individual lines that everyone has to sort out for themselves. However, now that I have pulled out the structural problems underlying Sarah’s character and storyline, I’m going to move on to the wider context of that character, what Headey does around the story elements written into her character, and what other people around that actress do to fill some gaps left by the script. Television characters are written, but they’re also built by the people who play them - we’ve just been reminded of that by this absolutely charming revelation.

Sarah Connor's character, storyline and significant relationships are all structured by the potentially problematic tropes I discussed above, and yet her story allows for so much more than what these tropes prescribe. Firstly, an important point that everyone made when the program first aired, but which bears repeating – "TSCC" is Sarah’s story. She’s the central character and she provides all the voice overs in series one; the program both focuses on her and is from her point of view. Each episode is book ended by her voice and her thoughts, allowing the viewer a further glimpse into her mind where she thinks deeply, intelligently and feelingly - perhaps providing a counterpoint to the deliberately hard exterior she often projects to other characters on screen with her. I’m not sure there’s ever going to come a day in our world with our history where the act of putting a woman’s voice into a story won’t be a very basic feminist act.

Then there’s Sarah’s role as a Mama Bear type character. As far as I can work out, in the future Sarah is a dead martyr-mother, a woman that John adores and credits without fault in memory, but who is still, y’know, dead and all. She may even be his primary motivation for fighting in the future which adds the unhappy shadow of fridging to the program. It’s unclear whether fridging is applicable here because future John's motivations are never explicitly spelled out in series one and we might assume that saving humanity is enough of a drive in itself. Still, lady is dead and remembered in raptures in the future. So, how exciting to see "TSCC" qualify this future adoration by allowing the whole present storyline to show the audience Sarah’s faults, hard lines; her realism in other words. How cool to see the creators make that the most important part of the program, and avoid making her fit the ideal that John’s future self seems to have memorialised. How interesting to see Sarah take on that stoic Mama Bear aspect where she values her own life less than her child’s, but to still see her place other human life on an equal footing with his.

Let’s take a good hard look at that Mama Bear categorisation. In "TSCC"’s present storyline Sarah is a mother figure fighting to change John’s future – her teenage son is unsurprisingly frightened about his hero in waiting status; reluctant to take it on. The idea that I would read and respond to Sarah as if she is just the sum of her tropes went right out the window though when I saw John plead with her and her reaction. Then, all my interest in viewing this relationship purely through theory disappeared:

Sarah looks straight into John's eyes while laying a hand on his shoulder


And I think that it's important to remember that I may be a critic but I’m not getting paid to be totally objective or to stick rigidly to theory; I get to choose (to a certain extent) my own approach to criticism as long as all my biases are clearly outlined for you, the reader, to see and as long as I'm honest with myself. And as Ana so often rightly says, (and Brooke Gladstone confirms in her excellent graphic work of nonfiction "The Influencing Machine") objectivity is really impossible. Why deny myself the subjective, personal reading of choosing an interpretation, one that departs from standard theory because to me textual input appears to change the relevance of applying only that theory, especially when it comes to visual media which brings an extra layer of textual emotion in faces and voices? John and Sarah's relationship is not just that of a self-sacrificing mother and a male child; it’s a connection between two people who need each other; it’s someone reaching out and saying 'Help me' and another person reaching back; it’s layers of history and love and hate and fear and knowledge. While I would never deny the feminist critical deconstruction of that relationship I personally want to place that feminist theory alongside everything Headey and Dekker's performances bring to the story.

A related diversion: "TSCC" is a program that places the importance of family, both blood relatives and the family you make, centrally in its storyline. Sarah is a tough mother character bent on protecting her son, much in the character mould of Briar in Cherie Priest’s "Boneshaker", and this defines her choices although possibly not her entire storyline. Cameron poses as John’s sister. Some of John’s greatest internal desires centre around family – from a need to find out about his father, his dangerous urge to maintain a connection with Charley, and his strong, but necessarily troubled, relationship with his mother. When Derek Reese arrives in their lives the viewer sees a strong relationship between brothers emerge in his flashbacks. And, in the midst of all the action, as they live together and fight the machines together all these characters are forming what we might call a newly configured family connected by blood, or futures and pasts they don’t fully understand.

It feels like the importance of family is emerging as a dominant theme in the SFF TV I watch right now; perhaps one to rival the ever present romantic focus. Stories about finding blood relatives, and the different kinds of family we make in troubled times, are popping up everywhere in the genre: "The Vampire Diaries"; "Once Upon a Time"; "Teen Wolf" are all interested in family. There have always been TV shows of genre that focused on family ("Charmed" springs to mind especially) but now it feels like a more genre wide, network crossing theme. I wonder what that means and if anyone who’s done work on TV families has included SFF family construction in their research. Call me, maybe?

To get back on track (talking about Sarah all the time) – how often does Sarah interact with other women? "TSCC" features other named, recurring female characters: Cameron, Chola2 and Riley. However, Sarah only has cause to interact with Cameron, and their conversation necessarily tends to revolve around saving John, or Charley, or Derek. There are a few exceptions, for example when Cameron tells Sarah about her cancer in the future, but I’m never convinced a program can truly pass The Bechdel test with just a few lines of relevant female conversation. It’s not a test to be squeaked through on technicalities. So, if we apply the Bechdel test rules to their relationship, Sarah and Cameron don’t appear to have a relationship which can be classed as individually significant when the context of John’s survival is removed. Even in that context their interactions are frequently hostile.

Ok, yes, but also Cameron and Sarah spent a lot of time together, often away from the male characters. And then there are the looks, the significant looks:



I’ll be frank – I find "TSCC" very shippy when I view the female relationships through slash goggles. Female characters routinely lock gazes, there are laden silences, and several conversations where the words seem to carry extra, hidden meanings. There are also little throwaway quips, for example when Sarah tells Cameron not to kiss her goodbye with a joking smile on her face. To me this exchange and others look much like the queer-baiting we’re familiar with from programs with majority male casts, and I predict that if Sarah and Cameron were male characters there would be a loyal slash following for this pair3. So, while the idea that there aren’t significant relationships between women that don’t revolve around a man stands up, if we examine the conversations these women have there is a lot of potential for a viewer to construct these significant relationships; much as viewers do with other (male) characters who may have no significant relationship in text.

My own constructed idea of Sarah and Cameron's relationship includes the fact that they are bonded together by all the things they do together, bonded by proximity, which is the way that many of us form lasting relationships. I can't imagine them parting ways forever, even if Cameron is supposedly an emotionless robot. Their time together has linked them, and the only thing that would unlink them would be a betrayal or a death (which brings us to that cliff hanger ending of series one but let’s ignore that for now because I say so). They are important to each other and nothing will convince me otherwise.

I should probably say that I ship Cameron with every female character she encounters. Chola and Cameron (the makeover!); the dance teacher and Cameron – 'What are you doing? Watching you.'. Ugh, my heart just about exploded in the episode called "The Demon Hand". And after Sarah, Cameron is my favourite character; not my favourite female character but my favourite character overall. Yes I like her even more than Agent James Ellison4. Again, maybe this seems like a weird choice because Cameron is a machine, not a person, and she is deliberately presented as slightly vacant; unable to process much of the subtlety of human interaction no matter how much she can replicate. And hot female robots are always slightly...iffy, right? An emotionless, attractive female machine – hm, why do we think media creators might be interested in putting these into their stories? Cameron is occasionally shown through the male gaze, for example stripping clothes as she walks through the house and Glau’s adoption of a certain vacancy to convey the distinction between her and humans is a little troublingly reminiscent of the porn star’s distanced gaze (yes the male robots also seem similarly vacant but it draws different associations when this is applied to a female character).

However, perhaps because "TSCC" is a program that deals with the troubling possibility that machines may replace us, it manages to make Cameron a character of many parts: a replicating machine ('that's tight'); someone incapable of understanding standard human behaviour (the various comic misunderstandings and her inability to understand why Sarah might not want someone shot just because they might be a danger); someone whose personality is evolving despite her machine status (the scene where she tells John there are many things she can't say to him which seems to suggest she has romantic feelings for him), and an inhumane presence (her scarier side which sticks to mission no matter what). And while pulling this mix together, the creators of "TSCC" have made a character whose every action inspires both fear and joy. The scene where Derek watches her dance brings this out nicely as viewers see a machine who may be 'becoming us' as the voiceover suggests. Derek’s open mouthed reaction could suggest conflicted emotion inspired by seeing something so perfect, so beautiful performed by a machine but knowing that the more machine become us the more likely it is they will destroy us. I am always worried about what Cameron will do when she’s around, but I’m also always excited to see what she can do, what she can stretch to and how she will overcome the limitations of her machine build. When Charley told her 'You’re a very scary machine' I was a little knocked off balance because yes, she's scary but she’s also wonderful and that wonderfulness is enhanced by her uncontrollable, autonomous nature (which is probably, on reflection, why people in this particular world find her so terrifying because she’s the machine you can't control). To me she’s just as full of life as the human characters. Why don't you get that Charley?!

Finally, before I sign off on this mountainous post, I want to come to Sarah and her inability to kill, which could be seen as an attempt to soften her character (I hear the Sarah of the films was stone cold), or an attempt to keep from alienating viewers who might not respond well to a female character who is willing to kill humans (oh, my!). Yes Cameron kills, but Cameron doesn’t count because a.) she’s a machine and b.) viewers are not supposed to totally like her because she’s a machine so she’s allowed to kill. For the third time, this critical feminist idea that Sarah’s character may be softened by her inability to kill is a totally pertinent point, but I would argue here that "TSCC", despite its killer robot focus and place in the action genre, is against needless death and so casting Sarah as a non-deadly saviour is part of a strategic theme about the best way to save the world. Is that complicated by her gender? Absolutely. Is it still a relevant point? Yep, I think so.

Sarah’s presentation calls out the action genre’s willingness to sacrifice people (crowds, extras, human beings the viewer isn't emotionally invested in) to save 'the special people' when she wonders whether people have to die so she and John can survive after Barbara’s death. When Derek is shown to have killed Andy to safeguard the future the voiceover, Sarah's voiceover, seems to criticise his actions. Derek is the person making the persuasive argument that 'the machine will not stop coming until it kills you' when he tries to convince Sarah that any measures are fine if they safeguard the future, yet this scene shows that he has a lot in common with those machines. He will keep coming until he kills everyone that could harm the future. What does this comparison say about his humanity and about the validity of his words? Here "TSCC" sets up Sarah and Derek with opposite approaches towards saving the future. As Sarah is the protagonist, and programs typically encourage viewers to back their protagonist, it’s to be assumed that Sarah’s opinion is supposed to be the one we are encouraged to value most highly. Hurray, SFF that believes in the importance of all the people's lives.

Except, it’s easy to warm to Derek. Considering that he comes in halfway through the first series the general validity of his point of view is quickly established. An episode is dedicated to flashbacks following his old life, and he gets a lot of narrative space considering he’s a secondary character. He also has some seriously affecting scenes that encourage viewers to weep: the part where he takes John to watch him and Kyle play baseball; his happiness when he and his comrades arrive in the undestroyed past. And Sarah warms to him rather quickly too. Is this a sign that "TSCC" isn’t exactly consistent in its support of Sarah’s desire to keep her hands bloodless while she tries to save her son and the future?

However, Derek, despite his determination to do whatever in order to save the world, validates her actions once he works out she’s never killed anyone – 'It’s good that your mom hasn’t killed'. Which of course made me want to weep again because as much as Sarah may seem to fit the martyr mould, ready to give up her life for John, Derek is the ultimate martyr ready to give up everything, including his humanity, to help the Connors; willing to be the soldier they need in order to keep their own humanity. Perhaps that's where "TSCC" stands in the grand media debate about whether it's acceptable to give up your humanity in order to save humanity - the deepest sacrifices must be made willingly, rather than being forced upon people or made because of guilty feelings about duty, if at the end of the killing we're to have anything of worth left.

My feelings are all over this piece, so it’s time for this reserved girl to go and hide. Hopefully I’ve convinced some of you to give "TSCC" a look. Hopefully I’ve provided some interesting things for you to think about. And hopefully now that I’ve put this out there chaila and Amy will come and talk about this program with me some more. *grins encouragingly*

Footnotes

1 Sometimes "TSCC" takes an arty approach in its episodes that moves it away from standard shoot'em up media and these are some of my favourite moments in the program: the police massacre set to Johnny Cash; Cameron’s dance section; Sarah's dream about shooting nuclear physicists – this was so good show. I’m hoping for more in series two.

2 By the way, here is a great post about the intersection of Chola’s race and her silence. And if like me you agree with that essay you may want to watch chaila’s fanvid dedicated to Chola. I have some thoughts on how Cameron's robot identity and her connection to Chola sort of emphasise how wrong Chola's silence is which play into my complicated feelings about shipping them, but I can’t quite articulate what I want it say at the moment. Perhaps it will come later when I watch series two.

3 Just out of interest is there much of a John/Charley following? I thought their first encounter after the time jump seemed to make them pretty shippable.

4 Who I will hopefully discuss in his own separate post. For now let’s just look at his face a bit more.

Reviews and Supplemental Material

The Unbearable Silence of Sabrina Perez
Let's Hear It For the Girls?
tight presents MASTERLIST (vids!)
32 Days of Awesome Women: Day 31 - Sarah Connor

Date: 2013-10-01 08:30 pm (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Are you trying to get me to watch a show that got cancelled? XD SO I CAN BE HEARTBROKEN??

Date: 2013-10-16 02:53 am (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Cannot believe you lied to my FACE. MY FACE, JODIE.

*rolls around in this post*

Date: 2013-10-02 12:29 am (UTC)
chaila: Sarah Connor with a gun, black and white, with blue text "Hail Mary, full of grace." (tscc - full of grace)
From: [personal profile] chaila
Oh my, there is SO MUCH that I want to say, but so much of it will be said in my later post! Ahhh! *sits on hands* (Not that I don't still have a lot to say now, because hi, this is basically my favorite show ever and Sarah is among my favorite characters).

How cool to see the creators make that the most important part of the program, and avoid making her fit the ideal that John’s future self seems to have memorialised.

Basically this. And if you have any movie-universe context, it's even better, because TSCC splits off from movie canon at the point where Sarah dies. The show is actually AU fanfic premised on the belief that it was dumb to kill Sarah and give the story to John in the future. *loves it*

And I'm not ashamed to admit that TSCC was when I first got dissatisfied with the Bechdel Test. Not that it isn't useful! I still use it all the time. But it's a starting point, and when it's all that gets said about "feminism" in a piece of media, it can be very reductive. Season 1 is not as good on this front, but in season 2 there are five (!!!) major female characters with important roles. And I kept seeing people be like, oh Sarah's a Mama Bear who's all about her son and it doesn't even pass the Bechdel Test. But FIVE MAJOR FEMALE CHARACTERS. And Sarah/Cameron is often hostile, and particularly centered on John, but there are also so many layers to that hostility; Sarah's fear of machines, Sarah's fear that John is too close to Cameron, Cameron's having more knowledge of the future than the Connors, the discomfort with Cameron's increasing humanity, the fact that they need Cameron to protect them, the use of violence, how to save innocent lives, whether they should save innocent lives, etc. It's just really reductive of what's going on to just look at the surface layer and say "oh they're arguing about John again"? Of course, I always wished that the different women interacted more, and when they do, it does relate to John a lot of the time. But there's just so much more to talk about there than that. So I wish this fuller context could go alongside things like the Bechdel Test without making me feel like I'm trying to give a "pass" to something just because I personally liked it.

And the marketing was always terrible. Ugh. Fox marketed half-naked Cameron to teen boys, and that was not the audience for this little gem of a show.

The other reason why I think the show and Sarah & John's relationship surpasses a simplistic Mama Bear trope is because, like you say, a connection about people who need each other, who have a very fraught relationship in a very desperate situation, but also because she's so clearly. . . forming him. He is so clearly Sarah Connor's son. She is so *present* both in the story, but in who John is. And I think I'm stealing this idea from [personal profile] prozacpark, who says this a lot, but I do also think it's important for fiction to reclaim ideas that have traditionally been roped off as "feminine" as powerful, active things worthy of serious attention. Like *motherhood*, the real, active, day to day work of having, protecting and teaching a child. Like even if TSCC is often about Sarah's motherhood, writing that off as automatically a bad thing or not feminist media, in the face of a story that takes it seriously and makes it a huge, complicated thing, is maybe not a solution? (Again, with the wanting context to go alongside the criticism, because both are valid for different reasons).

I would argue here that "TSCC", despite its killer robot focus and place in the action genre, is against needless death and so casting Sarah as a non-deadly saviour is part of a strategic theme about the best way to save the world.

Yes! I too was a little wary of this idea that Sarah hasn't killed and the importance the show gives the idea, but ultimately I was convinced by how they handle it. First, like you say, Derek is the opposition on that point and even he doesn't act like it makes Sarah weak. Also, Sarah IS totally badass and can be pretty hard as nails; it's just that she has a ton of compassion too. Complicated characterization! And I really like that TSCC sets up debates about things like that, about whether you should give up your humanity to (maybe) save humanity, or whether you've already lost if you do that, and doesn't really answer them? Who is innocent, and should you trade an innocent life to save MORE innocent lives? How much of a duty does Sarah have to give up herself to save John or the world? Characters approach the questions differently and behave in very different ways; they disagree and criticize each other often, and the story shows upsides and downsides of all their approaches, but the story doesn't say anyone is necessarily right in how they deal with such impossible questions. It presents the ideas with complexity and, often, with grace, but it doesn't try to slap a pat answer on them, because there aren't any.

Just out of interest is there much of a John/Charley following?

Not really? There's a bit, but I'd say the main boyslash ship is John/Derek, to the extent there is one. I will also somewhat gleefully note that this is one of the few fandoms I've been in that just doesn't *have* an established boyslash ship. Sarah/Cameron outweighs most of the other pairings in terms of fannish following (in a relatively small fandom, sadly, though it was decently active while the show was on) though of course nothing can touch Cameron/John.

Date: 2013-10-10 11:38 am (UTC)
londonkds: (canon ship (by redscharlach))
From: [personal profile] londonkds
Yes, it's absolutely fantastic. Although, as you say, dreadfully marketed: the nadir was a joint trailer for the second season and Dollhouse which actually said something along the lines of "Summer Glau and Eliza Dushku just how you want them!".

Saying Sarah is stone cold in the films is over-simplifying quite a lot. I would definitely suggest seeing the first two films (the third is bad and outright misogynistic, and I didn't bother with the fourth). In the first film she's more or less an everywoman "final girl", and the two films together show her developing into the character she is in the TV series. She is very cold in the second film, but the plot of the film has her moving away from that.

I was going to say more, but then I realised it would be spoilery for the second season. Suffice to say the second season introduces other very interesting female characters...

Date: 2013-10-13 08:54 am (UTC)
londonkds: (Press (1) for a airstrike (by Daisy))
From: [personal profile] londonkds
Don't worry, she's the central character in both the first two films. In the third and fourth she's dead which is why many people consider them non-canon.

Date: 2013-10-14 04:39 am (UTC)
beatrice_otter: Sarah Connor--made for me, not shareable (Sarah Connor)
From: [personal profile] beatrice_otter
Oh, it's definitely the second film where she's more stern. First movie, she's an innocent waitress with killer robots out to get her! Second movie, it's been ten years and she's worked like hell to get herself every kind of training she could possibly need to train John ... and then gotten locked up as a dangerous terrorist with wacky delusions, which is where she is when the movie starts. It's about killer robots, but it's also about her grappling with who she needs to be to do what she knows has to be done, and also about ethics and time travel.

Third and fourth movies, she's dead. Never seen the 4th movie, but in the 3rd you have the Terminatrix (look, it's a hot chick in leather playing a Terminator!), but you also have Kate Brewster, who the movie is trying to set up as the new Sarah Connor. She, too, starts out as the frightened everygirl thrust into a world with killer robots, but she actually takes to it faster than Sarah did, and there's this great scene towards the end where she saves John Connor from the terminator and he looks up at her agog and goes "wow, you remind me of my mother!" So, not a total loss from the feminist standpoint. But it's not as well written or acted as the first two movies, and you do have the Terminatrix.

Date: 2013-11-01 03:15 pm (UTC)
goodbyebird: Terminator: Sarah loading her gun. (ⓕ Sarah mothereffing Connor)
From: [personal profile] goodbyebird
Terminator 2 was one of my absolute favorite films while growing up, and I still love it dearly. I'd recommend you give it a go :)

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The Written World

Link Policy


If you see us posting about a book, film, show, etc. you have reviewed, leave us a comment with a link to your review and we'll be glad to add it to the post. Learn more »

Criticism & Debate


Yes! We welcome criticism and debate and seek to become better people and better critics through the process. However, we do have a comment policy.

What's with your subtitle?


It's a riff off an extremely obscure meme only Tom Hardy and Myspace fans will appreciate.

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