Action thrills as the cyborg war continues
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 8.30pm, Fox8
SUMMER Glau did not wake up one morning and decide to become a teenage terminator. Aged 28 in real life, the actor has a background in classical dance. Glau learns the many astonishing fight sequences required of her in this spin-off from The Terminator movie franchise like choreography. Without that background it would be hard for the tiny, delicatelooking actor even to appear to throw cyborgs three times her weight around the place like confetti.
To play Cameron ( the name pays homage to Terminator franchise creator and director James Cameron), Glau had to unlearn many instinctive human actions. She learned not to blink, for example; not to brush the hair from her eyes, not to lean on one hip: all the things actors instinctively do to authenticate their performances. She also faced the challenge of creating a convincingly non-human entity with no genuine emotions but with a capacity to manufacture them as required.
In the first series, when the team incidentally becomes involved with a dance school, Cameron’s quest to ever more accurately mimic human behaviour leads to discourse on how dance, more than any other physical activity, reveals the human soul. Practising at home, she is observed by Derek Reese ( Brian Austin Green), a resistance fighter sent to the past by the future John Connor. His usual distrust of her is palpable: ‘‘ Don’t let yourself believe that you can train them like a pet because it will be the last thing you think,’’ he says.
But even this rugged, hard man of war is moved almost to tears when he sees the cyborg perform a stunning ballet routine.
It seems a long time since Cameron was blown up in a car bomb in the series one finale. In fact, it was last March, when the program wound up its not entirely successful debut on the Nine Network. It’s probably not giving away too much to reveal that Cameron, like any good terminator, survives the blast. But is she quite the same? The gob-smacking action sequences in the cyborg war to save the human race continue. The compelling tenderness between Sarah ( Lena Headey) and her son, John Connor ( Thomas Dekker), who carries the weight of the world on his slender, now 16-year-old shoulders, is as poignant as ever.
And the rich ensemble of resistance fighters and terminators is expanded, most spectacularly with the world’s first Scottish terminator. All red hair, personal ice and corporate fire as Catherine Weaver, chief executive of ZeiraCorp, Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson adds a note of pure terror. Her character is a masquerading T1001 ( liquid metal series) terminator. Trust me, it will be a long time before male viewers comfortably use a urinal again.
Is she the same? Summer Glau, centre, returns as a teenage terminator