Review: "Gnothi Seauton"

By Derek Russell of the SkyNext Podcast

I believe it was my senior year in high school, I was in Latin 3 and taking one of the final tests of the year (one of those you really, really didn’t care about). I came to the fill-in-the-blank section where we would have phrases or sayings in Latin and have to translate them to English. There it was. Gnothi Seauton. I could not remember for the life of me what that was. Know…something. Know Yourself. That had to be it. Game, set, and match. Next day I got the test back. Know Thyself. Fifteen points counted off. Where was Sarah Connor to remind me?


Now in 2007, the Connors search for their new lives as trouble looms close at hand. There are Terminators a-plenty, most don’t even know what John looks like, but they’re all programmed to kill. Sarah visits an old friend to get their new identities, but puts her choice in the wrong place when he sends Sarah to his nephew, who reveals that his uncle is an informant who has turned around and intended to report Sarah to Agent Ellison. John has disobeyed Sarah’s orders to stay home and sought after Charley Dixon, who finds John in his home. In the midst of all this, an enemy from the past, Cromartie, seeks his finished body, among other things.


Let’s just get one thing out of the way; a lot of people missed the opening seconds of this episode. If you did, it’s okay – you’re not alone. If you did catch the opening montage, you noticed the time jump at the end of the Pilot in a different light. This new shot of the portal was from the hood of the car, and included the cybernetic skull of Cromartie jumping through the rift. If you’ll go back and notice, when Sarah shoots him in the safe, his head is removed from his body. A lot of people think that his head was just in the rummage from the bank, as was his body, but this simply isn’t the case. The head made the time jump, even though it was not of organic material. At least, that’s the way I see it. I don’t know what the meaning behind this is or how it happened. But hell, it looked cool. And Cromartie fighting his way through Los Angeles as a ski-masked hobo, equally cool.

In an episode that I thought was going to have to deal mainly in exposition (due to the budget of the pilot, and it’s fast paced storyline) I was thoroughly pleased. The explanations were purely laid out with the chases, explosions, and double-crosses.

Lena Headey continues her strong presence as the matriarch of the family, but the wind is quickly taken out of her sails this week when Cameron (Summer Glau) tells her that their time jump to the year 2007 was necessary because of Sarah’s death in 2005. Now that is an interesting factor and a nice nod to T3 fans, as that is said to be the cause of Sarah Connor’s death in the 2003 film. Sarah doesn’t have a whole lot of problems with jumping after this fact is stated, it seems.

Another theme of this episode, besides identity, is “time-lag”. This is John’s phrase for the feeling he and Sarah have after their jump. I love that, the humor they’re able to tie into these storylines amaze me. Josh Friedman, I tip my hat to you again sir. And if I’m disappointed in the next few weeks by episodes, I will eat that hat. It’s a really cool Cloverfield hat so please don’t make me consume it.

The meat of this episode lies in figuring out who you are. Sarah says to Cameron that there has been so many identities, so many names, so many lives, she doesn’t know who she is anymore. Cameron simply reminds her, “You’re Sarah Connor.” While that may have one meaning for a Terminator, it has a different one for Sarah. It’s a good reminder, and one she needs in this time of confusion that is 2007.

Some cool things to mention; the confusion that is Cameron. What is she!? I mean, we hear her tell John that she’s different in the pilot, now we see a view of her from another Terminator that scans her revealing she’s an “unknown cyborg”. What great television, I mean John sent this robot back from the future to protect his mother and his younger self, so obviously there is something special about her. That will be one of the journeys this show takes us on, I hope. The whole thing about her “touching” John after he snuck out of the house. It looks weird to us to see a Terminator come off that way. But when she’s actually scanning John because she senses something is wrong with him? Brilliant! She tells Sarah everything that’s going on with him at that very second, his heart rate, temperature, etc. Of course that makes Sarah ponder the question, “Can she do that to me?” She interrogates Cameron on her abilities but Cameron quickly shuts down her line of questioning by telling her she’s not a CAT scan. Obviously, Sarah is still distraught by the news of her “past-death” and wants to know more about it.

I love the Wizard of Oz references sprinkled throughout. I’m of the mindset that there aren’t really new ideas in Hollywood anymore, so when a tried-and-true genre like the Terminator can make references to a cinema classic, I love it. The whole thing about Sarah reading it to John over and over when he was a kid, and the family choosing the last name of Baum (that of Oz’ author).

My biggest complaint with this episode? Why were it and the pilot not streamlined into a 2 hour premiere? They flowed so well together, they really could have been aired the same night and probably got some more people watching! I’m anxious to see what “The Turk” brings, though my friend Steve feels as if it has the sound of a bookie that breaks thumbs, I’ve got high expectations for the next several weeks.

“Gnothi Something-or-other” gets 5 out of 5 flying monkeys.

Hear Derek Russell every week in the SkyNext Podcast!


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