I have been very wary of jumping on board this show, largely because TV's record for staying with female and/or POC characters sucks. Also, I kept trying to believe Heroes would pull out, and oh, we all know what a disaster that was. Also also, not only have I been steeling myself for disappointment from TV (and fandom, to be honest, which is why I am still not won over by Derek), getting that disappointment in the Terminator series, which I love and grew up on, with Sarah Connor, would have sucked.
I am still not entirely convinced the show will do right by Sarah, but I am a little less leery now. I also feel a bit like a nutcase feminist ranter whom everyone wants off their flist for constantly harping on when Sarah's not in an episode, or in the sidelines.
Anyway. I have been less than impressed with the Riley storyline, until it was revealed that she is from the future! Working for or with Jesse! Awesomesauce! It makes her unbelievability as a teenager totally work, and ditto with her strange insistence on being with John (I didn't buy that she was attracted to him), as well as her frequent switches in characterization. It makes so much sense now that we know she is going slightly crazy because she cannot reconcile herself to the fact that almost all the people around her, save John, are dead!
With regard to Jesse, I absolutely adore her. I am not sure if it is because I have a giant girlcrush on her, thanks to Teh Hot and The Accent, but I adore her anyway. Mely has brought up that she could fit into the Asian temptress/Mata Hari stereotype, but the way she acts and walks and talks feels so unsexy, so pragmatic and businesslike, so aggressively alpha and in control, that I do not quite think so. Either that, or I love her so much that it clouds my judgment. But she has secret agendas! She goes back ostensibly for love, but is really using that love and/or physical lust to manipulate Derek! And I do see her point re: Cameron and John's intimacy; Derek himself thought the same when he first met the Connors. I have to admit, I sort of wanted her to be the tortured one, operating on the manga notion that more pain = more affection and angst for the character. On the other hand, I also like Mely's idea of Derek as the victimized body, which is not often a role the men play.
I am still not quite sure what to make of Catherine Weaver and her AI, now named John Henry. I am also continually puzzled by the presence of black men beside benign or malevolent AIs; they are the AIs' mothers, their creators, their teachers, their guides. It also emphasizes the maternal again, and one of the things I am most enjoying about this show is how it is rewriting the stereotype of motherhood and making it something that is both all-important and all-consuming, but also something that is flawed and faulty. All the while, the (black) men caretake and the women wield guns. I am not sure if it holds as true for white men; we have Charlie, yes, but John and Derek don't seem to have taken on the caretaker role as much, despite Derek's occasional avuncularness.
Sarah herself: I love her best when she is desperate and nearly feral, scrabbling at the end of her rope and her sanity. I was not nearly so fond of dreamwalking Sarah, and although I liked seeing a little of the softer side of Sarah previously, three episodes or so of it is too much for me. I like Sarah the awkward mother figure who responds better to Lauren asking how to help rig the door to kill a Terminator than to a small boy needing to write a book report. Sarah randomly running around looking for three dots, I am not so fond of. Also, I still wish there were more Sarah-Ellison scenes. They have such good chemistry together!
Re: Ellison. I am still waiting with my breath held, because I do not trust the show to get it right. This is more a reaction due to network TV getting it wrong so often than a reaction earned by the show itself, but I am still hesitant about getting my heart broken. And I do realize how sad and rather pathetic that is.
While I liked seeing bits of the 20s, that episode didn't work with my suspension of disbelief so well. Also, I wanted Eric to be more than his disability, and while he had lots of characterization, I was disappointed when the end was all about his disability and his cancer.
And last week's episode with Lauren was AWESOME! I am sad she did not end up joining the cast, because I would have loved that! I do not have much coherent to say, save: sibling bonds! Normalcy and safety when there's none to be found! Young girls holding their families together! Watching what happens when the horrific and extraordinary happens into the ordinary, witnessing how some of the bits that hurt most are the ordinary bits ("There's a cyborg trying to kill us, and you're having an affair?") and how after the hurt of the ordinary bits settles in, people can get up and be heroes. My current pet theory is that the terminator was actually after Lauren, not Sydney, because ... I don't know. I handwave and say learned medical skills trumps magical blood antibody because I want to see someone valued for their skills, not who they were born to be. Of course, that's at the crux of the series: John is important because of who he's born to be, but if he doesn't acquire the skills, he's never be that person. As opposed to Sydney, who is special merely by having some antibody in her blood.
I missed a great deal re: Derek's suicidality and the meaning of Lauren's medal that I picked up later reading people's posts.
And it is particularly nice getting a wider view of who's left after Judgment Day; not everyone is a fighter (?). I'm curious as to how much infrastructure the Resistance has. It doesn't seem like Sydney was necessarily living in a Resistance compound, and I'm not sure if her hometown/compound was as threatened by the machines. Either that, or they're within the ring of Resistance defenses.
And it's especially good to get a view of more women in the future, given the first almost-all-male views we got when Derek was introduced. Now if only there were more women of color!