It's not easy to be Sarah Connor. Not only is she a "post-modern Virgin Mary," but her future-savior son is going through a punky phase in season two of the Sarah Connor Chronicles. The Terminator TV show will put its bad-ass heroine through a pretty hellish time in its second season. But the good news is, it sounds as though new co-star Shirley Manson will rock even harder than you expected. We were on a conference call with star Lena Headey and producer Josh Friedman, and here's what they had to say. With a few spoilers. Sarah Connor's helplessness: As you may have heard, season two will show John Connor stepping up more to become the hero we all know he's going to be. And that means Sarah Connor will be taking more of a "backseat," said Friedman and Headey. "I think this season for Sarah is her losing slight control over everything, pretty much," said Headey. "I think there's a slow madness sort of happening in her, she feels that everyone's kind of out of reach right now." Side note: Color me a bit concerned. I'm not sure I'm on board for watching another show about a strong woman character unraveling. Sarah Connor's rage: I asked Headey about the anger that drives Sarah Connor. Is she partly mad at John, because he's the reason she can't have a normal life? Said Headey: "I think there's some truth in that. I think Sarah's pretty complex." She was a normal girl who suddenly gave birth to the savior of the world. Plus, she was truly in love with Kyle Reese, and then he died and left her with this legacy. "I absolutely think her anger is partly at her son and at her situation. Her frustration is being that, she can't slow down with her son. I think her rooted anger is with everybody who comes to advise her, and say she can't do this or that. And she would like to tell them all to fuck themselves and go away"
The mysterious death: People asked Friedman a lot about the announcement he made at Comic-Con: that one of the show's main cast members will die. He wouldn't elaborate very much, except to say that Summer Glau's pseudo-death in the season opener doesn't count. And when it happens, you'll know. And it's for story reasons, not just for shock value or to save money on actors. Shirley Manson's character: She's not evil, just... focused. She has a plan to grow the Turk (that chess-playing computer that eventually becomes Skynet) and she's not going to let anyone stop her. She's the CEO of a big tech company, but it's not Cyberdine. Rock'n'Roll High School: We have pretty much seen the last of John's high school days. Sarah will be home-schooling him (in pain.) No more scenes of John sitting in a classroom doodling IEDs. But we will see him interacting with kids from high school.
Sarah Connor's cancer: Her cancer, which was dealt with in one or two episodes of season one, will come up again at some point. Something happens that brings it up again, and it's investigated "in a bleak way" in some early episodes. But we won't be seeing her in bed with chemotherapy any time soon. Religion in the Terminator verse: Religion has always been a big part of the franchise, with Sarah as a sort of postmodern Virgin Mary, and John as a rocket-shooting turbo-Jesus. It became a part of the TV show because Richard T. Jones, who plays FBI agent Ellison, is very religious, and that became part of his character. In season two, we'll be exploring how his discovery that Terminators are real impacts his faith. You might think Skynet proves God doesn't exist, but that's not necessarily true, says Friedman. (Any more, I'm guessing, than the atomic bomb or the Holocaust did.) Brian Austin Green's role on the show: He's the "human face" of the future war, and he shows what it'll do to people if it's not stopped. He's a "damaged war vet," says Friedman. Incidentally, we'll see more flashes of the future war this season, but it'll always be there to inform the emotional context of what's happening on the show now. And Derek will not be getting together with Sarah — they're more like bickering exes.
A big surprise in the season premiere: Friedman alluded to a huge surprise in the season opener, in which we meet a new antagonist for Sarah and John, who's more than "a basic corporate type." (Presumably having to do with Shirley Manson's character.) And it sounds as though there's a surprising twist involved.