Does Summer Glau's Terminator feel love? Will Terminator season two end with a cliffhanger? Is Glau sick of playing strong women? Glau and producer Josh Friedman answered these burning questions on a conference call. Spoilers...
Does Cameron really love John?
One of the most jarring moments in the show was during the season premiere, where Glau's Terminator, Cameron, said she loves John Connor. Was she just trying to avoid being killed? Or did she mean it, sort of?
Glau surprised me, by saying that "Cameron's deep love for John is because he is her whole reason for existing... I think that is love, and I think she would do anything for him, and in her reality, I think that's what love is for her." She added that she's not sure where Friedman is going with the character, but she always plays it as if she does feel something for John.
The move to Friday nights, and the show's future:
"We were getting our asses kicked on Monday nights," Friedman says. Friday nights have different expectations, ratings-wise, plus it gives Fox an opportunity to promote Terminator and Dollhouse together, creating a science-fiction block that might appeal to the same audience.
Friedman remains optimistic about the show getting a third season, but also addressed the possibility that it might not happen. He says he wrote the season finale "the way I was planning on writing the finale for a long time... You owe the audience a logical conclusion to the things we have been building towards." It's true that fans get upset when a show has an open-ended conclusion and doesn't come back, but "fans also get upset if we write a crappy finale. If I tried to sum up every single thing in 43 minutes, it would be a disaster. It would end up like a clip show."
He also reiterated that the rest of the season is more serialized, with fewer standalone episodes, than the first half was.
Shocking things in the season finale:
Glau says she just read the script for the season finale and she was "shocked." Not to mention excited and "a little sad." It sounds as though something tragic and/or sad happens to Cameron this season. "I think everybody's going to be shocked at what happens at the end of this season." And Cameron has some great scenes in that episode.
Also, she has lots and lots of gun battles and smackdowns in the last nine episodes, way more than in the first half of the season. "People are going to be on a roller-coaster" in the final episodes.
The awesomeness of Summer Glau:
Friedman says he saw Summer audition several years ago, and really wanted to cast her in something. But instead, she went off to do the Serenity movie and The 4400. Friedman carried her audition tape around with him for a few weeks afterwards. And when the time came to do the Terminator show, he wrote the part of Cameron for her. "She's one of those few people who can be completely still, and still hard to take your eyes off."
Glau says that playing a robot is more challenging in some ways than playing a regular human, because she has to plan out everything in advance. She can't just react naturally or convey normal emotions.
In the pilot episode, Friedman says, he and producer James Middleton saw Glau do something incredibly clever during one take. They weren't sure if she was doing it on purpose, but then during the next take, she did it again. That was when Friedman realized how awesome Glau was going to be at playing this character, and how little hand-holding she was going to need.
Also, that scene in a recent episode where Cameron says she feels, because she wouldn't be much good if she didn't? That's part of Cameron's scheme. "I think she has a plan for drawing John closer to her, and so I've been trying to incorporate that all season," says Glau.
Also, someone asked Glau, "Do you ever get tired of playing deceptively strong asskickers?" And this was her whole answer: "No." Then she was pressed to elaborate, and she said something about how she enjoys playing complicated characters. But also, Cameron has gotten to be the damsel in distress on some occasions, and she's gotten to be sort of a princess and do ballet.
Friedman says he'd like to be able to revisit the "Alison from Palmdale" character at some point - the future human whose appearance, and apparently memories, Cameron borrowed from.
Another character who might be revisited at some point: the engineer who built the time machine in the bank vault in 1963, which we saw in the show's pilot episode. The writers regularly debate whether to bring that engineer character back. Some writers pitch Friedman stories about that characters, but others never want to see him on the show. Friedman is obsessed with "the engineer" and definitely would like to bring him onto the show sometime - but not in the second season.
Cameron has "very few advantages" in a straight-up brawl with Shirley Manson's Catherine Weaver. It would be like a replay of the fight in Terminator 2.