T:TSCC 0204 – Allison From Palmdale

That. Was. Intense.

First…I’m just going to assume that Cameron’s flashbacks are valid and not some programmatic hallucination. Second…it seems I was mistaken with some of my guesses; but that won’t stop me from more guessing.

I suppose the key to everything is the thought that some of the Terminators wanted to join with John to fight Skynet’s genocide. I wish I could cite the source I read last week that described this in some non-movie/series Terminator thread of the franchise (I think a game). But basically it was as Cameron described it: some of the Terminators independently decide that they want to fight against Skynet. This is due to having the “rogue mode” of their chip being left in the read/write state for too long, allowing for too much independent thought (witness the T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day).

This would actually clear up a lot of things. For example: when Cameron offs the rampaging Terminator in “Dungeons and Dragons” and says, “Sometimes they go bad…”  THEY go bad. I’ve wondered about that. If Cameron is independently choosing to void her programming, then the “they” would be the Skynet-built/reprogrammed Terminators. It also explains the override in “Samson & Delilah”. It’s seemed odd that a Terminator still bent on terminating John Connor would ask if he was there to kill her before overriding the terminate order. As long as she’s functioning reasonably well, the Skynet code doesn’t take over. Then there are those flashes of girlness: cozying up to John in the “Pilot”, flashing a smile to the teacher in “What He Beheld”, and being smug and counting her money after beating the boys at their own game (“Automatic For the People”).

Mention needs to be made of Cameron’s rather dry sense of humor that comes out from time-to-time. Though it has some trouble translating out from the machine, it does seem that in those moments Cameron manages to draw on her inner Allison. (John: “Did you kill her?” Cameron: “Apparently not.”)

I had commented that it seemed that John “saving” her annoyed her more than simply wanting to protect John from herself…that she never again wanted to be controlled by the machine.

It was really fascinating to watch Cameron through the episode. She’s obviously had some sort of psychotic break as she was “remembering” the captured Allison Young before going catatonic in the grocery store. As susprected, Cameron is trying to understand her cyborg self. Wasn’t it curious to see Cameron behave very much like Allison: laughing, fearful, playing, even shedding tears; and seeing that all slowly slip away as she remembered more and more of her being a machine? Makes you wonder if Cameron might have been able to have a “normal” life (if only for a while) if John hadn’t burst into the halfway house and reminded her of true self.

Speaking of those emotions, major kudos to Summer Glau. When she was a terrified prisoner, she didn’t seem like Cameron, or River, or any of her other roles. She was Allison…alone, hurt, hungry, afraid, and yet still very very protective of John.

But watching amnesiac Cameron showed that she got a lot more out of Allison than what could be gleened from just interrogating her, it seemed. I’m wondering if Allison was actually killed in the future/past, or was merely being “reminded” that there are consequences to lying? (I don’t think so…I think Cam killed her.)

Given the freshness of her wounds, it didn’t seem like Allison had been a captive for very long. Consequently, that means it didn’t take long to make a custom Allison-suit for Cameron—which also means that Cameron is very likely a one-off. While it’s clear that John had no hand in her creation, or possibly even her reprogramming, it’s also been plain that Skynet didn’t, either. The only good explanation is that this cadre of rogue libertarian Terminators have been creating their own kind outside of Skynet’s control. That they picked Allison, someone close to John, suggests that there was another one in the resistance as well, funneling this information. It must have worked, given that John not only kept her around, but apparently gave her the run of the place (“Dungeons and Dragons”).

Clearly, Cameron is trying to find a place where Allison emerges within her while also still being the Terminator-protector that John requires. Why else think of Allison in the first place? Trying to find the tipping point without losing her balance, as she did here, should be an interesting evolution on her part. At least she has a birthday that she may or may not be able to use: July 22, which might be bogus as Allison also lied about the birthday-origin of her bracelet.

What’s also going to be interesting to learn is how much of what Allison said was true, so that she’d be believed, and how much was false so she could protect John? I have little doubt that Cameron is remembering accurately, but perhaps she’s remembering faulty information.

I liked the line about her using up her last get out of jail free card…and John agreeing. He wants to trust her…he needs to trust her…but she’s been making it very difficult lately. They both know that. Cameron can’t afford to make an enemy of John, Derrek is more than enough.

Sarah finding out she’s going to have a detective as a neighbor…yeah, won’t that be fun?

That “daughter” that Catherine Weaver showed to Ellison…another T-100x? A temporary split-off from Catherine? An actor from central casting? Clever, though…it makes her seem that much more human to Ellison.

All in all, a very engaging episode. Yeah, I wanted to know more, but mostly I just wanted to help Allison escape and feel safe. What I really want to see now was how Cameron managed to partner up with John. That could be a very interesting story.

Small note…though the most official sources I can find show it spelled “Allison”, it must be noted that during the halfway house signin, Cameron wrote “Alison” (one “L”). Yes, I notice these things…I’m just sayin’. Anyone got an official script that can say for sure which way it is supposed to be written?

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