T:TSCC 0207 – Brothers of Nablus

When you let your guard down, that’s when you are most vulnerable to attack.

With all of these terminators running around, one thing’s for certain: if you are on their radar, you will never be safe. After a two week gap in episodes, I have to say that this lack of safety is a very good thing indeed. In many ways this is the sort of Terminator episode that many of us would like to think of as being the model. It isn’t an overt chase, but clearly forces are all at work tending to their own agendas.

Poor Ellison. With Cromartie having not killed him—twice—I think he was feeling pretty confident about where he stood in the mix. Having his cyborgy doppelgänger come just a trigger squeeze away from closing the chapter to his book I think made him have to face for the first time that he’s in way over his head. If anything drives him to becoming an ally of the Connors, this will be it. I wonder how he’ll feel when he discovers that his savior isn’t some rich and powerful Scotswoman, but instead a mimetic poly-alloy being?

And speaking of said being…she does seem to have a rather singular way of solving problems for her pet Ellison, doesn’t she? Make the problem disappear and then mimic it.

This has nothing to do with anything, but isn’t it astounding how well a T-1001 can mimic hair and cloth? It’s metal, and yet it can not only create the interference patterns necessary to simulate colors, but it can do all the calculations necessary to simulate both the look and the feel of cloth as well. No wonder Cameron (and Uncle Bob, to a degree) maintain an advantage–their CPUs aren’t overloaded with all of this UI stuff.

Oh, one thing about Ellison’s rescue from…himself: How the heck does Cromartie arrive so quickly and stealthily (and with a convenient impaler) to deactivate the Ellison-Terminator? Plus, doesn’t their rather durable endoskeleton prevent so easy an extraction of their power core…or was Ellison-Terminator a T-800 or similar lesser model (like the gumby terminator from the elevator fight)? Perhaps part of the now changed future has terminators with inferior endoskeletons. (Did anyone else notice that it seemed like Cromartie exerted more effort lifting the T-Ellison than Cameron did when she picked up Vick in Dungeons and Dragons? Wimp.)

Someone I do have to give serious props to is Kacy. Honestly, she comes off as a bit of a flake, but she really came through for John and Cameron. She was convincing in not revealing anything to Cromartie, and was smart enough to call and give a warning to John. She may be their most unlikely ally. I’m wondering if the child ends up being a player in the future.

Unfortunately, this degree of helpfulness is found in a grand total of NONE of the other humans. It’s almost funny how it’s the terminators that are most successful in moving forward with their missions while the humans make dumb mistake after dumb mistake.

The dumbest of all is clearly Riley. While forgetting to set the alarm code is excusable (hey, it happens…not saying to whom, but it happens <whistles non-chalantly>), but girl is clearly deficient in the processing of information department. When some dude is banging on the door and obviously almost makes your boyfriend brown his trousers, and then said boyfriend says to run…you freakin’ run. You don’t go all mavericky and try to bluff your way through. To be fair, it might actually have worked had Cromartie not picked up on John’s attempt to quietly load the shotgun.

The worst part is that Riley thinks she helped. “I stared him down.” Well, guess what: if you have just run like John said, it would have been less iffy.

No…the worst part was when the writers had another John/Terminator close call in the grocery store, this time aided by some slapstick falling cans. STOP IT!

The cause of the falling cans is yet another piece of work: Jody, the young woman that Cameron befriended and saved herself from in “Allison From Palmdale“. It’s funny how Jody is all wanting to crawl up Cameron’s ass even though it was Jody who was setting up Cameron in the first place. As annoying as Jody can be, at least her being thrown from the car by Cromartie was worth the effort. Yay, Crome-boy!

One of the odd notes to the score of this piece was the Derek and Jesse stuff. Maybe it’s because Jesse seems sort of skanky, like a cop that’s been bought, but she seems to make the story drag a bit. Perhaps because she’s Derek’s Riley. A seeming opposite-of-foe to the humans, but one that is not helping in any appreciable way. Because of her, Derek seems to have totally gone off-mission. While he’s off having gratuitous sex, the Connors have a meet and greet from a bendy terminator as well as having their house robbed.

About that. Doesn’t it seem odd that this particular house was targeted by this Ed Wood wannabe? I can’t help but wonder if Jesse intentionally, or Riley because she shot off her mouth, caused the house to be targeted.

Well, enough talking about the ancillary stuff. It’s time to focus on the single most important character in this episode: Cameron’s leather jacket. My, my, my… not since Uncle Bob and his sunglasses have we seen a terminator so sartorially fixated on a signature item.

This was very much a Cameron episode. The jacket thread was hilarious throughout, but this helped to fuel the fact that as distracted as she was by her desire to have returned what was hers, Cameron didn’t lose sight of the mission. After the discovery of the robbery, Cameron’s suggestion that they move to Canada was probably the smartest thing anyone of the Connor Cadre have said in weeks.

Still, she’s flexible. Although she ratted John and Riley out, it’s clear that she understands the parameters of her mission require a certain amount of interpretation; for example, her telling Sarah that she didn’t press her well-known views about security because “No one likes a nag.” Both John and Sarah have a habit of overruling Cameron often. Though she doesn’t think these overrules are wise, she also knows that she doesn’t have complete understanding of how humans, pre-Judgment Day humans, behave.

In the end, though, the mission comes first. Murdering those three thieves because they knew who Sarah and Cameron were and where they lived…total terminator on-mission logic. That one was wearing Cameron’s jacket all but ensured that death would ensue. You don’t steal from terminators, it makes them cranky.

I think these are the first kills sane-Cameron has made since she offed Enrique early in the first season. (I hate to sound bloody-thirsty, but yay!) Sarah’s reactions were interesting. Sort of stunned at what Cameron did, but also envious that she could do it so easily. Sarah, you may be a good fighter, but you suck at being a killer, as that little restroom discussion clearly demonstrated. I could almost guarantee that kid was going to talk at some point. If she couldn’t make the kill, if she just doesn’t have it in her, then she really needs to let Cameron do her job.

Something that is interesting is that Cameron is clearly understanding when people are lying. Her stare-down of Moishe was clear, but also her look when Sarah said the bowling ally restroom was clear. Cameron’s expression seemed to indicate that she’d have to go looking for the kid later and “talk” to him. (I wish she’d “talk” with Riley…oh, she gets on my nerves.)

Now, to poor misunderstood John. John didn’t mention that Cromartie was at the house. With both Kacy and Riley knowing Cameron’s “Uncle” showed up, but not who he was…this can’t have a good ending. Sarah’s “grounding” of John probably isn’t the best of ideas. His little blow-up makes it clear that he’s seriously struggling with his PTSD. At the moment (as much as it kills me to say so) Riley is his safety valve; his lone connection to what he’s supposed to be fighting for in the future. He hasn’t shaken off killing Sarkissian, and he’s still not over being hunted by Cameron. The worst part is that he’s still not really talking to anyone. The ones who he can be honest with are themselves the problem, and those that are outside aren’t allowed to know the truth. He’s in a tough little pickle. I do have to give props to John for calling out Sarah on her Jocasta complex—she really doesn’t want to share John with anyone. But props to Sarah for knowing that her mission, as a mother and as the first member of the resistance, is to protect and die for John, regardless of how he feels about it. Even so, John needs to spend some serious time with Sherman…though I’m thinking that since Cameron is the one person who won’t judge him or leave him (and knows the secrets), he really should talk to her. I get the feeling that in the future, he does exactly that.

And after all that effort, Cameron isn’t wearing her jacket at the end. I guess it’s just for special stake-outs.

So, where does that leave us? Well, the humans are a mess. Since they haven’t personally faced a terminator attack in a while, and since they really aren’t doing much to deal with Skynet, they’ve grown a little complacent and self-indulgent in their own personal problems. Seems to me that they are mostly just waiting to get massacred. The terminators, on the other hand, are methodically pressing on with their plans. Whether it’s to kill John or foster a new computer intelligence, these “brothers” aren’t looking sight of the ball like their organic counterparts are. I can’t help but wonder about Cromartie seeming to be going off-script a bit in regards to Ellison. What makes him so key? Is it simply the belief that the former agent will, for whatever reason, ultimately lead the cyborg to his targets?

And isn’t it interesting how the terminators are keyed in on faith/belief/religion? Why is Sarah surprised that Cameron read the bible? After all, she doesn’t sleep. Besides, if she’s going to be an effective infiltration unit, books of faith would be an ideal in. (“Yes. My kind of story.” Hehehehe.) It does seem that the more adapable cyborgs eventually start to wonder if there is more to them than simply sequences of programming code. If they are sentient, then they might start to consider what happens when they “die” and some of the morality of their actions…but I’ll leave that for another blog.

I think this was one of the better episodes. It had terminatory stuff with some character advances. I think we might need to shed a character or two in the near future as the various plot threads are beginning to fracture, but for the most part an episode that delivered what it should, and maybe a little bit more.

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