T:TSCC 0208 – Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today

Cromartie had to die. He’d put all the pieces together, knew who was who and where they all lived. He had to die. Like a good terminator, though, he did not go peacefully into that good night. Not only did he get oh-so-close, but he got to twirl his literary mustache and divulge some of what he knew to Sarah.

Cromartie: She hasn’t been careful. She’s made mistakes. Not as many as you, but enough.

Finally someone has called Sarah out on the fact that her well-intended plans often go very awry. She’s made the mistake that raising a military leader is the same as being a military leader.

Ellison: Wasn’t me in the trunk.

At first glance, given her past reactions, it almost seems out of character for Sarah not to have been more on John’s case. The thing is, she heard from both Cromartie and Ellison that it’s she has goofed up. True, John provided the opportunity, but Sarah never seems to make the right choice. Letting that kid live in “Brothers of Nablus” was a perfect case in point (and one that was also mentioned). I’m hoping that this incident informs Sarah to the fact that she has two trained resources from the future, and she needs to start listening to them.

Cromartie: Does she have damage to her chip? (beat) She has damage to her chip.

Then again, Cameron is a little brain damaged. Or is she? It seems that the only Cameron malfunction Cromartie is specifically aware of is of “Allison’s” small little jaunt into fantasyland with Jody. Since then, Cameron seems right as rain—even coming through a little skirmish with Terminator Rosie none the worse for wear.

If Cameron has any flaw it’s that she seems to care enough about John that she is willing to sacrifice some prudent security for the opportunity for John to have at least a little bit of normalcy.

Cameron: I understand that being John Connor can be lonely.

Cameron: You and I talk about it a lot.

Cameron’s tragic weakness is that she cares about John more than anyone, perhaps even she, is willing to admit. I think that she misses John…her John. There seemed to be a bit of longing there, talking to now-John, that he’d be that person who used to/will talk to her about “things”. Her assuming that he was listening to her would appear to stem from this sort of relationship that she hasn’t been able to reconcile between the two John versions. I don’t think that Cameron had a carnal relationship with future-John, but I do think that they were very intimate. She wants that to happen with now-John, but he’s not willing to trust her to that extent…not yet.

Clearly, future-John gave Cameron some tips about how to deal with his younger self…or perhaps Cameron is taking a cue from Vick. Making herself more alluring to John is clearly a premeditated strategy. Also, she must do this more often than the audience sees, as even Sarah notices. She doesn’t stop it, but she does notice.

Something that I certainly noticed was Derek’s reaction when Cameron strode into the jail looking for John.

Derek: We gotta get out of here.
Cameron: We gotta find John.
Derek: We’re no good to him dead.
Cameron: I can’t let anything happen to him.

That last line, delivered not like a machine but with the nuance of feeling of someone who genuinely cared for John, stunned Derek (more even than when he watched Cameron dance for no reason). He seemed to realize in his gut that Cameron wasn’t just following some protection program—she was like a resistance fighter who, like himself, would willingly die for John Connor.

As Cameron noted, in order for Derek to be in such a position he would actually have to be around…which he hasn’t been lately what with all the shtupping of Jesse that’s been going on.

It does seem like the humans are very much in a place of confusion about what their roles are and what they should be doing to foster their goals. At least Ellison is asking the question. He seems to want to be an ally, but if Sarah shuts him out—which, given her track record is something she would definitely do—then he might inadvertently lead more metal to their doorstep. At this point, I don’t thing Cadre Connor can afford to be tossing aside possible allies.

Speaking of which, there is that loin-burner, Riley. For the first time since she was introduced, she seemed to have potential. After being told to listen to John, she did. Once the initial massacre was over, she still wanted to stay, even without knowing all the details. If she was ever going to freak out, this period of ignorance was the time. I mean, when they ditched the car she still had the presence of mind to detour back to grab something very quickly (I’m thinking shotgun shells). While her being John’s girlfriend might not be a good idea at all (you think Cameron is a very scary robot now, just wait until she’s full-on jealous), she seems to have the constitution to be one of the team—if for no other reason than to prevent her from doing stupid things like answering the door when the next Cromartie comes a-knocking.

And I’d be criminally remiss if I didn’t make mention of John “I’m not stupid” Connor. Boy, is he stupid. BUT, and I have to give him props for this, when he’s in the middle of a fight, the future-savior keeps his head. While he doesn’t seem to have a clue about how to live a non-PTSD life, when the bullets are flying you can see that he has focus, especially when others are at risk. He improvises well/luckily.

It will be interesting to see if he does, in fact, explain everything to Riley. She obviously has his number about the secrets and all. Now, with the Connor/Baum thing having blown up in their faces, it’s time for a little bit of truth. The fact that with Dr. Sherman noticing the checking of a room, and now Riley confessing about seeing John’s hyper-alertness, that John needs to release some of his way-too-high tension. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: he needs to turn to Cameron in order to steady his mind. She’s the smartest one of the group, it’s time someone listens to her.

At any rate, the pay-off to this entire adventure was Sarah losing it when destroying Cromartie’s chip. The efficient method was to put it on the ground and hit it with one of those super slugs (depleted uranium, maybe?) from Cameron’s shotgun. No, Sarah needed something more personal. She had to vent her fury on the thing that almost killed her son, not once but several times. When John comforted his frayed-nerve mother, there was finally some long-absent non-angry emotion between those two. Perhaps the rift that was formed when John chose Cameron over his mother’s wishes in “Samson & Delilah” is now starting to heal.

I should also note that I thought the multiple POV technique was very effective in this episode. While I would hate for the writers to make a habit out of it, for a one-shot it worked beautifully.

As much as I think this edition hit on all cylinders, I do think there were a couple of items that made me want to choke the screen. Ellison being conveniently clued in by a former FBI buddy of his just seemed a little too much of a plot gimmick. The second was a comic moment that just didn’t quite work: Sarah with the torn soda can. She had every reason to expect Cromartie was opening the trunk and she thought that would slow him down? Really?

While I don’t want a chase show every episode, I have to say that a couple of times a season this is exactly the sort of story the show has to produce. This was without a doubt, Terminator. Major kudos.

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