One of the themes of the second season of Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been one of going rogue. Jesse and Riley, Jesse and Derek, Cromartie, and possibly both Cameron and Catherine. With each of these, it seems as though there is a desire to break with the status quo and forge ahead on their own paths. I’d like to look at some of what has gone on, speculate about what we do not yet know, and try to look ahead at what may develop.
The most obvious rogue element is Jesse Flores. She’s managed to rope both Riley and Derek into her scheme to interfere with John and (presumably) Cameron’s relationship. Riley’s involvement is easy to understand: she was a tunnel rat living on scraps and vermin. If given a chance to bump up your position by working with someone in a higher caste, you take it. It does seem odd, though, that given how the Reese boys described people’s loyalty to future-John, that people would be so eager to decide for him what was best.
Derek, though a defender of John, seems to be easily swayed by his pecker. Jesse bats her eyes and Derek pretty much accepts as truth whatever she says (or does he). Even so, this isn’t out of character for Derek, as he essentially went rogue as soon as he returned from being a prisoner and clashed with General Perry.
When sent back in time, instead of waiting for John and Crew, which was the mission according to Cameron, he decided to conduct surveillance and whatever else on his own. This led to Vick finding his team and killing them—robbing John of three trained fighters from the future (fighters that might actually have followed orders). With Derek also executing Andy Goode, myopically thinking that alone would prevent Skynet, he placed himself and, apparently, the Connors in Vick’s cross-hairs. Clearly, going rogue has been a successful strategy for Derek.
But, to be fair, it’s not just the humans who screw up. Cromartie clearly went off the grid in his pursuit of John Connor. His statements after deactivating the T-Ellison cyborg clearly shows that he thinks his methods are better than Skynet’s. In many ways, Cromartie is the robotic equivalent of Derek. Holding to the larger mission, but if he disagrees with the plan, he’ll just make up his own. In the end, this rogue deviation brought Cromartie’s demise. He could get tantalizingly close, but his own hubris ultimately created situations where success would slip through his fingers.
Cameron is also, possibly, another rogue terminator element in the mix. When talking to Allison Young, she said that not all terminators agreed with Skynet’s agenda of exterminating the humans. Many fans believe that statement to simply be an interrogation ploy, but I think that given other circumstantial evidence, it might have actually been a true statement. I remains to be seen if Cameron is rogue to Skynet, but if she is, then she seems to be doing better than average. Her finding and eliminating T-Myron shows that she’s able to stick with her plan and actually see it through.
And then we get to Catherine Weaver. This T-1001 is an enigma (no pun). It seems as if her actions are in support of ensuring that Skynet is built. This alone seems curious as she obviously comes from a future where Skynet did, indeed, get built. Clearly there is something else going on. Perhaps it’s to enhance Skynet in some way, or perhaps she is also a rogue element in this web of shifting alliances.
Right now, it seems that the only two characters who haven’t gone rogue are John and Sarah. John, being the focal point of everything, by definition can’t be rogue. Regardless of Jesse’s feelings of his associations in the present and future, John is the touchstone that is the mission. Sarah, despite her flaws, is and will be John’s ally. She might not agree, but she will not do anything that will bring about his fall. Her investment is total. If through reprogramming or desire Cameron is loyal to John, I think that her loyalty is as unflinching as Sarah’s.
In this pre-JD stew, there are a lot of factions roiling about. Eventually, something has to come to a head. The weakest link in the chain seems to be Riley. As of “Earthlings Welcome Here”, it seems that she’s reached the breaking point. Jesse has berated and beaten her, which Riley’s psyche would view as abandonment. John has saved her life, and has been more-or-less kind to her. Despite what Jesse has said, Riley has seen John in action and Cameron’s influence. She may realize that while she might take a trustworthiness hit, coming clean with John will be the best course to ensure being taken care off. John, regardless of age, has a magnetism that draws people to follow and die for him. I think Riley has be drawn in, which caused enough conflict with her “mission” to drive her to suicide.
If Riley does spill the beans, then the future does not look at all good for Jesse. In her role as John’s protector, Cameron who ensure that the Jesse threat be eliminated. I’m sure that Derek will oppose this to a degree. He’ll say that he’ll do it himself, or some such. I don’t think Cameron will trust that, even if John order her to stay away. But would John do that? In “Goodbye to All That”, John knows full well that Derek will say that he’s doing one thing (e.g. nabbing Martin Bedell and hiding him) and then do something totally rogue (e.g. enlisting Bedell in the fight after putting John in danger in an effort to off a terminator).
Derek is definitely in the worst position of all in our rogue’s gallery. He, as Cameron once said of John, “Cannot be trusted.” His heart might be in the right place, but his own ego and passions cause him to play fast and loose with mission execution. His only salvation is to have recognized that Jesse is a danger and is simply agreeing to side with her in an effort to diffuse any strikes she might be planning. He’s acting as John’s mole. This, too, would be in Derek’s character. He would do this for John…even thinking he was “protecting” John by not informing him of Jesse’s existence.
Of all the threats surrounding John, Derek might be the most dangerous. He’s in that elevated state because he can be drawn to mistakes out of misguided love and patriotism. Some of the worst betrayals in history have been the result of an egocentric patriotism of an underling over a leader.
There we have it. Riley’s best bet is to come clean with John. She’ll be taken care off. Derek has to betray Jesse, lest he fall into Cameron’s or Sarah’s sites. Jesse is a dead woman. Even if she throws herself prostrate at John’s feet begging for forgiveness, Cameron will make sure she has a bullet in the brain-pan (squish). As for Cameron and Catherine…the exact nature of any rogue tendencies are still up in the air. Time will tell.