Can a moment of clarity be found in a hallucination? Perhaps, if you’ve been jailed in a mental institution for a couple of years because you told the truth about killer robots and nuclear Armageddon, that’s the only place where you can find your moments of clarity. Sarah Connor only knew Kyle Reese for two days, but they loved a lifetime’s worth. It’s hardly surprising that when she needs to turn to someone for advice, it would be Kyle.
The motif of Kyle supporting Sarah in her time of need will be familiar to most Terminator fans who watched the bonus materials from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. There was a scene when Sarah had had a particularly trying day at Pescadero that Kyle appeared in a hallucination to remind Sarah of what he’d told her when they were together. Basically, to stop feeling sorry for her plight and to get back on her feet and tend to the mission—the mission being: 1) protect and train John (Sarah and Kyle’s son); and 2) deal with Skynet. This scene, however, did not make it to the theatrical cut of the movie, and so it couldn’t be officially considered canon for the story.
It can now.
I was worried that the producers might bring Kyle back in some weird time-paradox sort of way, but instead they did the smart thing: they inserted into the canon the hallucination of Kyle as a sort of Sarah reset switch. His image, and the words that echo from the past, put her back onto the mission. I can only say that it’s about bloody time. The Connor Cadre fractured badly at the beginning of season 2, and its about time that some of that be set aside and they get refocused.
When we examine the entire Connor group, only Cameron seems to have stayed on mission (trying to kill John and forgetting who she was notwithstanding). Derek is off playing house with Jesse. Sarah is going off on some crazy tangent while fixated on three dots, and John is just a wild card. To be fair, given some of Cameron’s comments about future-John, John appears to always be a bit of a wild card. It’s his way. But the group doesn’t really seem focused on purposeful objectives. Sarah’s visions should serve as the kick-start the group needed to start working as a team again. I don’t think they are going to get back to being a family like they were in season 1, but they at least have to band together in common cause.
Hopefully that cause isn’t going to be this silly attempt to pry Cameron from John that’s sponsored by Jesse. I mean, has she even considered that the reason that future-John makes Cameron his gatekeeper is because of people like Jesse? When you are approaching a nexus in fighting, do you really want to have to deal with all of these Connor-wannabes offering only two-cents worth of useful advice when you really need a euro’s worth (or two)?
Riley remains an interesting case. The only thing that we now know for certain is that Cameron just gives her the heebie-jeebies. Riley’s explaination to Jesse for why she cut her wrists (to force another confrontation between John and Cameron when Cameron doesn’t let him save a life) doesn’t really ring true. Her expression when Jesse asked if that was really the reason look more like “Yeah, sure, if you’re buying it,” than that of someone who was confident of a plan being executed.
Sadly, for Riley, the plan didn’t work very well. John did manage to get Riley help, after all. True, Cameron stopped John from searching for Riley when she went missing, but that was an unintended side-effect of Jesse’s removal of Riley, and not something born out of Riley’s genius. In fact, John seemed more resigned than annoyed with Cameron. Having gone through this scenario before, he knows that Cameron is looking out for John when he won’t look after himself—it’s her job. She always has, “I didn’t stop you from saving her,” in her pocket if need be.
One person who is definitely on mission is Catherine Weaver. While she doesn’t understand John Henry, she does understand the danger that a lapse in security protocol can have. In these situations, it’s important that a clear message be sent to those involved. It’s hard to think of anything clearer than the massacre of every person even remotely connected with the breech.
When the manager went into the men’s room, my first thought was that he was a goner. You can’t go to the men’s room on this show and live. It just isn’t done. The producers understand the humor of this as well, hence the long take on the line of urinals. One thing is for certain: you don’t want to get on Weaver’s bad side. It’s not going to go at all well for you.
I have to admit, I was so happy to see Catherine stab her employees in the back, front, throat, side, and every which way. It wasn’t so much blood-lust as relief. Think of it as the zen of terminators: if they aren’t allowed to rampage on a group of humans every now and again, you are denying them the core of their existence. And that just isn’t right. They sometimes need to get in touch with their inner terminator and go totally nuts from time to time. Takes the edge off.
At least Catherine’s pet Ellison seemed to have grown a few brain cells. He immediately saw the danger inherent with John Henry playing with his toys. His toy killer robots from Hell. What is the sysadmin thinking?
I do have to give kudos to John Henry for totally outing Weaver. That’s the trouble with precocious children, they say the darnedest things. If nothing else, it help to put Catherine on notice that regardless of the moron humans that work for her, she can be ID’d by another robot. Since she know that there is another terminator-fighting terminator running around, that has to give her pause. Sure, being a T-1001, about as indestructible a terminator as there is, earns her a bit of cockiness, but she’s not infallible. Josh Friedman has said that Cameron doesn’t have much in the way of advantage should Cath and Cam have a bit of a dust-up, but she does have one: she has the better brain. That might be enough.
For the most part, I have to say that I’m happy with this episode. The Kyle stuff fit in better than I thought, it seems that Sarah will be ready to take the lead again, and there was a fun little terminator rampage. Even the cops, which are usually portrayed in these types of series as being amazingly incompetent, seemed like they knew what they were doing. Though small-town, they weren’t hicks. They lost mostly because their opponents were more ruthless.
As the first episode back after a long 2-month hiatus, I was not disappointed. It laid the groundwork for what should be an exciting finish to the second season. Plus, if Summer/Cam wears that jean + leather jacket ensemble a little more often, the fanboy demo is certainly going to be served. I’m just sayin’.