T:TSCC 0221 – Adam Raised a Cain

The penultimate episode of the second season of Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles delivered a long overdue reset to the series. Not so much of story (though that got a boost), but of character. The characters acted surprisingly in-character this week in a  story that was almost totally about trust.

One of the characters has a great big ol’ target on them, and it isn’t the one who got a bullet in his chip. James Ellison has shown himself to be a ttscc0221-01-280compulsive deceiver. Worse, he encourages others, who might otherwise be truthful, to lie for his sake. The same could be said of Catherine Weaver, but being a target shouldn’t matter much to a T-1001.

We end the episode with John telling Ellison that he was going to kill him. This after Cameron said she wanted to kill ZeiraCorp’s security officer as well:

Cameron: I should have killed him. I’m going to kill him.
Sarah: You’re not going to kill him.
Cameron: He can’t be trusted.
Sarah: No one can be trusted.
Cameron: But I only want to kill him.

It’s hardly surprising. Cameron doesn’t like being lied to. You lie to her more than once, she’s bound to get cranky. Still, true to character, the exchange ends with:

Sarah: No one’s going to be killed.

As usual, Cameron’s correct assessment of who is lying and who needs to be killed is quashed by the “life is sacred” humans. This never seems to give them the results they expect…as can be easily seen as Sarah ends up being captured by the police.

As long as I’m talking about Cameron, it was nice to have her back. She’s been missing ever since “Self Made Man”. Once again we have a terminator-protector with a firm grasp of the pragmatic. I also think we saw our first true Cameron/John Connor moment when they talked about the lighthouse and Sarah’s possible cancer (said conversation cut short because, true to character, Sarah walks in at the wrong time). John finally confided in Cameron. Cameron was straight with John. I think Cameron now sees her John in John.

The episode ended with the savior and the protector depending only on themselves for counsel and survival. Except for the world not being all nuked out, it could be 2027.

Speaking of 2027, we got one heck of a shock with the sudden and clean death of one Derek Reese. He died in very much the way you’d expect someone to die if a terminator wants you dead. One shot.

I was surprised. Not that Derek would die; that Brian had signed onto another show for next season pretty much broadcast to the world that Derek would die, but I think most fans (me included) thought it would be in some epic battle where he’d end up saving one of the others in the Cadre. Instead: “bullet in the brain-pan…squish”.

It might have been the most perfect way for Derek to die. No trumped up glory. Just another meat vs metal firefight. In those battles, metal wins a lot (especially when the metal actually hits what it aims at). Had it not been for Cameron finally doing what her stated mission is—protect John—all of the other humans would have received Derek’s fate.

Still, as hard as it will be for some to accept this death, for the story it makes a lot of sense. Derek got one full season more life than he was slated for. If there is anything we learn in this show its that betrayal of John isn’t good for longevity. Derek sided with Jesse. There was only one way for it to end. He didn’t die in some random traffic accident or useless convenience store robbery. At least he got to do what he was trained to do: he died for John Connor.

For his reward, Derek’s buried with his brother at the same potter’s field. I don’t think he’d ask for or expect anything more fitting than to once again be with Kyle. At least he got that.

But the repercussions of betrayals are still in the offing. I don’t imagine that Catherine Weaver is going to be any happier about the constant stream of disloyalty than Cameron is. Ellison isn’t just one the Connor’s list, he’s definitely on Weaver’s as well. Encouraging John Henry to lie about Savannah’s situation and rescuers isn’t likely to sit well for long with the bladed-weaponed CEO. Ellison’s only pass for survival at the moment is that he was as good as his word and got Savannah back.

Perhaps the most intriguing element of the episode came from Weaver’s statements about Savannah.

Catherine: When my behavior implies that I value John Henry’s survival more than that of my own daughter, it’s not because I love John Henry more than Savannah…it’s because I believe Savannah’s survival may one day depend on John Henry’s survival.

What makes this interesting is that we can say with a fair amount of certainty that Weaver comes from the future. If Savannah is important in that future, then we need to pay heed as to her importance to all of the parties involved in our little play.

A couple of months ago, I posted some speculation about Savannah’s importance to the future in Sustaining a Post-JD Terminator/Human Alliance:

Though she [Weaver] sometimes errs (after all, she’s only metal), Savannah has come to accept Catherine as “mother”. A person like Savannah could very well be the sort of peace broker that John and his allies would need to survive.

Not a lot of discussion has centered around Savannah’s importance. After all, she could have easily “died” in the same circumstances as her real parents. But she didn’t. In fact, Catherine has devoted a significant amount of time and effort trying to nurture Savannah. Why do that for an otherwise useless human girl? You wouldn’t. Not unless it was in your best interest to do so. Savannah might be the next epic arc of this saga (season 3, perhaps?).

But what of Sarah? As the episode ends, Sarah is taken to jail. A terminator is aware of her location. No…make that three terminators (Cameron does for sure, and I’d be surprised if Weaver had no knowledge of the bust). This can’t end well.

As I’ve mentioned, I think Sarah’s place in the arc is one of liability rather than asset. Her decisions are almost always the best ones. For example, upon hearing about John Henry, all she wants to do is raze ZeiraCorp. No investigation as to how it fits into the JD/Skynet puzzle. Just destroy it. I hope that if Cameron and John Henry meet, that there will be some realization of a family history that doesn’t involve Skynet. But if not. If John Henry is doomed to be evil, at least let the Cadre be sure of that.

As for the final episode…who knows? I’m sure we’ll be left with questions. I’m hopeful that we’ll get a few answers. Should be one heck of a ride.

A little bonus for the curious…the lyrics they used for Donald Where’s Your Trousers

[John Henry]
I just got down from the Isle of Skye
I’m not very big but I’m awful shy
The lassies shout as I walk by
Donald where’s your trousers?

Chorus:
Let the wind blow high,
Let the wind blow low,
Through the streets in my kilt I’ll go
All the lassies cry hello
Donald where’s your trousers?

I went to a fancy ball
It was slippery in the hall
I was afeared that I may fall
‘Cause I nay had on trousers

Chorus:

The lassies love me everyone
They must catch me if they can
You canna put the brakes on a highland man
Sayin’ Donald where’s your trousers?

[John Henry and Savannah]
Chorus:

I went down to London-town
To have a little fun in the underground
Ladies turn their heads around
Sayin’ Donald where’s your trousers?

[Savannah]
Chorus:

Chorus:

Donald where’s your trousers?

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