T:TSCC 0202 – Automatic for the People

For the most part, this was a fairly forgettable episode, still—as with most episodes—there were important nuggets for the saga.

John is starting to assert his personality. Though shaken when Cameron told him that the foolish risk he took to save her made him someone she couldn’t trust. Though it took a couple of days, John marked his spot and proclaimed himself alpha male. They are all there for/because of him, not the other way around. HE’S John Connor, not them. Therefore, even when he does something that isn’t in the playbook, he’s still the one who is ultimately responsible.

I’m not entirely convinced that he fully believes that he’s in charge, yet, but certainly having Cameron hunting him made him realize that in the end the only one HE can trust is himself…whether it’s himself now or himself in the future. If his future self thought Cameron was that important, John obviously had no option but to save her…regardless of the surface wisdom of it.

This stands in stark contrast to Derek who, for the seventh hundred time, has made very clear that the only good terminator is a slagged terminator. Never mind that with an unknown population of terminators running around that John’s only defense is his own cyborg protector.  No, to Derek, Cameron is nothing more than “metal”. He really needs to get over that a bit.

And what of Sarah? Since John’s birth, she’s been the one in charge of molding him into the great John Connor. Now, he’s the one taking the lead on that project. I don’t think she ever thought that was going to happen. From her perspective, her sole purpose in life is guiding John. With that role changing, she’s going to have to make a new plan.

Then, of course, is the specter that she’s only got a few years left to live, if past future history is to be any indication. She doesn’t have a death wish. She wants to live, and it isn’t solely because John has more learning to do.

Ironically, Cameron is in the same boat. She now knows that she has a “time bomb” ticking inside her (perhaps literally, given her fuel cells). I don’t think she ever considered that she could go bad. Now that it has happened, she knows it’s possible. She could be the instrument of John’s death (as the T3 T800-101 was in that future past). I’ve got to think that, as with many robot stories, this will cause a conflict of some sort. In T2, we learned that Terminators cannot self-terminate. Cameron’s primary mission (so far as we know) is to protect John. Now she must ensure that she can protect him from the threats yet to come, but now must reconcile herself with the fact that she is perhaps the biggest threat of all. That sort of conflict could take some time to resolve, if it ever does.

It’s tempting to think that the events following Cameron’s little blow-up in the previous episode were a factor in her behaving more terminator-like in this edition. I’m thinking that is a red-herring. This was an episode filled with a lot of new input in a short amount of time. When the plant was in danger, it’s very possible that Cameron’s CPU was so loaded with looking ahead to the various future possibilities that her more human procedures were given a lower priority. Regardless of her ability to be all teen-agery, I think it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t try hustling pool against the scary robot (who, if you noticed gave a self-satisfied smile when she was counting out her winnings).

Speaking of scary robots…how about that minion of the T-1001? He was perhaps the most robotic of any of the terminators we’ve seen this far. I’m sort of thinking that he wasn’t a T888, but one of the T800 models (or even earlier).

As for the T-1001 automating the power plants…I’m not surprised. For this show to have any legs, the villains have to have their impressive victories as well otherwise there’s no jeopardy.

The thing that’s bugging me is mostly about how often that bloody time machine has been used by all sides.

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