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August 31, 2015

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 11th 2008 8:21AM
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
There was an interesting framing technique used in this episode. "Sarah's Story" gave way to "Cameron's Story" and so on. Each one happening simultaneously and ultimately coming together to tell a very complete story. I'm a sucker for creative storytelling, so I was all on board with this experiment. In fact, they sacrificed the intro sequence for the story.

I'm not sure if that's a sign that they think there's no need to explain the premise anymore, or just that there was no room for it tonight. We know we're signed up for a full season, and if the show can maintain at least most of its current viewership, it might just be able to survive in the ratings wasteland of Friday night. Unfortunately, it looks like its going to go up against CBS's Ghost Whisperer, generating tremendous buzz with its latest twist.Still, even that isn't as tough as the ridiculously stiff competition on Monday. In fact, FOX is going to make it even worse by dropping House in Sarah Connor's timeslot, followed by 24 come January.

Is it just me, or did this episode feel almost like a series-ender? Like the writers thought there was a good chance they were only going to get eight episodes this year and wanted to make sure they gave fans some closure. It's an appreciated gesture, but it almost makes it too easy for people to just walk away from the show now. Where was the hook? Ellison looking back at the Connor clan before "walking away."

And the "death" we were promised? I don't know, I just don't think the destruction of the killer machine that's been sent back to destroy you really counts as a death. I mean come on! In how many Terminator movies has it been proven that the machines are expendable? Sure, Ah-nuld was someone we became attached to in T2, as is Cameron now, but those are machines on the side of good. Cromartie was just another bad guy robot, so his death really doesn't have any real impact. They'll just send another one. Hell, they could even send one that looks like that if they wanted.

Cameron changes into "sexy" clothes and crawls into bed with John Connor to talk to him. It's a strange and very "human" strategy. We've seen her use her so-called sexuality before to push forth her agenda. It is interesting, though, for a terminator to utilize such advanced social tactics. Maybe they uploaded some Dr. Phil books and tapes into her. And are they really hinting that John develops some sort of robot love thing with Cameron in the future? 'Cause that's just weird. And a bit Cylon-esque don't you think?

So where do they go from here? As I said, they've pretty much clean-slated the whole show. From here the possibilities are as endless as the myriad futures. Of course, new robots will be coming back through time, but for what purpose? More helpers for John? Efforts to destroy the Shirley Manson T-1001? Her story hasn't completely intertwined with the Connors yet, though the Ellison crossover inched them closer. Just what do the robots of the future want? I bet it's better satellite TV reception. Have you seen the cloud density in the future?

Who should have died?
Sarah16 (3.4%)
John27 (5.8%)
Cameron4 (0.9%)
Derek61 (13.1%)
Ellison46 (9.9%)
Riley311 (66.9%)

Gossip Girl' Show & Cast Photos

    Actress Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine Leighton Meester cover party at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage.com

    Actress Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine Leighton Meester cover party at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine/Leighton Meester Event sponsored by Jose Cuervo Platino at Marquee Nightclub on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Brian Ach/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine/Leighton Meester Event sponsored by Jose Cuervo Platino at Marquee Nightclub on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Brian Ach/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends the Gotham Magazine/Leighton Meester Event sponsored by Jose Cuervo Platino at Marquee Nightclub on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Brian Ach/WireImage.com

    Leighton Meester attends a Gotham Magazine celebration at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic.com

    Leighton Meester attends a Gotham Magazine celebration at Marquee on September 27, 2008 in New York City.

    Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic.com

    Blake Lively on location for "Gossip Girl" on September 22, 2008 in New York City.

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Cynthia Sparer, Dr. Herbert Pardes, Leighton Meester, Alex Cohen and Pamela W. Barnes attend the Kids for Kids celebrity carnival benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation at the Park Avenue Armory on September 20, 2008 in New York City.

    Jason Kempin/WireImage.com

    Actress Leighton Meester attends the Kids for Kids celebrity carnival benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation at the Park Avenue Armory on September 20, 2008 in New York City.

    Jason Kempin/WireImage.com

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I have to disagree with some of the previous commenters. In general I like the idea of the multi-POV story; however, I don't think the writers pulled it off very well here. The segments were too short and disjointed. Derek's was what, 30 seconds long? (And fairly useless, at that.) With all of the tension that Cromartie has brought in past episodes, the climactic church scene felt too relaxed and was over before you could begin to appreciate what was happening. It almost seems as if this was intended to be a double-length episode but was cut back to fit into a single hour.

November 14 2008 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

T:TSCC has been nominated for the People's Choice Awards for the best SciFi TV Series. Go vote for it now!!!


November 14 2008 at 8:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved the structure of this episode. Probably the best episode of the entire series, so far.

November 13 2008 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

who else here wished they were John when Cameron crawled into bed with him?? hahah

I love this show. Another great episode! I love the direction this show is taking. Cameron is definitely John's wife in the future. No doubt about it, and I can't wait to see it unravel before us.

New machines are going to be coming, and I can't wait to see Sarah kick the crap out of Derek's girlfriend. We all know she's not up to any good...

Love this show!

November 12 2008 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Steven Hack

BTW, the religious symbolism was present in the original franchise - I mean, "John Connor" has JC as initials for a reason. But in the series, Josh Friedman wanted to explore what the existence of Terminators and Skynet would mean for believers in religion, partly because Richard T. Jones, aka "Ellison", is a Christian and Josh and Richard have discussed this.

Cameron isn't getting religion. She just has realized that religion plays a big part in human behavior, so naturally she's read up on it. It's all part of being able to manipulate people to her advantage.

And Summer Glau hinted in an interview that we really don't know yet just how GOOD Cameron is at manipulating people.

As for what Cameron intended with "Vic's" chip, I believe it has something to do with her self development. The reason she gave the Connors for keeping the chip was bogus, of course, although plausible. But I believe it goes back to the discussion John had with Sarah about the "Singularity" in season one, when John told Sarah that was about the concept of machines upgrading their intelligence without human help. At the time of that discussion, Cameron was standing guard at the window. When John talked about AIs upgrading themselves without human help, Cameron turned her head and looked at him. That had to mean something.

So I think she kept the chip intending to use it in some unknown way either to enhance her abilities or perhaps to reprogram it with a copy of her chip in case anything happened to her chip. Whether Josh is going to pursue that plot line, I don't know.

And as I mentioned above, I don't think she will become John's love-toy in the future - I think it will be the other way around!

November 11 2008 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard Steven Hack's comment

Nice analysis. Very enlightening. I myself have been toying with a theory that Cameron's bona fides are sketchy. Somehow, Future John trusts her; then again, as Jesse points out, he's got metal running around all the bases and plenty of people think he's gone loco. In 'D&D', Derek expresses his displeasure with Connor about this.

I still wonder what it is about Cameron that Derek clearly mistrusts. We know from 'D&D' that from the sight of her, he knew she was metal and didn't trust her for a second (and still doesn't to this day). Was there a deeper meaning when she told Derek "I know who you are too"? It has been suggested that perhaps Cameron was the one who tortured Derek when he was in the interement camp. We heard that Chopin song coming from the basement, the same Chopin song that Cameron later did the ballet dancing to, the same one that Allison Young told T-Glau that her mother used to always play for her...this most recent episode (NB the moment in the weapon depot) further reinforced that Derek STILL (a) doesn't fully trust Cameron and (b) thinks John Connor (both present and future) is a bit of a fool. This is interesting considering that in the original Terminator movie, when Sarah asked Kyle what John Connor was like, his answer was "you trust him....everyone does," and his own brother was quite mistrusting!

Another point you've touched upon is the religion thing, which is quite pervasive in Ellison's story. Derek has mentioned that the machines are above religion, so we know that at least Cameron and Cromartie have nothing to do with it; but Ellison et al. seem to question it. The whole faith thing seems to be a crutch he developed in the wake of his divorce. Now we learn that he considers the Connor case going cold in 1999 as a catalyst to his divorce/life falling apart. Some of the things he was discussing with Dr. Silberman hint to that as well (the whole thing about Silberman now worshipping Connor bringing him to read from Revelations). I wonder how much this will come into play. The climax to the first Godfather movie (the christening scene) comes to mind here.

November 13 2008 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Steven Hack

I would agree that killing Cromartie isn't as significant as killing one of the other cast members, nonetheless it was never promised that it would be significant. Josh Friedman simply told everybody at the Comic Con panel that one of the cast members there would die. It was a big deal for THEM, since none of them except Dillahunt knew who it was. Actually, Summer Glau did know and she wouldn't tell Thomas Dekker who was aching to find out, which was a funny bit in an interview they did. Dekker told her, "You're going to tell me right now!" and when she didn't (because they were being interviewed, natch, she couldn't), he's like "I hate you!"

The human she was modeled after was called "Allison Young", and she originally lived in Palmdale, California. However, there is no evidence that any of Allison's actual memories or nature were "uploaded", as it were, into Cameron. Cameron was simply physically modeled after Allison. She then interrogated Allison thoroughly and learned a lot about her, so she could pass for Allison in an attempt to get into John Connor's camp. That infiltration failed, and she was captured and reprogrammed by future John.

What Cameron can do is simulate human emotion PHYSICALLY with near perfection - as opposed to Cromartie, whose reactions were always just a little "off". She only does this when she has to, however - most of the time she acts like any other Terminator, with miminal responses and a cold efficiency.

As for Cameron becoming more "human", Josh Friedman has explicitly said that doesn't interest him. It's more interesting to develop how it is to be an android.

Cameron was never sent back by future John to protect his past self. That was a lie she told the Connors. Future John would never have sent back a Terminator that was operating independently and not subject to orders from either his past self or his mother, especially since reprogrammed Terminators seem to go ape frequently. Therefore the only conclusion is Cameron came back on her own initiative for her own agenda.

We know she could do that since 1) she had access to the time machine, since it was her retinal scan that opened the door for Derek in the "D&D" episode in season one; and 2) we know she can operate the machine because she did it in the pilot in the bank.

So the question arises? What is her agenda? My theory is that she came back from the future because she has developed a sense of self-preservation and independence, either due to Skynet's more extensive programming of her to be a better infiltrator, or because of John's reprogramming of her, or simply because of an accident.

Thus, she sees that in the future there is not future for her. Either mankind wins the war and she ends up in a scap heap with the rest of the Terminators, or Skynet wins and she ends up just another totally controlled robot.

So, like Derek's girl friend "Jesse" suggested she did, she bolted and came back to the one place where she might survive - the past.

And to do that, she needs John Connor more than he needs her. He is as much HER protector in this time as she is his.

And that means she needs to seduce him - to become important to him, so that he will continue to protect her.

She tried to seduce him in the "Vic's Chip" episode in season one, but that was spoiled when Sarah smelt nail polish and came into the bedroom.

Then she got glitched and tried to kill him in episode one of this season, then made it worse by trying to fool him into believing she "loved him" - which only made John angrier about her.

So, as I predicted, she's trying to repair their relationship. She made a move on John this week, deliberately trying to sabotage the relationship with Riley. Even Sarah told her, "I don't like the way that kid responds to you", to which Cameron bluntly told her, "You got what you want" (to be rid of Riley, which of course didn't happen.)

But she went beyond just trying to get rid of Riley. First she dressed up in her "seduction array" - hot pants and boots, similar to the outfit she had on in "Automatic for the People" when she hustled the nuclear plant employees in the bar scene.

Then she stripped off her jacket and entered John's bedroom wearing only a thin top.

Then she closed the door, establishing this as an "intimate moment" away from Sarah and Derek - and Riley.

Then she climbed on his bed, showing major thighs!

Then she blew off John's nervous comment about Riley seeing them in bed, by coolly stating that she watched Riley leave "until I couldn't see her" - also establishing that this was an "intimate moment&

November 11 2008 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Someone please clear this up for me....in John's story, I saw him make TWO phone calls from Mexico. 1 was to his uncle - and it went to voice mail, no? He punched in the code and hung up. 2nd was to his mom. Someone else answered instead.

Okay...when we saw Derek's story, the phone rang and it was clearly Mexico (we know this because Cameron dialed the number). Didn't Derek take the call???? I thought he talked to John there.


November 11 2008 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to heyroll's comment

when he called his mom, it was the terminator that answered and emulated his mother's voice. She (It) was talking when John was punching in the code. He thought she was killed.

He punched in the code for Derek and since John and his mom once lived in Mexico, he recognized the country code and knew where to find him. Derek never talked to John before he arrived in Mexico.

November 11 2008 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the show a lot, but I'm beginning to lose patience with it. One of my favorite moments was in the first season when we got to see a butt-naked Summer Glau kicking some redneck butt. From behind and from a distance, unfortunately. But a guy can dream, can't he?

Churches and religious imagery play too big of a role in this series. Are they trying to equate humanity's saviour, John Connor, with the better-known one who shares the same initials? If so, why did they make Cromartie's demise so symbolic of Christ on the Cross? And is Cameron getting religion or what?

It's been hinted that Cameron's got more human-like plumbing than your average Terminator (remember the potato chips?); perhaps John will find out? Perhaps she was/will be John's love-toy in the future?

Frankly, they tend to get subplots moving and then drop them before they go anywhere. What was up with the high-school suicides? Why did Cameron hid the dead Terminator's chip at the end of Season 1, and what did she do with it?

I think the hints of Cameron's perhaps developing human feelings (or an ability to fake them, or to think she has them) could've been developed much more fully. I know, the "robot-becoming-human" thing is practically a cliche after BSG, but it could still be interesting.

Is she "becoming" human? Was her personality more human before she got sent back? What did happen to her after she first infiltrated Connor's base back in the future? (Forgive the tortured tenses.)

Even back in Firefly, Glau did sexy/creepy really well, and she's refined it further in this show. I want to see her character developed more fully, and not in the odd dribs and drabs the producers seem to prefer.

I mean, how did Cameron feel about the revelation she's a doppelganger who killed her original model? Did she really feel nothing? And how does she really "feel" about John? Does everyone assume she was just lying about being in love with him to get him not to kill her? If I were John I'd at least have asked her WTF.

November 11 2008 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow. This was a rock solid episode. One of the best in a season full of good episodes.

I really do hope that this is not the last we see of this series, but I can understand why people may think that it is. But I don't understand why people think it should be.

This is some intense action-drama and it is some of the best on television, imo.

The desperation in the situation and the characters is palpable, particularly for the mother.

It can be formulaic, but there are times when this show takes the viewer places they just haven't gone before, or at least not very often, and the cast does a fine job.

That cast has been fleshed out well and I'd like to see all of the people standing there at the end of this episode continue on in their roles. Every single one of them, from Brian Austin Green to the FBI guy that used to be on Judging Amy, make the show as compelling as anything else on TV, and I would really like to see this show survive.

November 11 2008 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The relationship between John and Cameron is weird, but good weird. I definitely got that the girl that Cameron was modeled after had some type of relationship with future John Connor, even if we didn't get a good idea of what. Did that character get a name in the flashback episode?

November 11 2008 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dorv's comment
Joey Geraci

I'm pretty sure the girl did get a name, when we saw the girl Cameron was modeled after get captured by the robots in the future. Don't remember.

November 11 2008 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

She gave a name, Allison, the episode was actually called 'Allison from Palmdale'. She also called her 'mother' and the lady who answered was confused because she didn't have a daughter but liked the name Allison and then we saw that she was currently pregnant.

November 11 2008 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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