Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 2 Episode 9


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 17, 2008 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
392 votes
  • The "evil Toby" (for you West Wing fans) appears as a notorious traitor from the future. But more seeds have been sown for the future and it doesn't look good for the home team.

    It was interesting to see an episode where Derek and Jessee were the "A" story and the rest of the characters were in the "B" story. The conversation at the end where Derek posits that perhaps he comes from a future where he hasn't been tortured by Fisher but Jessee is from that future....doesn't bode well. Jessee came back from a later than Derek, so if the home team is changing the future - they might be changing it for the worse. I keep thinking of the promo for Terminator 4 which has John Connor saying, "This isn't the future my mother told me about."

    But, Derek still might have come from that future and he is a "Manchurian Candidate" good guy. Remember that old TNG episode where Jordy almost assassinates an ambassador through brain washing? Derek might have a hole in his memory. And what, pray tell, was Fisher typing into the system?

    Sarah's dream story was less interesting but not bad. John's relationship with Summer Glau's character is still underdeveloped. And will Riley show back up?

    Isn't the actress who plays Jessee the same one who did BSG Razor? All in all, good developmental episode, especially after 'killing' Cormorde (or however you spell that one). Of course, the T-2 terminator might find a way to bring him back.

    Until next week....
  • Another slightly odd episode, but a good one

    I liked this episode, though it was another odd one. It was good to see Cameron and John together again. Cameron always seems more human around him, like she tries harder. Derek is still in a story all his own. I hope his storyline get integrated with the main threat of the story soon as the slip is starting to get distracting. I find it interesting that there is no Riley in this episode at all. I would think she would need some closure after the last episode. Overall, I feel the episode was very well done. It definitely peeks my interest as to what Jessie is doing and if they really are changing the future or just making sure it happens. I do not like the path Elison is on and hope he gets wise soon. As I mentioned I hope some of the plot threads start weaving together soon.
  • This episode tries to look into what makes people tick.

    So, the theme of this episode was finding out what makes people or machines tick.
    Ellison is driven by the desire to understand his role in all this and to find a way to actively fight the coming Armageddon. He thinks by delivering Cromartie's body for analysis he'll contribute to that end, so he hides his actions from John. Trying to "fight" on his own as he wasn't invited to fight with the Connors.

    In the scenes with Cameron and John we see Cameron trying to understand feelings, emotions; testing them and herself really. As she says, she wouldn't be worth much if she couldn't feel them. That brings the question, worth much to whom? John, herself, the machines?

    Derek and Jessie's story revolves around a machine collaborator who has come back from the future. Derek learns about some missing weeks or months he has spent tortured by this individual as a subject to teach the machines to appear more human. Derek still can't remember this time but finally believes Jessie it really happened and then Charles Fisher (the elder) confirms it). Derek shows his understanding of people under extreme stress himself when he doesn't try to get the elder man to talk by torturing him directly but by doing this to the younger version of the man. He wants to get to the reason of Charles Fisher's appearance back in time and later wants to prevent him from coming into being as a traitor to humanity by killing the young man. But in both cases Jessie interferes and finally kills the old guy and shows a surprising lack of interest in what happens to the young one. They let that one go and future history repeats itself (how is that for a paradox).
    Again, they let someone who has learned about the future just go on his way, not trying to bring him in, not killing him to prevent him to becoming a traitor, nothing. Weird, to say the least.
    And still, Derek keeps his life and Jessie separate from the Connors, not really working together for their supposed common goal.

    And of course Sarah being ill goes into her own subconscious to figure out what makes herself tick. She even seeks out the psychiatrist again to help analyze her dreams but since she can't reveal her life she has to figure it out by herself. Ultimately it leads her to the blood writing in their garage (or whatever). So, some warning of some kind, but she and later John can't yet see what the three dots that were repeatedly in her dreams and she found on the wall later on, where all about.

    There is an unfortunate tendency in all people involved to "go it alone", keep things to themselves and thus to be integral in bringing about what they fear. Very human I'm sure, but in the face of what they know will happen if they don't prevent it and unite against the threat, still rather disturbing.

    So, I guess, the story is evolving at an accelerated speed it certainly makes me want to keep watching and at the same time frustrates me with people working more against each other than with each other. Guess, that's good television..
  • So Cameron Likes music!

    Is not all about violence you know… I gave this episode a 8.5. I was almost giving this episode a 10 because it doesn't have bad stuff. But there is one thing that take that 10 away from this episode: This episode was predictable. (And it dosen't feel like a 9)

    I don't know if it was suppose to be a surprise when Ellison shows Cromartie's body to Catherine Weaver but I saw that coming since the moment John and Cameron did not find the body. But hey, the episode was pretty good anyway. Derek is doing something at least worth watching (finally!). And what about Cameron? She went beyond what I expected from her. Friedman needs to come up with a good explanation for all this, because she cannot simply be a normal terminator after all she has showed us (And yeah this is one of the good things). The whole old man from the future thing was not bad. And Sarah's nightmare scenes were interesting (Sarah Connor Chronicles?). Overall nice episode, that shows us that the future can be changed. Will they ever learn Cameron is always right about the people she beats up? (Old Mexican man from season 1, Ellison, Thief Kid) This is the 3rd time already.
  • Errors in judgment

    After the events of the previous episode, one would expect things to settle a bit in this installment. And for the most part, that's true. It's a transitional episode that sets up the next direction for the season arc, but it's also a capable denouement for the confrontation with Cromartie. Sarah's band of merry men (and cyborgs) continues to deal with psychological trauma.

    Sarah is a mess, and I'm torn between being annoyed and being impressed. I'm annoyed because this occasionally swings too closely to genuine weakness, and as damaged as Sarah is in every incarnation, she's best known for honing that damage into battle armor. I doubt she was a blubbering wreck in the mental institution. Yet Sarah has had it together a little too much this season, and it's time that her grip on sanity slipped a bit.

    Cameron and John were on more conventional duty, charged with hunting down Cromartie's remains and destroying them. Cameron was back to her usual unsettling tendencies, switching back and forth between clinical brutality and uncanny human response, and looking damn good in the process. More interesting was John's error (or, more correctly, his lack of insight). Ellison completely fooled him, despite the torture.

    Ellison's resistance ties into Derek's experience with Charles Fisher, a collaborator from the future. Derek eventually persuades Fisher to admit his identity after struggling with the future as Jesse remembers it. Derek ultimately offers an explanation for his memory gap: perhaps he's from a different version of the future, since he and the Connors might have changed the timeline. That's certainly an interesting possibility.

    But what makes this such an interesting episode is the lack of success. John's mistakes are more obvious, and one wonders if Sarah or Derek might have noticed some subtle clue that John missed. Ellison's decision to take Cromartie's remains and hand them to Weaver will hardly end well. Surprisingly, Derek is just as mistaken; he believes Fisher when he says that his time in the past was a reward. Clearly, whatever Fisher did to bring about his own incarceration will factor into future episodes.

    I had mentioned in the review for the previous episode that defeating Cromartie should just be the beginning in terms of dealing with the psychological issues plaguing the Connors and their allies. This episode is a good sign that the writers are on the same page.
  • I want to see John Conner, word leader emerge

    The writers and producers are not spending enough time showing us why John is so special, why he is worthy of so many risked lives to keep him safe –the point of all the movies. Most of the time he comes across as a brat, whom I wouldn't care less if he was killed. He displays no special leadership skills, or attributes that would make him a world leader, a world hero, but engages in teenage rebellion against his mother, indulging in the teenage angst of the misunderstood youth. He should be above this, and not your stereotypical TV teenager. At the moment, I'm rooting for the evil terminators to get him. Show us the emergence of the heroic John, the leader and world-savior John.
  • i love this show i hope theres more to come a very good episode this Sarah experiences deja vu when she has disturbing nightmares, meaning trouble for Sarah and John. Derek and Jesse look into a Skynet collaborator

    i love this show i hope theres more to come a very good episode this Sarah experiences deja vu when she has disturbing nightmares, meaning trouble for Sarah and John. Derek and Jesse look into a Skynet collaborator v vvv

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  • This is one of the more fragmented and confusing episodes, with three stories instead of just two. Still, the two main stories are among the more thought-provoking. I'm a sucker for a good dream sequence, and an apparent temporal paradox is introduced.

    First, there is John and Cameron's unsuccessful mission to recover Cromartie's remains. This produces a moment of humor when Cameron pulls out a boot from the grave and asks, "Where's the rest of him?" Although the episode sequencing gives the impression that John & Cameron caught Ellison coming back from the dessert with the terminator in his car still, I suspect he'd been home, washed up, and was returning from handing off the body to Weaver when they first saw him. He wasn't exactly dirty and sweaty in that scene, and he had plenty of time if he just hid while they drove off in the first place.

    Second, is the wonderful dream sequence with the extremely creepy image of Cameron nursing an infant that is really a turtle which she hands off to Cromartie. The terminators are striving to become more than the sum of their parts.

    Third is the story that is at the heart of this episode, and that I've been chewing over for weeks. The problem with it is it appears to create an impossible paradox in which Fischer from the future comes back and creates his future self. This morning it finally dawned on me: this story is a classic scam story. Jesse is the scam artist, and Derek is the mark. All her actions are aimed at trying to get Derek to shoot the elder Fischer. In the end she's forced to do it herself to keep him from shooting the younger Fischer. I think that it's not true that Fischer would have died on Judgment day outside of prison. I think that Fischer wasn't ever imprisoned. Perhaps "young Fischer" is really a terminator who has now been planted inside Pelican Bay? It's still a mystery how the elder Fischer was coerced into going along with a plot requiring him to lie to Derek and then get shot, but he does have that line about the hardest choice he ever had to make. Perhaps they offered to let his real younger self live?

    No doubt all will be revealed eventually
  • Cameron and John discover that Cromartie's body is gone, leading them to pursue the likely suspect. Sarah suffers delusions and sleepwalking. Ellison endangers everyone by collaborating with Weaver.

    After last week's heavy hitter episode, I expected something calmer, maybe a stand-alone. "Complications" still has good continuity with "Ferguson," with Sarah imagining that she and Cameron are back at the shallow grave in Mexico where they buried Cromartie. In her reverie, they water a cacti, which grotesquely shoots up into giant sahuaros, with a metallic sheen - one encircles John.

    She is dreaming - they are returning from Mexico, 39 miles south of TJ, so supposedly in Baja. Sarah stops to be sick by the side of the road, while Cameron asks if she is pregnant, taking her clues from a limited experience of human life, and a mechanistic one at that. It's a strange thing to critique, but I noted that the vomiting scene was more honestly realistic than almost any other filmed version I've seen - most of which involve nothing more that bogus coughing. I've never coughed when vomiting. Just another indication that TSCC excels in the smallest details! Sarah rescues a tortoise from under the truck wheels before they proceed on.

    Back home, John is a little more attentive to Sarah as she rests from her ordeal, and Cameron brings re-hydration fluid for her. Sarah wants to return to Mexico immediately - Cameron agrees, they need to burn Cromartie with thermite.

    This episode has a subplot with Derek and Jesse, who meet in a warehouse of shipping containers. She has found Charles Fischer - Derek does not know him, but she insists he does. Fischer was sent back from the future, she claims, he is her prisoner and is going to die. He's a "Grey," she says, traitors who worked for Skynet. Fischer insists his name is Paul Stewart, a watch repairman, but Jesse is adamant, continuting to beat him. Derek tries the good cop routine on him, and wants to hear the truth from Fischer himself.

    A short scene in the truck shows us a bit more about Cameron, who hangs her bare foot out the window, informing John that she has sensations, insisting she can feel. Ms. Glau is always fun to watch, even in irrelevant (to the plot) scenes.

    Sarah continues to have delusions at home, hearing voices, and imagining herself in a plain pink dress in a hospital nursery, with all the bassinetes holding three turtles each (the three dots obsession again), except one. And in the corner, Cameron, nursing a baby, and offering Sarah a turtle. But then Cameron hands it to Cromartie. And Sarah comes to her senses facing her own visage at home in a mirror. And studying the three dots again.

    In a shocking development, John and Cameron attempt to dig up Cromartie, but find the grave is empty, so they immediately suspect...who? Derek? Ellison?

    Back in the container, Derek feeds Fischer-Stewart, who maintains his story of who he is, adding that he learned watch repair in Bern, Switzerland. He asks Derek, "Do you love her? "It's complicated" Derek replies. That's a watch joke to Fischer, and the reference to the episode title. Derek notices a tattoo on Fischer's arm - it's a watch with no hands, meaning a life sentence, wherever he was.

    Returning from Mexico, Cameron, with John, gets a call from Derek but she hangs up on him. Why? He calls back and enters the code, sending a photo of Fischer, but Cameron does not know Fischer. John heard none of this - "Everything's OK," she smiles slightly.

    Sarah, meanwhile, has comes to see Dr. Sherman, telling him of her sleepwalking. He agrees to talk.

    Cameron and John stake out Ellison's house. She asks John about the tortoise - "Your mother turned it over, but why did she help it?" John replies, "That's what we do"...she understands it's "empathy." She knows the word, but not the meaning. Ellison returns in his silver Mercedes CLS 550 coupe. "That's one for us (Cyborgs)," Cameron says. Entering quickly, Cameron grabs Ellison by the throat, but he claims to know nothing about Cromartie's body. She throws him across the floor, and is ready to crush his windpipe, finally releasing him at John's behest. She strolls away, leaving John to find a photo of a younger Sarah in Ellison's belongings.

    At the container, Jesse now brings in another man, who has a mark on his shoulder identical to that of Fischer. He's frightened and claims his name is Charley Fischer. Is it Fischer of the future, meeting his own earlier self? What a time-warp. Dealing with time paradoxes gets deep quickly, so I won't even try. Jesse demands that Derek beat the truth out of the elder Fischer. He cuts the younger one, and finally the older Fischer relents and says he is Fischer, claiming he is not on a mission, but traveled back as a reward - when the bombs dropped he was in prison, forced to teach "them" what he knew of people.

    Sherman and Sarah talk, but how can they get anywhere when she is not forthcoming, saying the Mexico trip was a vacation? We know she is still trying to learn his involvement in Skynet, but then she also needs to talk to someone. Is the central conflict her son? Yes. He knows of her obsession about the three dots - how did this come about?

    The two Fischers look at each other after the elder tells the younger about Judgment Day and the machines. Jesse says he needs to die. "What did he do?" Derek asks. She explains - in a raid on a bunker, with metal everywhere, Jesse was imprisoned. One of her tormentors was Fischer, working for the metals, and we see Jesse in a flash-forward, strapped to a table, Fischer nearby, red eyes watching like medical students. She was drugged, starved. She does not remember how she got out...then she says it was not her imprisoned, but was Derek! Now in another flash forward, we see Derek on the table with Fischer hovering over him. He seems to be remembering the torture, and begins throwing punches at Fischer. Then Derek fires at the younger Fischer, but Jesse kills the older version. All those alternate futures come into question, especially with respect to Fischer, who watched himself murdered. Does this experience not change his future by knowing what he may experience? Brain freeze coming on.

    At the house, Sarah hands John a paper with three dots, wondering again what it means, then John tells her Cromartie's body is gone, and he's sure Ellison doesn't have it. Sarah confesses, "I led him to you," as she admits leaving one young thief go free (in Nablus), allowing Cromartie to locate them. But John replies, "We're not murderers." Hmmm, they keep a Terminator as a house pet - isn't that the same as being an accomplice to murder? Of course, they can't fire Cameron, but they certainly have not forced her, as movie John forced Arnold to say..."I promise I will not kill anyone."

    Derek buries the body of Fischer in the woods. Will young Fischer now take a different course? He heard about Skynet, Judgment Day. Derek still remembers nothing of that episode. "You were obsessed," Jesse tells him. He thinks he may have changed the future by his presence, but believes that there is not a future where he and Jesse are not together. And so his less-than-total commitment to the Connors' security continues.

    Young Fischer, an engineer, logs in at his office, but the FBI and Homeland Security arrest him for breach of security. We see by flashback that it was actually the older Fischer breaking in, hacking into systems, installing a roving back door into computer systems, but he claims he was not there. Thus begins the entry of Fischer into the state prison, fulfilling the events described by his later self.

    Ellison meets Weaver, showing her the remains of Cromartie in his Mercedes. "We need to learn how they work," he says. "We cannot allow history to repeat itself." "Yes," she smiles, "it's up to us." This seems to be a huge betrayal of the Connors, and Ellison risked death to hide this act. Let's speculate - he has found a way to gain the trust of Weaver (who we assume is not known to Ellison as a metal), and by hiding his plan from the Connors, he actually protects them in some way. So we still believe Ellison is an ally to the Connors, but the writers are going to keep throwing doubt our way. That's ok, it keeps us guessing, and raises the tension level, and with the future of the earth civilization at stake, we have to have some tension.

    Sarah dreams again, descending into a deep pit in Mexico, searching for the body of Cromartie, but at the bottom of the pit is a door to Sherman's office. "What am I doing here?" she asks. He ignores her, and she finds herself in the basement again, reading Sherman's name on the wall, in blood.

    "Complications" is pretty good TSCC. Throwing in Fischer makes it a stand-alone for the most part, but that's what producer Friedman stated recently that he would do, based on fan and critic comments that TSCC was so serialized that it could be hard to follow if one missed an episode or two. I agree, but I also like a progressive storyline, and some continuous movement. Maybe the Fischer character will show up in a future episode, but I won't be one clamoring for that. Once in awhile a really notable guest star appears, but for the most part, Sarah, John, Cameron, and Ellison should be the major attractions. One thing is certain - TSCC gives you lots to think about afterwards - it's the most thought-provoking series on screen. Thank you once again, sound editor. Re-run rating B.
  • Little off what you expect

    Somehow this episode felt like nothing is going on, moving forward.. Most of the thing seems to be around Derek and his girlfriend and man they caught.. and in the end they only found out that he is the man she suspected and nothing more. So it feels like whole episode to learn nothing.

    And then there was Sarah. I usually have nothing against little more emotions but where is it all going? She is having dreams.. just dreams and what hope does she have to get help from psychologist when she lies.

    And then what Ellison is up to.. nothing good.
  • Now this is how to do a character piece.

    Now this is how to do a character piece. Goldberg and Wirth's 'Complications' takes a fairly simple premise and hits a home run right out of the park, largely thanks to a combination of solid, gritty dialogue, masterful dramatic pacing and, well, the ceaseless talents of Adam Busch. Oh, how I loved him in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and… oh, sorry, where was I again? Ah yes, Derek and Jesse's story actually manages to be considerably interesting for once. In fact (pigs must be flying), it's the highlight of the whole episode, keeping the viewer guessing throughout, uncertain as to where to position our sympathies and allegiances. The twist is also far less telegraphed than normal and comes as a genuine surprise, albeit one that's less likely to have you falling off your chair and more likely to have you let out a brief "oh!" It's a shame that Sarah's story can't be anywhere near as interesting; another trip to the psychiatrist and a few dodgy (but supposedly 'revealing') dream sequences take us on a round trip to nowhere, proving that, once again, the show's producers would rather chase their own tails haphazardly and contemplate the meaning of human existence than actually, you know, move the plot forward a bit. Still, at least it's the B storyline.
  • Something that I love about it this show is its capacity to make you think.

    Something that I love about it this show is its capacity to make you think. Human nature, psychology, or life in general. This was one of those episodes. Its main objective was to be thought provoking.

    I loved how they touched on what they may have changed in the future. Even if we were able to see into the future it would be a constantly changing thing, because nothing is set. The whole Fischer sub plot was very cool, I thought. How they found the future Charles Fischer and brought him face to face with the present Charles Fischer.

    I loved the reference to the first Terminator movie when John finds the Polaroid picture of his mom. And did any one catch the reference to Blade Runner with the turning over a tortoise on its back thing? Being a fan of the movie, I loved that.

    One other thing that i like about this show in general is that, so far it seems, they do not waste a single episode. Every episode is put to good use. Some shows will have what is known as "filler" episodes, where nothing really happens. But from what I've seen this show has yet to do that.
  • Overall I think this wasn't the best episode. Don't get me wrong it was entertaining.

    Not that I didn't like the episode it just wasn't up to par. The fact that Jesse and Derek were torturing an old man put me off. Derek thought he knew him and in the end said he didn't remember him. And Jesse coming from a different future was odd. And agent whats his face taking the terminator was so going to happen. We knew it was going to happen when he first got into business with that redheaded witch. Not a John centered episode, he still had a few good scenes. But other wise it was a pretty good episode.