Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 2 Episode 15

Desert Cantos

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 20, 2009 on FOX

Episode Recap


Sarah, John, Cameron and Derek are in their vehicle. They hear the radio speaking about the explosion that killed all 32 employees at the Desert Canyon Heat & Air Plant earlier this week, also known to the four of them as the warehouse with no windows. Sarah switches off the radio, and their car moves in silence. The vehicle passes several cow carcasses lying on the grass.

The four of them reach Eileen/Alan Park's hometown, where all the employees of the plant are given a memorial service where all their family members and friends attend. Sarah tells John she's the only one left who knows something about the plant, but she hopes to look for someone else with more information. She stands before the photo of Ed Winston, one of the employees of the plant whom she shot and killed before passing out.

John makes friends with a girl at the funeral, Zoe McCarthy. He tells Zoe that his mother once worked at the factory and so came to pay her respects. As they talked, Zoe notices Cameron's stare at them from nearby and tells John, who tells her that she's his sister. She points out to him her mother, Stella. Zoe's friend, Henry Douglas Jr, comes up to them and John introduces himself, but Henry behaves coldly to him and leaves without a word. John asks Zoe if he's her boyfriend but she tells him that Henry wanted to be but she kept declining.

As the prayer begins for the dead, Derek finds Sarah standing at Winston's photo looking at it. A man knocks into Derek and excuses himself before leaving. Sarah meets with Winston's wife Diana, who tells her that it's refreshing to see an unfamiliar face. She asks Sarah if she knows her husband. Sarah flashes to the time how she killed him earlier.


In the church, the family members and friends of the deceased watch a memorial video and pay their last respects to them. Diana tells Sarah about the times she went with her husband to the movies together. However, she doesn't remember the last time they went, as Ed often came home late from work. Sarah tells her that she knows that the work Ed does wasn't easy, in her few months she spent working at the factory. Diana had always wanted to contact the factory and ask why their security would stop her husband from coming home seven days a week, but she never did that; nobody else in the town did.

The man who knocked into Derek earlier, known as Walsh, gets a call from Catherine Weaver back at Zeira Corp. The man reports that he couldn't find someone at the funeral. Catherine says that he assured her that he could find him. The man understands but the people he spoke to think that he's dead from the explosion of the factory. Catherine assures Walsh that she knows the man never died there. Walsh tells her that he has a good lead on him.

Ellison joins a group of people in the office area of Zeira Corp and talks to Matt Murch, lead programmer of Project Babylon. He tells Ellison that today is the death anniversary of Catherine's husband, Lachlan Weaver, and mentions that the couple were once geniuses before his death. Afterwards they join Catherine in the elevator, where she comments it's a beautiful day.

Back at the church, the priest thanks the plant's parent company for their generous donations to the memorial service, and their kindness and generosity they extended to the families of the deceased. Diana scoffs at this and stands up asking everyone if this is the cost that buys them, using flowers and a few kind words to do so. She is outraged that nobody from the parent company came to the service, and leaves the building. Sarah goes after Diana and the rest seem to ignore Diana's earlier speech and begin their prayers. Derek has an eye over at Walsh.

Outside, Sarah sits with Diana, where she tells her that during the first six years of her marriage with Ed, they lived in nine states. Ed was in the military previously, and when he finally decided to settle down and found a job as head of security at the factory, she pushed him to take it. She doesn't understand why heavy security was needed at a normal plant. She asks Sarah what she does there, and she replies that she delivers food to them and never knew what's going on. Diana tells her that she asked her husband about the plant many times before and he refused to tell her, so she stopped asking him about it. She passes Sarah a bunch of keys Ed had in their house which she never seen before, where one of them opens a storage locker. Later, Sarah finds the storage locker and enters it. Nothing seems to be of value, but she finds several bloodied towels lying on the floor.


The funeral procession has begun, and Walsh finds his vehicle's tires burst. Derek pulls up and offers to give him a lift. As Derek's car follows after the line of hearses and vehicles of family members, Walsh tells him that he's an investigator to check up on the explosion at the plant. Derek notices his ring and comments on it. Walsh asks him if he's a local, and Derek lies that he had a wife who knew the factory people. Derek asks him for his opinion on the explosion, and tells him that others think there's something going on at the plant. Walsh asks him what he would do if he knew someone who knows what's going on up there. Derek answers that he would do nothing. Their vehicle slows down at the jam ahead, and Walsh tells Derek that he will walk the rest of the way. As he steps out, Derek wishes Walsh good luck on the investigation.

In Diana's car, Sarah has told her that the locker is empty. Diana reveals to Sarah that Ed called her three days ago when he dialed her number by accident. She lets her hear the recorded call, and Sarah realizes it's the time when she struggled with Ed and killed him. Diana cries upon hearing the final gunshot, and asks Sarah what happened to him.

John and Cameron sit inside Henry's vehicle, along with Zoe. She doesn't know any of the people at the funeral, and suggests to Henry to drive elsewhere instead of the graveyard. John and Zoe talk about the Grand Canyon as she wanted to go there. Henry mention a Mike Thompson, where Zoe tells John and Cameron that Mike was her ex-boyfriend. She reveals that Mike's mother worked at the plant. A flash shows Sarah finding what seems to be some of Mike's belongings inside Ed's locker.

John asks Zoe what happened to Mike, and she says that his mother apparently violated some confidentiality agreement with the plant. Mike and his family left town in the middle of the night, and Mike never told Zoe about the plan prior to it. Henry reprimands Zoe on how she never cares for somebody else besides herself, and tells her that she's not the only person who lost someone. Cameron speaks up for the first time, telling him that Zoe is not in love with him. This angers Henry and he slams the brakes on his car, causing the rest of the vehicles to pile up behind him. Henry demands that John and Cameron leave his car. John notices a traffic cop approaching their way and asks Henry if he continues driving. Henry refuses and John pulls him out of the driver's seat and sits him in the passenger seat and then drives the car himself.

As they continue their journey, Zoe asks John if he wants to see something messed up. They pull up at a nearby pond where dozens of cow carcasses lie around. Zoe explains that one day the cows ended up dead like that for no apparent reason, and the next day all of them were gone. Cameron suspects that Mike ended up like them and Zoe agrees. John asks what's killing the cows and Cameron finds no bullet wounds. John thinks it's the water that may have caused this but Cameron tells him that people would have known about it.


At the graveyard, the people gather around as the coffins of the deceased are about to be lowered. Henry, along with his family, watches his father's coffin being laid. John asks Zoe what Henry's father did at the plant. She tells him that he went for work in the morning and came home at night but didn't talked about it, like everyone else who worked there. John doesn't understand why heat and air conditioning is considered so secretive and Zoe says the secret is that the work there is not about heat and air conditioning, and she thinks there's some kind of government project going on. John asks her if someone sabotaged and killed everyone at the plant, including her father. Zoe believes it wasn't an accident.

Sarah tells Derek, who has just arrived, that Diana believes Ed Winston was murdered, which she was the one who shot him. Derek asks her if she really saw the drone from the end of the episode "Earthlings Welcome Here" and she says she believes what she saw. Derek tells her about Walsh. Sarah understands that Walsh knows that Derek is onto him but she offers to track him next, as Walsh doesn't know her. Sarah calls Derek "Reese" again and he tells her to move on and let go of Kyle. Sarah says maybe he's the one who should, as she goes after Walsh who leaves the area.

Sarah follows Walsh until he goes to the backyard of a suburban house and pries the window open with a crowbar. After the burial, John tells Zoe that his father did before he was even born. Zoe tells him that her father is a pile of ashes somewhere else so they both are screwed. John remembers Zoe saying that she picked out a suit for his father. Suddenly Zoe becomes hostile and tells him that he doesn't know what she's going through and to stop pretending to be a sensitive person, before she leaves. Cameron comes over and tells John Zoe's not crying. John thinks she's not doing a lot of things, as Zoe gets into Henry's car.

Ellison enters Catherine's office. He tells her that Murch mentioned her husband Lachlan's death. Catherine seems unaffected by this, so Ellison tells her about his father, who passed away recently, but even then it took Ellison a long time to come to terms with his passing. He asks her how her daughter Savannah is dealing with the death of her father, but Catherine tells him that the late Dr. Sherman was very helpful in that regard. Ellison is surprised Savannah isn't here and Catherine tells him today's not the day of excitement for her daughter. She excuses herself as she claims to be emotional, and Ellison notices that she doesn't look that way, but makes no comment about it. After Ellison leaves, Catherine calls her secretary and tells her to bring her daughter to her. Meanwhile, Sarah waits across the road at the house Walsh entered. She decides to head to the window he entered and climbs in.


John, Cameron and Derek go to Zoe's house for her father's wake and help themselves to the food. Derek says that the plant is part of Skynet but John reminds him that he earlier said his mother was crazy. Derek retorts that it doesn't mean she's wrong. Cameron tells them that she notices Zoe has never looked at her father's picture since they came here, not even once, and nether does her mother. Derek asks for her point, and Cameron says that he will have looked at his brother, Kyle's picture, if he was dead. John comes to the conclusion that Zoe's father is not dead. Cameron tells Derek to find him before he really is.

Inside the house Walsh entered, Sarah draws her gun and walks around the house, which is unoccupied and empty of furniture. She goes to the kitchen and checks on the back door, which is locked from the inside. She goes to the living room and notices drag marks on the carpet leading to a shelf. She pulls it open to reveal stairs going down to a basement. In the basement, Sarah discovers that someone lives here and finds a set of security monitors watching all the houses and streets around the neighborhood, including Zoe's house. She finds bloodstains on the floor and goes further down the corridor.

Meanwhile, John searches through Zoe's parents' bedroom, but is caught by Zoe. She asks what he's doing in her parents' room, and John asks if her father is still alive. Zoe tells him to get out, but John goes after her and tells her that he can help her. She whispers he can't, as she points up to a video-cam above their ceiling, hidden inside the air-vent.

Sarah goes down the corridor of the basement, which seems more like a bunker. At the end of the corridor, she finds a set of stairs leading up to a hatch. She opens it and peeks outside, finding herself inside a garage. Derek calls her but Sarah can't get any reception. He calls again and asks her where she is. She tells him where she is and asks where Derek is, to which he replies he's at a fake wake. She ends the call and taps the window outside, where Derek is.


Sarah brings John, Cameron, Derek, Zoe and her mother to the basement, where she explains that the video cameras are all wired to every house in the neighborhood. She and Derek conclude that the people who worked at the plant may have worked for people who in turn work for the machines. Sarah demands Zoe's mother Stella to tell her what the people were doing inside the plant. Stella claims ignorance but Sarah tells her that the tunnel ends at her husband's garage. Stella says her husband is dead but John takes out a gun and says he isn't. Zoe tells him that her father really is dead, she was with him when they got the news that everyone died at the plant, he was scared just like the rest of them and didn't know what to do.

John asks her what they were building at the plant but Stella interrupts, saying that nobody knows. Sarah doesn't believe this and doesn't understand why all of them just "sleepwalk" their lives and pretend nothing's happened. Stella shouts that her husband believes he should have died with the rest of them at the plant. She says that's what most of them did; to look the other way. There was a lot of insurance money in for them so nobody asked about what happened.

Cameron, who's working through the monitors, pulled a video footage from the archives. They see Mike Thompson and his family killed by Zoe's father George and Ed Winston. Sarah tells Stella that once she starts asking questions, she can't stop. John tells them that he knows where George is, as he picks up a pair of sand-encrusted boots. They all head outside to the car but Sarah is stopped by Diana who is suspicious of her. She feels she deserves to know the truth but Sarah says it's better not to ask too many questions.

Meanwhile, Savannah draws with her crayons inside her mother's office as Catherine approaches her. She says Savannah is crying but the girl denies it. She tells her to come sit with her. Catherine tells her daughter about her father, which was actually taken from Ellison's experiences about his own father's passing. Savannah tells her mother that she misses her father and he used to read her stories which are better than her's. Catherine tells Savannah that anytime she wants to see her father, they have videos, but the girl complains it's not the same. She asks her daughter why, and Savannah replies that she can't sit on his lap anymore. She invites her daughter to sit on her lap, which the girl comments that her lap is cold. To this, Catherine says she knows.

Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron drive to the pond at night where the cows are found dead. There they find Walsh's corpse, dead from a gunshot wound. Sarah asks John where this place is but he replies that he doesn't know. The group hears a sound from the pond, as it begins to bubble rapidly. Something bursts out of the water and makes a loud buzzing noise. They all look up as the drone that Sarah saw earlier emits a light and points at their direction. Afterwards, it turns around and speeds off silently into the night sky. John looks at his mother, stunned at what he had just seen.

Meanwhile, George McCarthy, Zoe's father, steps out of an 18-wheeler truck and awaits the arrival of the drone, which hovers to his location. The drone turns, cuts off its light and reverses itself into the truck container, where George closes it up and then drives away.