Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 13, 2008 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
972 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


After two years in one spot, Sarah Connor feels the need to move on before she and John get too comfortable. They move to a new city where John starts school and meets a mysterious girl. However, danger follows them again, and they are caught in another struggle for their – and humanity's – survival.


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  • very good beginning.

    i haven't see the terminator movies in years, i just recently watched this first season and liked it so much that i felt i needed to go back and watch the movies... and so i just got done watching the first 2 terminator movies (which this pilot follows after) and now starting to rewatch the first season again.

    upon first viewing with the terminator films a distant memory the first season was good, but after viewing the movies it is alot better i think... they did a really good job of transitioning the story after the second terminator movie.

    i would highly recommend anyone who is starting their journey into this series to go back and watch the first 2 terminator films as a warm up.. although not essential, even without ever seeing those movies it is still great and reveals enough info to follow the storylines.

    the soundtrack in this episode (and throughout the series) is amazing! constantly i found myself drifting into the story as if it was a dream because i was being lulled by the sounds like falling into a trance... hard to explain but it really brings you into the series with such an amazing score. (i wear headphones so that maybe has more of an impact then without headphones.. especially a pair of headphones with a soundstage like the ones i have athad700)

    if you watch this pilot and you're not pumped up to get into the rest of the series and go on the journey then you must not have a pulse.moreless
  • Two years after T2 Sarah feels the need to move on again.

    The show starts out with a terminator killing John and Sarah begging him to kill her aswell. Then Sarah wakes up, and know they have to move on again. John takes this rather as he does not want to change school. The new start does not go off so well as a terminator soon finds them and the hunt is on. I like the mother son chemistry. Lena and Thomas make for a touching pair that I gladly will follow. The story is exiting and I like both the reason for, and the way the story is moved to the present day.

    Finally Im happy to see Summer Glau on the screen again, as Im a big fan since Firefly, and she does not disapoint.

    All in all a good pilot to a good show that I look forward to follow for a long time.moreless
  • The start of something great...

    I've just recently starting watching the series for the first time (thanks to www.thewb.com) and the pilot did not disappoint. As a fan of the Terminator franchise (imagine my excitement when I realized this is an alternate timeline from the mess that was Terminator 3), this series is a worthy installment to the franchise and despite the fact that this series met a tragic end, I'm still exciting to see what's in store for the next 2 seasons.

    Lena Headey does an admirable job of stepping into the big shoes Linda Hamilton once wore in T1 and T2. Sarah Connor is one of my favorite movie heroines and Lena Headey nails the role, without having to do a Lind Hamilton impersonation. Thomas Dekker as John Connor = BRILLIANT CASTING CHOICE. This is a John Connor that is likeable, believable, and human. Nick Stahl's John Connor in T3 was hard to root for and Christian Bale's John Connor in T4 lacks the humanity that Dekker brings to the role. As for Summer Glau as Cameron, it's nice to see a new protector for John OTHER than the "Governator" and she perfectly adds a human side to Cameron while completely reminding us that under that beautiful facade, she's (or it, if you prefer) is a machine.

    The pilot successfully tells a fresh and compelling story and introduced characters that we can care about (Sarah, John, and Cameron) as well as characters we love to hate (Cromartie). If the series continues to be this good, then I'm beyond pumped.moreless
  • This is easily one of the best episodes of the entire series, which it needed to be since it was the first. Understandably, it operated with a bigger budget and had a faster pace than what would come to characterize a mostly drama/character-based series.moreless

    The main accomplishment of the pilot was the introduction of the three characters that would be the heart of the series: Sarah, John and Cameron, with some important auxiliary characters thrown in as well- Charley, Ellison and Cromartie.

    Unlike other series where the actors often start slow, needing to settle into their characters, the greatest strength of TSCC is shown right from the pilot episode- the tremendous casting. Lena Headey is on par with Linda Hamilton in T1. She is not as physical as Linda from T2, but she brings a more human, more thoughtful and yet still tough Sarah Connor to the screen. Thomas Dekker is fabulous as a constantly conflicted 16 year old John. He is realistic and imminently likable. Summer Glau practically steals the show as the mysterious female terminator who seems equally built to protect John and steal his heart. Her character alone, her secrets, her motivations, and her future relationship with John are all intriguing enough to bring viewers back to watch.

    Lastly, only by watching it a 2nd time is it possible to catch that John's first scene shows him waking up on his bed with Sarah sitting over him. John is unhappy with her habit of doing that. This is repeated in the very last episode of the series, except this time Cameron is the one sitting over him. John wakes up and tells her how his mother always did that and he hated it. Does this symbolize a cycle completed? John has now passed from Sarah's protection to Cameron's?moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Decent cast and great protagonists but stereotyped secondary characters, some rotten cheesy Terminator scenes, good visual effects but disappointing action, intriguing and twisted but predictable story

    I recently found a F* word parody of the show funny enough to check out its pilot. So far I had decided to ignore it even if I'm a fan of the Terminator franchise. Indeed I thought the cast wasn't convincing enough and worried that the story would turn into a bad episodic B-production. Now that I've seen it I'm not disappointed that I changed my mind because it was an entertaining popcorn experience. Indeed even if it's not as dark and fascinating as the first two films there were plenty of elements to appeal the demanding viewer.

    First even if I still think the cast is questionable at least it definitely has potential. I found the mother and son relationship between Sarah and John Connor quite inspiring, as much as in Judgment Day. However Lena Headey is no Linda Hamilton and she almost looks like a fragile model. But of course you can't be objective when comparing anyone to such an icon like Hamilton. She was so strong and charismatic in her role ! Headey is too beautiful and obviously trained mentally for the role because her attitude is fierce but she's not physically convincing. As for Thomas Dekker I found his portrayal of John less annoying than the pesky actor from Terminator 2 but it didn't prevent him from growing on me so I have no doubt the same should happen with Dekker. In fact the process can only be smoothed thanks to the third member of the gang : Cameron. She's a pretty young woman played by Summer Glau who gets caught in the whole Connor maelstrom. As expected her performance was good and there was something quite enigmatic about her behavior.

    As for the other characters we have the usual agent obsessed to catch his prey. The first scene he was featured in was obviously staged to make us hate him and I found such a technique pathetic. What a lazy way to develop him ! Why didn't they decide to leave it to the audience ? An other issue was the Terminator. You should really miss Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick ! The actor's primal appearance was ridiculous and his only line just plain dumb. Let's also not forget his brainless attitude towards the authorities ! The visual effects were alright but the action wasn't well choreographed and it was nothing like in Terminator 2 where the T-1000 was just mind blowing and scary. So don't expect to jaw drop before it. However it wasn't a complete disaster because our three heroes saved the day and helped to forget about these annoying and silly decisions. Seriously what were they thinking ? Some scenes are as different as night and day.

    One thing I really enjoyed was the obvious references to the previous installments. From the road trip with Sarah's voice off at the beginning to the numerous elements directly borrowed from T2 the long time fans can only applaud. Some might think that it's a lazy way to exploit a franchise but I consider it was a smart move because it binded the show to the cult films we all know and love. Of course some twists were obvious and the action was quite predictable in general but it should be intense enough to captivate you until the end. And the good thing is that it's actually only the beginning of their epic journey because the story was exciting at times and what happened at the end should intrigue you enough to make you want for more. But I really hope the cheesy Terminator won't be back ! However let's not forget that Brian Austin Green is featured from the third episode and considering how his performance as John Corben was astonishing in Smallville's Metallo it should be the only excuse you need to become a chronicler. More wounded flesh and sexy bones ! More shiny metal and twinkling red eyes !moreless
Owain Yeoman

Owain Yeoman


Guest Star

Nick Wechsler

Nick Wechsler

Deputy Ridge

Guest Star

Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard

Tarissa Dyson

Guest Star

Sonya Walger

Sonya Walger

Michelle Dixon

Recurring Role

Dean Winters

Dean Winters

Charley Dixon

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

    • Cameron tells Sarah that she is from the year 2027 and that Skynet goes online in 2011.

    • Nitpick: When Ellison and Deputy Ridge are discussing the school shooting incident both of them mention the shooter and his robot leg. Interestingly, neither of them comment on something else that happened during the incident, such as how did a school bus get turned on its side?

    • During the initial fight in the house between Cameron and the rival Terminator, the shotgun Sarah pulls out of the wall is the same model the character used against the T-1000 in the final scenes of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

    • Sarah and John use the alias of Reese. Kyle Reese was Sarah's first protector in the original Terminator movie and is John's father.

    • Danny and Tarissa Dyson live at 41645 Mulholland Drive , Los Angeles CA, 90272.

    • Sarah Connor was born in Los Angeles, CA. She is 33 years old, 5'4" tall and weighs 110 pounds.

    • Goof: In the scene of Agent Ellison first meeting Charley Dixon a wall clock can be seen on the wall several times, albeit briefly. Look closely and you can see that the clock isn't working, as the second hand doesn't move.

    • Nitpick: When Cromartie walks up to the bank he determines that the S.W.A.T. team is no threat as they lower their weapons at the sight of him. From his appearance it would be understandable that they would be taken aback, since none of them know what they are really looking at. This doesn't explain why a moment later they don't act to stop him when Cromartie smashes through the doors into the bank, as this is what they are trained to do.

    • Goof: In Terminator 2, John Connor is 10 years old, as we can see when the T-1000 looks up at the police car's computer. So the events in T-2 took place in 1995. As mentioned by John in this episode, 'that' happened 2 years ago, so this pilot should be placed in 1997 instead of 1999.

    • Goof: When Sarah, John and Cameron go through the time vortex, they lose everything they were carrying - clothing, weaponry, and even bandages. Whilst Cameron's open wounds from battling Cromartie earlier in the episode are clearly visible, there is no sign of Sarah's gunshot wound to the shoulder.

    • Nitpick: It doesn't make sense that Cameron would fall to the floor seemingly unconscious or dead from a few gunshots, leaving John unprotected as he flees the classroom. Presumably this was done so that the reveal of Cameron being a terminator would be a surprise to the viewer.

    • Goof: In the opening sequence, when Sarah and John get arrested, Sarah is shown being forced into the police car from the passenger side. It then cuts to a clip of the policeman pushing Sarah's head down into the car from the driver's side. Finally, it cuts to a shot from inside the car showing Sarah entering from the passenger side.

    • Goof: In the information Agent Ellison is editing, Sarah Connor's height is listed as 5'4" and her race is listed as "Caucasian", and the mental facility Sarah escaped from is incorrectly spelled "Prescadero." However when we switch to the Terminator's computer, the bulletin, which otherwise contains the exact same information, lists her as 5'5" and her race as "White."

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Sarah: There are those who believe that a child in the womb shares his mother's dreams, her love for him, her hopes for his future. Is it told to him in pictures while he sleeps inside her? Is that why he reaches for her in that first moment and cries for her touch? But what if you've known since he was inside you what his life held for him? That he would be hunted, that his fate was tied to the fate of millions, that every moment of your life would be spent keeping him alive. Would he understand why you were so hard? Why you held on so tight? Would he still reach for you if the only dream you've ever shared with him was a nightmare? Would he know my love runs through him like blood?

    • Terminator: The future's ours. And it begins now.

    • Sarah: (telling John they're leaving) Half an hour. One bag, plus the guns. I'll make pancakes.

    • Sarah: (narrates) Every family has rules, and we had ours. Keep your head down. Keep your eyes up. Resist the urge to be seen as important or special. Know your exits.

    • Cameron: My dad sells tractors. What about yours?
      John: Insurance.
      Cameron: Really? What kind?
      John: The boring kind.
      Cameron: (laughing) That's the kind of tractors my dad sells.

    • John: This is a hick town, Mom.
      Sarah: We've been in worse places, a lot worse.
      John: Well, my clothes are all wrong. I need, like, some different shirts. You know here everyone wears boots? Like, cowboy boots. I hate cowboy boots.

    • Sarah: (referring to the fact that Cameron is topless) You might want to put those back in the holster.
      Cameron: (grabbing her bra) Oh!

    • Agent Ellison: Twenty-two witnesses, Deputy Ridge. Twenty-two of your good town folk. That's a whole football team. Guess what 19 of them saw?
      Deputy Ridge: A shooter with some kind of robot leg …
      Agent Ellison: A shooter with some kind of robot leg.

    • John: Why is this happening again?
      : I don't know.
      : You stopped it.
      Sarah: I guess I didn't.
      John: But you can. You changed the future, you just didn't change it enough. So you can do it again.
      Sarah: I don't know, John.
      John: I can't keep running. I can't. I'm not who they think I am, some Messiah.
      Sarah: You don't know that.
      John: I know. I can't lead an army. Maybe that's you, but it'll never be me, so you've gotta stop it. Please.

    • Cameron: Back at school, you apologized for lying to me, so I should apologize for lying to you.
      John: It's all right. I get it. You needed to get close to me. It's just the way you're... programmed. Like some hot girl is really gonna try and make friends with the new weird kid. If I'd thought about it, I would've known something was messed up.

    • (After walking into the bank.)
      John: So do you have, like, an account here?
      Cameron: Safety deposit box.
      Sarah: When'd you open that?
      Cameron: 1963.

    • Cameron: When the isotope solution turns red, you can fire.
      Sarah: Isotope? What, is this nuclear?
      Cameron: No, not really.

    • Sarah: Where are we?
      Cameron: Same where...different when.

    • Cameron: You're safe.
      Sarah and John: (in unison) No one is ever safe.

    • Sarah: (narrates) It is said that the death of any one person is the death of an entire world. Certainly for parents, the death of a child is no less than a holocaust. In the case of my son, these words are literally true. And even though we've traveled through time, bent the rules of nature,  they will keep coming for him, keep trying to kill him. But until that day, it's gonna be one hell of a dogfight.

  • NOTES (10)

    • Featured Music:
      "Save Tonight" by Eagle-Eye Cherry (heard on the first day at the new school)
      "Pardon Me" by Incubus (plays on John's Walkman when Sarah walks into his room after school)

    • Though only seen in photographs, Miles Dyson is portrayed by actor Phil Morris. He takes over the role from Joe Morton who played the role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

    • This episode was nominated for two 2008 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.

    • The show was announced on August 29th 2006, which is unusually early for a pilot. Pre-production began on November 27, 2006 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The pilot began shooting on January 24, 2007.

    • Nick Wechsler (Deputy Ridge) is very familiar with New Mexico and Sheriffs. He is best known as Kyle Valenti, the son of the Sheriff of Roswell, New Mexico on the cult series, Roswell.

    • This episode, along with episode two "Gnothi Seauton", was leaked on the Internet before it was aired in the United States.

    • Star Richard T. Jones (Agent James Ellison) and guest star Dean Winters (Charley Dixon) were given "And" billing for their appearances.

    • As the first part of the series' two-night premiere, this episode had a special air date and time of Sunday at 8:00 pm E/P (7:00 pm CT).

    • Crew Additions and Clarifications: Josh Friedman (Developed for Television by), Charlie Goldstein (Produced by), James Cameron (Based on Characters Created by), Gale Anne Hurd (Based on Characters Created by), Robert Hall (Special Make-Up Effects Created by), Almost Human Inc. (Special Make-Up Effects Created by), Warner Bros. Studios Facilities (Post Production Sound Services by), Fotokem (Film Processing by), Zoic Studios (Visual Effects by), Panavision (Cameras by)

    • International Air Dates:
      Hungary: February 2nd, 2008 on RTL-Klub
      Australia: February 12th, 2008 on Channel 9
      United Kingdom: February 21st, 2008 on Virgin 1
      India: March 11th, 2008 on Zee Cafe
      Russia: March 28th, 2008 on Ren-TV
      Thailand: April 8th, 2008 on AXN
      Sweden: May 5th, 2008 on TV3
      Latin America: May 5th, 2008 on Warner Channel
      Denmark: May 30th, 2008 on TV3
      Czech Republic: July 3rd, 2008 on Prima
      Norway: August 25th, 2008 on TVNorge
      Poland: October 30th, 2008 on TVP1
      Finland: November 10th, 2008 on Sub
      Slovakia: July 8th, 2010 on Markiza