Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 5

Queen's Gambit

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 11, 2008 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
636 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Sarah reevaluates the capabilities of her friend Andy's computer after he enters it in a chess competition. As she struggles with what she must do, events take an unexpected turn and she meets a stranger with a history similar to hers. Meanwhile, Agent Ellison finds remnants from a past terminator battle, and he focuses in on the same stranger.


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  • Powerful episode

    I most say I do like this.. the overall feeling.. the whole atmosphere. It is now fifth episode and when I first planned to watch some episodes.. then now without noticing I am already at 5th.. so I most say I do like it.. the whole concept and the complete and completeness of chars.. and I did like the developments in this episode - how so much happened, chess, Andy.. then the man they think did it.. who came out to be John's uncle.. wow.. I was so sure sooner or later they will bring in the question who is the father.. now that is in..moreless
  • The Turk watch is on once again. Andy Goode gets got, and Sarah, John and Cameron decide to rescue the resistance fighter who killed him since that soldier happens to be Derek Reese.moreless

    I consider the Queen's Gambit a good step up from the last episode, Heavy Metal. The amazing cast gets another full-timer in Brian Austin Green, who like the rest is sensational from his very first scene on. Though the episode starts slow with John and Cameron back in highschool and Sarah back after Andy Goode, those beginning scenes are marvelously written and performed. The scene with Cameron and the guilty guidance counselor was a marvel, once again showing Cameron's deep understanding of humans while scaring the crap out of the counselor, who certainly deserved that and more. Cameron also added intensity to the chess scene by hovering over the stage, as if she was going to kill Andy the moment the Turk won, which I'm sure wasn't the case. It did reinforce the notion that Sarah and John feel they have no control over Cameron, which is truer than they realize, but they have no reason to realize it yet.

    Andy Goode is killed off as easily as this show has a tendency to dispose of secondary actors, and Sarah gets to show off some of her toughness by tussling with Derek in the parking lot. From there the pace is amped up. Finding out he's a resistance fighter, Sarah goes to visit Derek in lock down, which is a great scene with Derek telling Sarah to get away since a T-888 is on his tail and then explaining who he is in the big bombshell of the episode. This leads of course to his rescue, sort of, as he is shot in the escape. Cameron, of course, saves him though his immediate reaction upon seeing her is to try and kill her. Cameron has a throw down with the T-888; a fight that John almost jumps into even though that would have been a great way to get killed. Again, the reminder that despite all his angst, Cameron isn't just a machine to him. Of course, Cameron wins the battle and removes its chip. The first time we've seen this particular operation done, and it won't be the last. I have to give the writers credit for mixing things up as this episode, unlike the others so far, has virtually no ending, but rather, leads directly into the next.moreless
  • Still quite good, but with sort of a plotholes and goofs

    When I heard about the Terminator TV series I was like - OK, cool, why not.

    So after watching the 5th episode on a telly, well lets get to the point. Sometimes I really wonder about the logics of this TV series - like John Connor was acting like a total lame in the PC shop and since 1999 the security of computers has really advanced and now in the 2007 he says something like "Yeah, hacking the police department was piece of cake..." Hell no...

    Plus I really did not like the final scene of this episode, when they try to revive the dying guy. Anyone who has at least some basics of medical education knows, that your arms have to be stretched to have the full power on the heart-massage (andt that you use the whole weight of your upper body in it) and also you would not perform one of those at the table which is so high - because you will have your arms bent like the guy did. Actually to give a heart massage you use such a power that most of the cases you really break couple of ribs in a humans chest. So what the guy there (some kind of rescue doctor) tried to perform there, was really not aproppriate.moreless
  • Awesome episode!

    Plenty of action in this one, and nothing to leave viewers bored throughout the whole episode. Its nice to see more new characters coming and going from the show, and also some characters that we are to find out more about, both types help add some change throughout the show, making it more exciting and less the same.

    This episode just has to get a ten out of ten, this show is doing brilliantly in my opinion and every week I find myself waiting for next weeks episode because this show is very well written, leaving us with cliffhangers at the end.moreless
  • The mystery soldier from the future is finally brought to light and he's someone we couldn't have expected.

    The series has a very charming way of introducing each story with a little Sarah-voiceover intro and this one is no different, comparing John's learning chess as a means to understanding war to an old problem: Andy. Doesn't take Cameron long to say 'I-told-you-so'. Andy, like any good obsessed scientist, has rebuilt The Turk from memory, bringing us full circle back to the question about whether he should be terminated.

    Sarah must have felts chills walking into the tournament hall – so many of these 'chess' computers have the potential to develop into part of Skynet. Turns out that Andy didn't mention a critical part of The Turk – that he has a partner who helped with the chess training. The final, terrifying piece falls into place – the winner of this tournament gets a military contract!! Hello, Skynet! But The Turk is defeated and the Japanese team wins the tournament – but what does that matter? Skynet will get built, how do they know the Japanese team didn't help? Our mystery future soldier suddenly appears and despite Andy's loss, kills him. This soldier refused to take the chance, going for the safe option. After an impressive fight with Sarah, he gets caught. Cameron, who has an alarming tendency not to mention crucial facts, calmly identifies the soldier as one of future John's best.

    Cameron's reaction to the human-faced computer is adorable, it even makes the same whirring sound we've heard before and even the primitive visual software is familiar.

    Cromartie has connected Charlie to Sarah and goes to interview him. Despite it's basic good manners, it has the finesse of a Mack truck, blunt and offensive. Being confronted by his wife, Charlie must admit to seeing John and he sticks to his guns – that Sarah and John aren't dangerous. His simple, blind faith is very sweet and very loyal… and completely ignorant.

    John and Cameron return to school to find, that despite apparently having no close friends, an impressive memorial to Jordan. An alarming turn of events is the school counsellor found out Cameron was the last person to speak to her and calls Cameron in. Cameron, having no idea that she shouldn't, takes on Jordon's inflections and repeats Jordan's last words! To say she spooked the counsellor is an understatement!

    Our mystery soldier denies killing Andy, instead saying the Turk was stolen and Andy was already dead. He's Kyle's brother!! He doesn't know Kyle is John's father! Or that Kyle was sent back to protect Sarah?! He seems to think Sarah has never met Kyle! Future John kept Kyle close to him, giving him Sarah's picture and seems he did the same with Derek, all the while never telling his uncle that they're family. Derek doesn't know about Cameron either. There's a lot of secrets in this family.

    Very funny when John gets in the car, "I call shotgun.", Cameron misunderstands, "I call 9mm." Rescuing Derek, turns out he's got a Terminator all his own. How many Terminators did Skynet send back?! Some nifty surgery and there's one less Terminator to worry about. The question is: what did they do with the body? Telling John of his uncle, John brings Charlie. There's gonna be a lot of explaining to do.

    A great new character which opens a lot of doors.moreless
Mark Ivanir

Mark Ivanir


Guest Star

Neil Hopkins

Neil Hopkins

Mr. Harris

Guest Star

Matt McColm

Matt McColm


Guest Star

Garret Dillahunt

Garret Dillahunt

George Laszlo / Cromartie

Recurring Role

Sonya Walger

Sonya Walger

Michelle Dixon

Recurring Role

Brian Austin Green

Brian Austin Green

Derek Reese

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Sarah doing pullups on the swing is a nod to Terminator 2, where she kept up her fitness level by doing the same activity on an upended hospital bed during her stay at Pescadero Mental Institute.

    • Derek tells Sarah of a picture that Kyle carried with him. The picture in question is one taken at the very end of James Cameron's original Terminator film (1984). It depicts a pregnant Sarah on her way to Mexico for the first time. The picture is later seen with John in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and is said to have been given to Kyle at some point after Kyle is assigned to John's unit but is destroyed during a battle with an early model Terminator.

    • Goof: As the camera is looking at Sarah when Cameron offers her a pencil Cameron's hand is pointing toward Sarah with the pencil at a right angle between them. The shot changes to show Cameron and her hand has turned so that eraser end of the pencil is now pointed at Sarah.

    • Goof: In the scene when the T-888 is browsing the police network to find the information on Reese, the Network Disconnected system tray icon can be seen.

    • Goof: As Cameron and John sit outside at school a girl hands Cameron a note. As the girl leaves the camera angle changes to a wide view of the area and the girl is nowhere to be seen.

    • Goof: When Cameron is talking to the grief counselor, from behind, the strap of her bag is running diagonally across her torso, from in front, it's hanging straight down off her shoulder.

    • Goof: As Derek sits waiting for a visit from Sarah, he has his arms up and appears to be looking at his wrist restraints. The scene changes as Sarah enters the room and Derek's arms are now down on the table with his fists together.

    • Goof: The T-888 knocks down the door to Derek's cell, yet the hinges on the door frame are undamaged. This could only happen if the hinge pins were missing.

    • Goof: Sarah sees the T-888 in the rear view mirror running toward them. Surprisingly, instead of quickly driving away, she keeps the van stopped and tells Cameron to "lose him". She then waits to drive away until after Cameron opens the back door, shoots it with a machine gun, and the terminator then jumps onto the back of the open van.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Sarah: (voice-over) Of all the training my son received in the jungles of Central America, nothing prepared him better for combat than the game of chess. It taught him almost everything he needed to know about war. That to win you must be patient, bold, calculating, and most of all ... willing to sacrifice.

    • John: You're really good at math.
      Cameron: Yes.
      John: You wanna do mine?
      Cameron: Yes.

    • John: A good code is like a good song in your head - it's gotta come out.
      Sarah: Yeah, well this song might just blow up the world.

    • Cameron: (about Andy) You should have killed him when you had the chance.
      Sarah: And I'm surprised it's taken you this long to bring that up.
      Cameron: I'm busy doing John's homework.

    • Sarah: Andy entered it into a tournament.
      John: Computer versus human?
      Sarah: Computer versus computer.
      John: That's the new thing, these programs are too smart and powerful to play people anymore.
      Sarah: It gets better the more we talk about it.

    • Sarah: So is this one better or worse?
      Andy: Well, it's different, really. More adaptable, but less predictable. Not as powerful, for now, but it's quicker on its feet. It has a hunger for learning, but sometimes the lessons it learns—
      Sarah: Sounds more human.
      Andy: Well, if you want an analogy, I'd say that Turk I had grown into a brooding teenager, and Turk II is still more of a precocious child. (Dmitri walks into the room) Ah, speaking of brooding and precocious, this is my partner, Dmitri Shipkov. I built the Turk, but Dmitri taught it to play chess.
      Dmitri: She'll never sleep with you.

    • Cameron: (puzzled) What are they doing?
      John: They're writing notes for Jordan.
      Cameron: She's dead.
      John: Yeah, I remember watching her fall.
      Cameron: Me too.

    • John: Nobody's gonna want Andy's program now. That thing's kinda crazy.
      Cameron: It could still be a threat. It could still become Skynet.
      Sarah: It could also become Pong.

    • Cameron: (to Mr. Harris) Can I go now? I'm done with grief counseling and I feel much better.

    • James Ellison: C'mon man help me out. Tell me something I don't know.
      Derek Reese: We're all gonna die.

    • Derek: My brother carried your snap for luck.
      Sarah: Who's your brother?
      Derek: What does it matter? You don't know the Reese boys and you never will.

    • Sarah: Field trip.
      John: I call shotgun.
      Cameron: I call nine millimeter.

    • Sarah: (voice-over) When John sent Kyle Reese back to protect me, we had two days together. He told me about the future, about the apocalypse, and the terror of a world run by machines. Kyle Reese saved my life. He gave me a son. He never told me that he had a brother. He never told me we would have family; that, in our grief, we are not alone.

    • Sarah: (voice-over) If there is a flaw in chess as a game of war, it is this: unlike war, the rules of chess are constant, the pieces unchangeable. You will never win the heart of a rook or the mind of a knight. They are deaf to your arguments, and so be it. The goal of a chess game is total annihilation. But in war, even as the blood beats in your ears and you race after your enemy, there is the hope that saner minds than yours will stop you before you reach your target. In war, unlike chess, rules can be changed. Truces can be called. The greatest of enemies can become the best of friends. In war, there is hope.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Matt McColm, who portrays Terminator Vick in this episode and in "Dungeons and Dragons" and "Vick's Chip", has dealt with the Terminator franchise prior to this episode. He was also a stunt double in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

    • Because of the lead time needed for press releases, all releases until the two-hour season finale ("Vick's Chip/What He Beheld") referred to Brian Austin Green's character as "the Stranger" or "a Stranger," even though his identity was given away midpoint through this episode.

    • Star Richard T. Jones (Agent James Ellison) and recurring guest star Dean Winters  (Charley Dixon) were given "And" billing for their appearances. Recurring guest star Brian Austin Green (Derek Reese) was given "With" billing for his appearance.

    • In Latin America, this episode was translated as "Gambito De Reina", which is an exact translation.

    • Crew Additions and Clarifications: Josh Friedman (Developed for Television by), Jill Danton (Produced by), James Cameron (Based on Characters Created by), Gale Anne Hurd (Based on Characters Created by), Zane/Pillsbury (Casting by), Robert Hall (Special Make-Up Effects Created by), Almost Human Inc. (Special Make-Up Effects Created by), Fotokem (Film Processing by), Zoic Studios (Visual Effects by), Panavision (Cameras by)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Australia: March 18th, 2008 on Channel 9
      United Kingdom: March 20th, 2008 on Virgin 1
      Russia: April 4th, 2008 on Ren-TV
      India: April 8th, 2008 on Zee Cafe
      Sweden: May 26th, 2008 on TV3
      New Zealand: June 4th, 2008 on TV2
      Denmark: June 13th, 2008 on TV3
      Czech Republic: July 31st, 2008 on Prima
      Norway: September 22nd, 2008 on TVNorge
      Poland: November 27th, 2008 on TVP1
      Finland: December 8th, 2008 on Sub
      Slovakia: July 22nd, 2010 on Markiza


    • Title:

      "Queen's Gambit" is a chess-opening. In this opening-strategy the queen-sided pawns are moved at first to manifest a center-advantage for a later queen-movement. In chess-schools/courses in beginners' classes usually a king-sided opening is taught at first (e.g. King's Gambit or Prussian). At the point the teacher wants to confront a talented student with a new challenge, he/she would choose white and open with Queen's Gambit. From the student's reaction (first 3-4 moves) the teacher can judge whether the student is ready or not for higher courses and further Gambits.

    • Blade Runner: In a computer screen there's a button called Blade Runner. This is the title of a famous 1982 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring, among others, Harrison Ford, where genetically created humans called "Replicants" are relegated to do dangerous and degrading work in Earth's space colonies.

    • John: It's over. Andy lost.
      Sarah: But the other team.
      John: They didn't lose their queen. They sacrificed it. Just like Byrne-Fischer all over again.
      John was referring to the 1956 chess match between Donald Byrne and Bobby Fischer in New York City during the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament. It has since been dubbed the Match of the Century. In this game, Fischer sacrificed his queen to gain the initiative and eventually won the game.