Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 2 Episode 11

Self Made Man

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Dec 01, 2008 on FOX

Episode Recap

The episode opens with a scene from the 1920s inside a club, with men and women partying their way and dancing, during a celebration of New Year's Eve. Suddenly, a fire breaks out and the crowd panics. The guests manage to make their way out in time before the blaze spreads further into the club. The scene fades out with people crying and screaming. In the present, John is busy working on his laptop, while Sarah asks if there's anything on tech companies with the three dot logo. John replies that he looked through about 50,000 websites and hundreds of those have a three dot logo in them. However, most of these companies are not Skynet related. Sarah tells her son to keep looking, but John asks again if she saw the logo from a dream. Sarah adds that the logo was written in blood in the basement, so it means something, and tells John to keep looking. John tells her he will do it tomorrow morning as he's tired.

Cameron walks into the kitchen. Sarah says since Cameron doesn't sleep, she should make herself useful, as she hands her the laundry. John jokes about how Sarah's using the most efficient killing machine to do laundry, so Sarah takes the laundry basket from Cameron and throws it to John. After Sarah leaves, John hands the laundry basket back to Cameron. Later, Cameron appears at the local library after hours, ringing a buzzer at a door marked "Employee Entrance Only". A man in wheelchair opens the door for her, while she hands over a bag of donuts. The man comments that she never forgets and Cameron confirms it, then enters the room.

The pair are doing work inside the library office. The man asks Cameron about the trip to Mexico, and if she saw her "buddy" down there. A flashback shows her and John digging out Cromartie's gravesite, with John only finding Cromartie's boot and Cameron asking him where's the rest of it. In the present, Cameron tells the guy that he was gone when they got there. The man asks Cameron if her "brother" (John) is still crazy about the blonde (Riley). Cameron confirms this and tells him that it's become a problem. She tells the man about Riley sneaking out the windows and forgetting to switch the alarm back on, leading to the robbery. The man is surprised by this, and asks her if they caught who did it. A flashback shows Cameron executing Tristan DeWitt's gang in the bowling alley. In the present, Cameron smiles and tells the guy that everything worked out fine. The man is impressed by Cameron's attitude to the robbery, and she quotes a phrase from Shakespeare's Othello. The man asks her if she read Othello and if she liked it. In response, Cameron tells him that it was more violent than she expected. The man regrets not warning her about the content, but Cameron tells him that everything worked out fine. Cameron asks the man if he has a history of California field artillery, as she's interested in the rifles used during the American-Indian Wars.

The man, Eric, brings Cameron to another office where a small collection of books are kept inside. Cameron sees several black and white photos taken during the 1920s, and finds one taken during the club fire at the beginning of the episode. Among the terrified guests helped by firemen, a man who looks oddly emotionless stares ahead in the photo. Cameron finds the man strangely familiar, as Eric wheels over and asks what she's looking at. Cameron tells Eric about the man she's looking at in the photo, as she compares the man to her database record. It matches with a T-888 model. Cameron tells Eric that she knows the man in the picture. Eric comments the man would have been 110 years old, as he points out the date taken: December 31, 1920. Cameron asks why the man was doing in 1920, and asks Eric where the picture was taken from.

Eric tells Cameron that it was a picture of the famous New Year's Eve speakeasy fire. 43 people died in the incident. There were rumors that someone threw a molotov cocktail through the door, as there were a lot of rivalries between the other speakeasy clubs. A flashback shows the T-888 moving among the firemen, injured and dead club-goers, as though looking for something. Cameron says that she needs to know what happened to the terminator. Meanwhile, John is awakened by a call from Riley, who tells him to come and meet her.

In the archives room, Eric explains to Cameron that most of the period articles have been transferred to digital, so it will take a while to search for the one they are looking for. Cameron comments that Eric seems to be a happy person, as she doesn't know many happy people. Eric reveals to her that he's a survivor of bone cancer, and asks her why she wanted to look up on the man in the picture. Cameron replies that she's interested in the past, as it affects everything in the future. The pair manage to find the man in a newspaper article, whose name is Myron Stark. He shakes hands with Rudolf Valentino, which Eric says was the greatest silent film star of all time. Both Stark and Valentino were at the premiere of a movie called 'The Sheik'.

A flashback shows Myron Stark shaking hands with Rudolf Valentino, telling the star that he enjoyed his film very much. However, Valentino is creeped out by Stark's comment on how his character should not have handed a weapon to a female character who was a security risk, during an attack by thieves in one scene. In the present, Cameron observes that while Stark is shaking hands with Valentino, he was staring intently at another man behind the star. Eric says that the man's name is Rupert Chandler. Cameron suggests looking into city and county records for Stark's last whereabouts. Eric tells her that the details can be found in the Vital Records room, but is presently locked up and he doesn't have the keys. He tells Cameron to come back in the morning, but she goes off. Eric wheels after her.

John arrives at the address given by Riley, in a house that is organizing a rave. He meets the host's mother, Gil, and helps her to carry the snacks and beer to the table. The host, Mike, shows up, who tells his mother that she got the wrong kind of beer. Gil stares at her son with a look of disapproval, and asks him why he hadn't introduced John to him. In response, Mike tells her that John is not his friend, and observes that John seems to be a "loner weirdo that dropped out of school". John notes that Mike simply sends his mother up to her room as she makes him hard to relax during the party. Riley shows up and welcomes John. John asks her for the reason she called him to come over. Riley tells him a guy kept bothering her. John thinks they should leave in his car now but Riley tells him it's cool now and to hang out with her. John is annoyed and says that he's only here to fetch her. He apologizes for his remark and tells Riley that he's fine with hanging out.

Meanwhile, Cameron has broken into the Vital Records room and looking through the files. Eric wheels over and asks her if she wanted him to get fired for the break-in. She tells him that she's looking for records of Myron Stark, and thinks that he isn't what everyone thinks he was. Eric is angry that Cameron has, despite telling her not to, done this break-in when he originally invited her to come over after hours in the library for research. Cameron says that she needs the information and Eric says that he needs his job. Cameron says she will fix the problem but Eric tells her to put all the files back. He wheels over intending to put back the files but ends up falling from his wheelchair. Cameron offers to help but Eric tells her not to as he puts himself back in the wheelchair with much difficulty. Without another word to her, he leaves the room.

Later, Cameron watches Eric put back books on the shelves with the help of a tool. She apologizes to him and tells him that she shouldn't have gone down there. Eric tells her to forget it as it's no big deal. Cameron thinks it's a big deal as they are friends and she doesn't have any friends. Eric thinks that can't be true and Cameron starts to leave. Eric changes topics by asking her if she found anything. Cameron tells him she haven't found any, and there was no record of Myron Stark before the fire. Eric thinks that Stark was an immigrant and work his way up to the elite status he was in. Cameron thinks Stark used an effective strategy, which Eric believes her to be saying by method of robbery. A flashback shows Stark robbing a bank and fired his submachine-gun at the police, while they are unable to deal out any injury on him. Cameron asks Eric to show her police records.

In the records room, they hear an old recording of an interview with the police on a spate of robberies committed by a man who seemingly was never injured during the confrontations he had with them. He stole a total of over $70,000 in cash, silver and gold. Eric asks Cameron if she really believed Stark robbed banks. Cameron says it's an effective strategy. Eric asks her why Stark needed all that money for. Cameron replies it's to buy the American Dream. They searched through files and find that Stark bought parcels of land at San Fernando Valley, Burbank and other places, two days after his last heist. Cameron says it's to built houses, as she found a business license for construction.

They watch an old video titled 'Myron Stark vs. Rupert Chandler', which details the two men's exploits as Stark challenges Chandler, who's the real estate magnate in the era. He was also the undisputed king of the expanding San Fernando Valley. Myron Stark started alone as a one-man operation in his construction business, which expanded into a large company. Stark was often working side-by-side with his workers. Soon Stark and his company became a thorn in his rival's side, as Stark poised to overthrow Chandler as the real estate magnate.

Eric tells Cameron about Chandler's right-hand man, Fred Jaffers, who went missing back in 1925, was never found. He accidentally pushes Cameron's bag to the floor, finding a gun when he picks it up. He questions her on why she's using it and if she's in trouble. Cameron denies this, but Eric says that he's seen cuts on her, even if she wore makeup to hide them. Cameron tells him she gets into fights when protecting her "brother". Eric asks who in turn protects her and Cameron replies it's herself. Eric asks why all this research on Myron Stark is so important to her and Cameron tells him that Stark was doing things that did not make sense to her and want to find out what it was. Eric feels it's him that does not make sense as he can't understand why she has a gun and doing all this research on a guy so suddenly. Cameron requests for her gun back and Eric tells her that he has never fired a gun before. She asks him if he wants to and he confirms it. Cameron brings a book over and tells him to shoot it despite his refusal not to. He does anyway and is fairly excited from the experience.

John watches Riley and Mike play video-games. Riley hands the controller over to John but he tells her that he doesn't know how to play. Mike chides him into playing it. John fails and gets a game over, and decides to leave. Riley tries to stop him from leaving but John tells her that coming here was a mistake. Mike realizes they are leaving and asks for his missing lighter, using this as an excuse to touch Riley all over. John gets angry, beats Mike and clasps him from behind, before throwing him onto the ground and landing a few more punches in his face before Riley pulls him away and out of the house.

Cameron and Eric watch a news report on how a man found a body while taking a walk. He spotted a glint of metal in the ravine and found a very old vehicle from the 20s, containing human bones inside. DNA tests have found the bones belonged to the missing Fred Jaffers. A flashback shows Jaffers driving along a dusty desert road and encounters Stark, who carries the front of his vehicle with ease. Jaffers screams at Stark to stop what he's doing, as the latter drags his vehicle to the cliff and throws it down into the ravine with Jaffers onboard. In the present, Eric explains to Cameron that Jaffer's disappearance was a terrible blow for Chandler, which led to a string of tragedies, beginning with his son Will Chandler, who died on New Year's Eve 1920. In flashback, police confirm the death of Will Chandler at the site of the fire that broke out in the speakeasy club. Cameron and Eric make a connection between Stark's presence there and the death of Will.

John drives his truck to the top of a hill nightspot. Riley talks to John, telling him she thought he was going to kill Mike. John simply asks why Riley called him in the first place. Riley tells him that she wanted him to come. John doesn't understand why she hangs out with Mike. Riley reveals that her previous foster parents were hippies and often treated her as an outcast. She approached John the first time, as she thought he's a "weirdo" like her and will accept her. John shares with her his experience with foster parents. He realizes that Riley did indeed take Mike's lighter. He asks her about her real parents. She tells him that they died in a fire when she was little. She asks John why he ended up in a foster home when he had his mother. John tells Riley that Sarah was in a mental institution at the time. He tells her that his mother was engaged a long time ago, a man who was the only friend they had. His wife died in an "accident" a while back and he left. John feels that he shouldn't be around people. Riley asks him if he wants to talk about his problems and John replies that he sometimes wants to and sometimes not at all. Riley kisses John and they soon get intimate.

Cameron goes into the toilet to look fo Eric, telling him that she found Will Chandler's obituary. Eric tells her to wait as he's busy in his cubicle. Cameron ignores his comment and tells him that 400 people came to Will's funeral and assumes he has a lot of friends. Eric thinks his father has a lot of money and therefore had a lot of connections. Cameron believes Stark killed Will, but Eric doesn't understand why as Stark and Will didn't exactly know each other, plus why would he have killed 43 other people. Cameron tells Eric that it happens. Looking into the mirror, Cameron asks Eric if he's ever thought about dying and suicide. Eric asks why and Cameron thinks there's something wrong with him. Leaving his cubicle, Eric tells her that he's never thought of killing himself s it would destroy his family and people around him who love him. He asks her if she could do that. Cameron ponders this, while Eric assures her that he's not sick anymore, but will have to do a scan every six months. He tells Cameron that so far he's clean.

Later, Eric tells Cameron that he cross-referenced the names of the survivors in the fire and a woman's name came up in a documentary about the roaring 20s. He tells her that the documentary is found in the film vaults access, but is unable to go up himself due to being confined in his wheelchair. In response, Cameron carries him with ease and Eric comments that she's really strong. Cameron tells him that she works out. In the film vault, Eric tells her the marvels of old films compared to digital. The people and places in the film look exactly the same, he says, and thinks it's very wonderful to freeze a moment of his life and doesn't change.

Both of them watch the documentary where an old woman reminisces about the old days in the 1920s. She tells the interviewer that she was in love with a prized fighter. They were both at the fire when it started. He was helping everybody out, and she remembers sitting on the curb outside, crying. People said that someone threw a bomb through the door. However, she claims never to see any bomb, all she did see was a blue flash and sparks, and a naked man appeared in the middle of the dance crowd. She feels that she imagined the whole thing due to the liquor she drank. Eric thinks it was an electrical problem, but Cameron realizes that the appearance of the T-888 caused an accidental fire that killed those people. She alludes the accident to the house falling on the witch in the Wizard of Oz.

A flashback shows the scene from the beginning of the episode, but this time it reveals more. Sparks of electricity appears and the familiar time distortion portal opens to reveal a naked man. The sparks caused by the distortion creates a fire. The terminator watches the crowd screaming and dashing for the exits, then stops a man demanding his clothes. He later steps outside the club and stares ahead at something among the crying clubgoers sitting outside.

Cameron leaves the library and Eric chases after her, asking her where she intends to go. She tells him that she knows what Stark was looking at, as she looks up at the night sky. He was measuring the star's radial velocity, the distance in parsecs and the Cartesian coordinates. Eric asks why and Cameron answers it's to pinpoint the date. Eric is incredulous to hear that a person can find out the date by looking at the sky. Cameron replies that stellar motion can be used to calculate what the sky would look like for hundreds of years in the future or past. Eric asks why the date is so important, but Cameron says it's not, unless Stark got the wrong date and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In flashback, Stark calculates a temporal error.

Cameron reads out Chandler's eulogy for his son. In the eulogy, Chandler leaves an open land, 3rd and Pico, undeveloped as his son had intended to be the one to start his first project on it. He builds a memorial garden for his son. Eric thinks it can't be right as there's a building at the area, an architectural landmark that he visited during third grade. Cameron believes someone must have built it. Eric checks further and finds that Chandler lost everything during his rivalry fight with Stark. His business went under in July 1925, his assets were auctioned off to pay off his debt, including the property at 3rd and Pico. Eric concludes that the Chandler family must be cursed, but Cameron thinks otherwise. In flashback, Stark approaches Chandler and introduces himself. Chandler asks if he knows him and Stark tells him that he doesn't. Chandler and his associate leave, but Stark tells him that he's interested in buying a piece of property, which is 3rd and Pico. In response, Chandler says it's not for sale. Stark offers to pay twice its value, but his associate dismisses him off. Stark watches after Chandler's departing car.

In the present, Cameron asks Eric if the report said who bought the land eventually. They find the blueprints and discover that not only Stark bought the land, he designed and built it himself. Cameron thinks it's about the building, all Stark did was to drive Chandler off by any means and get that land. Cameron wants to know the reason Stark wanted to build something on that land. Eric finds that Stark disappeared two weeks before the building was about to be opened in May 1927. He fell off the face of the earth and was never seen again. Cameron asks what happened to the building, Pico Towers, since it was built, anything on New Year's Eve. Eric finds nothing on each year's Eve but the tower's closed off presently. It was retrofitted due to the last earthquake and Eric's not sure when they will reopen it. Cameron goes off again and Eric calls after her.

At Pico Towers, Cameron breaks in and searches the place. She finds a sign saying that the tower will be reopened on New Year's Eve, December 31 2010, with a keynote speech by governor Mark Wyman. She looks further inside the premises and stops at a large dining hall complete with a stage. A flash shows Governor Wyman celebrating a toast with the dinner crowd on December 2010. Cameron walks to a wall at the back of the wall and calculates optimal targeting angle from here to the stage. A flash shows Wyman pummeled by bullets onstage and dies. Cameron checks the wall and knocks around it. Finding an oddly weird sound on a particular spot as she knocks, Cameron punches and tears open the wall to find Myron Stark, still in his 1920s dressup, holding a submachine-gun and standing inside the concealed space motionlessly. But it wakes up upon disturbance by Cameron, its eyes glowing red. Cameron throws the terminator through the wall to the outside of the corridor, where she picks up the submachine-gun and fires rapidly at it while it's on the floor. Unaffected, Stark gets up but Cameron picks him up and throws him further down the corridor. She bashes his head through a pillar and
Stark fights back by throwing her against walls. She stops his rampage by throwing him down the lift shaft she just opened. Stark grabs her feet and begins to climb up, but Cameron severs the lift cables, letting the lift come crashing down onto Stark's back. The impact stops Stark from moving, and Cameron whips out her knife and deals him the final blow.

Back in the library, Eric is surprised to see Cameron back, as she puts on makeup. He asks her what happened, but Cameron tells him that she's fine. Eric thinks it's her "brother" again, but Cameron assures him it's fine, as she notices that he never ate his donuts, thus losing body weight as she carries him earlier. Eric thinks Cameron has been just examining him the whole time, and wants to know exactly what's going on. Cameron reveals that his cancer is back as he has a secondary tumor in his arm and lungs. Eric thinks she's joking, but Cameron denies it. Eric thinks she's crazy as she doesn't know what she's talking about. Cameron starts to explain about cancer but Eric stops her, frustrated and understanding why she never had any friends. He tells her that she can't always act up like that, showing up when she needs something. He cites various examples on how she brought a gun in and teach him how to use it, break into the toilet and ask him if he ever felt like dying, and also the current situation where she just talked about cancer when he's the one who has it. Cameron is silent, but Eric tells her that she has no clue and no idea what's inside of her, something that's damaged. Cameron compares this to a bomb and they need to go off. Eric wants to finish his paper but Cameron suggests he should go see his oncologist about his tumor. Eric ignores her suggestion and tells her to get out. Cameron takes her bag and watches Eric, who remains silent and hurt, and then leaves.

The next morning, John comes back home looking around. Cameron appears with the laundry, asking him where he was all night. John tells her that he was out but Cameron finds marks on his neck that indicate he was with Riley. John does not reply and goes up to his room. At night, Cameron goes to the back door of the library as per usual. Instead of Eric, a woman opens it, telling him that the library's closed. Cameron asks for Eric but the woman doesn't know him and was only told to come in and replace last minute. As the woman closes the door, Cameron asks her if she likes donuts. The woman smiles and indicates her to come in. Cameron walks in and looks back outside, as per usual, before she closes the door.