Sometimes, when a show gives you what you think it should deliver, it feels predictable. Other times, it feels like patience well rewarded. I think it's safe to say that this episode represents the latter.
I've been saying for a while now that Sarah's mental state should be a less "together" than it has been, given all the shocks and surprises of the past couple seasons and her existing sanity issues. While she was institutionalized for telling the truth about the future, she was still very dangerous and somewhat unstable. Not that she should be running around taking people out left and right, but her composure has been a little too serene.
That certainly changed in this episode. Sarah may be right to place significance on the information that was left in bloody scrawls on her wall, but she's beginning to lose perspective. So much is apparent from the very end of the episode. Yet it's also clear, based on some of the potential connections scattered throughout the episode, that she could have been right. And that's the very thing that makes her instability credible; no one really knows how it will all pan out.
It doesn't help when apparent allies, like Jessie, are playing their own agenda. Maybe I wasn't paying attention earlier in the season, but I thought the revelation about Riley in this episode was stunning. Unless I misinterpreted things completely, it looks like Riley's timely arrival in John's life was anything but random. Jessie's plan appears to be emotional control over John, particular in terms of getting Cameron far away from him. Does she know something about Future John's relationship with Allison/Cameron, leading her to see Cameron as a long-term threat? (Alternatively, did she simply see Cameron in that dress?)
I've never assumed that the character connections and relations are simple or apparent on this show, and because there's always the potential for betrayal, it's great to see how the pieces move across the board. The message from the writers in this episode seems to be: this is a game of Go, not a game of Chess. Things are not as straightforward as they seem, and the future not as determinate.
For that reason, and all the seeming hints I've noted over the course of the season, I'm still not convinced that Weaver's AI experiments and terminator nature are what they seem to be. Yes, it's possible that it's just a very clever and oblique means to the SkyNet end. On the other hand, if Babylon is evolving into a stronger AI, able to adapt and grow, why would Weaver care if it has human-based morality?
Yet in this episode, Weaver assigns Ellison the task of teaching Babylon a code of ethics. One might be tempted to connect that to Cromartie's belief that Ellison will be necessary for the success of SkyNet in the future (otherwise, why save Ellison at the end of the first season?). But I'm still wondering if there's some aspect to Weaver's plan that defies the obvious. I certainly hope so, because all this intrigue should add up to something!
This series is still struggling in the ratings, and while it will continue into the spring, I don't see it's move to Friday nights as encouraging. I fear that the writers will be forced to finish out the story at the end of the second season, which may not be practical. The current pacing is deliberate, requiring patience, and I can't help but think that an increased pace would disrupt that delicate balance.