Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 7

The Demon Hand

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 25, 2008 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
594 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


While looking for the missing hand, Sarah breaks into Agent Ellison's apartment. There, she discovers the record from her time at the mental hospital, and she decides to track down her old psychiatrist. Ellison investigates the new information about Sarah, which leads him to the same psychiatrist – now a doomsday convert. Meanwhile, John becomes upset after watching one of Sarah's hospital encounter videos. Elsewhere, Cameron signs up for a ballet class.


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  • John learns a secret about his mother, Cameron learns ballet, and the missing hand is found and destroyed.

    The Demon Hand is a much revered episode in the TSCC universe. Personally, I have sort of a love/hate relationship with it. It represents much of the greatness of TSCC: deep characters, amazing dialogue and acting, and intriguing themes. On the other hand, to me, it also represents much of the weaknesses of the series: elongated melodrama, overly ambiguous if not meaningless discussions, and once again a lack of commitment to moving the story forward. I am not even including the fact that the series' greatest asset is also ignored because we get almost no interaction between John and Cameron at all; they spend the vast majority of the episode separated. I will allow that it is acceptable to have them actually apart for one episode, especially considering they spend most of the next episode together. There are absolutely fantastic scenes in this episode though. The first part with Cameron dressed as a motorcycle officer is obviously a homage to T2, and that is fine. Any part with Cameron is a good part. The following scene with Derek and Cameron at the breakfast table is a great scene. Derek's hatred for Cameron at this point is almost overly stated. Why? We don't know. In fact, as it turns out, there really is no reason for it. She is a machine, true, but so is a gun, and he has no problem with them. Ultimately, the writers used Derek to cast more and more doubt around Cameron. They would continue to do this and in a variety of ways for the remainder of the series. Personally, I always thought it was stupid. The entire Terminator mythos is based on John being the key. If Cameron were on the wrong side, she would have simply killed John by now. She hasn't. In fact, she has saved his life, and Derek's, multiple times by now. It is simple logic.

    Though Thomas Dekker shows tremendous acting in the key scenes, the whole Sarah-gave-John-away storyline was overly dramatic and somewhat annoying to me. The woman spent 3 years in a mental hospital. Her giving up rights allowed John to stay in one household with one family. It made complete sense. Give the woman a break. She didn't stop being his mother by signing a paper.

    The subplot involving Cameron connecting with the Russian's sister to find him was an excuse to display Summer's ballet skills in the show, nothing more. The whole thing could have been handled in one scene. Cameron walking away to let the Russian and his sister get murdered was tough to watch. The writers constantly jar us by flip-flopping scenes where Cameron acts human or acts like a machine. Apparently the Russian killers are in the practice of walking right by witnesses when murdering people in broad daylight. Of course, they could not have let her go. They would have had to shoot her too. But logic is thrown aside so that the writers can make their point. Cameron is a machine; we should all get it by now.

    Okay, Dr. Silberman has gone crazy. Apparently, he couldn't rationalize a couple unexplainable sights away by claiming he ate a bad sandwich or something. I like the Bible being quoted as much as the next person, but the "hand of God" discussion was silly, frankly. I think it was supposed to be profound. I did not find it so. This did represent a turning point in the Ellison character though. We now know he believes Sarah and is a likely ally. So, I guess I can't say this episode accomplished nothing.

    The final scene is the best scene in the episode and is a classic moment for Terminator. Yes, it allowed Summer to showcase her ballet talent. However, the key to the scene was Derek's reaction: horror and sadness. As mentioned earlier, this was another example of the writers showing Cameron acting human only scenes after brazenly being a machine. They will continue to build her paradox. Personally, I love the scene for everything mentioned, but really, the dancing hardly fits into her character at this point in time. I think without the scene where she allows the Russians to be murdered, this scene would have been more powerful.moreless
  • great episode

    Sarah Connor breaks into FBI agent ellison's apartment and discovers a large file about her during her time in the mental hospital. Cameron goes undercover as a ballet student at a studio where she can find a man who is connected to the development of turk. Agent Ellison goes to the mental institution where Sarah Conner was once a patient. This leads him to Dr. Silberman who was Sarah's psychiatrist. The writers came up with a really cool episode, this episode goes back to the past, the scenes were fixed to allow lena headley to become a part of the past which was once played by linda hamilton. the scenes were well made and fits in with this terminator remake.moreless
  • While looking for Sarah, Ellison runs into an old friend of hers.

    Ellison took the Terminator's hand from LAPD evidence and is keeping it in his freezer! Sarah, not realising it might be there, looked around and took one of the video tapes of herself in the mental hospital. John, probably driven by curiosity, took the tape into his room and watched it. The specific tape was of her relinquishing her parental rights over John, probably the reason she took that specific tape but imagine how it looks to a teenage boy, who has one parent in the world.

    When he finally comes home, he ends up confiding in his uncle.

    Silberman has come to believe Sarah's story and actually tortures Ellison! Ranting about religious signs, he actually talks about the day Sarah broke out of the hospital and talking as if Sarah is some sort of messiah, he is prepared to kill Ellison to protect Sarah. Silberman apologises to Sarah for doubting her and she repays the apology with a well deserved punch. She retrieves the hand and Ellison survives. In a very fitting move, Ellison has Silberman committed, in the same room Sarah was in.

    Cameron finds Andy's partner who admits rigging the chess match so the Turk would lose, so that he could sell it. Cameron shows a shocking lack of interest when she walks out on the partner and his sister, not even caring as they are killed while she descends the stairs.

    Very sweet scene where Sarah explains her actions on the tape to John. It was the day she escaped.

    Gotta say, Derek is incredibly hard to like, he just doesn't have Kyle's sweetness, but his bizarre relationship with Cameron is intriguing. Loved the look on his face as he watches Cameron dancing. Summer, being a dancer in real life, is incredibly graceful.

    Very interesting and touching episode.moreless
  • Great thoughts

    I really most say you do not expect so much emotions and deep thoughts in serie like this but it really looks like this is standing on it - the way the whole concept of robots.. what they are.. are the human and can the feel or believe, have faith.. and that dancing.. It was beautiful.. But I think most of the storylines I loved the Sarah's and John's storyline.. the way that tape.. she decided to give up her parental right and let him be adopted.. And the way Jogn reacted to it.. That she was ready to give up.moreless
  • Very Very Good!

    This episode was brilliant in my opinion, it just had plenty of action, and also let us furthur into the story behind characters and also the overall story line in general.

    Its good to see that we, the viewers, are getting let into mroe of the story and were getting a better idea of the characters in the show. This episode definately developed the characters alot, moreso than other episodes we have seen.

    All in all this episode gets a 10 out of 10 from me, and im sure that most people will agree that it was another brilliant episode from the show.moreless
Mark Ivanir

Mark Ivanir


Guest Star

Angela Gots

Angela Gots


Guest Star

Traber Burns

Traber Burns

Chief of Staff

Guest Star

Brian Austin Green

Brian Austin Green

Derek Reese

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Goof: Sarah steals a video tape from the stack at Agent Ellisons' apartment and brings it into her kitchen where John took the tape from her back and watched it. We see an "overshoulder shot" of him watching an interview tape with a time-code burn in. It reads 02:09:14:00 and counting until the cut-away at around 02:09:20:00. On the next morning Sarah gets suspicious about John's behavior and checks his room. The tape is ejected and Sarah pushes it right back in and presses play. The burn-in time-code reads 02:09:21:00.
      First: if the tape is ejected but not took back in place in Sarah's bag one can assume John watched, fell asleep, the tape run throughout, got rewound and ejected. In that case it should start at the very same time-code as we see when John watches it the first time. Second: if John watched it and rewound it manually so he ejected it as well but why he didn't put it back in Sarah's bag? Third: When John watches the tape right from the point it was cued to when it came to their house in the first place we can see a steady-shot of two - the interviewer from the back and Sarah facing the camera. At whatever continuity Sarah watches the tape the other day we can see the subsequent timecode but a dolly shot with the interviewer entering the frame from the left hand side, taking a seat at the table and starting the interview.
      Why is the tape ejected and at what point but not put back in Sarah's bag?
      Why is right at the point Sarah is starting to watch the tape still some material on it, i.e. wouldn't John have watched it all?
      Given the upper thoughts: why is there a subsequent time-code both times we can see the tape's content but the picture are obviously not continuous?

    • Goof: At the start of the episode, Cameron goes into the evidence room at the police station. Despite there being many long rows of shelves with boxes on them, she walks far into the room and chooses the correct box, in the dark, without looking around, or without any other help or clue as to where to look.

    • Goof: When Sara sees the stack of interview recordings in Agent Ellison's home the stack is not perfectly aligned but bulges by the fourth tape, when the camera cuts again to her approaching the the stack, they have become much better aligned.

    • Reference is made to John's foster parents played by Janette Goldstein and Xander Berkeley in Terminator 2 as well as their deaths at the hands of the T1000.

    • Reference is made to the battle between the T800 CSM 101 and the liquid metal T1000 inside the mental hospital during Terminator 2. This is the first direct reference made to the T1000 in the series.

    • Direct reference is made to the arm and chip of the original Terminator as well as their role in Cyberdine's development of Skynet as featured in Terminator 2.

    • Cameron signs up for a ballet class. This might be a homage to actress Summer Glau, who was a professional ballet-dancer (Prima Ballerina) before acting.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Derek: Look, John ... what can happen to a person inside four walls ... screws with your head. Makes you do things you never thought you'd do.
      John: Some people never give up. Some people always fight.
      Derek: Fewer than you think.

    • Sarah: You should be resting.
      Derek: They never rest.

    • Derek: Put the machine on it. She'll find him.
      Sarah: I know. It's what they do.

    • Maria: (about Cameron's dancing) The height is nice, beautiful feet, but the upper body is a little ... mechanical, ya? Remember, you are a cat.
      Cameron: I'm a cat?
      Maria: Come next week. We need to develop your flexibility and your ... imagination. Remember, dance is the hidden language of the soul, ya?

    • John: (watching Derek loading guns) Anyway, you should take it into the kitchen or something. Mom wouldn't like you doing it in her room.
      Derek: Why?
      John: (confused) Because it's her room.

    • Derek: Who?
      Sarah: FBI Agent Ellison.
      Derek: The same guy who questioned me at county lockup? What, they only have one FBI agent in this town?

    • Sarah: You're not hungry?
      John: No.
      Sarah: Since when?

    • Dr. Silberman: He came down the hall, this large man. I thought it was a man until ... he threw the guard through the window, like a rag doll. Not an ounce of emotion. Just blank, like a death mask. Then the other one came.
      Agent Ellison: There was two of them?
      Dr. Silberman: Yeah, they were different. The second was almost beautiful like perfect ... like a changeling, the face of Mercury.
      Agent Ellison: What about Sarah?
      Dr. Silberman: She was there. She was on the floor. And the boy was with her, he was screaming. And then the first one, the big one, I'll never forget. He reached out his hand and he said, 'Come with me if you want to live.' The hand of God reaching out to Man, like the Sistine Chapel.
      Agent Ellison: The hand of God.
      Dr. Silberman: Hand of God. Yeah. Well, there's no proof, so we don't talk about it, all of us that were there.
      Agent Ellison: What if I told you I had proof?

    • Derek: Your mom was in prison?
      John: Mental hospital. You go around blowing up buildings and ranting about robots, it happens.

    • Derek: So, you ever wonder what happened to Todd and Janelle?
      John: No. I know what happened. I got them killed.

    • Sarah: The day I broke out of there, the day you came for me, I was coming for you. Because about three seconds after I signed that paper I knew I couldn't live with it. I was coming for you and I was gonna die trying.
      John: You almost did.
      Sarah: So did you.
      John: And you were mad as hell about it. You yelled at me; told me what a stupid move it was.
      Sarah: I might have oversold that a little.

    • Sarah: (when Cameron walks in dressed as a cop) And somewhere in the city, a naked cop bleeds in an alley.

    • (Talking about Sarah)
      Dr. Silberman: I can't let you stop her.
      James Ellison: She's dead.
      Dr. Silberman: Well.. so was Jesus once.

    • Dr. Silberman: (sees Sarah) Oh, my god. I'm sorry I ever doubted you.
      (Sarah punches Silberman in the face)
      Sarah: Apology accepted.

    • Sarah: Did you find the Turk?
      Cameron: Dimitri stole it from Andy, then sold it to a man.
      Sarah: Who? Where's Dimitri now?
      Cameron: Dead, so is his sister.
      Sarah: Did you kill them?
      Cameron: No. It wasn't my mission.

    • Sarah Connor: (closing narration) There was a time I was a hero to my son, he thought I walked on water. He knows better now. We all have weak moments, moments where we lose faith. But it's our flaws, our weaknesses, that make us human. Science now performs miracles like the gods of old, creating life from blood cells, or bacteria, or a spark of metal. But they're perfect creatures. And in that way, they couldn't be less human. There are things machines will never do. They cannot possess faith, they cannot commune with God, they cannot appreciate beauty, they cannot create art. If they ever learn these things, they won't have to destroy us, they'll be us.

    • Sarah Connor: (opening narration) They say that when a person dies, the soul lives on. The soul, the thing that separates us from the machines. Cameron had burned the metal monster, 2,000 degrees, I suppose they did the same to Andy, there was nothing left of either. Nothing that told the story of who or what they were. Gone is gone. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. When I go, bury me in the earth. A part of me died years ago with Kyle Reese, but a part of me lives on in John. If that's not a soul, I don't know what is.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Australia: April 1st, 2008 on Channel 9
      United Kingdom: April 3rd, 2008 on Virgin 1
      Russia: April 11th, 2008 on Ren-TV
      India: April 22nd, 2008 on Zee Cafe
      Sweden: June 9th, 2008 on TV3
      Denmark: June 20th, 2008 on TV3
      Czech Republic: August 14th, 2008 on Prima
      Norway: October 6th, 2008 on TVNorge
      Poland: December 11th, 2008 on TVP1
      Finland: December 22nd, 2008 on Sub
      Slovakia: July 29th, 2010 on Markiza

    • Bruce Davidson (Dr. Peter Silberman) is credited as a Special Guest Star.

    • Featured Music:

      "Nocturne in C-sharp Minor" by Frédéric Chopin