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.