Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 3

The Turk

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 21, 2008 on FOX
out of 10
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716 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Sarah visits Miles Dyson's widow to find the creator of Skynet. She points Sarah toward a man named Andy Goode, who used to work with Dyson, and is building a chess-playing computer named "The Turk." John and Cameron try their best to fit in on their first day at a new high school.


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  • Sarah begins her quest to find the creators of Skynet, John and Cameron go to highschool, and Cromartie gets a human body. The 3rd episode was strong in exposition but low on action, which surprised many of its core viewers.moreless

    Altogether, I believe the 3rd episode was one of the stronger episodes of the series. The beginning dream sequence revisited Sarah's fear of technology from T2 and set up the ages old question of if we can, should we?

    The third episode separates the plot into three subplots: Sarah's quest to find the creators of Skynet, John and Cameron going to highschool in an attempt to act like normal kids while seemingly being unable to avoid trouble, and Cromartie's unstoppable drive to get his human form back.

    Sarah's thread does a great job of setting up the impossibility of her moral situation. She knows billions of people will die if Skynet is born. However, does that justify her killing possibly innocent and otherwise good people to prevent that? If it does, can she even go through with it? The writers also did a great job presenting the Turk as an innocuous machine at first. Absolutely great scene with John displaying his knowledge of computers and opening Sarah's eyes to the danger a "chess computer" could become. The Singularity? Awesome stuff and pretty frightening to think about. The threat the Turk represents grows as the episode waxes. Eventually leading Cameron to proclaim, "Andy Goode must die." The actor for Andy Goode was charming enough, though his asking Sarah on a date at their first encounter was simply a matter of convenience. In the end, Sarah spares Andy's life and saves her humanity for another episode.

    In a lighter until the end subplot, John and Cameron embark for their first day of highschool. The predictable comedy in watching a machine try to fit in with highschoolers is here in spades. Cameron continues her bequiling behavior by applying make-up and asking a shocked John if he likes it. The trauma and death of the highschool girl was as brief and ambiguous as it needed to be. Its only purpose was to show John's heroic nature, the fact that Cameron obeys "future John" not necessarily "this John" though she does obey him plenty later on in the series, and most importantly to drive an early wedge between John and Cameron. In a great piece of dialogue, I agree with John's rant that if he is to hide his heroic nature, then they are wasting their time.

    The Cromartie subplot was equally done well, being both frightening and impacting. The scientist's intense curiousity to see if the T-800's growth formula will work is excellently and realistically portrayed. The machine's emergence from the bathtub is reminiscent of the births of many famous monsters, and Sarah's last line was epic. I know when I first watched the episode, I also was concerned by the lack of action; this just wasn't what we were expecting from the Terminator franchise. But now, I think this was a great episode once you get over your expectation of a fast pace.moreless
  • Sarah finds an old intern at Cyberdyne who might be the key to Skynet.

    The opening is fascinating and provocative – if you knew that someone would one day do something so evil as to change the fate of the world, would you be able to kill them to prevent it? Short, sweet and to the point, very powerful scene.

    Having examined the documents the future soldiers had assembled, Sarah realises they were doing what she and John are doing: looking for Skynet. They also targeted a very specific line of enquiry: people who worked for Cyberdyne Systems, people who could have been exposed to the knowledge, the chip and who could be responsible for continuing the work: a logical thought since destroying Cyberdyne changed nothing except push forward the date of Judgement Day.

    Fascinating to watch John with his bodyguard. Cameron, delightfully clueless, is constantly doing or saying something completely inappropriate and John seems to enjoy provoking such responses. It's a little worrying actually, he's drawn to her and the question is: is it harmless interest in a cyborg or actual attraction, despite what she is? Today's a big day: high school. "Don't you kiss me." Naturally, Cameron poses as John's sister and they immediately run into a problem: the high school has a metal detector. John comes up with the story of the metal plate in her head – he's lucky they didn't scan the rest of her! What's going to happen when the metal detectors go off every time she walks into a store?

    Going to school has an unexpected side-effect. Cameron accidentally gets involved with a troubled girl who commits suicide. Cameron even stops John from interfering – not wanting attention drawn to him, but also from a bigger point of view, they're trying to change one event – Skynet – and changing anything else could cause any number of unpredictable ripples in time. Though logical, John is horrified by her interference. His instinctive attempt to help shows the hero side of him, the attitude of someone who won't just stand on the sidelines, but actually will take action – perfectly in sync with what we know of the future John.

    Mrs Dyson identifies one of the employees, Andy, and is surprisingly calm about Sarah potentially killing him, even making a crack about it not being in vain – an obvious reference to the death of Miles, whose death changed very little. Andy, a sweet but brilliant boy, is easily seduced by the beautiful Sarah who is alarmed to find that Andy has built a thinking machine and the more she learns of his work, the more terrifying it becomes as it is all too easy to see how his work could eventually lead to Skynet. John displays a remarkable knowledge of technology, it's easy to see the future John when he talks like this, and is equally disorienting to see Sarah floundering under her son's logic. Though it made more sense to kill Andy – why take the chance? – Sarah opts to destroy his work instead, which is an act of mercy that may come back to destroy them all. What did come out of her investigation is that she is being watched by the survivor of the future soldiers. Why he/she is still holding back from the mother of John is unclear? Potential ally or threat?

    The fed, Ellison, who investigated Sarah before has returned and even manages to convince the cop investigating the soldiers' killings he's onto something. The fascinating part of the investigation is the discovery that one of the fingerprints of the dead 'terrorist' belongs – now, anyway – to a four year old boy! Who is going to grow up to be a resistance fighter!

    The Terminator needs to regenerate the flesh he lost and even finds a scientist to do it. Despite the bizarre and terrifying nature of his 'guest', the scientist – blinded by curiosity – helps and is rewarded with quick death.

    Sarah's test results come back with no sign of cancer. So the cancer that will kill her developed incredibly rapidly over two years, with absolutely no sign of it before that. There are many causes of cancer and it doesn't look like it is caused naturally – does that mean that something she came across while hunting Skynet will result in the cancer?

    A fascinating episode.moreless
  • Chess? And a really dark view towards all technology.

    Maybe it's just me, but Sarah has a terrible view towards all technology. When she dreams of shooting the Manhattan Project team, she's throwing the baby out with the bath water. The boogie man of Skynet clouds her judgment and drive her to kill. Any scientist is a possible Skynet architect in disguise. Maybe that's what the dreams are all about. Maybe Sarah Connor doesn't want to murder lots of people with the outside chance that it might stop SkyNet from launching the missles. But one thing is clear, Sarah Connor can't kill people that she gets to know. Once names are attached to a face, pulling the trigger gets difficult.

    The Kramnik vs Deep Fritz poster is a good reflection of Chess, and the moment when Sarah tries to figure out the cell phones after jumping forward over 7 years of technology was really realistic.

    The worst scene was when John gets all familiar with the latest technology and apparently knows all about modern capabilities of computers in his talk about the Turk. John also has a real dark view towards scientists. Is Einstein suppose to be some awful demon that haunts the world?

    Again Cameron is really awkward despite that brilliant display of emotions in the pilot. It's awful. You'd think that Cameron would try harder to be a high school student. I'm going to write it off as a terrible terrible error made in the pilot. Pretend that never happened and the series is nice and consistent.

    But it's nice to watch Cameron start to pick up new slang. The girl committing suicide was just weird and distracting. I don't know why John was so choked up about the death. And you get a feeling that Cameron's definition of friend is more like being acquaintances. She tells John that someone who she has only had one short conversation with is now her friend. I think we can say that Cameron has no true understanding of what it means to be a friend.moreless
  • an IDEA

    i dont understand how this episode didnt get an enough credit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    what else the viewer is looking for???is Terminator fans are action fans???

    Terminator's storyline cant give that much of action as it could with the ideas and inner materials.

    this episode showed me that the Terminator series isnt running in the same tracks and yes it has more hidden things to give...more IDEAS.

    im a member of TV.com since 3 years and fan of american shows for like 8 years and and a movie Critic in Iraq...so i know what a good episode look like...atleast U cant predict the end..i cudnt predict thismoreless
  • great story developments

    I liked two storylines what were going on parallel - first John and Cameron on school.. she was just so weird trying to be weird.. and I think that storyline did give some change to sympathize with those char..

    But mostly I adored the storyline going on with Sarah and that man.. and about the computer he builds. Maybe it was the way it all looked so innocent at first - just a computer that plays chest.. but then the mood talk.. and the whole concept and that really made even her, who did not wanted to kill him, do what she did.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Agent Ellison refers to Enrique as Enrique Salzia. In James Cameron's Terminator 2, the character's last name is Salceda.

    • When Cromartie steals the blood from the hospital, he skips over the A Positive and B Positive supplies and opts for the O Positive. That's because O Positive is considered the universal donor (it can be transfused into anyone).

    • Goof: In the first school scene as John and Cameron walk to the entrance Cameron's left arm is straight by her side. The scene changes to a more distant shot and her left arm is now bent with her hand holding her book bag strap.

    • Nitpick: When Cromartie steals the blood from the hospital, he breaks the glass in the door to open it with the handle on the other side. However when he smashes his hand through the glass the force opens the door but yet he still reaches for the handle to open it (pulling the door closed first).

    • Goof: While it is true that Morris Berg was sent by the OSS to determine if Heisenberg was close to making the atomic bomb (he deemed the Germans were not close and didn't carry out the execution), the event occurred on December 18, 1944, not in 1943 as Sarah said.

    • Goof: When Cromartie forces the scientist to make the synthetic skin, we get a shot of the scientist in the bathroom with the robot who has an over coat on. In the next shot, we see the scientist becoming amazed at the sight of the robot without the coat. If you compare the gigantic size of the robot that they show next, with the figure that was in the overcoat, there is an obvious difference in size. The real Cromartie could never fit in that small of an overcoat.

    • Goof: In the scene of Cameron in the girls restroom, as the camera angle changes, her left arm and hand go back and forth from holding her book bag strap to straight by her side.

    • Goof: The ground shot of the dead student shows her arm extended and her hand pointing out. The camera angle changes to an overhead view and her arm has moved and her hand is now next to her face.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Sarah: (voice-over) When I was in the mental hospital, I became obsessed with science. Not all science, actually. And not really science at all. Scientists, and then only nuclear scientists. The ones who invented the bomb. Oppenheimer, Heisenberg, Fermi and Teller. Pioneers. Geniuses all. I read every book I could. I wanted to understand. Why couldn't they stop, these fathers of our destruction? And why wouldn't anybody stop them? And if I had the chance, would I?

    • John: Hey, you're getting pretty good at that.
      Cameron: Thank you.
      John: Still, it's not exactly brain surgery or anything. It'd be pretty funny if you were some advanced cybernetic intelligence, yet stumped by a stick of eyeliner.
      Cameron: No, it's not brain surgery. (looks closely at the eyeliner pencil) It would have to be a lot sharper for brain surgery.

    • Sarah: (laying down a block diagram) OK, six ways in. Six ways out. The front opens to the street here. Security's minimal. Two armed guards in the morning. Four in the afternoon. And if anything goes wrong, there's a parking lot here.
      John: Mom, it's high school, okay? Not Supermax. We can handle it.
      (He kisses the top of Sarah's head and leaves.)
      Cameron: We can handle it.
      Sarah: Don't you kiss me ... or anyone else.

    • John: Okay, now blend in.
      Cameron: Blend in.
      John: Yeah, I mean don't seem like a freak. You know what I mean, right?
      Cameron: Freak. Weirdo. Kook. Oddball. Crackpot. Strange duck. Weird potato. Nut. I've been reading the dictionary. I don't sleep.
      John: Yeah, see, that's what I'm talking about! You do that and you sound like a freak. And don't walk around acting like my bodyguard. You're supposed to be my sister.

    • (Cameron sets off the metal detector at school.)
      : Excuse me, uh, this is my sister.
      Security Guard: Extra credit for you.
      John: Look, she's got a metal plate in her head. Really, i-it's a big one.
      Cameron: I fell ... hard.

    • Tarissa Dyson: What do you want, Sarah? You never die, and you always want something.

    • Tarissa Dyson: (after reluctantly identifying Andy in a photo) Is he going to die, too? Is that what happens now, he dies?
      Sarah: I don't know. I hope not.
      Tarissa Dyson: Well if he does, just make sure it matters. Make sure it's not in vain.
      Sarah: No one dies in vain.

    • Ellison: (pointing to the electrified safe in the wall) Well yeah, you see this every day. You didn't find that curious? Why would anyone wire a safe directly into the power?
      Simpson: (in exasperation) Why is the sky blue, Ellison? Don't overthink it. The guys were druggies, they're not rocket scientists, not terrorists. Your guy sold my guys paper, my guys whacked your guy to cover their tracks. Go back to your office. Your desk misses you.
      Ellison: Right. Good one.

    • Sarah: Hey. How was school?
      Cameron: I have a metal plate in my head.
      John: She's gonna need a note.
      Sarah: I meant you, not her.
      John: Yeah, fine.
      Sarah: You're not going to give me anything?
      John: Oh well, we went, we learned. I didn't get killed, and she didn't kill anybody. It's a pretty good first day, I think.

    • Sarah: Nobody dies till I say so. (looks at John) Tell her.
      : People die all the time. They won't wait for her.

    • Sarah: (voice-over) In 1943, the German physicist Werner Heisenberg delivered a physics lecture to a packed hall in Zurich. One of the audience members was Moe Berg, an ex-professional baseball player, working as a spy for the OSS. Berg's task was to listen to the lecture and determine whether Heisenberg and the Germans were close to perfecting the atomic bomb. If Berg discovered that this was the case, he was to wait for Heisenberg outside the hall and shoot the scientist in the head. He had never killed anyone before.

    • Sarah: So what's your deal, Andy? I can't imagine you majored in cell phone sales at college.
      Andy: No. No, more like Funyuns and twelve packs of Jolt from the vintage soda store while my roommates and I hacked Zelda 3 so the princess would say funny lines ripped from reruns.
      Sarah: (smiling quizzically) What's that language you speak, boy?
      Andy: Computer science, CalTech. Advanced dork.

    • John: (about Andy's computer) Again, what did it look like?
      Sarah: What did it look like? Who cares what it looked like? It was just a rack of computer equipment.
      John: Okay, but was there obvious network access? Do you know what kind of bandwidth?
      Sarah: You're joking.
      John: What about power supply? Was there a cooling element. Like a fan or something?
      Sarah: John--
      John: Mom, I'm just trying to get a sense of the horsepower. I wanna know if this thing was a dinky little homemade soap box or if it was a full-fledged AI platform capable of learning and growing and taking on other applications.
      Sarah: It plays chess.
      John: So did Einstein.

    • Doctor: (to Sarah) Don't drive yourself crazy chasing the future. We can't predict, you know? We can only try and prevent.

    • Zoey: Does this make me look fat?
      Cameron: (gives her a long look) Yes.
      Zoey: What the hell? What's your problem?
      Cameron: You asked.

    • Sarah: John, people who wanna take their own lives, this girl, if they're serious about it, they'll find a way.
      John: You didn't see her. If you'd have seen her, you wouldn't be talking like this.
      Sarah: And what were you gonna do, be a hero? Get your name in the papers, your face?
      John: Isn't that what I'm supposed to be? A hero? Isn't that who I am? If it's just gonna sit inside me, if it's just gonna sit in my gut, then what are we doing? What's the point? Why not just give it to them if we're gonna act like them?

    • Sarah: (voice-over) On July 16th, 1945, in the mountains outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico, the world's first atomic bomb exploded. A white light pierced the sky with such intensity that a blind girl claimed to see the flash from a hundred miles away. After witnessing the explosion, J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted a fragment of the Bhagavad Gita, declaring, 'I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' His colleague, Ken Bainbridge, put it another way when he leaned close to Oppenheimer and whispered, 'Now we are all sons of bitches.' Now we are all sons of bitches.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Neil Hopkins (Mr. Harris) previously guest starred in an episode of The 4400 that also featured Summer Glau's recurring character on that show.

    • Star Richard T. Jones (Agent James Ellison) and guest star Catherine Dent (Agent Greta Simpson) were given "And" billing for their appearances.

    • In Latin America, this episode was translated as "El Turco", 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: February 26th, 2008 on Channel 9
      United Kingdom: March 6th, 2008 on Virgin 1
      India: March 25th, 2008 on Zee Cafe
      Russia: March 28th, 2008 on Ren-TV
      Poland May 18th, 2008 on AXN
      Sweden: May 19th, 2008 on TV3
      Denmark: June 6th, 2008 on TV3
      Czech Republic: July 17th, 2008 on Prima
      Norway: September 8th, 2008 on TVNorge
      Poland: November 13th, 2008 on TVP1
      Finland: November 24th, 2008 on Sub
      Hungary: February 17th, 2009 on RTL-Klub
      Slovakia: July 15th, 2010 on Markiza


    • Title:

      "The Turk" was the nickname associated with a device first presented in 1769 to the royal family of Austria as a chess-playing automaton. Speculation that the mechanism, a desk 3 feet wide, over 2 1/2 feet high and 2 feet deep, actually was controlled by a human operator concealed inside was finally confirmed in 1827.

    • Short Circuit: Cameron's reciting of the synonyms for 'freak' is perhaps a nod to the 1986 movie Short Circuit in which the robot Number 5 had the habit of reciting synonyms for words that were used to describe him or one of the other characters.

    • Tarissa: What about that machine?
      Sarah: (referring to Cameron) She's still around.
      Tarissa: Not that one; the other.
      Sarah: No.
      Tarissa asks about the T-800 that Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day which accompanied Sarah on her mission to kill Miles, the creator of Skynet. Tarissa was present when they captured her husband and learned of the future war when Sarah explained the situation to him. At the end of the movie the T-800 was destroyed.

    • Zelda:

      Andy refers to "Zelda 3," which is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which was later ported to the Game Boy Advance. This game is the third installment in the Legend of Zelda franchise.