Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E17 – Ourselves Alone

In the seventeenth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, everything hurts even more than it did before, AND THERE’S STILL MORE TO COME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles. 

Trigger Warning: For talk of abuse.

This has all become a huge mess, and it’s only going to get worse, right?

There’s no easy way to talk about Riley’s fate. It is, simply put, one of the saddest things on the whole show. It’s so infuriating to see her grasp her purpose, only to learn that it was a purpose someone else decided for her. Truthfully, that’s what is so heinous about Jesse’s manipulation of Riley. In the end, Riley was nothing more than a pawn, and an unwilling one at that. It’s important to state that because Riley violently rejects the fact that no one asked her if she wanted to die for John Connor.

And on a show full of people willing to do so, Riley was the only one who didn’t want to.

It’s really frightening to see how far Jesse went to manipulate everyone, and even worse, she appears to have succeeded. The plan wasn’t merely to get John to fall in love with Riley; she had to do so and then present herself as a security risk. This is why Jesse was so abusive towards Riley once she started questioning her mission; she was purposely trying to make her unstable, all so that Cameron would see her as a threat and kill her, which would turn John against Cameron. Of course, there’s an uncomfortable truth that Jesse refuses to even acknowledge: it’s possible she’s from a diverged timeline. It’s possible that events have already eliminated the chance that John will become uncomfortably close with Cameron. But that doesn’t matter to her, at least not in this context. She has her mission, assigned not by John Connor but by those close to him, and she’s done absolutely everything possible to execute it. Which includes destroying the girl who loves her. (That’s canon, y’all. Riley is canonically bisexual, holy shit. OF COURSE, THAT MEANS SHE’S DEAD, BOOOOOOOOO WHY MUST THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN i know why)

Christ, she was the one who set Riley’s foster parents against the Connors. She was the one who called Child Services on the Connor household. IT’S SO MESSED UP, Y’ALL. And now I’m realizing that another outcome just plain did not occur to me: Jesse can still frame Cameron for Riley’s murder. FUCK.

On top of that, Cameron is… glitching? That’s the best way I can describe what’s happening here. The damage she received to her chip in “Samson & Delilah” has manifested in a new way. It certainly doesn’t help to lift suspicion, but it also makes me wonder exactly what this means for her character. She does things in this episode that, once again, appear to have nothing to do with any mission. Why offer to make John a sandwich? Is this just her calculation again? Why keep parts of other endoskeletons? She hints that John will one day tell her to do so, but what if her mission parameters are more than just protecting John? Jesse reveals in this episode that she wants to win the war, not stop it from ever happening. What if that’s foreshadowing for Cameron?

Unfortunately, all I can do is speculate at this point. Cameron is at least aware enough to give John that self-terminate button, and I think that is, at the very least, some demonstration that she’s not the same character she was at the beginning of the show. If my prediction is correct – and Jesse really does frame Cameron – then I worry that John may be compelled to use it. How will the rest of the family react? Sarah seems more comfortable with Cameron than before, though she still harbors some anxiety about her son’s relationship with her. Derek is no longer interested in antagonizing Cameron every chance he gets. So does that mean he’s fully accepted her? Maybe not. But it’s also possible that all of them could turn against Cameron, and Cameron has just given John a chance to take her out without any way that she can stop it. That’s a behavioral change, I think. I suppose you could say that she’s rationalizing it as part of her mission; if her mission is to protect John Connor, then it might stand to reason that she’s protecting him from her. But there’s a tenderness and an awareness that doesn’t seem anything like the coldness we’ve seen from the machines. Is that because of the glitch? Is it merely a problem or an error, or is Cameron changing?

I can’t know that quite yet, and I don’t even truly expect the show to give me a definitive answer. But this shocking and upsetting episode showed me what people are capable of within this prolonged battle. It’s ugly and infuriating and confusing and unsettling, and sometimes it’s all of those things at once. I don’t know what role Jesse can play now, especially since she’s deceived Derek and disappointed him. He’s not going to take this well, even if she does manipulate him further. This house of cards is going to come crashing down soon, and it’s going to be dirty.

The video for “Ourselves Alone” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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