Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E18 – Today is the Day, Part I

In the eighteenth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the group begins to turn against Cameron, and Jesse reflects on her role in the war against Skynet. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of death/dead bodies, and grief.

Everything is so messed up SO MESSED UP.

John Henry


I’m just so into this story, and there are definitely times when I wish the writers would focus on it a little more. We’re so close to the finale, and the main characters have never figured out how much influence Catherine Weaver’s had on events. (Which is also to the credit of the writers; we’ve managed to have so many interesting and exciting stories over the course of these last 27 episodes without the two major storylines ever intersecting in a big way.) But it’s just so satisfying to see Ellison grapple with the monumental task of teaching John Henry ethics. I’m now convinced that Catherine purposely ignored her daughter’s request to play and hide-and-seek, all so that she’d wander off and eventually find John Henry. Catherine is just so giddy throughout the scenes with Henry, and it’ll never be comfortable to watch. You can tell that she has no real concern for Savannah and is instead fully captivated by the ways in which John Henry is growing.

But why? I still don’t understand this! If John Henry is truly blossoming a conscience, then what role does he play in Skynet’s future? Why would Skynet need a moral machine? I DON’T GET IT. At this point, I also think it’s just a matter of time before John Henry spoils Catherine’s plan, which would inevitably lead to some sort of confrontation between Ellison and her. Ellison teaches John Henry the negative ramifications of keeping secrets, and so I’m guessing he’ll realize that there’s a risk in keeping Catherine Weaver’s secret.

And I’ll explode when that happens, y’all. THIS SHOW IS SO TENSE.


I’ll say this: I appreciate the emotional complexity of Jesse as a character. Stephanie Jacobsen is a gift here, able to play Jesse in… what? Two timelines? Or is this the Jesse we know in the current timeline? I still haven’t figured out which version we’re seeing, though I feel like this might explain why she’s on the mission she is on. Clearly, something happened to her in 2027 that would motivate her to be as callous and heinous towards Riley. That’s not to say anything in her past would justify the extended abuse and manipulation of Riley. It doesn’t work that way. But even in the few glimpses of the Jesse we get in 2027, she feels different. Less cold. More willing to trust. What happened? Why does she trust Queeg so much, but now despises Cameron? (Shout out to Chad Coleman, who is a phenomenal actor, y’all. His work on The Wire is an EXPERIENCE.) What’s in the box??? What was so important that John Connor would send his fellow Resistance fighters RIGHT INTO THE HANDS OF THREE TERMINATORS??? (Is that the same model that we saw in the torture sequence last season???)

I’m a mess. I’m a mess.


The bulk of “Today is the Day, Part I” covers the inevitable development post-Riley’s death: everyone suspects that Cameron executed Riley because she posed a threat. Goddamn it, I knew it! Jesse’s manipulation is so layered, y’all, and it’s terrifying to think how far she’s gone to cover her tracks. She sowed discontent in the Connors, played Riley so that she’d do exactly what she needed, and then she gets in a fight to cover the injuries she got from her spat with Riley. By the end of this episode, I’m left wondering if she’s pulled it all off, and it certainly looks like that’s the case.

It’s unfortunate, then, that all the tiny things that’s have unsettled everyone about Cameron are now being used against her. While the future John Connor may have indeed instructed Cameron to save parts for repairs, there’s no way she can prove that. So she ends up looking like a liar. The show had already established that Cameron could lie to John Connor, and now it’s proven to be a disaster. Of course, Sarah can’t ever discount any threat posed to her son; she has to believe them all. That makes Cameron’s behavior suspicious all of the time, and I feel like Sarah’s on a dangerous precipice here. I would not be surprised if Sarah finally took out Cameron in order to protect John. That would fulfill Jesse’s mission, but hasn’t it also been established that Jesse is from a different timeline, one that ultimately doesn’t come to fruition? Time travel, you hurt my brain.

Even if there’s high stakes at hand, “Today is the Day, Part I” is still grounded in the sort of emotional exploration that makes this show so compelling to watch. John is terribly conflicted by what’s happened. He’s heartbroken that Riley is dead, and he’s probably blaming himself for her death, too. So when Cameron takes it upon herself to – more or less – troll John in front of Riley’s foster father, all so that he’ll believe she’s still alive, it’s particularly gutting for John. Did she do this out of a need to convince him not to go to the police? Or was that Cameron’s way of telling John that she really did love him? That’s left unsaid, but it was obvious that John was DEVASTATED by what Cameron did to him.

Gods, y’all, that scene at the end with her body in the morgue is just so awful. It’s raw, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s a perfect demonstration of the sort of life John will eventually have to live: a lonely one. As Cameron says, everyone – including John himself – is a risk to John Connor. There are an innumerable number of factors that could lead to his demise, and he’ll never get a chance to outlast them. It’s a never-ending battle complicated by time travel. It’s a life that he’ll proudly charge into at one point, but we still haven’t seen how that decision comes about. He’s still on the precipice himself, and we don’t know if Jesse’s interference has irrevocably changed the timeline. For the worse.

WHAT AN UNFAIR CLIFFHANGER. Oh god, I need more of this show, which makes me sad because there are only four more of these left. 🙁

The video for “Today is the Day, Part I” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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