In the nineteenth episode of the second season ofÂ The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Iâ€™m a mess. Iâ€™m a shell of a human.Â I am not okay. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Trigger Warning: For talk of death/grief, miscarriage, and a brief mention of suicide.
Heâ€™s so close,Â heâ€™s so close. I actually thought that during Ellisonâ€™s conversation with John Henry, Henry would open up about his secret. But I understand why that hasnâ€™t happened yet. Instead, Ellison is asked an incredibly surreal and uncomfortable question: does his time spent with John Henry now mean they are friends?Â Can they even be friends? Iâ€™d like to say that what weâ€™ve seen of John Connorâ€™s relationship with Cameron has shown us that a machine and a humanÂ can be friends, you know? But Ellison doesnâ€™t have the sort of experience that John Connor has had with a Terminator. His life was torn apart by these machines. (And I imagine heâ€™ll beÂ incredibly upset when he learns who Catherine Weaver is.) (I HAVE TO YELL ABOUT CATHERINE WEAVER LATER, Yâ€™ALL,Â OH MY GOD.) His interactions with John Henry have been guarded and calculated. But Garrett Dillahunt portrays John Henry with a bizarre sort of childishness, and itâ€™s an absolute trip to watch. When you watch him with Ellison, he almost seemsÂ eager for Ellisonâ€™s validation. Pair that with his reaction to Catherine Weaverâ€™s refusal to trust humanity, and Iâ€™d say that John Henry is progressing. Heâ€™s already somewhat protective of Ellison, enough that he brought up the fake resignation papers for Ellison. This is what Catherine wanted, right? ButÂ why?
I have a theory. Iâ€™ll get to it.
Jesse / Queeg
I could not possibly have guessed what was in that box. Iâ€™m still struggling to understand the ramifications of it in terms of the story arc for thisÂ entire show. At the very least, we finally find out how Jesse went from a loyal soldier to one who distrusted Connor so much that she traveled back in time to sabotage his relationship with Cameron. After theÂ Jimmy Carter picked up Connorâ€™s secret cargo, the writers dropped us into a claustrophobic nightmare, akin to many closed-room thrillers. (I was reminded ofÂ The Thing the most here, since the Terminator alloy could disguise itself as anyone.) But it was far more fascinating to me to see how Jesseâ€™s sense of trust eroded as the events became more nightmarish aboard that ship. While she was frustrated at being left out of the mission details, she still swore her loyalty to Queeg. She had no reason to doubt his loyalty, but once thatÂ thing came out of the box? WELL.Â WELL.
The paranoia was bad enough, but I was horrified by how far the rest of the crew went to prove that Jesse was human. I canâ€™t imagine how betrayed she must have felt, but itâ€™s also clear that she puts this aside in favor of her own suspicions. Thatâ€™s all due to Dietzeâ€™s death. I donâ€™t think she necessarily felt that Dietze was in the right; she just knew that Queeg had gone too far. Even if he would have eventually been executed for treason and mutiny, Queeg shouldnâ€™t have murdered him. And thatâ€™s how the seed is planted, and thatâ€™s how Jesse begins to questionÂ everything Queeg does. We watch her unravel, but itâ€™s not entirely irrational. I appreciate that! HowÂ can these people trust a machine when it is behaving so secretively aboutÂ another machine that no one has ever seen before? (I feel safe saying that no one had seen a metal alloy Terminator prior to this.) Even if JesseÂ was misguided, she truly believed that John Connor and Queeg were putting the entire Resistance at risk. Thatâ€™s an important thing to establish because we see it reflected in Derekâ€™s conversation with John at the end of the episode. John leads the Resistance as he sees fit (I liked the chess metaphor used), and that means that there areÂ always going to be people who disagree with him and dislike him. Heâ€™s not in charge because heâ€™s liked.
Unfortunately, Jesse becomes one of the people who utterly distrusts John Connor because of the events on theÂ Jimmy Carter. On top of losing faith in his leadership skills and questioning the place Terminators have within the Resistance, Jesse loses her child with Derek. Itâ€™s left unsaid whether that was due to the beating or the change in pressure during her escape, but it doesnâ€™t matter. Both things happened because of John Connorâ€™s cargo. Itâ€™s why she befriended Riley and used her. Itâ€™s why she was so determined to tear apart Cameron and Jesse. In her mind, this was the only way to truly save the future.
IS THAT CATHERINE WEAVER? IS THAT HOW CATHERINE WEAVER ENDS UP IN 2007? Granted, thereâ€™s not much here to perfectly validate this theory, but Iâ€™m hoping that her little speech about not trusting humans is a reference to the events in 2027. But I was utterly devastated by the question Connor had asked those Terminators:Â Will you join us? We knew that the answer was no, so that meansâ€¦ is this a third party? A non-Skynet set of machines? Is Catherine Weaver a third party, separate fromÂ both John Connor and Skynet?
Iâ€™M A MESS.
My god, there are just SO MANY thrilling and emotional and brilliant scenes in this episode that all center on John Connor. The big moment, of course, is Johnâ€™s confrontation of Jesse. Itâ€™s obvious to me know how long the show had been leading to this moment. My god, how had I never questioned Rileyâ€™s behavior in Mexico? She knew that John shouldnâ€™t be photographed! I DIDNâ€™T EVEN PICK UP ON THAT. It makes sense to me, then, that John would have long ago been able to determine if someone was treating him as John Connor or John Baum. Christ, I want to re-watch this season because I feel like I could see Johnâ€™s awareness of Rileyâ€™s true identity.
Itâ€™s heartbreaking to think about it, yâ€™all. He knew she was lying for at least the last few episodes she was in, and he gave her a chance to tell the truth. But she never did. At the same time, I was so refreshed that John accepted responsibility for Rileyâ€™s demise. He saw that she was in trouble, and he chose not to help her. (Is that a reference to the suicide last season? I feel like it is.) Thatâ€™s on his conscience, and heâ€™ll always have to live with that. I suppose itâ€™s weird to think about what Johnâ€™s life has become, you know? This is who he is and what heâ€™ll always have to do. He got likeâ€¦ what? Ten years of â€œpeaceâ€? Even then, he was on the run or in foster care for most of that time. And now heâ€™s sitting in Jesseâ€™s hotel room, confronting her about her murder of Riley, and the whole thing is unbelievably surreal to think about.
I think thatâ€™s why the final scene is so devastating. John Connor has had to live this unfair life of violence and paranoia, and that often means he doesnâ€™t get a chance to just be human. His breakdown in the arms of his mother is his first human moment in â€œToday is the Day, Part II.â€ And itâ€™s haunting to see it contrasted with Cameronâ€™s reaction: disinterest.
John Connor let Jesse live, but Iâ€™m guessing that Derek did not. Itâ€™s not his Jesse, and I think I finally understand the timelines. Derek makes reference to Andy Goode being Billy Wisher in his future, and the only way those two names make sense is if the murder of Andy GoodeÂ is what created the two timelines. Thereâ€™s no Billy Wisher in Jesseâ€™s timeline, despite that she should know who he is. Therefore, Jesseâ€™s actions inÂ this timeline could potentially ruin everything for John Connor. In Derekâ€™s eyes, as a loyal friend to John Connor, Jesse is a complete risk. So he takes her out. He eliminates the threat.
Everything hurts, yâ€™all. I donâ€™t feel good about Jesse dying, and I donâ€™t feel good about Riley dying, and everything is a complicated disaster. I do appreciate that the writers have given us such a layered story, but I also hate them becauseÂ do they not care about my emotions?
The video for â€œToday is the Day, Part IIâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– Mark Does Stuff is now on Facebook! Feel free to Like the page, which I’m running myself, for updates and SILLINESS.
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Feature is now on the schedule! I will be watching Leverage.
– The 2015 Mark Does Stuff tour is being announced!!! Check my Tour Dates / Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!