Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E21 – Adam Raised a Cain

In the penultimate episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, storylines finally converge in the worst way possible. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Trigger Warning: For death/grief.

I don’t even know where to start with this fucking episode.

It’s not that The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a particularly cheery show, or that I go into every episode expecting that I’ll get a happy ending. I know that’s not the case, and I find this show’s emotional realism to be really refreshing. The stakes aren’t ignored, and the cost is addressed, even if it’s uncomfortable or depressing.

I suppose I assumed the core six cast members – John, Sarah, Cameron, Ellison, Weaver, and Derek – were all safe at this point. Okay, maybe not safe, but they were all so important to this show’s narrative that I was certain they’d always be around to contribute it. But I have to remember that Derek told John that he’d probably die for him, and I have to remember that this was the threat they all lived under. That doesn’t make Derek’s death any easier to handle. It comes completely out of nowhere, it’s viciously sudden, and that’s it. Just minutes after visiting his brother’s grave for the first time, he’s shot by this new Terminator, and then we’re watching him buried in the same cemetery full of John Does, and I NEED THIS EPISODE TO BURY ME TOO BECAUSE IT HAS KILLED ME.

In terms of the story, it’s a harsh reminder of Skynet’s brutality. It’s also brilliant in terms of building tension and terror. As soon as Derek dies, the pacing is thrown to the wind, and we’re never allowed to feel comfortable again. I felt a pit in the bottom of my stomach and a nervousness in my chest for the remainder of “Adam Raised a Cain.” It wouldn’t go away, and the writers made everything worse. I got a sense that the final story arc would be the collision between Catherine Weaver and the Connors. I was excited! How could I not be? Except this went in a direction that is a million times more upsetting than I could have anticipated.

The writers were well aware of this. There are so many reveals and dramatic twists within this single episode, and it’s astounding to me that this was just forty minutes long. It felt like it was hours, and I mean that as a compliment. A Kaliba Terminator infiltrates the Weaver household; Derek is murdered after the Connors come to rescue Savannah; ELLISON CONTACTS SARAH CONNOR; THERE IS A MEETING BEING ARRANGED BETWEEN SARAH AND CATHERINE WEAVER and I simply cannot cope with this.

But it’s not just plot twists that messed me up. I feel like “Adam Raised a Cain” finally hinted as to Catherine Weaver’s role within The Sarah Connor Chronicles, at least more so than the last couple episodes did. There’s that electrifying scene between Ellison and Weaver in the elevator where Catherine definitively states that she’s interested in survival: Ellison’s and her own and John Henry’s and Savannah’s. Is she lying? I suppose that’s possible, but I don’t see why she’d lie about that to Ellison. If she’s trying to save the world, that pits her against Skynet, doesn’t it? She is so certain that John Henry is the answer to this. WHY? WHO IS JOHN HENRY IN THE FUTURE??? Is he a weapon against Skynet? Is that why she’s been having Ellison teach John Henry ethics?

Even if that’s the case, there’s still a thin layer of ice holding everyone up. Catherine can’t let Ellison find out who she is, and I think that’s one way the writers remind us that Catherine is a machine. Even if she has some form of morality within her, she still reacts to the world in a calculating way. Hell, isn’t that how she sounds when she’s telling Ellison about John Henry’s worth to her? Humans are still largely pawns to her, and that includes both Savannah and Ellison. That, of course, makes her a complicated character and makes it harder to determine if she’s here for good or not.

But I suppose it’s kind of silly to look at this conflict with a dichotomy in mind. It’s so much more messy than that. Ellison doesn’t just have to deal with finding Savannah and getting her back; the LAPD have already gotten involved, and it proves to be mighty difficult dealing with them. What’s the morality in that situation? Does he believe that the police can provide no help in locating Savannah? Or does his loyalty to Catherine Weaver override that? It’s clear that Sarah and John don’t want Savannah to be yet another casualty in this war against Skynet, but, like Catherine, they use her as a pawn to get what they want. The whole thing is incredibly complicated!

Obviously, the final act of “Adam Raised a Cain” makes that statement seem silly. I really don’t think that Ellison called the cops on Sarah. (I don’t have a theory who did. I’M LOST.) But this is possibly one of the worst developments for this family. Sarah’s face is all over the television, and everyone knows where she is, including the Terminator that is look for her and John Connor. It’s reminiscent of T2, isn’t it? Sarah’s more vulnerable than she’s ever been, and their resources are… what? Cameron? That’s it, y’all, because LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE IS DEAD. I don’t see them trusting Ellison, not after Savannah revealed that Cromartie’s body is now… well, they don’t know it’s plugged into the Turk, but STILL. They have no reason to believe that Catherine Weaver is doing anything to help them. She’s an antagonist to them. So what do they do? Rescue Sarah? And then… keep running?

I don’t even know, y’all. “Adam Raised a Cain” messed me up. I mentioned on video that this felt like a season finale; that’s how huge it was. I’m thankful that there’s at least one more, but only because I’m hoping to get some closure. There should be SO MANY SEASONS of this show. WHY HAVE Y’ALL DONE THIS TO ME?

The video for “Adam Raised a Cain” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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