Mark Watches ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: S02E09 – Complications

In the ninth episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cromartie disappears, Sarah seeks help, and Derek and Jesse deal with a possible enemy from the future. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of torture, nonconsensual medical procedures.

Holy shit, this show continues to be FANTASTIC. It’s still heavily serialized, it still finds ways to surprise me, and it still builds off existing mythology in increasingly fascinating ways. Look, it’s simply not what I expected at all, point blank. LET’S TALK.

Cameron / John

Hey, look, I was sort of prepared for something! Given what I do, I always feel a bit pleased when I pick up on something that becomes part of the story. Usually, I miss a lot of little things that later mean something significant. But I noticed how strange Cameron has been lately in terms of her adaptation, and now it’s been addressed a lot more openly than I expected. While she and John head back to Mexico (and then to Ellison’s house), John observes Cameron’s exploration of her senses. It’s easy for him to claim that she can’t feel anything, but she openly corrects him. That’s not quite how she works. But I understand why John thinks the way he does. His experience tells him that these machines calculate the world around them, not sense them. How can they feel anything that’s remotely human?

I don’t know precisely how feeling and emotion work for Cameron, as the show hasn’t quite defined this experience for her. But as I watch her adapt to life with the Connors, I see telltale signs that something is happening. There are tiny smirks or reactions that don’t have any role in a mission, that are her own entirely. Here, she struggles to understand empathy, using the turtle that Sarah saved as an example. That’s one thing the machines don’t understand; they are programmed to behave within the parameters of a mission, not in the service of some form of morality. She does try, though. Unfortunately, her moment of empathy comes right after she nearly kills Ellison, and it involves her turning him off his back as if he’s nothing but a turtle. Oh, Cameron. YOU TRIED, and yet, you’re still so far.


Hey, it’s yet another episode where Sarah Connor crushes my heart. As a criminally and perpetually vulnerable person, I have a soft spot for stories that allow characters – particularly those typecast as badasses or heroes – to express their own vulnerabilities. I think what’s so heartbreaking about watching Sarah try to cope with her own dreams is the stunning loneliness of it all. If the last episode showed us that John’s life was lonely and solitary, this one reminds us that Sarah’s is, too. Like John, she has no one she can be honest with. Her life is a constant network of secrets that she’s got to keep hidden from the world. So when she yearns for some sort of catharsis within her own mind, who can she turn to? I imagine it’s awkward to turn to her son after recent events; Derek is barely around now that he’s spending so much time with Jesse. (When is he going to introduce her to the Connors???) Cameron is… well, Cameron. I don’t foresee Sarah turning to her own Terminator as a personal therapist.

And yet, when she goes to Dr. Sherman (I WAS SO GLAD TO SEE HIM BACK), she discovers a problem that John had in the previous episode: she can never truly be honest with him, and that means she can never truly get close in any meaningful way. Even if he is a therapist and what she tells him is confidential, there’s no way she’d violate her own personal code. Unfortunately, she can’t even explain that to Dr. Sherman. And he gets frustrated! As he should! He knows that Sarah is lying to him, and he knows that he can’t get anywhere with her unless she tells the truth. But I don’t think she’ll ever relent on this, which sucks because SARAH CLEARLY NEEDS SOMEONE TO TALK TO.

And then she talks to John, and I have melted from emotions. That scene contains perhaps the most honest moment between the two of them, and for the Connors? It’s remarkably sweet. Given John’s argument with her a couple days earlier, I think it’s significant that he tells her that she’s not a murderer, just after telling her that she should have been one. In the Connor household, that’s about as close to an apology as we’ll see.


Charles Fischer

This would have been an entertaining plot by itself, but I love the reveal at the end of this episode that gives us concrete evidence that the work the Resistance is doing in the past is changing the future. Because of the nature of time travel, it’s now entirely possible that Jesse and Derek are from different timelines in the future. But was this act a failure? Did Jesse and Derek guarantee that Judgment Day would happen by sparing Charles Fischer’s life?

This plot started off relatively simple – perhaps trope-filled – but rapidly progressed to a point that brought out a great deal of development for both Jesse and Derek. I liked that this examined whether or not these two were motivated solely by their own emotions towards Fischer. And was that a good or a bad thing? I don’t know that there’s an answer here. We spend so much time wondering whether Jesse is telling the truth, only to find out that she was telling her version of the truth. Her passion for revenge was justified, at least in her eyes, because Fischer had been responsible for both a betrayal of humanity and the torture of her lover. Because Derek doesn’t remember something that didn’t happen to him, he has to grapple with the fear that Jesse has the wrong man.

And Charles Fischer himself answers my question about whether or not Skynet has humans that work for them. Jesus, he’s sent back in time TO SABOTAGE HOMELAND SECURITY, using his actual identity to implicate the 2007 version of Charles Fischer, which gets Fischer locked up, which guarantees that he survives judgment day, which… oh lord, PREDESTINATION PARADOXES HURT MY BRAIN SO MUCH.

Catherine Weaver


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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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