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Terminator: Goodbye to All That

So sorry for the long delay! Work and life have been a bit crazed of late.

First and foremost: welcome back, Derek! I’m so glad we finally got an episode where Derek got to do more than be the snarky, battle-weary sidekick. I much prefer “haunted and grief stricken” Derek to “comic relief” Derek. His story is so compelling, especially told against the backdrop of the pre-holocaust world. I love those great little moments where Derek is absolutely awestruck by seeing a creature or a person that he never imagined he see again (i.e., the deer and young Martin Bidell). It lends a lot of perspective to some of his harsher actions. He’s got to do absolutely everything he can to ensure that the future he came from never happens, no matter how cold-blooded it seems. At the very least, he needs to make sure that John survives to lead the resistance. So that all the sacrifices that have come before weren’t in vain.

I thought the basic plot for this episode was a little weak (especially the “we need a teacher for a week” bit that kept Derek around at school), but I really liked the focus on character. John and Derek, in particular, had some strong material this week. I’m so glad that John finally seems to be coming around. My favorite scene was when Derek told John what happened to Martin in the future, and ended with “He died for you. We all die for you.” It clearly had an effect on John. What’s more, I think in coming to understand that Martin couldn’t just run away to Dartmouth to live his own life, John may truly be coming to accept his own role. Maybe he’ll finally move out of his rebellious teen phase and start working with Sarah. (Perhaps wishful thinking on my part.)

The Sarah and Cameron portion of the story wasn’t terribly interesting this week. It kind of bordered on cutesy and cliché. Watch the tough warrior persona interact with a young child! See how stiff and awkward she is! That said, I did kind of like seeing this aspect of Sarah. I find myself wondering, sometimes, what she must have been like as a mother to young John. It must have been very strange for John to have a mother that he knew would fight to the death to protect him, but had a hard time doing all the simple things moms do. Like helping with homework and offering emotional support. At least she keeps trying!

I kind of liked the way John and Derek’s ambush scene played out against Sarah reading the Wizard of Oz. That part of the book fit the action well, and it was kind of like having the voiceover monologues back. I know that I didn’t much care for them at the beginning of the first season, but they must have grown on me. I’ve really been missing them this season. I liked the insight they provided into Sarah, and they helped keep the story from her perspective. This season has felt more like the John Connor Chronicles, and I wish they’d get back to the focus on Sarah.

Other thoughts:

Cameron had almost nothing to do in this episode. A bit jarring after being featured so prominently last week.

The T-888 that was hunting Martin reminded me of Vick, from the first season (the T-888 hunting Derek). I spent half the episode thinking he was another version of that model.

I wasn’t a big fan of “Automatic For the People,” but I do appreciate that it wasn’t just a throw away episode. The events at the power plant are continuing to have ramifications. At least we know a little bit more about the purpose of the “blood list” the guy from the future left for the Connors.

Seeing Agent Ellison and Catherine Weaver working together fascinates me and creeps me out all at the same time. She's shuddery.

Final rating: 3 out of 5. Not as good as last week's, but pretty decent.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.


  1. More time travel headaches for me.

    The purpose Derek is back in time (hell, the purpose of the whole show) is to prevent Judgment Day.

    And yet, this whole episode (at least the part at the school) was to prepare for an event that happens POST Judgment Day.

    So do you want to prevent Judgment day, or do you want to prepare the resistance?

  2. I felt this to be a bit average. The whole Sarah/Cameron with the kid was weak and the whole episode just felt a bit off.

  3. Nice reference to the first movie at the beginning. Continuity within the Mythology; nice.

    LOL at "would you like a bedtime story?" Cameron is not programmed to babysit.

    Ah ! The Wizard of Oz "again" ! Such a powerful effect of the American psyche (just seen the movie; never read the book). Loved the parallel between the reading and the forest scene. I've spoken a few times of my "museum" : there are a few moments from this series that I'd add up to it. This would be one of them (and the trucks squeezing from ep # 2.01 as well).

    Liked the awkward tender moments between Sarah and the kid; hey, she never had a NORMAL life...."You kinda suck at it !"


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