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Terminator: Complications

This week’s was a pretty good episode. Between Sarah’s dreams, Cromartie’s missing body, and Derek and Jessie’s prisoners, this one kept me guessing throughout and managed to leave me with a lot of questions. (The good kind of questions---the kind that keep me coming back to see where it is all going.)

There’s no avoiding the time travel theory train this week. It was pretty much front and center in Derek and Jessie’s story, and, as usual, we didn’t get any clear cut answers. What’s really mind-boggling is that they broached the notion of a changeable future, while still seemingly fulfilling key elements of the loop. We know that John, Sarah, and Cameron traveling through time changed the future relative to the one from which Cameron came, because in the current timeline Sarah didn’t die from cancer in 2000/1. What’s more, we know that Derek changed the future relative to the one from which he came, because he killed Andy Goode (Wisher). At the same time, John acquired the photo of Sarah that he will give to Kyle, causing Kyle to fall in love with Sarah before he’s ever sent back to save her. Ellison delivered the exoskeleton to Weaver, presumably aiding in Skynet’s ultimate creation. Young Charles Fischer ended up in the prison where he’ll be on Judgment Day, well on his way to becoming the man that tortures humans to train infiltrator models.

More than ever, it seems we’re dealing with a subtly shifting, ever-evolving loop. With so many forces trying to maintain the status quo while others try to dramatically change the future, I guess a loop with minor variations from iteration to iteration makes the most “sense.” Of course, it doesn't bode well for Team Connor's efforts to make sure Judgment Day never happens.

I’m still having trouble sorting out Jessie’s true mission. Did she really bring Derek to Fischer to give her lover the chance to kill his torturer? If so, why kill old Fischer before Derek could kill young Fischer? She may have a valid point about young Fischer not being the man who tortured Derek (or some version of Derek), but it seems her actions all but ensure that young Fischer will now become someone like the old Fischer we met. Was that her real purpose? To preserve the loop?

Sarah’s dreams are also pretty much still a mystery. There seemed to be a lot more to them than just the three dots. Foreshadowing about something regarding Cameron? Or just an expression of all Sarah’s fears, especially regarding John and Cameron? What was up with the strange dress Sarah was always wearing? I’ll have to re-watch at some point to see if I can make any more sense of the dreams.

Other thoughts:

It was nice to see Dr. Sherman again. I guess, in a way, he did help Sarah to discover the source of the three dots. He asked Sarah where she was going when sleepwalking, and ultimately that location is where she solved part of the mystery of her dreams.

Great work by Brian Austin Green this week. I loved his scenes with Fischer, and he was great when Jessie revealed that Derek was the one held and tortured by Fischer.

I don’t understand why John chose to trust Ellison. Could he just not let Cameron kill him after Ellison saved John’s life? Seems like another critical error.

And how ironic that Ellison delivered Cromartie's body to Weaver thinking he was doing something to prevent the machines from ever rising. Critical error #247.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at Cameron turning over a “helpless” Ellison a la the turtle, so that he wouldn’t be on his back. Too funny.

The actor playing young Charles Fischer (Adam Busch) played Warren on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, maker of lifelike “girlfriend” robots. Funny timing given that some of my readers were just discussing the whole “sex with robots” issue last week, and included a reference to one of Warren’s works.

Final rating: 4 out of 5. I especially liked the Derek and Jessie story this week. Can’t wait to see where we go from here.

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


  1. It's always interesting to see how a movie universe changes when it becomes a television universe. A good television adaptation will explore, in a lot more depth and complexity, the things that were best about the movie. And IMHO, that's what they're doing with these strange, looping time travel elements.

    I also thought Derek and Jessie should have killed young Fisher, but he was indeed innocent and I got why they didn't. It's an interesting moral conundrum. And it parallels what happened to Sarah Connor in the original movie -- she was targeted for something (good) that she hadn't done yet.

    Thanks for another good review, Jess.

  2. Was the whole turtle business a reference to "Blade Runner"? I would think so. In BR, the turtle on its back was featured in one of the questions of the test that would tell a real human from a replicant; and Cameron, in her now evident attempt to become more human-like, tried to understand why Sarah did it.

  3. Ick, more time travel headaches. It seems they are dealing either with the onion theory of time (the multiverse where everything that can happen does happen,) or the river theory of time (changing past events is like throwing a pebble into a river: you might get a small splash but the river continues unabated.)

    I'm less concerned with the time travel headaches aft this episode though. It was just good stuff. Although I watched this back to back with the next episode and that was even better.

  4. The point that hit me was when Jessie told Derek that John was making decisions that were killing people in the future and blamed it on his relationship with Cameron. Plus no mention of Riley being a timetraveler?

  5. Another good one. I especially like Derek and Jessie´s part and I even felt a bit sorry for Young Charles Fisher at the end.
    Good work by Lena Headey and Brian Austin Green.

  6. Oh great. Torture. I hate that. And I've seen Billie and others talk about torture on another show. (The first few episodes at the beginning of the 3rd season of BSG made me immensely uneasy)

    All your questions are very pertinent and valid. You're a bright woman Jess.

    Nice continuity with Sarah's hand bandage. Loved the Ellison/turtle scene too. Difficult to watch, but excellent acting from everyone.


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