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Episode 202: Automatic for the People

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Episode 202
Air Date September 15, 2008
Written by Natalie Chaidez
Director Jeffrey G. Hunt
Prior episode "Samson & Delilah"
Next episode "The Mousetrap"
"I don't have to prove anything to anyone, including you."
- John Connor.
TSCC S2 AutomaticForThePeople

Working class

Sarah Connor and Cameron take it upon themselves to investigate a nuclear power plant. John Connor becomes less enthusiastic about academics, but flourishes socially with the help of a new friend. Meanwhile, Catherine Weaver gains another piece of the puzzle for her pet project.

Synopsis

SCC 202 AutomaticForThePeople2

"She can't be serious."

SCC 202 AutomaticForThePeople3

Body of steel

Camerontrailer15

Cameron and nuclear power

SCC 202 AutomaticForThePeople1

Derek and Sarah

A time displacement sphere appears and a mortally wounded human man staggers out of it. Clutching a wound close to his heart, he grabs clothes near a homeless man and runs off.

Meanwhile, Sarah, Derek and Cameron prepare to move into a new home that was previously owned by a Japanese couple. Shortly after their pregnant neighbor, who was showing them the house, departs, the resistance agent crashes in.[1] He gives information about a man named Greenway and the Serrano Point Nuclear Power Plant at Avila Beach before he dies.

The three go to the nuclear plant, which Derek remembers that the Resistance recaptured in the future.[2] The girls get hired to the plant as janitorial engineers. Sarah gets close to the nuclear technician, Greenway, who is resistant to reactivating the plant. He's an cancer survivor with a prominent scar on his right bicep as a result of two operations to remove lymph nodes from that arm. He is considered far too overcautious by his coworkers, who dislike him intensely enough that one shatters Greenway's windshield in the parking lot of a bar.

If the plant is activated as an unsafe facility, Skynet reaps the benefits of its devastation and the millions of dead it would cause, and if it isn't, the Resistance doesn't get control of it in the future. Sarah gets too close when she follows the executive, who catches her in an unauthorized space. He claims there is a radioactive spill in the next room and orders her to suit up and help clean it up. However, even in the hazmat suit, she panics and gets out. A faulty scan (probably rigged) indicates she's been contaminated, so she is subjected to a decontamination wash by the executive, presumably to curb her "unhealthy" curiosity.

Elsewhere, Agent Ellison, on his forced vacation, comes to Charley's home to talk. His wife soon learns everything about the Connors and the Terminators and has a hard time accepting. Ellison advises they move to someplace safe.

John goes to school, meeting a new friend named Riley. He shows her his new house but is dumbfounded that his mother left him a kid's bed. when the family arrives home, Sarah is suspicious of Riley buts lets her stay.

Next day, Greenway prepares to reactivate the plant. But as Sarah watches, she notices that the scar on Greenway's arm is gone, tipping her off that the person in front of her was a Series 888 infiltrator. Derek investigates Greenway's house only to find the real Greenway hanging from the ceiling, as a supposed suicide. Sarah and Derek are on the phone with each other and realize the deception at the same time. The Terminator works to overload the reactor but Cameron begins a fight with him. Sarah snatches a gun from a guard to assist her but has to go through the contaminated area; Derek goes around. Sarah shoots the Terminator, distracting it for Cameron to slam it into a pair of transformers, frying its circuits and destroying its skin. Later, Cameron is seen putting all of the parts of a now-dismembered Series 888 infiltrator into an empty nuclear waste barrel.

A representative from Automite Systems[3] comes to take control of the plant, announcing that his corporation will be installing artificial intelligences to "eliminate the possibility of human error". After his speech, he gets into his car and morphs into the T-1001, Catherine Weaver.

After a long sterilizing shower, Sarah notices a blood trail in the house, and follows it to the basement. In a darkened room, she discovers a list scrawled on the wall in blood, of places, people, and targets, left by the dead resistance fighter.

Characters

Main Recurring Minor


Quotes

John: It's healing quickly. (Inspecting Cameron's wounds)
Cameron: Quicker than yours.
John: What about the rest of you? You're back to normal?
Cameron: Things have changed, John.
John: What things?
Cameron: You can't be trusted anymore.
John: Me? I can't be trusted anymore?
Cameron: You risked your life to fix me. That was a very dangerous thing to do. That could upset people.
John: They'll have to deal with it. (John looks pointedly at Sarah and Derek)
Cameron: Not them.
Sarah: What did she say?
John: Nothing.

Sandra: You mind telling me why you two are so rough around the edges?
Cameron and Sarah (in unison): Car accident.
Sandra: Because I can't have any problems in my plant.
Cameron and Sarah (in unison): Car accident.

(Cameron stalks up to a game of 9-ball in the bar)
Cameron: Hi. I'm Cindy. I'm new in town. This looks like fun.
Guy: Well, Cindy, this may look like fun, but Bob here's got 50 bucks says he can beat anyone in this bar. Ain't that right, Bob?
Cameron: I'll play you, Bob.
Guy: You ever played this game before?
Cameron: How hard could it be?
Guy: Oh, it's plenty hard, girl. Let me show you. Now, what you're gonna do is take this stick and lean over the table. Now slide it through your fingers. Relax, and get a real good feel. That's right. Nice and easy.
(Cameron records his badge, then calculates and sinks a multi-ball strike off the break)
Cameron: Still my shot. Right, Bob?

Continuity notes

  • At the end of the episode, Riley mentions the date as November 16 (of presumably 2007, though she does not state the year) when she calls John. The end of the episode took place one day after the beginning of episode, and the beginning of the episode took place one day after John Connor's birthday in "What He Beheld" and "Samson & Delilah". This would makes John Connor's birth date in this timeline November 14, 1983. This contradicts information in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day: The Terminator was set in May 1984, so John's birth had to be around nine months later, and in Terminator 2, John Connor's birth date is explicitly given in his police record as February 28, 1985.

Notes

  • Cameron demonstrates the ability to replicate exactly from memory a barcode scan label from a security badge with a fine line permanent marker.
  • While pool-sharking her way into close proximity of the badge she later replicates, Cameron demonstrates another flash of her infiltration ability.
  • Both Sarah and Cameron use new aliases: Karen (for Sarah) and Cindy (for Cameron).
  • Cameron seems to act strangely at several points during this episode:
    • During a critical moment, she ignores Sarah's commands to take action and continues mopping the floor. When confronted, she tells Sarah that she's "thinking of what to do".
    • After defeating Greenway Terminator, Cameron demonstrates several "glitchy" tics as she approaches Sarah, almost getting shot for her unresponsiveness. After Sarah asks her "Are you okay?" twice, she finally shouts out "I'm okay!"
    • When Sarah asks if she is "just a time bomb waiting to go off", Cameron counters with her own question: "Am I?"
  • This episode marks the third time in the films or TV episodes that an endoskeleton-based Terminator has been employed copying a specific human's appearance.[4] It's also the second time in the films or TV episodes that an endoskeleton-based Terminator has been confirmed as copying a specific human's appearance in order to achieve a mission (mimetic polyalloy-based Terminators have frequently copied specific humans in order achieve their missions).[5]

Deleted scenes

(This episode has no information about the deleted scenes so far. Please add one if there is any.)

Terminator references

  • Wells arrived late in the night in a back-alley city lane, probably in Los Angeles, similar to Kyle Reese.

Real-world references

Q&A

  • Q: How can the bullet that impacted the time traveler travel through the Time Sphere if only living tissue can travel through time?
    • A: Someone possibly shot a bullet at him while he was just in the time displacement equipment, and the bullet entered his body at the exact moment that he traveled back in time, exiting when he emerged from the time sphere.
  • Q: How does the resistance fighter locate the Connors?
    • A: Depending on which timeline this Resistance member came from, the future-John who sent him back may have already experienced events from at least the first season of TSCC, so he would be able to tell the time traveler where he was living then.
  • Q: Why does Riley use strange idioms like: "You're full of carrots and apples."
  • Q: Why do John tell Riley to say the date of the day when she wants to call to him? Why is Derek doing the same when calling Sarah?
    • A: The rule is a verbal challenge and password system to authenticate that a human is on the end of the line, so Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron know that the person they are talking to are one of their own. Any Terminator can imitate any voice, including their own. If a Terminator one day would imitate one of them, it wouldn't know about the "date" rule, and they would know for sure its a Terminator or someone else. John obviously trust Riley, so he make her use the same rule. In later episodes, they change this habit to just sending a DTMF signal.
  • Q: Why is Camerons reaction "slow" when Sarah ask her to do something, when the power plant is melting down.
    • A: The most logical answer is that Cameron, which is a very sophisticated cyborg, are trying to imitate human behavior. She is probably in the middle of figuring out what to do, just like a human would do. Another explanation may be that she was experiencing another glitch resulting from the damage to her chip.
  • Q: At the end, Sarah, John, Cameron and Derek are looking at a wall where something is written in blood. What exactly does it say?
    • A: It's a list of people deemed critical by the resistance. They may be targeted by Skynet for termination, or for protection as vital resources. They may also be targeted for the same reasons by the resistance. One problem with the list is the failure to differentiate between the two.
See "The bloody wall" for a transcript.
  • Q: Why does Riley say "Hi Mom" to Sarah?
    • A: She was introduced as "Mom" and Riley (smart-aleck that she is) responded in kind. It is a common enough turn of phrase, depending on usage it can be cute or creepy.
  • Q: Does Kacy's Baby have any importance in future episodes?
    • A: Her pregnancy does, but her baby does not. We're even not going to see it
  • Q: Why did Cameron at first not respond when Sarah asked if she was okay?
    • A: This may have been a result of Cameron's glitch from the car bomb in the previous episode.
  • Q: In what building is the bloody wall?
    • A: Unknown, possibly near Connor's house.
  • Q: Who did the writings on the wall?
    • A: Possibly by Wells, whom Sarah and Derek tried to save in the beginning of the episode.
  • Q: What is written on the walls and its meaning?
    • Main article: The bloody wall
    • A: Since the writings are done by one of the Resistance fighters, it may be some clues of information about Skynet, what people it work with or want to kill.
  • Q: Wouldn't anyone notice the real Greenway's death took place before his replacement sabotaged the plant?

References

  1. Sarah notices a barcode on his arm, meaning he is a Resistance fighter.
  2. At the Battle of Avila Beach, December 8, 2026
  3. A subsidiary of ZeiraCorp
  4. The first time was Cromartie, who copied George Laszlo as a matter of convenience when replacing his Living tissue, the second and more deliberate was Vick Chamberlain, who was designed to get close to ARTIE designer Barbara Chamberlain.
  5. If Vick was a targeted replacement for the real husband of Barbara Chamberlain, he would have used the "car crash" as cover for both the switch and any flaws in his infiltration personality.

External links


Episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Season 1 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot episode • "Gnothi Seauton" • "The Turk" • "Heavy Metal" • "Queen's Gambit" • "Dungeons & Dragons" • "The Demon Hand" • "Vick's Chip" • "What He Beheld"
Season 2 "Samson & Delilah" • "Automatic for the People" • "The Mousetrap" • "Allison from Palmdale" • "Goodbye to All That" • "The Tower Is Tall But the Fall Is Short" • "Brothers of Nablus" • "Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today" • "Complications" • "Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point" • "Self Made Man" • "Alpine Fields" • "Earthlings Welcome Here" • "The Good Wound" • "Desert Cantos" • "Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep" • "Ourselves Alone" • "Today Is The Day, Part 1" • "Today Is The Day, Part 2" • "To the Lighthouse" • "Adam Raised a Cain" • "Born to Run"

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