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Episode 203: The Mousetrap

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Episode 203
Air Date September 22, 2008
Written by John Wirth
Director Brian Spicer
Prior episode "Automatic for the People"
Next episode "Allison from Palmdale"
"Sarah. He took my wife!"
- Charley Dixon.
SCC 203 TheMousetrap1

Sarah Connor and Derek Reese are put to the test after Cromartie kidnaps Charley Dixon's wife; John Connor is in a sticky situation of his own when he finds himself caught between Cameron and Riley, falling straight into the sights of Cromartie.

Synopsis

CameronPhillips-TheMousetrap1

Cameron lifts a heavy server

SCC 203 TheMousetrap2
CromartieMichelle-Mousetrap2

Cromartie sets the trap

SCC 203 TheMousetrap3
SCC 203 TheMousetrap4
CromartieJohn-Mousetrap3

Cromartie tries drowning John

CameronPhillips-Mousetrap4

I don't swim.

Fleeing the Terminator threat in Los Angeles, Charley Dixon and his wife Michelle were filling up at a gas station in the middle of the desert. As the truck arrived, Charley headed off to buy Michelle a soda. After disabling the ignition of his vehicle, Cromartie carjacked the Dixon's truck with Michelle inside.

John helped an extremely pregnant Kacy (their new landlady and neighbor) setup bootleg cable in her bedroom. On the local news, a clip of Beast Wizard VII, the low-budget film starring George Laszlo was running.

John came home to find Cameron calculating the center of their new house. While asked if this had anything to do with John's safety, Cameron replies no and simply states the observation that the house was moving and that they'd have to repaint in a year.

While Sarah unpacked groceries, John received a desperate call from Charley. Not wanting to involve John, and not having Sarah's number, he asked to speak to his mother. Charley told Sarah that Cromartie had taken Michelle and Sarah played along to protect John. Sarah probed Charley for his location and told him to stay put. She scolded John for giving Charley his number and set him on a chore to keep him far from harm, buying new computers for their nascent resistance cell.

Sarah rapidly packed up weapons as Cameron "investigated" a bird stuck in the fireplace, intent in its termination. Sarah forbade her to harm the bird and directed her to stay with John today and to not let him out of her sight. Sarah also informed Derek who tried to warn her away from an obvious trap to get to John, but joins her anyway.

Michelle is revealed tied up in a chair in an abandoned building. Cromartie methodically prepared a device that incorporates mousetraps as triggers. Michelle spotted her cell phone “conveniently” left nearby and struggled towards it.[1]

John and Cameron loaded the new computer equipment into the back of their truck in the store parking lot. Cameron lifts a heavy server with ease, and surprises an old couple with her strength. Riley called from the Santa Monica Promenade, wanting to hang out. Cameron refused to let John go alone and when the opportunity presented itself, John bolted, attempting to ditch the Terminator.

Agent Ellison, amazed at providence, also watched Beast Wizard VII. He received a call from Catherine Weaver enticing him with a job offer and hints of knowledge about Cromartie’s massacre. She invited him for lunch to talk about "who or what" actually killed his colleagues.

Sarah and Derek met up with Charley at the desert gas station. Derek bluntly informed Charley that Cromartie doesn't care about Michelle, and is just using her to get to John. Flatly stating that Michelle is probably already dead. Once Michelle finally reached her tantalizingly placed cell phone, she made the call for help to Charley. Derek and Sarah demanded he test her, to make sure it's not Cromartie imitating her voice. After she passed, As best she could, she told them where she was. Hearing as Cromartie wrapped up in the other room, Michelle cuts off the call and tried to conceal her efforts to make contact, but a simple comparison of imagery in memory confirms for him the trap is in motion. Michelle begged for her life, but Cromartie set his trap with her as live bait and tapes her mouth shut.

John and Riley hung out on the Promenade. John broke the news that he's not coming back to school, and is going to be home schooled for now. Riley spotted Cameron watching them, so they scrambled to ditch her.

Sarah, Derek, and Charley arrived outside the building Michelle described as her prison. Cautiously they entered, searching the place for Michelle, or Cromartie. They found Michelle, tied up in a chair set upon mousetraps wired to a bomb. Sarah demanded Michelle not move while Derek double checked the rest of the place for Cromartie. Charley tried in vain to reassure Michelle it would be okay. Sarah ordered Carley out to the truck for her “red handled bag” of demolition gear so she could attempt to defuse the bomb.

Once Charley returns with the bag and announced that Cromartie took off (and killed their car before he did). Sarah realized that this means it was all a setup—even the bomb's not real. Sarah immediately called John who told her he was at the promenade and lied that he was still with Cameron. Derek’s search revealed a cell phone scanner and signal relay wired to the nearby cell tower re-broadcasting their call... right to Cromartie, revealing their security code and the location of his primary objective.

Derek then located a beeping detonator with a wire leading outside to the cell tower. In a reversal of the trap the Connors laid for him in the past,[2] Cromartie dialed his cell phone (the detonator) and destroyed the tower, dropping it on the location of his captive. The massive tower fell squarely into the building, but luckily no one was terminated, however Michelle was gravely hurt by the falling tower and as they stumbled off, a big blood stain was revealed on her back. With all cell phone service down, and his obstacles either terminated or at least safely isolated from John, Cromartie was free to close the final stage of his trap around John.

From the desert, Cromartie called pretending to be Sarah, redirecting John to wait at the Santa Monica Pier and shut off his phone. Cromartie then raced off after his target. John abandoned a frustrated Riley after telling her he had to go meet his mom at the pier.

Sarah, Derek, Charley, and Michelle planned to trek through the desert to reach the road, but Charley balked because of Michelle's injury, unable to determine its severity or treat it in the field.[3] Michelle angrily insisted she could walk, and that no one would have to wait on her.

Ellison met with Catherine Weaver in her office to talk about the FBI massacre. She showed Ellison photographic evidence of an endoskeleton hand involved in a plane crash five years ago (2002) and shared that she knows that it was a robot that tried to kill John Connor in Red Valley, NM in 1999. Weaver also declared that she knows that a robot was involved in the FBI massacre. She claimed to have been working on reverse engineering the same technology with her “late husband” and wanted to hire Ellison to find out about these robots and to even catch one for her.

Cameron cornered Riley in a parking garage, demanding she reveal "Where's John?" as John waited for "Sarah" at the crowded Santa Monica Pier. Fortunately, as they struggled towards the highway nearly five miles away, Sarah carjacked a cell phone service van en route to the downed tower and they drove off after John. Jouncing across the service road, Michelle struggled to stay alive with Charley's increasingly futile help. They exchange harsh words as he demands Sarah slow down, but she countered that he should have stayed away. At the end of her rope, Sarah slammed on the brakes, sliding the van to a stop, still far from both aid for Michelle, and her chance to save John.

A wary John spotted Cromartie on the pier and fled for cover. The Triple-Eight followed suit, chasing John down the pier. Cameron, too, arrived and begins closing on the pair from behind. John created a diversion by trading jackets with a pier fisherman and hiding in a crate, confusing Cromartie, but is rapidly reacquired by him. Trapped with nowhere else to run, John dove off the pier and into the ocean, Cromartie firing away at him. Intent on terminating his target, Cromartie jumped in after, intending to latch on and drag John into the depths. John barely gets away by shucking off his oversized borrowed jacket, and Cromartie sank out of reach to the bottom of the ocean. John swam up, and spotted Cameron on the pier. When John asks if she could provide some assistance, Cameron simply replies "I don't swim".

John and Cameron met up with Sarah and Derek in a nearby alley and hopped in the van. John, okay, but shaken up, discovered Michelle's blood pooled in the back of the van and knows not all is well. Cromartie stalked onto the beach out of the ocean depths, ready to resume the hunt.[4]

Outside the hospital, John comforted Charley as he wept over Michelle's wedding ring. Later, Charley was joined by Ellison and others at Michelle's funeral, but none of the Connors are in sight. As the eulogy wrapped up and her casket was lowered into the earth, Charley angrily cast the bible given to him by Ellison into the grave and stormed off. Cromartie patiently observed the proceedings at a distance, awaiting another chance to strike. John, Derek, and Sarah mourned at home in the stoic company of Cameron as they sat around a somber dinner table.

Characters

Main
Recurring
Minor

Quotes

Derek: Where are you going?
Sarah: You know where I'm going, come if you want.
Derek: You can't go!
Sarah: And yet, I am!.
Derek: It's a ploy to get John. It's a trap!
Sarah: I know that. You don't see John here, do you?
Derek: It's the absolute wrong thing to do!
Sarah: Wouldn't be the first time.

(As Cameron lifts a massive electronics box into the pickup)
John: Hey, hey, hey! Woah, Cameron. Cameron, let me help you with that!
Cameron: I didn't need any help.
John: Yeah, you did. (looks pointedly at the gawking spectators)
Cameron: Right.

Ellison: So... You know who I am. You know what happened. George Lazlo was the shooter. George Lazlo is dead. It's all in the report.
Catherine: And yet here you are. Five years ago, a small commuter jet went down in the eastern Sierras. On its way from Sacramento to Portland. My brother was on the N.T.S.B. team that investigated the accident. He found these. And brought them to me. My late husband and I have spent three years and $20 million. Trying to reverse engineer this technology. We've not been successful. Yet. Red Valley, New Mexico. Eight years ago. 22 witnesses report seeing a man with some kind of robot leg. Try to kill a boy later identified as John Connor.
Ellison: John Connor?
Catherine: Son of Sarah Connor. It was your case. She believed robots were after her son.
Ellison: I know what she believed, Ms. Weaver.
Catherine: You know what really killed those agents. You did not even pretend to ask me what those were.
Ellison: What do you want from me?
Catherine: I want what you want, Mr. Ellison. I want answers. But more than that, I want you to help me find another one.

John: Little help!?
Cameron: I don't swim.
John: I just figured that out!

Cromartie: In 1897, James Atkinson invented the mousetrap. The spring slams shut in 38 thousandths of a second. It is a record that has never been beaten. It is hard to build a better one.

Monologue

Closing:

Pastor: "Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed... Day-by-day. For our light and momentary troubles... Are achieving for us an eternal glory, That far outweighs them all. We know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from god. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For god has given us the spirit as a guarantee. And as long as we are at home in the body, we are away from the lord. We walk by faith, not by sight. And so fix our eyes... Not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary. What is unseen... Eternal."

Continuity notes

(This episode doesn't have any continuity issue yet. Please add one if there is any.)

Notes

  • Catherine Weaver presents evidence of another TDE incursion in 2002 when she shows NTSB photos of a private jet crash site that contains endoskeleton remains.
  • Catherine demonstrates the ability to drink liquids, but that would be a simple slight-of-hand for a mimetic polyalloy entity to execute.
  • Cameron's sensory apparatus is sensitive enough to identify the foundation shift of the new Resistance safe house as 0.93mm descent per year.

Deleted scenes

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

Terminator references

  • John's escape from Cromartie off the pier demonstrates another vulnerability of the Terminator endoskeleton. Although unharmed by total immersion or oxygen deprivation, they are not buoyant enough to swim.
  • The desert gas station and fruit stand is the same one filmed at the end of The Terminator.[5]
  • This episode features a subtle tipping of the hat to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Parked next to the Connor's Dodge Ram is a 2003 edition Toyota Tundra — official vehicle of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Real-world references

Beastwizard7

George Laszlo in "Beast Wizard VII"

Q&A

  • Q: Is the plane crash Catherine shows actually the cover utilized for her insertion into the timeline?
    • A: No. The crash is the start of the "real" Weaver and her husband investigating the Terminators. Catherine/T-1001's insertion is suggested to happen in 2005 with the helicopter crash described in the episode "Allison from Palmdale".[6]
  • Q: Or was it the circumstances under the investigation of a "real" Catherine and Mr. Weaver that drew them into the sights of Skynet, resulting in her replacement by the T-1001?
    • A: Yes, see above.
  • Q: Why didn't Cromartie just shoot John before jumping into the water?
    • A: Cromartie shoots several times as he finally sights the running John, but misses. There is a MythBusters episode that clearly debunks the "shooting into water" fiat of the action genre; even a .50 caliber round will disintegrate after about three feet through water. As deep as John was by the time Cromartie reached the edge of the pier, he would be completely protected and bullets would be ineffective. Direct action (the dive) was the most immediate termination option, rather than allowing John a chance to escape underwater.
  • Q Why does Cromartie not get effected by the water and gives electric pulses? Is it because of the Living Tissue?
    • A: Designing a machine to withstand submersion in water is fairly common today. There are fully robotic submersibles that can dive to the bottom of the ocean, over 30,000 ft.

References

  1. Cromartie has become aware of the many security measures taken by the Connors, and is seeking to circumvent them with an intricate trap.
  2. The command detonated VBIED used to evade him at the Dyson house in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot episode
  3. It is unclear how Sarah had the forethought to bring the demolition kit, but wasn’t also equipped with trauma first aid gear, a virtual necessity when hunting Terminators.
  4. A scene reminiscent of Z000.M's arrival in The Terminator: Secondary Objectives.
  5. Official episode podcast
  6. The producer's blog and official podcast for "Allison from Palmdale".

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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