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Episode 204: Allison from Palmdale

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Allison From Palmdale
Air Date September 29, 2008
Written by Toni Graphia
Director Charles Beeson
Prior episode "The Mousetrap"
Next episode "Goodbye to All That"
"Sometimes... when people forget, it's because they need to forget."
- Rita
SCC 204 AllisonFromPalmdale2

A glitch causes Cameron to forget who she is. She goes missing from the Connors and is taken in by a street kid named Jody. Cameron and Jody end up at a halfway house where Cameron meets with a social worker who uncovers some of Cameron’s distant memories. Meanwhile, Catherine Weaver meets with Agent Ellison to discuss his future at ZeiraCorp, and Ellison does some digging into Weaver's past.


Allison Young

Allison Young

SCC 204 AllisonFromPalmdale3
204SCC Jody


SCC 204 AllisonFromPalmdale4
SCC 204 AllisonFromPalmdale1
Scc-screens-in the store

Cameron experienced a vision of the Future War, where a girl ran frantically through the underground tunnels. After she pushed her way through a door and into the outside, post-apocalyptic world lit by blazing searchlights, a giant net engulfed her, trapping her. As the lights shine on her face, we notice that the girl is identical in appearance to Cameron.

Current time, Cameron and John pulled up in the truck. Taking note of her trance, John asks her if she’s still OK, or if she was going to try to kill him again, joking that he’d like a head start. Not recognizing the joke as usual, Cameron replies that if she was intending to kill John again, she wouldn't be sharing this conversation with him. Planning to split up, an annoyed Cameron is sent for groceries, while John went to the electronics store ‘’Radio World’’.

Outside the Connor home a pained Kacy Cotton flagged down Sarah Connor on her way down the driveway. Sarah quickly realized she had to get her to the hospital.

Cameron began acting a bit abnormal at the grocery store. Her HUD spat in and out as she idly scanned the product barcodes, and she flashed back to the girl being trapped in the net -- until she crashed her cart into a mound of watermelons and froze. A Cop checks her out, and asks her name.

Cameron’s flashes continued to cycle back to the future again. She remembered the interrogation of the captured girl whose appearance is identical to herself(albeit slightly scarred) by a female mechanical voice in the darkness. The girl refused to give up her name and so a Terminator branded her with a Skynet barcode, causing her to scream out her name: Allison - Allison Young.

Cameron remembered this in the present. In the jail's holding cell she met Jody, a local street kid. Confused, Cameron introduced herself as Allison.

Kacy, with Sarah at her side, checks in the hospital but is told she's needs to remain for further observations. John looked for Cameron in the grocery store where he learned that Cameron was taken by the police after acting bizarre. Cameron and Jody were released with a warning. While their belongings were being returned, Jody spotted Cameron's huge roll of cash. Greed drives Jody to take Cameron with her.

John cautiously checked for Cameron at the police station, but learned that he missed her release by an hour, and that Cameron took off with Jody, who normally hangs out on the Boulevard.

Kacy told Sarah she's having a boy. She asked Sarah what having John was like. "I was hiking in the jungle." Sarah continued from there to lie and tell her that John's father was there in a glamorized tale, one that is interrupted by Trevor, Kacy's “baby-daddy”. Leaving them alone for a moment, Sarah checked out the babies in the maternity ward. She called John, who was out asking around for a girl called "Jody" on the boulevard. He lied to her and didn't mention that Cameron is missing or acting erratic again.

Catherine Weaver and Agent Ellison met in Catherine's office. As Weaver warned him not to anthropomorphize the machines, she told him the story of the helicopter crash that killed her late husband two years ago.[1] "Human error," she said, as she hinted that there are things that humans, no matter how grounded are unprepared to react to. Unlike humans, however, machines are neither good nor evil.

In the future, Allison was being held in a cell with metal walls and naval watertight doors. She was given food, but defiantly threw it against the wall. Back in the present, Cameron and Jody sat down for some burgers. Cameron complimented Jody's necklace. "I got it at this awesome thrift store in Echo Park." When Jody spotted her angry ex-boyfriend charging into the place, she tried to take Cameron and leave out the back. He accused Jody of stealing his laptop and silenced her denials her by punching her in the face. He grabbed Cameron as well, but all she did was coil in defense and give him her wad of cash.

Jody took Cameron to a halfway house, informing Cameron that to stay there they would have to have an interview with a counselor—Jody encouraged her to lie her way through it. After Cameron used her makeup skills to disguise Jody’s injuries, Jody mistook her ability as practice hiding abuse, which formed a new bond between the girls. Jody gave Cameron her necklace as a gift.

Ellison stopped by the Bureau to see Lila. He asked for her help in checking into Catherine Weaver and ZeiraCorp because Weaver offered him a job. The Agent noticed that Ellison was carrying himself different – he wasn’t wearing his cross. She knows that the massacre really got to him. Once a file was delivered to the office and both reacted to the name, the depth of their past relationship was revealed. Lila is James Ellison's ex-wife. She promised to look into Weaver for him.

Allison's interrogation in the future paralleled Cameron’s session with a social worker in the present. Allison revealed that she lived in a tunnel and "ate garbage for dinner". The Interrogator asked about Allison's bracelet—she claimed that her sister gave it to her for her birthday, on the last July 22nd before Judgment Day. As Cameron focused on statue of a tiger, Allison admitted that she was from Palmdale.

John discovered that Jody hangs out at the halfway house on Yucca. Meanwhile, Kacy began to tell Sarah about Trevor. Cameron called the Young household in Palmdale, still under the delusion that she was the real Allison looking for her mother. The woman on the other line, Claire Young, told her that she had the wrong number and has no daughter, ‘’yet’’, but as she felt her pregnant belly she commented that Allison was a very pretty name.[2] Trevor brings Kacy and Sarah food. Kacy's told she can go home tomorrow. Trevor suggests a family barbecue and offers to take John out to the range. Misunderstanding the offer to be about golf, Sarah declines, but Trevor clarified he meant the shooting range, and revealed he was a LAPD Detective.

Lila Ellison tells James that Catherine Weaver checked out, with nothing incriminating in her past. But James spotted a discrepancy in her file about the plane crash that killed Catherine's late husband. It claimed the crash was due to mechanical failure not human error. Lila suggested James talk to a professional, but he rebuffed her.

John found Cameron and Jody at the halfway house playing foosball in the common room, acting oddly human and laughing. John approached Cameron and to take her home, but she didn't recognize him. With Cameron adamant that she was Allison, John tried to tell her the truth: "You're not Allison. You're not from Palmdale. You're from the future. You're a machine." John suspected her chip was still messed up. In another vision of the future, Allison attempted to escape from the machines and wandered down a long corridor. She bolted through a hatchway and discovered a room with several cages in it. Many of these cages held humans, frantically pointing to a way out, begging her to escape rather than try to release them. There were also cages with animals in them, including one with a tiger.[3] Allison ran past the cages, opened a hatch, and climbed up a ladder. The ladder opened up to the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Spotlights pierced the night sky, and a terrified Allison raced to the bow and jumped into the water. However, she was quickly caught in a net that was in place surrounding the ship and was carried back up again.

John tried to force Cameron to leave with him, explaining that he's her brother "John Baum", but she threw him against the wall in a burst of machine strength. Security escorted him out of the halfway house, leaving Cameron fuming and Jody amazed.

Dropped back into the interrogation room, Allison came face to face with her interrogator, Cameron, who was freshly equipped with her new human skin, and who calibrated her voice into the same one as Allison's. She told Allison that she is not her enemy, and wanted to get to know her. She comments that John Connor chose Allison probably because she was brave, and even claimed to admire him and his determination. Cameron explained that the machines are going to kill her and every other human until they're extinct, but she belongs to a faction of the machines who "doesn't want that". Cameron wants them all to live in peace. Allison was chosen by the machines specifically because of her relationship and access to John Connor. She demanded that Allison tell her where John's Resistance camp is.

Back in the present, Cameron explained to the Social Worker that she now believes she is a machine, an infiltrator from the future programmed to find John Connor. "Why's he so important?" She explained that he will save mankind from extinction. The Social Worker asked what she's going to do when she finds John Connor. Cameron coldly replied "I'm going to kill him and hang his head on a pike for all to see."

As John waited outside the halfway house, Cameron began to pry for more about Jody and her life. Slowly reverting more and more to her Terminator self. The Social Worker brings the police in to find Cameron because of her threats to others and “delusions” about being a machine, but both she and Jody are gone.

Trevor questioned Sarah closely, because he's never heard of her before and now she's suddenly Kacy's best friend. Sarah questioned him back, specifically about his job. Trevor received a call to respond to a robbery-homicide and had to take off for work, he asked Sarah to stay the night with Kacy.

Catherine introduced Ellison to her "daughter", Savannah. Ellison informed Weaver he read the official report on the helicopter crash and that it blamed the crash on mechanical failure. She admitted that what she said, and what the files say are two different things, then challenged him to discern the truth. Knowing from personal experience that files don't always reflect what actually happened he quipped "I think you saw what you saw." And her response was "Just as you saw what you saw." Ellison agrees to go to work for Weaver and hunt Terminators.

Jody and Cameron broke into a suburban home (with John following behind them). As Jody’s web of lies begin to unravel around her with Cameron’s instant pinpointing of discrepancies and deceptions, Cameron finds earrings that match the necklace Jody gave her while they unloaded the house’s safe. Jody finally revealed that this is her parent's house, and everything she has said has been a lie.

Cameron remembered more of Allison’s interrogation in the future. Allison told Cameron where John's camp is, but she lied about the bracelet. Cameron drops a bunch of identical bracelets in front of her, saying that they "found these on some of your friends". Allison simply smiles faintly at her robotic counterpart. Cameron continues to deduce that "it's a pass to enter the camp.” Allison planned on sending Cameron to the camp with false information about the bracelet so they would know she was a machine. Cameron seizes Allison's neck, saying with cold fury that "You lied to me". Allison replies she'll never help Cameron get to John Connor, and this proves to be her last word as Cameron terminates Allison by snapping her neck. Cameron takes the bracelet, musing that Allison "already did"(help her get to John Connor).

At Jody's house, Cameron began interrogating Jody threateningly. Jody said that they have to go because there's a silent alarm. Cameron determined she was going to leave her there to take the blame. Like with Allison in the future, she grabs Jody's throat and lifted her off her feet. John burst into the scene, and determined Jody wasn't dead, just hurt. Cameron, who unlike the parallel scene in the future did not terminate the person who lied to her this time, once again recognized John and told him they had to go.

Kacy woke to find Sarah. Sarah confessed to Kacy that the story of John's birth in the jungle wasn't completely true, and John's father wasn't actually there. "Why did you tell me that story?" Because Sarah wished it was the way things could have been. She implied that Kacy doesn't need Trevor, and is capable of raising this baby on her own. As John drove Cameron home he asked her about the necklace, but she lies. "I got it at this awesome thrift store in Echo Park." [4]


Main Recurring Minor


Cop: What's your name?
Allison: My name? Why should I tell you?
Cameron: If you don't, we'll give you one.
Allison: Go ahead. I'm dying to hear it.
(A Terminator brands a barcode on Allison's arm)
Allison: Allison! Allison Young!
Cameron: Where are you from, Allison?
Allison: I don't remember.
Rita: Where are you from, Allison?
Cameron: I don't remember.
Rita: You don't remember what town you're from?
Allison: Why does it matter? It's not there anymore.
Rita: You know, sometimes when people forget, it's because they need to forget. Because something painful has happened. I'm wondering if something has happened to you.
Cameron: Tell me about your life.
Allison: I live in a tunnel. I eat garbage for dinner.
Rita: Anything you say in here is confidential. The only exception is if you're planning to harm someone, I would have to report that.
Cameron: No, I'd never hurt anyone.
Cameron: Tell me about your family.
Rita: Memory is a very associative thing. Sometimes sights, sounds, even a smell can take us back.
Allison: My father was an architect.
Cameron: He taught me how to draw. My mother was a music teacher. She'd sit for hours and listen to Chopin.
Cameron: What's that bracelet on your arm?
Allison: My sister gave it to me for my birthday. July 22nd.
Cameron: I had a party in Griffith Park...and my friends were there.
Allison: I saw a boy ride by on a solar mountain bike, and I told my Dad,
Cameron: "That's what I want".
Allison: And he said, "Next year".
Cameron: But I didn't have a party the next year. No one did.
Cameron: Why not?
Allison: Everyone was dead.
(Allison starts to cry)
Rita: Why not?
(Cameron starts to cry. She looks over to a miniature statue of a tiger)
Rita: It's a Balinese tiger.
Cameron: Have you ever seen a real one?
Rita: Unfortunately, they were hunted to extinction in the '30s.
Cameron: Do you ever think that could happen to us? To humans?
Rita: Is that something you worry about?
Allison: I wanna go home.
Cameron: Where is home?
Cameron: Palmdale.
Rita: Palmdale?
Cameron: That's where I'm from.

John: Hey! What the hell are you doing?
Cameron: Heh...playing foozball.
John: We've gotta go.
Cameron: Go. Where?
John: Home.
Cameron: Home? Who are you?
John: Cameron...
Cameron: My name's Allison.
John: No, it's not. It's Cameron. I can't explain this to you right now. We have to go before Mom gets home.
Cameron: You're freaking me out.
John: I'm freaking you out? (Cameron nods) You really not know who you are?
Cameron: I'm Allison...from Palmdale.
John: You're not Allison, you're not from Palmdale. You're from the future. You're a machine.
Cameron: A what?
John: Your chip's messed up again, but I can fix you. I fixed you once, remember?
Cameron: Fix me? Why would you fix me?
Cameron: You shouldn't have run. You're just making things worse for yourself... Your hair, it's so pretty. You work very hard on the hair... to get it right. I'm not your enemy.
Allison: Right.
Cameron: I want to get to know you. You're very brave. That must be why John Connor chose you.
Allison: I don't know what you're talking about.
Cameron: I admire him. His determination, his spirit, his fearlessness. I'd like to meet him.
Allison: He wouldn't want to meet you!
Cameron: They're going to kill you. They're going to kill every one of you. They'll hunt you down until every human is gone and you're extinct.
Allison: Then...why are we having this conversation?
Cameron: Because some of us don't want that. Some of us want peace. You were chosen, Allison. Not just by John Connor. By us. Tell me where his camp is.
Cameron: I think I am a machine.
Rita: A machine? What kind of machine?
Cameron: From the future.
Rita: What do you do in the future?
Cameron: I'm an infiltrator.
Rita: What do you infiltrate?
Cameron: The human Resistance.
Rita: I see. Why?
Cameron: It's what I was programmed for.
Rita: Programmed.
Cameron: To find John Connor.
Rita: Why is he so important?
Cameron: He's the one who saves mankind.
Rita: Saves them...from what?
Cameron: Extinction.
Rita: And what are you gonna do when you find John Connor?
Cameron: I'm going to kill him and hang his head on a pike for all to see.
Cameron: You lied to me.
Allison: I told you where the camp was.
Cameron: You told me your sister gave you that bracelet.
Allison: What does that have to do with anything?
Cameron: We found these on some of your friends.
(Cameron drops several identical bracelets on the table)
Cameron: Why are you all wearing them? It has something to do with the Connor camp.
Allison: No.
Cameron: It's a pass! To get into the camp. You were going to send me there without it. They would've known what I was.
(Cameron grabs Allison by the neck)
Cameron: You lied to me.
Allison: I'll never help you get to John Connor.
(Cameron snaps Allison's neck and takes her bracelet)
Cameron: You already did.
Cameron: You lied to me.
Jody: I'm from L.A., Okay? Let's go.
Cameron: Tell me who you are.
Jody: I went to Cal Arts for two years, and I got kicked out, which was for the best, because that place is a... Factory. And my parents cut me off like yours, and just pretend I don't exist. We have to go. Now.
Cameron: Why?
Jody: Because there's a silent alarm, and we tripped it when we walked in.
Cameron: You weren't going to tell me.
Jody: The police are gonna be here any second.
Cameron: You were never going to Portland. You were gonna run and leave me here to take the blame.
Jody: No.
Cameron: You lied to me. (Cameron closes on Jody and picks her up by the throat)
John: No, no, no, no! What did you do?! What did you do!? Did you kill her?
(Jody, lying crumpled on the floor, emits a sudden, rasping gasp for breath)
Cameron: Apparently not.

Continuity notes

  • In the hospital, Sarah sees an identification card above a sleeping infant labeled "Jefry Bryan Shebroe" that lists his date of birth as "10-2-09." The previous episode was set on 18 November 2007, which itself creates a discontinuity with John Connor's normally accepted February 1985 birth date (John turned 16, chronologically 24 due to the time jump, only a few days before). While it seems unlikely enough that the events of all the episodes from the pilot through 203 could have happened in only about two months, it is impossible that episode 204 jumped forward in time by two years as Kacy Cotton is still pregnant.


  • In her addled state, Cameron recalls additional details of her activities in the Future War, including the history of Allison Young, a human female that Skynet captured and she interrogated to establish a detailed infiltrator profile that Cameron would use in an attempt to replace her and gain access to John Connor. Allison also served as the Model template for Cameron's infiltration sheath of living tissue.
  • Allison possessed a bracelet she claimed was a gift from her sister. In actuality it was an ID badge used for access to Resistance camps.
  • Cameron's lies are revisited several times in this episode, from her attempts to coerce Allison about a machine faction not interested in the eradication of humanity, to her direct lie to John about the source of her new necklace.
  • Cameron's terminations are expanded with the successful termination of Allison, and the attempted termination of Jody.
  • We hear Cameron's uncalibrated voice for the first time. This makes her the second Terminator who has spoken in their true voice, Cromartie being the first as seen in the episode "The Turk".
  • Allison is branded by a skinless Terminator after being asked her name by Cameron. This has led to speculation that this was Cameron's first endoskeletal appearance, however, there are several observations that discard this theory:
    • The skinless Terminator's eyes were red, whereas Cameron's are blue in season 1. However, in the season 2 finale, Cameron's eyes were red, as well as in some promotional imagery.
    • It's size is not consistent with Cameron's build, appearing more stocky than her trademark petite form.
    • Cameron kept Allison blinded with a bright light, a common interrogation technique that is meant to intimidate and keep the interrogator's identity concealed.
  • Cameron is another example of an infiltrator deployed as a specific human replacement, initially deployed in the Future War by Skynet to replace Allison Young in a ploy to get close to and terminate John Connor.
  • It's hard to tell but in the scene of Allison running through the cages, all of the humans are grouped by race. The elaborate indoor portion of the ship set was actually built on the TSCC sound stage (the same one that houses ZeiraCorp) to accommodate four featured animals: the wolf, the bear, the chimp, and the tiger called Sascha.[5]
  • When Kacy asks Sarah about her pregnancy experience, she mistakenly asks only about John, despite Kacy believing Cameron to be Sarah's daughter. Meaning, she should've asked about the birth of both John and Cameron.


Due to the sheer number of Cameron fans among the series, many audiences responded positively to an episode highly focused on Cameron, or Summer Glau in general. Fans praised Summer Glau's dual performance, both from the view of "Cameron with her template", and "Allison with her doppelganger". The dual performance of Summer Glau, both as a human with unbridled emotion, and a cyborg with cold programming and yet having something of a soul, have attracted widespread attention from fans. This episode has been singled out by certain critics in order to take note of the particular character of Allison Young, and Summer Glau's performance as that particular character, notably by IGN, which wrote that "This episode would never have worked if Summer Glau was not as good as she is ... Glau [is] terrific as the flesh and blood Allison, and it's wonderful to see her display unbridled emotion."

Deleted scenes

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

Terminator references

  • Cameron's damaged CPU causes she thinks she is Allison, the person replaced by her. This is similar to the TS-300 Model Beta, which becomes "function" as a machine after getting some damages.

Real-world references

(This episode doesn't have any real-world reference yet. Please add one if there is any.)


  • Q: Why does Cameron seem to believe herself to be Allison when they are not connected in any way psychologically?
    • A: Speculation: Cameron's infiltrator protocols are programmed in detail from the backstory belonging to her living tissue template. As an infiltrator, Skynet could have fed Cameron with the personality and memories of Allison Young to have a more human behavior when necessarily. She was fielded as a direct replacement for an existing person and would have detailed files all under the heading of "you are this person" when in infiltrator mode. Any aspects of her "memories" of Allison's actions away from Cameron herself would be from surveillance feeds uploaded from Skynet. In a facility like the Carrier, everything would be monitored.
  • Q: Cameron "apparently" didn't kill Jody in the present (2007). Does this implicate, that she didn't kill Allison in the scene showing the Future, either?
    • A: Cameron snapped Allison's neck. It's completely for Allison to survive.
  • Q: Given the revelations from the episode "Born to Run", was Cameron actually being honest to Allison in terms of her motivation and purpose in meeting John?


  1. In the Official Podcast for the episode, the writer hints that this is the insertion event for the T-1001 to assume the "real" Weaver's identity, which will be covered in detail in a future episode.
  2. Cameron is now part of an apparent Predestination paradox that named the human her living tissue Model would be based on. However, obviously Allison's mom in another time line liked the name Allison and thus it is no surprise the mom in this time line would like it again if someone suggested it preemptively.
  3. Animals seen include a small ape, a bear, and the tiger. This is reminiscent of the Future War scenes in The Terminator: The Dark Years where Skynet was developing infiltrators and Terminators out of other creatures.
  4. Cameron's lies
  5. The Episode 204 Producer's Blog.

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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