Gnothi Seauton Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles Episode 2: My Summary and Review
by Kate Blake
You can find me at the Sarah Connor Society forums- my user name is Supernatural66- stop by and let’s discuss T:SCC!
Rating 9 out of 10
SPOILERS AHEAD if you haven’t seen the episode and do not want to be spoiled- then stay away!
Miss the episode on Monday night? View it online for free at FOX.com at their episodes on Demand center http://www.fox.com/fod/
Want it to go? iTunes has the pilot for download FREE this week and the series available for subscription.
Episode 2 was billed as the second part of the two night premiere for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles debuting it in its regular time slot of 8 CMT/9 EST/PST in the US on FOX.
Trailers for this episode:
The title of the episode is Gnothi Seauton which is from Greek and means “know thyself”.
The episode opens with the Connors settling into a new house in Los Angeles and both John and Cameron are anxious to get their new identity papers so they can get on with their lives. Sarah is reluctant to do so. She explains in her opening monologue told in narrative that these times between new identities are the only times when she can be herself – Sarah Connor.
Sarah gets very upset when Cameron tells her that they don’t need to look up an old friend Enrique- John has sent back better papers- and men to fight SkyNet. The news of these rebels being in her own time confuses Sarah and scares her some. She and Cameron go to the rebels’ base and find the men dead- and one live Terminator. The Terminator and Cameron battle, and we get a glimpse of something very interesting.
The Terminator ID’s Cameron as an unknown Cyborg and decides to take off. She pursues him as does Sarah.
The pursuit has a conclusion that is action packed and humorous at the same time.
Sarah confronts Cameron about why they bothered to jump when they are being attacked only days into their new timeline. Cameron drops the bomb on Sarah that she died in that previous life and John sent Cam back to save his mother, the best fighter he knows. Sarah has a difficult time accepting this. Accepting that her son would consider her to be the best fighter and to accept that her own mortality was inevitable. Her battle with this consumes much of Sarah’s thoughts throughout the rest of the episode.
Their source of new IDs gone- they turn to Enrique, their old friend who tells them he is no longer in the fake papers business that he has retired but his nephew can help. Enrique is played by veteran actor Tony Amendola best known to sci-fi fans as Stargate SG-1’s Master Bra’Tac, the leader of the Jaffa rebellion and mentor to Chris Judge’s character Teal’c. And making a fan insertion right here- I would love love love to see Chris Judge play one of the Terminators of the week! His big badass self would make a very threatening presence and formidable combatant.
Sarah and Cameron head off to visit Enrique’s nephew in gang territory in what is presumably East L.A. There is a tough looking girl at the scene who directs the women inside. Once inside, the two dogs , a pair of pitbulls go nuts.
Cameron takes a step back and the men all want to know what is up with her. Sarah tells Cameron to wait outside and tells the guys “She’s a cat person”. They accept this and proceed with their business. Enrique’s nephew is willing to help Sarah out because she is as close as he will get to learning one of his uncle’s secrets….and then tells her that since 9-11 happened faking papers is expensive and it will take $20,000 to get them for her. She is shaken by the amount and confused. She asks about 9-11. We see later in the episode Sarah thinking about the revelations of her country under terror attack and how she was glad she had missed it. She needs to stay focused on the future and cannot let hopelessness take her.
Cameron and the Hispanic gang girl hang out outside in the meantime and Cameron does what she has been doing all along- tries to fit in by mimicking the one she is with.
When an officer comes up and asks the girls why they are loitering Sarah comes out and thinks fast, pulling Cameron away and yelling at her for her disobedience and telling the officer that her brat of a step-daughter will be the end of her. Cameron looks on surprised and stone faced, going along but not really adding anything to the situation.
The officer decides to let the women go and Sarah and Cam leave, leaving their stolen car they have been driving around in behind. Cameron had made a motion toward the cop that Sarah thought was threatening before she had stepped in and Sarah demands to know what Cam was planning to do, then she backs off- saying she doesn’t want to know. This confusion and the pull of what to do and what must be done is weighing on Sarah. She doesn’t want to be responsible for unneeded deaths when she is trying to prevent Armageddon.
Sarah finally asks Cameron who killed her and Cam’s response is cancer. This floors Sarah and she stops in the doorway on their way back into the house. Lena Headey played this so brilliantly. You see that the news has slammed into her and she has difficulty breathing, she stops in her tracks and just stands in the doorway absorbing this info. Sarah being Sarah doesn’t let this stop her for long.
While Sarah and Cameron were out all over the city hunting down IDs, John was back at the house. Bored and cooped up all by himself for the third day under his mom’s house arrest. He manages to keep himself busy for a little while playing with his new cell phone and his voicemail message.
Finally- he just can’t take it and heads out to get some information on his own. John heads where all teenagers migrate to the mall. Once there he wanders into a computer store and starts surfing the web looking for info on himself and then on Charley his mom’s former fiancé. He doesn’t realize that he has been doing this on a demo machine and the search is up on a big monitor for the entire store to see.
He is horrified when the store clerk comes by and points this out and takes off as soon as he can after erasing his search. Thomas plays the confused and flustered teen very well. His reaction is very natural. He has managed to the information he wanted. Charley is now in southern California too and John sets off to find his last father figure.
John breaks into Charley’s nice suburban home and starts looking around, he finds some bills addressed to a Mr. and Mrs. Charley Dixon. You can see the hurt on John’s face as he reads this and then picks up a picture of the couple. He sees an engine part on the kitchen table and picks it up to clean it, something its owner had apparently been doing before leaving it for later. A noise at the back door has John jumping up and leaping away as Charley walks in the back door. Charley sees John and is stunned. And is happy to see him. From the pilot we learned that Charley and John were close, John really liked him and considered him a good man. It is obvious that Charley’s devotion to Sarah and John led him from Nebraska to Los Angeles years earlier when they had supposedly died in the bank robbery.
John isn’t ready to deal with Charley and realizes coming to see him was a mistake and lashes out and pushes Charley away physically and very hard. John runs home and doesn’t say anything about his trip to his mother. This defiance of her directive is very normal teenage behavior. John is showing he isn’t fully matured, yet he is mature enough to realize when he has made a mistake. He knew as soon as he saw Charley that going to his house was stupid and it will be interesting to see what the fallout from this is.
We saw Charley later sitting at his table working on the same part John had picked up. When Charley’s wife walks in he doesn’t say anything except that he had a rough run today – he is a paramedic- and that a crazy patient pushed him. He shows her his shoulder which has a huge bruise on it. But it isn’t his shoulder that is really hurt. He has been hurt by John’s rejection of him and is confused by a rush of memories and things beyond his understanding. Dean Winter plays this part with a very light touch. He has limited dialog and gets to show his acting skills by using body language which is very apparent when his wife wants to comfort him and he pushes her away. He has come face to face with the impossible and is not sure how to deal with it so he is pushing it and her away.
John goes home and tries to pretend that nothing has happened. Cameron touches his neck lightly sensing his distress. She tells Sarah he is under great stress and something is wrong- she scanned him. Sarah says “well I know that- he snuck out- wet grass on his shoes and not meeting my eyes”. Mom radar strikes again! When she asks Cameron what other skills she has and asks about being able to do a CAT scan- Cam replies she cannot do that. Sarah’s underlying worry about her health is working on her and it is percolating to the surface, when she knows she really can’t afford to let it. She has a purpose right now that is immediate.
The trio gets ready to go back to the crime scene and see if they can find the rebels’ hidden stash of guns and money. They get there and find a safe- with an electronic lock which sets poor Cameron flat on her back zapped by the electricity.
John guesses the combination- the day of the apocalypse and he and Sarah grab the contents which are in gym bags. The Terminator from earlier is back too though and John and Sarah have to get back before he can get in to the room and get them. Sarah makes a decision and sends Cameron who hasn’t rebooted yet out ahead of them. They get away clean.
The next stop for Sarah and Cameron is back to gangland to get their papers. Before leaving Enrique’s nephew and his friends speak in Spanish. Sarah heads over to confront Enrique after this thinking she is alone. Enrique’s nephew referred to him as a rat.
Sarah wants to know who Enrique has been selling out- he explains he was sent up to Lompoc ( a Federal prison in California) a few years earlier on gun charges and he turned in his cellmate who had killed a little girl and told him where the body was. He swears he would never sell her out.
Sarah is about to back off when BAM! The Terminator Cameron shows up and blows him away.
Sarah is upset and can’t believe she executed a possibly innocent man, Cameron tells her he may or may not have been innocent but now he is not a danger. She is protecting John and only takes orders from her John- not Sarah’s John.
The next day we find out that Cameron was right. Enrique had called Agent Ellison telling him he has some very interesting information for him……Ellison swears to find out where they are hiding, knowing it had to be about Sarah.
John and Cameron are working on their own back stories for their own identities the next morning and John is having some blips with his. Feeling remorseful for disobeying his mother, he tells her she can keep him home a few days if she deems he needs to until he has it down. She relents and says no , I want you at school so I will know who you are with- nodding to Cameron. This is Sarah’s way of letting John know she knows he slipped out and that she wants him safe but she is not going to harass him about it. It is also a way for her to know where Cameron is and what she is doing.
For those who have been wondering John’s new birth certificate which lists him as John Baum has his age at about 16, while Cameron’s age is 17 for the purpose of the two of them registering for school.
Sarah is finding herself in the role of step-mother to this machine in a way she is not sure how to react to. Throughout the episode Sarah refers to Cameron as girlie and Tin Man. Cameron comes back at her with ” I know who the Tin Man is- he doesn’t have a heart.” But the machine can’t quite process the emotions and the deeper meaning of what Sarah is getting at. I personally find this dynamic to be interesting. This show has Sarah Connor billed as “The Mother of All Destiny”. Fostering a terminator who is different than others and wants to feel puts a whole new slant on this phraseology. We can see that she will be mother not only to John Connor but this young woman , his protector as well. Sarah is not completely comfortable with this- when John asks her if she was up last night she says no and nods her head to Cameron “she paces all night long, moving from room to room.” This sentinel activity is a by-product of her being a machine and not needing sleep. The Connors cannot forget she is not human no matter how much she appears to be.
I am very much reminded of Blade Runner and the strange relationship between Harrison Ford’s Dekker and Sean Young’s Rachel. Rachel is a machine and did not know it- she is so perfect she has fooled everyone including herself and Dekker a man who hunts and retires machines- you might say terminating them- falls for her as well. When the hunter embraces the hunted what does this mean?
John found a stash of diamonds in the loot from the rebel base and gives one to Cameron. Cam is taken with its shiny sparkles and asks Sarah if she wants one “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend but I don’t know why…” Sarah is amused by her son giving a machine a diamond but doesn’t elaborate much with Cameron. Cameron reminds one of Arnold’s Terminator in T2- learning as he goes and absorbing things but not quite connecting to them.
I wonder how those diamonds will feed into another mystery. Cameron told Sarah when they first went to the base they had interrupted the Terminator from killing one of the rebels. Later when they came back for the contents of the safe, there was a mysterious man in the shadows watching them escape down the alley. Could this be the missing rebel? Will he be an ally for them? The tatoo on his arm matches the one on one of the rebels earlier- a bar code from time in a POW camp. Kyle Reese had one too- another nod to the Terminator mythos.
Sarah has a very good reason for not being overly concerned about John and wanting him off at school and out of her way- she has her own health to worry about.
We see her at the end of the episode going to an oncology clinic for testing to learn what kind of cancer she may already have and see if there is a way to stop it. The future leader of mankind needs his mother and she is not going to disappoint him.
While the Connors have been dealing with their own identity crises and adjusting to life in the 21st century, they are not alone in their time travels. The opening sequence of this episode showed the skeleton of their pursuer Cromartie following them through time. All we see in the opening is this macabre death mask type skull with glowing red eyes flying through the air and crashing onto our screen and into the Connor’s world.
See my Slideshow of the Terminator and his Journey by Clicking Here
He is in pieces and over the course of the episode this Terminator does a macabre headless horseman bit and reassembles himself. There are great nods to Terminator lore- a German Shepard junkyard dog who senses the machine’s presence is right from Terminator and T2.
The steel arm rising out of the junk is iconic. I really liked the headless body taking the head from one of its victims and walking into the house of the man who had taken the head and was displaying it like some kind of collectible in his living room. The Terminator has shrouded itself in clothing and a mask to hide its metallic skeleton and is walking amongst the homeless as the episode ends. I suspect it will not be long until he finds a way to get his bio-covering back- then watch out!
My final Notes on the Episode:
My reviews won’t normally deal with so much summary material but as our first episode in our new timeline and new continuum of reality there was a tremendous amount going on at many levels. I really like how the show is giving us a strong Sarah focus and spending a lot of time getting into her head as well as developing the mythos around her and John. John’s B-line story in this episode shows his longing for stability and his acceptance that it may never happen. The episode title Know Thyself played out nicely for both Sarah and John with both of them having to face some of their own demons and moving forward.
The dynamic between Mother and Protector and Machine and Protector is going to continue to deepen and the conflicts that will inevitably arise will be interesting to watch. I love that Summer Glau is so completely believable as a machine. She can play a role when she is coached and given cues but she spends much of her time observing and analyzing the scenarios and situations around her, like a soldier. The action in this week’s episode was great. The chase scene with Sarah on the bike and then sliding it out to knock down the Terminator assassin was great- especially after she had hijacked the bike to do it. Cameron getting hit by the car and then the bit with the family was a much needed humor highlight along with her interaction with the gangster’s girl. I am amazed how many scenes in this show have taken place where there has been tons going on and little dialog. The success of this speaks to the talents of the cast and the writers whose script has enough story that every little thing does not require dialog or narration for us to understand the total composition.
I am hoping we will see more character development from John in the weeks to come. His growth and maturing will be the underlying important part of this story as his mother races to try to fix the future.
Trailers for the upcoming episode 103 The Turk
JUST UP on FOX.com and in the SCC Video Channel- we see the Terminator unmasked…. and stripped down in this sneak from episode 103 The Turk