Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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The Life of Riley
A title screen informs us that this is "Sarah's Story," so we're going to get some kind of multiple-perspectives thing? All Rashomon and shit? Or like that X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully tell their stories, and we see their differing perspectives, like for Scully, Luke Wilson was a suave southern sheriff while for Mulder he was a bucktoothed hillbilly? No. It's not going to be that good.

Sarah's outside the Connor Compound hammering together some sort of structure -- probably a machine-gun turret to be added, A-Team-style, to a Connor Car, when John and Riley come outside, John taking pictures of the ridiculous bike helmet that Riley has on. He tells her it's to keep cars from playing ping-pong with her head. Riley spots "Mrs. Baum" and thanks her for having her over, and Sarah can barely muster a smile in response, like don't make her feel TOO welcome, Sarah.

John and Riley continue to coo at each other all awkward teenagers in love-style. John, major player that he is, offers to text her again, and Riley suggests he call her. Like, you know, with his voice. And then they tell each other to "be safe," like maybe John should put a condom on, and then Riley rides away.

John strolls back over to his mom and says, "I bought her a helmet," and Sarah blankly calls that responsible, adding, "You think it'll stop a bullet?" which I seem to remember my mom asking similar questions upon meeting girlfriends of mine. "Why, you gonna take a shot at her?" which is kind of funny, except the odds of Riley getting shot at are pretty damn good if she keeps hanging out at the Connors', and Sarah reminds John of this, so he stomps off. "You care about this girl?" Sarah calls after him. He says he does. "Then leave her alone," says Sarah. John walks away, passing Cameron, who tells Sarah she'll talk to him. "John's not listening," says Sarah. "He's always listening," says Cameron. Sarah looks at her, and Cameron sashays off the path after John.

The next day, Sarah's sticking a safe in the floor of the living room, like there goes the damage deposit with the big gaping hole in the floor. Cameron comes in and says, "I was going to suggest a safe," and Sarah busts on her for not suggesting it before they got robbed. Cameron grabs some keys off the table and says she's going to "restock the supply drop" which, if Cameron weren't a Terminator, I'd probably assume was code for "buying Tampax." "We've been using a lot of ammunition," says Cameron, and Sarah wryly notes that business has been booming. She asks where John is, and Cameron says he's still up in his room. Sarah seems remarkably surprised at the prospect of a sixteen-year-old boy not getting out of his bed unless forcibly removed, and Cameron gives her a little lecture on the fucked-up circadian rhythms of the teenage male. "How late were you up talking to him?" asks Sarah, and Cameron says, "Not late," adding John won't be seeing Riley anymore.

"John's not stupid," is her only explanation. "I don't like the way he responds to you," says Sarah, displaying again a remarkable ignorance of the teenage male. "You got what you wanted," says Cameron, and walks off.

And now, back to the safe. Sarah's got her arm all the way down the hole in the floor up to her shoulder, and her concentration is enough for her to be surprised by someone picking her up and tossing her against the room. It's Chrome Artie, who grabs her by the ankle and drags her over to the staircase where he picks her up with one hand and carries her.

Upstairs, he throws her against the floor and then walks into John's room, presumably, although the primary colours on the bed and the sky-blue walls and ceiling (complete with clouds) aren't exactly the decor I was expecting from cranky pants John. Chrome Artie hauls Sarah into the room and points a gun at her head. "Where is he?" he asks. "Check under the bed," says Sarah, like maybe she's hoping Chrome Artie will get distracted by John's Penthouse stash. "You don't know," says Chrome Artie, as he clutches her throat until she blacks out.

We're onto Cameron's story, now, as she stares at Riley and John saying goodnight to each other. We revisit her conversation with Sarah outside the house, and then we watch Cameron sashay down the hall to John's room. Outside his door, she takes off her leather jacket and drops it on the floor before entering his room in shorts and tank top. "You busy?" she asks John, who, staring at her, takes a moment to say no. "Did you change?" he asks. She says it's hot out. "Since when do you feel heat?" he asks, and she simply says, "I feel heat," as she folds her mile-long legs in half in order to lie down on the bed beside him.

John asks if her plan is for Riley to see them in bed together and be scarred for the rest of her life, and since all they're doing is just LYING THERE, I think he's getting ahead of himself somewhat, and Cameron says she waited until Riley was gone. "And then you and Mom high-fived," says John, whose cranky attitude towards everyone really wore out its welcome in, oh, let's say T2.

"You bring danger into Riley's life," says Cameron. "I know that. I'm not stupid," says John. Yeah, well, does Riley know the danger? No? Then you're selfish too. "But sometimes you do stupid things," says Cameron, and I think by "sometimes" she means "EVERY SINGLE TIME." His explanation is for her not to worry about it because "sometimes humans do stupid things," and maybe the counter-argument should be that John's stupid things could result in, you know, the ERADICATION OF ALL HUMANITY. Cameron says she understands more than he thinks. For John, it's just an excuse to keep seeing Riley, even if everyone thinks it's a bad idea. "I understand it's a bad idea ... and I understand that being John Connor can be lonely."

He asks her how she knows that, and she tells him that they talk about it a lot (in the future).

After a while, John says he needs to get some sleep. Cameron sits up. Cameron, he didn't say "leave." "And Riley?" she asks. "I know. I know," is John's response. Yeah, it makes total sense that a machine would take "I know. I know" to mean "I'm not going to see Riley anymore."

So the next day, after the chit-chat with Sarah about the floor safe, Cameron gets in an SUV and drives off.

At the supply dump, Cameron sees the lock hanging on its hasp on the sliding bolt, unshoulders her backpack and enters with her gun drawn, to find Derek. "It's you," she says. They lower their weapons, and he asks if she's been stealing his supplies. "We needed to make a small bomb," she says, and Derek bitches about the supply drop being built by his people for his people. What a bio-racist! "John was supposed to ask," says Cameron, brushing past him. "John needs to get his head in the game," snaps Derek. And then they bicker at each other over how Derek doesn't spend much time at the house, and Derek doesn't have a bed, blah blah blah, until Derek's cellphone rings. He looks at the number on the screen -- 01152315441736, for what it's worth. "Who's that?" asks Cameron. Derek just ducks outside the door. Cameron takes out her own cellphone, and dials the number, gets a recording of a man speaking Spanish. She hangs up as Derek comes back in, saying he got an alarm code from John: he's in trouble.

So what's John's story? Well, we pick up with him, breathing heavier than we saw him previously, lying in bed, telling Cameron he needs to get some sleep. Only after Cameron leaves, he gets up, grabs a duffel bag "hidden" in the bathtub, and gets on his cellphone. "I'll be there in a few minutes," he says, and then heads out the back door.

So we're on the bus now with Riley and John, and he's making eyes at her, completely creeping her out, and she jokes that her foster parents gave her a rape whistle for moments like this one, so he starts telling her about living in Mexico, in a place called Dejalo, for a year and a half when he was a kid, and that's where they're going. She asks if he ran the id

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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