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John's big bluff (from Today is the Day 2)

I was never happy about the John retcon in "Today is the Day part 2". It just didn't add up. He never acted like he had a clue about Riley until "Ourselves Alone", but that didn't give him any time to follow her around, learn about Jesse or figure out the plot. So that's where I've been stuck for a long time. And believing he figured anything out before that doesn't work for me because it requires the acceptance of too much off-camera cleverness and a ta-da! reveal. For a show that spends so much time on character and plot steps, it felt really false.

Well, I've found a way to make that whole thing work that I really like. It not only works based on what we actually saw, it does so without taking anything away from John's cleverness. And more importantly, it allows me to enjoy his confrontation with Jesse without rolling my eyes. So here goes...

He never did follow Riley around. It was a bluff.

John didn't figure anything out until Sarah told him about Riley's "bleached skulls" breakdown and blabbing about the Mexico trip. He knew he hadn't told her about judgment day, so that's the moment he realized Riley was future girl. He then backtracks through the time he spent with her — backtracks to carrots and apples, how she was in Mexico, etc. It all fits. I also think Sarah saying "I don't believe you" is what makes it the "bad day" John refers to when he later talks to Jesse.

He knew it was unlikely that Cameron killed Riley once he saw the body, which meant her death was either a random crime or she was killed by a co-conspirator. Future girl dropping into his life pretending not to be future girl logically meant there was a plot of some sort. So that's the idea he started running with — there's another future person somewhere who's involved and who likely killed Riley. But who and why?

John talks to Derek, fishing for information and it all comes out. John probably tells him that Riley was from the future and must have been plotting something. He isn't sure what, but suspects it might be an attempt to frame Cameron for murder — maybe an attempt to get him to turn on Cameron. Bingo. Derek makes the connection to Jesse. That also explains why we had to have that scene where Jesse was callous about Riley's death and Derek was all innocent life lost is horrible! It gives Derek something from his own experience to connect into what John has already figured out. Between the two of them, they unravel the whole plot.

John has Derek take him to Jesse, where he confronts her about it all. At that point he does know everything, but he bluffs about having figured it out a while back and bluffs that he gambled with Riley's life so that he could win the game. The reason he bluffs is to intimidate Jesse and prevent her from thinking that it might have worked or that she almost won. He bluffs to win the game right then and there. And he bluffs to make it known that you don't fuck with John Connor.

It works really well for me because it allows John be intelligent, gutsy, clever and not retconned.


( 41 comments — Add a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I like it! I was having trouble with the retconning too, although I'm glad it happened it happened because it helps establish that John Connor has a Kirkian ability to find a way to beat the bad guys in the end, even if he does have to pay a high price to do it.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
Cool. I really liked this too. I get obsessed with these kinds of things sometimes and I was never happy about that episode because the pivotal scene with Jesse didn't work for me. Now it does :)

Edited at 2009-04-13 04:13 am (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
I didn't have a problem with the retcon, but I think I like your idea better. It's more manipulative ala future!John.
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
I don't think its more manipulative. I think its more like...how exactly would he have figured it out?
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Oh I do. I don't think there's anything manipulative with the notion of John having done exactly what he said — figured it all out a while before, followed Riley, etc. Then he's simply laying out the truth to Jesse (if you can swallow that as the truth, which I couldn't). So if John kind of figured it out last minute and made Jesse think he was onto her little game for a while, it's very manipulative.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
Yes! Manipulative. That's the word I'm missing in there. The one thing we've always known about John is that he's a very quick thinker. So I can easily believe that he could put all the pieces together in a short time once he had enough to go on. I'm so happy I've figured out a way to embrace the John and Jesse scene.
Apr. 12th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
I like your thinking here Roxy. I have been thinking that the anti-John human faction (and by extension Jesse) is actually a really big deal. Apart from the fact that it hampers John (which really, it appears, means John as figurehead and Cameron/John Henry - Cameron's "specialness" is that she's John Henry and is a super-AI like Skynet and has the smarts to defeat Skynet) the anti-John faction has time travel tech. They aren't small players in this.

What I need some help on is this: why didn't future!John tell Derek about Jesse? The best I can come up with is that Jesse wasn't killed by Derek and gets to the future to help John reconcile with the anti-human faction, and what happened with Riley is part of what makes that work.

What is really the story about Derek, Andy Goode and Billy Wisher? It's been hurting my head trying to figure out how that fits in the finale. The future!John we saw after the time jump arrived at some time before the events of "Allison From Palmdale," given that Allison was there. But he knew about Andy Goode (did he know about Billy Wisher?) he knew about Jesse and Riley, he knew about the Weaverbot and JH/Cameron. Is it that, to preserve the existence of Cameron/JH he must only reveal certain things he knows and send the pieces back to play out how he's seen it? The question then becomes, is there or isn't there a Billy Wisher? Will the real Billy Wisher please stand up. Is there is more significance to the name change than it appears on first blush? Why change his name? Would anyone know who Andy Goode was, or care, after JD even if the Turk had been an important element of Skynet?

Fact is, only Sarah's timeline has to remain consistent so I suppose on one level maybe it doesn't matter but I'd like it if I (or someone) could see a way to square all the circles. It seems to me that now John has time jumped without her their timelines are no longer causally connected (as in Derek telling Jesse, "You're not my Jesse").

The only way I can come up with an S3 plotline is that John jumps back from the future (or, in fact, has already jumped back from the future in Sarah's timeline) to be with Sarah and leaves Cameron/JH in charge. John and Sarah manage to prevent JD. But that seems lame.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
The timeline stuff from the finale has been hurting my head all day. I spent hours thinking about it and I'm still working up a post about the finale that will get into all that. I just have to get my thoughts clear first so I have a solid starting point.

Basically where my head is at right now is that the period of time between when John left and where John emerges can not be changed. Usually the future is not set, but because we're seeing both ends of the line, we see the result of everything that came before. So no matter what we see Sarah do, for example, we know the end result is that judgement day happened.

What's causing me hours of contemplation is trying to figure out what happens if a time traveler from when John is or later in time goes back to some point after John left and causes a change. It think that would have to create a new timeline and effectively trap John where he is now. It would also mean Sarah and John could never reunite. But I'm still thinking it through.

Have you ever seen my big time travel post? I don't know if you're interested, but I take the multiple timelines approach to time travel in TSCC. Mostly it works, but sometimes I think the writers need to spend a little more time on this stuff because there are inconsistencies Iike why weren't there 2 future!Derek's running around in 2007-2009? If Jesse was from an alternate future and *her* Derek was sent back in time, where was he? Or maybe the changes to the future that were created by *our* Derek killing Andy (if we assume that as the event) caused *her* Derek to be sent on some other mission instead of the same one *our* Derek got sent to in 2007?

See? I can spend hours on this stuff. But I'll get into the time travel spec about the finale once I've finished my thinking and get my post up. I have a feeling the time twisty stuff is going to consume the entire off-season ;)
Apr. 13th, 2009 08:01 am (UTC)
Just checked out your TT post. We've been thinking along the same lines. I'm not running with the same working hypothesis as you tho. At present, both in TSCC universe and the me here and now, I'm running with the theory that everyone has their own individual timeline. The only timeline in TSCC that needs to have no casual contradictions in its one self-consistent timeline is "our" Sarah's. She is moving into a changing future where there is no fate but what she makes for herself but she can't retro-edit her past. By that theory, now John has time-jumped he's not her John... except maybe if he's somehow entangled himself by jumping back to before the jump we saw him make in the finale. He then pops up in S03E01 as Sarah is leaving Ziera saying, `I went to the future and came back for you.' Cue some agonizing about whether it is really "her John" and does that even matter when he's the only one she's got?

I could expand a bit more on this but I'm still thinking it over - and I still have to re-watch S1&S2 to see if I can make it fit.

The T1 conundrum of whether Kyle and the Oak are from the same timeline isn't really an issue surely: the timeline that has to stay straight is Sarah's. We know that T2 altered JD, let alone TSCC. Kyle and the Oak are from closely coincident timelines even if they're not from the same one but, in any case, their future timeline(s) aren't Sarah's. Maybe there is a way time jumps can stay in the same timeline. Perhaps in using the same time machine or same time bubble - for instance, in T1, Kyle jumps in to the time machine straight after the Oak's jump and that injects him back into the same timeline because the time machine still has a lock on the Oak's spacetime position. Actually, that does work I think, if you use the very same time machine and it can keep track of the unique spacetime point where someone was sent, you can send someone back to that exact same unique moment of time (and possibly even timeline depending on how many timelines a single person splits off - how many Sarah's are there really, apart from "our" Sarah?).

So, re the finale, in a sense it only truly matters if an S3 appears since we can assume whatever is necessary to make TSCC work providing we can be convinced that they haven't contradicted any legitimate memories Sarah has of her own past up until John time jumps. It would be more satisfying, from a story POV, if we somehow see the "baseline" stories of the timeline Sarah lives (if you see what I'm driving at). An important issue I'm tending towards is that the interactions of different timelines mean that, given everyone's timeline is unique, and that separate timelines are not actually casually connected except in the one focal person's POV it's a case of "what happens, happens." Whatever account a time traveller gives of his/her future is that - an account of their personal timeline which has no causal links to the timeline of the person (Sarah) being spoken to.

How could you retro-edit your own timeline anyway? How would you know what really did or didn't happen if it changed your memories of what happened? How do you know your past memories are really memories of a past that happened (go back and look at your old videos and pictures and see if they match your recollections)? (In "Back to the Future" photographs actually faded and changed as you watched - which seems rather unlikely/improbable to me.)

As an aside note, unless we all share some kind of telepathy or group consciousness at some unconscious level (or are part of some subset that does) as a matter of actual fact we are all in our own separate experiential universes, time travel or not. And we live in the eternal now... the world of the past is gone and the future is a blinding mirage.

This is worth looking at, I think: http://comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=20747
(John Friedman on the finale and his writing decisions.)
Apr. 13th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)
Errata: I meant to say, "causal contradictions" by which I mean Sarah's past experience can't be retro-edited. Now my head is hurting with the thought of two Sarahs in one timeline...
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC)
Perhaps in using the same time machine or same time bubble - for instance, in T1, Kyle jumps in to the time machine straight after the Oak's jump and that injects him back into the same timeline because the time machine still has a lock on the Oak's spacetime position. Actually, that does work I think, if you use the very same time machine and it can keep track of the unique spacetime point where someone was sent, you can send someone back to that exact same unique moment of time

Hey, I like that and it seems logical. I can definitely get on board with that idea.

I definitely don't like the Back to the Future handling of timelines. That seemed to present a single timeline that's always in flux. Maybe that's a possibility when you get into the idea you were talking about — that the timeline is really only connect to the POV of the person. But from a storytelling standpoint, I don't think it would work well because I'm sure we'll be getting both Sarah's and John's POVs. If there's not some sort of cause/effect link between her time and his time, it probably wouldn't be very interesting.
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
(part 1)
It could be made to work for S3. Our!future!John has to find JH/Cameron (JH/Cameron being Cromartie's body with Cameron's re-programmed chip inside) because JH/Cameron has the time coordinate for our!future!John to jump back to Sarah in Ziera Corp.

Not sure how it would work out in story terms tho: however long our!future!John spends in the future he walks thru the door practically as the time bubble dissipates for Sarah in the Ziera basement or at least however long it takes him to find her after he "lands" since he must jump back to the exact same unique point in time as if he was in the same time bubble (according to my hypothesis, the time bubble is anchored in time but not in 3D space according to T1's Kyle & Oak situation). We then only get a verbal account of our!future!John from our!John or we have some kind of flash-forwards possibly covering a lot of ground as our!future!John hunts for JH/Cameron. Could have some Sarah agonizing over, "Is he really my John" a la Derek & Jesse. However, once our!future!John is back at Sarah (taking Sarah to be the instantiation of the unique and causally consistent timeline POV we have followed as canonical in T1/T2/TSCC) then our!future!John's future memories are of a separate timeline (actually, they're memories of his past even tho they're in the future) and therefore only interesting if it reveals scenarios that look probable (but are not in fact inevitable) for Sarah (as demonstrated by Derek's experience).

It does mean that Sarah (and John) can still stop JD, it's still in Sarah's unmade future, so there is still everything to play for.

If John stays in the future what might work is that, having the unique time coordinate, our!future!John can use a time machine to watch Sarah's actual timeline and make changes accordingly. The time machine must, logically, be able to somehow "see back in time" to place people there (it's an issue I've been pondering on, given multiple timelines). our!future!John is, in fact, retro-editing his timeline (and therefore his memories) but he has a time machine to act as his "true memory" for him. It then becomes a natural way to tell a time travel story, i.e. through the eyes of the one person who experiences the one causally consistent timeline that the time meddler constructs. I think that would be fearsomely difficult to keep straight if it even works, on first pass of pondering on it.

The obvious question is: how many future!Johns are there looking for that unique time coordinate? There is an answer, which I think is logically inevitable, that the one that actually is in the same timeline as Sarah is the one, and the only one, that can find the actual time coordinate that lets him time jump back to Sarah because he's the one and only one that's actually in that timeline. It's logically consistent with what we've seen in TSCC: a future version who jumps back the exact same time coordinate he jumped from is back in the exact same timeline but his memories of the future are now scenarios (actually, strictly speaking, memories of a separate timeline caused by the time bubble) that he can change (as shown by Derek's experience). We could follow (at least some of) the actions of one such time traveller consistently for one of his (potentially looping) timelines by watching only the single timeline of one observer. The story we see is then entirely observer-dependent and only that single observer's timeline has to be causally self-consistent. Magical things like people coming back from the dead (via time travel) can happen for that observer.

In my hypothesis, there are as many timelines as there are time bubbles that aren't anchored by the same time coordinate (strictly speaking that's "at least as many" since we don't know what else can split off timelines).
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
(part 2)
Believe it or not, this makes a lot of sense for me - from this hypothesis we see time as dimensionless and not actually having a direction: what the timeline of a conscious observer represents is an observer's log of the serial change in state of the elements of the observable phenomenal universe which, to preserve causality and therefore comprehensibility, can only be traversed by that observer in a certain order. So, although there is an external phenomenal Universe with concrete objects in it, time is an illusion and causality is the tool that enables our consciousness to construct itself and exist in it's own unique self-consistent view of the the phenomenal universe... or, rather, the human dimension of the Universe.

Maybe you can do a diagram, Roxy, and show whether it works or not - our version of Sarah has to have one timeline going thru, either only jumping forwards or loops back to the one canonical timeline/memory series and she ends up with a John inside her timeline with a loop where he jumped and found the time coordinate back. (Our canonical Sarah is the one we see "at the end" - whenever that is - that has a unique and consistent timeline that we can follow.)

Anyhoo, Josh Friedman is a smart guy - maybe he'll come up with something better... if they give him an S3.
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
(part 3)
Addendum: (you mentioned this now I come to think of it) does the one and only one future!John that can find the unique time coordinate have to have a past that can't be changed because it's part of "our" Sarah's timeline? (i.e. his past becomes the future when he jumps back). I believe that logically the correct answer is "no." Even tho he's the only future!John that is in Sarah's timeline, that's true up to the point he activates the time machine and jumps back into her "now" and then he's actually in the now and there's a time bubble, therefore branching begins. A time jump backwards disconnects the timeline as well as a time jump forwards - time has no direction. In fact Sarah herself has timeline branching caused by the time bubbles but we're only following one stream of consciousness - "our" Sarah's (in your "multi_timelines.png" for example you have 7 timelines @ 2011 several of which will have a Sarah, depending on if she dies before 2011 in one or more).

So, my story is Sarah's John can jump to Sarah in 2009 from an arbitrary point in the future and the future is still what they make for themselves, just like any other time traveller jumping back, so long as he finds the time coordinate from JH/Cameron. JD is still preventable.

You'll have to think this thru for me Roxy and point out if I have it logically wrong somehow. It all makes perfect sense to me at the moment, which makes me think I probably ought to be worried.
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
Re: (part 3)
I'm in fact so confused I'm repeating myself here. But the point is, so long as future!John jumps back to Sarah using information gathered from JH/Cameron we can be sure that he's "our" John. At this point, the Derek, Allison and Kyle we saw straight after the time jump are as close to "ours" as we can get by virtue of the fact of finale future!John's coincidence with Sarah, at least until future!John starts messing with the timeline. Now here's an interesting question to ponder on: according to my hypothesis, does anyone at all there apart from John have to jump back? After all, our Sarah's Kyle (T1) jumped from a timeline where JD was in the nineties. All future!John actually needs to do is find the time coordinate and get access to a time machine, according to my hypothesis... and... he can jump back with Derek, Allison, Kyle, Jesse, Riley, the German Shepherd,...
Apr. 16th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
Re: (part 3)
News from the web: according to BAG, John has jumped to a future where, effectively, he's never existed - great interview here:


They could certainly make this work for me using the logic I've outlined above (despite BAG's comment, "string theory" doesn't really have anything much to do with it but I'm sure it sounds good) if future!John gets the time coordinate from JH/Cameron - it must be "the" time coordinate back to focal Sarah because it was from the time travel machine John + JH/Cameron + Weaver used for the jump.
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
The question of "how long would it take to last against a terminator" is relevant. He definitely did figure that a real person killed her. Then John was left with "who?" Nobody looked to be directly connected with Riley. Talking to his mom about it lead nowhere. He couldnt trust Cam. Its possible he went to Uncle Derek. Perhaps thats how Derek was psyched up enough to do whatever to Jesse.

Before this:
Derek is not dumb, he did ask Jesse what she was doing, and she gave a lame answer. Derek was more suspicious of Jesse than than John was suspicious about Riley.

I don't think John was suspicious of Riley at the point of the Mexico trip. I think it was after she slashed her wrists!! Riley was sending a message to John that something is fucked up, and she can't do anything about it.

I am not really concerned about how or at what point any of this happened. But I'd accept any of these events, and the most logical and easy of them would win out. Maybe you should make a poll.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
I don't think John was suspicious of Riley being from the future because she tried to kill herself. It was pretty obvious that she was a troubled girl, but that alone isn't any evidence that she's future girl.

A poll?! No need! I've already made my ruling on how it all went down ;)
Apr. 13th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
I like this theory. It fits. I never bought the retcon that John knew all along. It didn't match up with anything he'd said or done. (Writers take note: this is why plot twists should always be planned well in advance and never made up as you go!) If he'd known Riley was from the future, he would have said that when Sarah brought up the "bleached skulls" thing and accused him of telling her too much. But after that, there's enough clues to start thinking along those lines, and it only makes sense to lie to Jesse. No point in letting an adversary know how well they'd decieved you and how close their plan had come to working.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
If he'd known Riley was from the future, he would have said that when Sarah brought up the "bleached skulls" thing and accused him of telling her too much.

Exactly. John may not be one to confide in Sarah much, but when a moment like that came along where everything was pointing to him having talked about judgement day to Riley, I think he would have said something. It would be kind of ridiculous not to. Also, he seemed legitimately surprised when his mom told him about all that.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
That definitely works, and well.

However, I had no problem buying the "John knew previously" reveal. There's been a lot going on with him this season underneath the surface; I've been routinely shocked at fans getting nothing but an "I want to be normal" vibe off him, because I've been getting so much more.

But it sounds like, for you, this mostly comes down to a frustration with things happening off-screen that the audience isn't privy to. I don't have as big of a problem with this, because I think when appropriately utilized, the knowledge that there's more going on with these characters than we see gives them a depth and a realism. On a much smaller level than the John reveal, the same thing happens in To the Lighthouse, when we find out Sarah's set up this elaborate safe house for Charley, and has been there more than once. It fits with her character, that she would not only do this but do it without telling anyone. In the same way, it fits with John's character that he would be, probably obsessively, analyzing Riley's behavior around him and looking for the crack in the normalcy. Without telling anyone. He's John Connor; he knows, deep down, that for him nothing can be so simple. Suspicion has been bred into him by Sarah.
Apr. 13th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
I don't mind some things happening off screen, but this was just too big of a leap for me. So yeah, it was a major point of frustration and I'm glad I was finally able to work it out for myself. John's a character who gives me a lot of trouble because I find him so hard to root for (the series finale didn't help, but I'll save that for my finale post).

Your Lighthouse example is a perfect example of the kind of thing I can accept off screen. because it's already well established that Sarah always has contingency plans. And while I don't think John spent the entire season wanting to be normal it's definitely been part of his journey since the beginning of the series. That pivotal scene with Jesse seemed to be the culmination of that, which is why I needed it to play stronger.
Apr. 13th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
John's a character who gives me a lot of trouble because I find him so hard to root for (the series finale didn't help, but I'll save that for my finale post).

Yeah, that's understandable. I'll admit I'm hopelessly preoccupied with him; he's been my favorite Terminator character since I first saw T2. I'm a defender of his arc this season because I feel like it's a similar situation to how so many fans just did not understand the Earthlings - Some Must Watch Sarah arc (that you broke down so brilliantly). This show is sometimes too subtle when it comes to the inner life of its characters, to the point where it really depends on who your POV character is as to whether you'll get something out of a particular scene/episode.
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
One of the reasons I got off to such a rocky start with him this season is because I believed the dialog in Samson & Delilah that Sarah had killed Sarakissian. So then I spent the bulk of 5 episodes thinking he was angry at his mom for killing someone when only the day before he'd watched his uncle kill someone and it didn't bother him a bit.

Now that we're at the end of the season, I'm looking forward to marathoning the whole thing soon. I'm sure all the stuff that didn't make sense to me along the way will make more sense, knowing what lies ahead. I'm hoping John will make more sense to me when I do.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
Actually I'm rewatching Season 2 now, and I am seeing little teeny things that says John is suspicious of her. Now I haven't gotten far enough to say WHAT he's suspicious about, but every time he gives her a chance, I think he KNOWS what the answer is (or he thinks he does), and he's just hoping she'll open up enough to him to be straight. Or maybe I'm imagining it.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Well I think John was storing away the little odd bits about her as he noticed them, but none of it added up to future girl until he had the bleached skulls thing. Once that came into play, every little quirk he'd noticed suddenly had context and helped him figure it out. That's my take on it.
Apr. 13th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Anyone think of theory that John won't be back in season 3?

Apr. 14th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)

Apr. 14th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
In any sense, I think the only thing missing in that ending was SARAH...alive in the future. What does John have to do now? Cameron is waiting on that hard drive or resurrected as a present from Sarah herself. The dog shot means from Sarah, not Alison.
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, I totally dig that explaination a lot more.

yeah. So like it better. I think it makes John.. cooler.
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
I'm glad so many people are liking it because I was really happy with it. I'm okay with some things happening off screen, but that was just too much for me. And this finally made it all work without taking anything away from what the importance of John in that scene.
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)
You're right, it doesn't take anything away from John in that scene. I think it adds more so than anything.

BTW I friggin' love that icon hehe.
Apr. 15th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
Roxy, did you see the interview with BAG today? Good one.


Apr. 16th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for that, I hadn't seen the article until you linked me to it earlier. That was a great interview.

Maybe I'll finally sit down and write something about the finale tonight. It feels like it's time.
Apr. 15th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
By the way, I love all the Sarah icons you've done. They're just great.
Apr. 16th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
If there's one thing I've got no shortage of, it's Sarah icons :)
Apr. 17th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
I think it's possible he knew some of it
I went back and looked at some of the older episodes. I think he found out for sure at the same time we did. Ever since the second episode of the season I'd been wondering when he would notice there was something a little off about her. I kept trying to convince myself I was wrong about her, just like he must have. I think he knew she was from the future when he went over to her house (Strange Things Happen...) he may have ruminated over it on his way to Mexico and back (Complications) Then she all but jumped up and down and shouted that she felt like the fish in the poster. He abruptly left her house and she called Jesse and went to meet her. I think he did follow her that day. He was in a bad mood later. He was a little pissy with her in Self Made Man. I don't think he knew exactly what she was up to but he liked her and he wanted to know what was going on so he played along. I don't know if he followed Jesse from the boutique that day but I think he already knew about Derek and Jesse when he confronted Derek (Today is the Day, pt 2) There may have been hints in other episodes, I'm not finished looking for them.
Apr. 17th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Re: I think it's possible he knew some of it
I think a lot of those oddities, like her being okay about Mexico, the fish/bear poster thing, all just made her seem like an emotionally troubled girl. In Self Made Man, John told her too much true personal stuff about his mom being in a mental hospital and being engaged, for me to believe he knew Riley was future girl. But once he until he had the proper context (learning about her bleached skulls outburst in Ourselves Alone), he could look back and make sense of all those odd things about her.

So yeah, there were subtle hints and I don't think John was oblivious. But they simply didn't add up to him thinking she was future girl plotting anything. He didn't act like he knew until later.
Apr. 17th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Re: I think it's possible he knew some of it
I've raised a teenage boy. I think John did act like he knew. If you watch him with Riley, he's more guarded with her after Complications. The true stuff he told her after she had heard his real name was stuff already known by the authorities connected with the name Connor. When he gave her the alarm code, when he told her about living in Mexico, he didn't know yet. When Sarah told him about the bleached skulls comment I think he turned his back so she wouldn't see that he wasn't all that surprised. (That she knew about the future.) I don't think he knew everything but I think he knew she was probably from the future, she was up to something, she wasn't in it alone and that she wasn't the mastermind. He was surprised in Ourselves Alone that she supposedly told people, (other than Jesse.)

That kid keeps his own counsel, he doesn't tell anyone anything. Just look at the stuff he hid from Sarah in the first season. Important stuff. He was afraid Cameron would find out in Earthlings Welcome, not just that she would kill his girlfriend for some random reason but that she would find out that Riley was from the future and kill her for that. He didn't know that was the goal, he's a good kid and he wasn't thinking that way. He thought if they just wanted to kill him, they would have already made a move, if they wanted to turn them in the FBI would have already shown up. When he went to her house in Strange Things Happen, he went there to bait her. When he left, he waited outside and followed her, probably for the first time. He saw her meet with Jesse and followed her. He probably checked out her suite later on, he probably saw Derek show up there sometime.

It was a big secret, not really spoiled anywhere, I doubt the actors knew that John knew anything before they saw the script for Today is the Day. They wanted to pull it out as a big surprise, that's why the signs had to be subtle, and they were.

Apr. 18th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
Re: I think it's possible he knew some of it
Yeah John's like Sarah in that he doesn't talk much. Although he is always quick to whip out the "my mom was in a mental hospital" thing! LOL. He told that to Riley and he also told that to Derek the first day he was up and around after his gunshot wound.

In the scene in Ourselves Alone when Sarah tells him about the bleached skulls, he really seems genuinely surprised at first and then I think you can totally see the gears turning in his head. Suddenly all those little things he'd noticed about her started falling into place, leading to the conclusion she was from the future.

The scene that follows, in the kitchen with Cameron is when I believe he's figured it all out. That's why he asks her if it's possible for him to know something future!john doesn't know or if it's possible for future!John to know something she doesn't know. I think he's wondering why Cameron didn't warn him about Riley being future girl. He probably concluded that either future!John didn't know about it (meaning something had changed in the timeline) or he never told Cameron about it for some reason.

Anyway, that's my take on the whole thing, which is why I came up with the bluff. I can make that work based on what I see looking back over all his time with Riley without weakening the his scene with Jesse.
Apr. 19th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
Re: I think it's possible he knew some of it
Oh. Huh. I hadn't thought back to that scene since reading this thread, but it makes sense.
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Roxy Bisquaint

Roxy Bisquaint...

Is self-indulgent. Over thinks everything. Tweets too much. Looks really good in these jeans. Wants to eat butterscotch. Makes herself laugh. Obsesses about aging. Does some crunches. Lives with two ghosts. Procrastinates daily. Measures once, cuts twice. Hates Foo Fighters. Drinks lots of coffee (keep it coming). Puts spiders outside. Brings balance to the force. Draws a perfect curve. Enjoys dark chocolate. Bangs on the drums. Always gets in the slow line. Orders from a menu. Hopes to be reincarnated. Speaks fluent Sarah Connor. Cooks tasty crack theory. Loves a good storm. Dances like a dork. Picks some locks. Tips well. Refuses to share the popcorn. Dreams about the future. Ignores the clock. Sings off key. Has a superpower. Shoots the paper bad guys. Needs some eyeliner. Goes to bed at dawn. Can't resist good smut. Quotes movie lines. Eats whipped yogurt. Lets the story tell itself. Maintains a rich fantasy life. Knows all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.

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