You don't have to like an episode, but saying "Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep" sucked because you didn't understand it is kind of stupid. So to fix that, I've written a guide.
Let's start with the basics. The sleep clinic was the dream. Everything else was real.
I KNOW CUZ SOMEONE ALREADY TOLD ME BUT WHAT DOES THIS STUPID BORING EPISODE MEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAN?!
This episode was about Sarah's transformation. Remember the voice-over at the beginning of "Earthlings Welcome Here?" No, you probably don't, so I'll give it to you:
"In 1490, the Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca, landed on the shores of the new world seeking power and fortune. He was immediately attacked and captured, almost all of his traveling companions murdered. Enslaved, Devaca chose to embrace his captors' beliefs and learn their ways. He became a healer. Over time he was freed and Devaca attracted his own following who believed he had the power over life and death. The desert had transformed him. He was not the first and he would not be the last."
HUH? WHAT DO TRANSFORMING EXPLORERS HAVE TO DO WITH CAMERON?
Hmm. This is going to be tougher than I thought. Okay, try to stay with me here... Look at those last two sentences in the voice-over:
"The desert had transformed him. He was not the first and he would not be the last."
YOU MEAN SOMEONE OTHER THAN A SPANISH EXPLORER WOULD ALSO BE TRANSFORMERERED BY A DESSERT?
Close enough. Maybe this won't be so hard after all :)
I GET IT! I GET IT! CAMERON IS GOING TO TRANSFORMER HERSELF INTO A REAL LIVE GIRL AND KISS JOHN!!! *GLEE*
Augh. I can see we're going to have to talk about Cameron for a minute if we're going to get anywhere with this episode.
YEAH YEAH YEAH! CAMERON LOOKED SMOKIN' IN HER UNDIES!!!! SHE AND JOHN SHOULD BE 2GETHER 4EVER.
Yes, Cameron has a nice body, but try to focus. Remember when her chip got damaged?
SHE WENT ALL KILL JOHN KILL JOHN!
That's right. John dusted off her chip and put it back in, but he didn't fix the damage. So Cameron is unpredictable now... like a human.
SO SHE ALREADY BECAME A SPANISH EXPLORER?
Uh.... Yes. Cameron sort of transformed. She's still a programmed machine, but she could "go bad" and maybe try to kill John again or who knows what. While we're talking about Cameron, what's her job? Anyone remember?
I KNOW I KNOW...
It's not to have sex with John.
WELL THEN WHAT IS IT?
Cameron's job is to protect John. She might have some other secret agenda, but all we know so far is that she came back through time to protect John. And who else has the job of protecting John?
I DON'T KNOW.
I SAID I DON'T KNOW!
What's the name of the show?
That's only part of the name. What's the rest of it?
YOU'RE MAKING MY BRAIN HURT. UM............. SARAH CORNICLES OR SOMETHING.
Close. It's "The Sarah Connor Chronicles". Now who else has the job of protecting John?
Yes! Very good. Sarah's job is to protect John. And that's an important job to Sarah, isn't it? She's spent her whole adult life protecting him. In "Brothers of Nablus", she told John "My job is to protect you and you can hate me as much as you want, but I will keep doing that as long as I'm here." And do you remember what Cameron said to Sarah in the episode "Heavy Metal"?
I REMEMBER CAMERON HAD ON PRETTY LIPSTICK.
Yes, but she said something important to Sarah when she had the pretty lipstick on. Cameron said "Without John, your life has no purpose." Protecting John and being his mother is both Sarah's job and her purpose. It's what gives her life meaning — it's all she knows.
HA HA! SARAH ISN'T GOING TO HAVE PURPOSE FOR LONG CUZ CAMERON IS WAY BETTER.
Do you think Sarah ever worries about that?
SHE SHOULD CUZ THE ONLY WAY SARAH COULD EVER BE AS GOOD AS CAMERON IS IF SHE BECAME A MACHINE LIKE CAMERON AND KILLED PEOPLE TO PROTECT JOHN.
You mean the way she killed WInston in "Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep"?
Is it beginning to make sense to you?
MAYBE BUT WHY DID WE NEED A WHOLE EPISODE FOR SARAH TO POP A CAP IN THAT GUY? AND THEN THEY DIDN'T EVEN SHOW HIS BRAINS ALL XPLODED.
They focused on the trigger pull because Winston's death wasn't anywhere near as important as the fact that Sarah killed him.
While Sarah was all drugged up and being interrogated by Winston, she was having dreams about being in a sleep clinic. In those dreams, all her fears and worries were playing out. That's why Cameron walked past John in her undies. That's why Cameron acted more human. That's why Cameron made tasty pancakes. And that's why Cameron was wearing Sarah's clothes. Sarah is worried that Cameron is taking over John's life — that she's becoming everything to him. And if Cameron becomes everything to John, where does that leave Sarah?
NOWHERE! DOES THAT MEAN WE CAN CALL IT CAMERON IN HER UNDIES CORNICLES?
Uh, no. Do you remember what John said about Cameron in "Samson & Delilah"?
"I need her. She saved my life. She saves my life!" (yelling that last sentence so Sarah would hear)
Do you remember what Sarah said to Kyle in "The Good Wound"?
"I'm not strong enough. I'm gonna die."
Do you remember what Kyle told Sarah in "The Good Wound"?
"You're not one of them."
And what did John say to Sarah when he visited her in the sleep clinic?
"You need to get better. I need you to get better. Remember, you're not like [Cameron]."
HAHA! EVERYONE KEEPS BEATING SARAH IN THE HEAD FOR NOT BEING AS GOOD AS CAMERON!
Right. And she's kind of been beating herself in the head about it too. She thinks she needs to be more like Cameron — more like a machine so she can protect John and stop Skynet. Do you remember seeing John kill Sarkissian in the flashback in "The Tower is Tall, but the Fall is Short"?
SNAPPED HIS NECK!!!
But John felt weird about that, didn't he? He was traumatized and we eventually found out (in "Brothers of Nablus") that he blamed his mom. "Why didn't you protect me from that?"
YEAH JOHN WAS ALL BRATTY EMO. HAHAHA!
Sarah has always protected John. Always. But because she couldn't get out of her handcuff in time, John stopped Sarkissian. He shouldn't have blamed Sarah, but she felt guilty about it anyway since it's her job to protect him and she couldn't do it.
SHE SURE GOT OUT OF HER HANDCUFFS THIS TIME!!!! BIT HER HAND AND BROKE HER THUMB TO GET OUT OF THEM!
Bingo. She is determined now to protect John no matter what. Now let's recap Sarah's journey so you can understand it a bit better.
IS THIS GONNA TAKE LONG?
Sarah went on a quest in the desert to find out about the 3 dots symbol from the blood wall. On this quest, she met Alan Park (who was pretending to be someone else: Eileen). Alan said lots of very important things to Sarah that made her think about her own life. She said things like:
"They killed Alan Park and I thank them for it. They gave me a gift, the life I was scared to lead. Before this happened, I was a cog in the machine — ordinary, repressed. How many people dare to live the life they dream of? Face their real fears about who they really are, not their houses or their jobs or their habits, but their deepest truest selves?"
And what did Sarah say about all that? She said "I used to be a waitress. Killed her too."
HAHA! SHE WAS A SUCKY WAITRESS IN THE TERMINATOR BUT THEN SHE WAS A CRAZY MENTAL PATIENT IN TERMINATOR 2.
Yes. That's called duality. Sarah has these two sides to herself: the normal (sucky waitress) person and the crazy (mental patient) warrior. But we never saw how Sarah transformed from one to the other, did we? We never saw how Sarah "killed" her waitress self and became the warrior.
NO CUZ SHE WAS JUST ALREADY HARDCORE BADASS WHEN WE SAW HER IN T2.
Right. But after T2, she thought Skynet had been stopped. So she became less crazy, less hardcore, less of a warrior and more like the normal person again — more like the waitress. Ever since Sarah found out Skynet didn't get stopped, she's been dealing with these two sides of herself. It's kind of like the change in her that we didn't get to see between T1 and T2. She's been struggling with it.
BUT SHE NEEDS TO BE TOUGH TO STOP SKYNET!
True, but she didn't want to go back to being the crazy hard warrior. She was afraid of being that way again. Remember little Marty Bedell in "Goodbye to All That"? He told her she kind of sucked at being a mom and she said "I know, I'm working on it." She wants to stop Skynet, but she also wants to be a good mom too and it's hard to be both. Last time she was the warrior (in T2), she was kind of cold towards John.
HAHA. YEAH JOHN CRIED WHEN HIS MOM DIDN'T HUG HIM.
That wasn't supposed to be a funny, but yes, that's what happened. And do you also remember how Sarah almost killed someone in T2 when she got really determined to change John's fate?
"DYSON. MILES DYSON! SHE'S GONNA BLOW HIM AWAY!"
Miles Dyson, yes. She regretted trying to kill Miles and felt guilty that he died anyway. In "The Turk", she promised his widow, Terissa, that "no one dies in vain." Sarah doesn't want to kill people because she believes that human life has value. In other words, she believes it's sacred.
HEY! JUST LIKE ELLISON SAID TO JOHN HENRY!
See how it's all connected?
It was easier for Sarah to protect John when they were running and hiding. She had the luxury of not having to face an enemy straight on. But now that they're staying in the same city to fight Skynet, she has to deal with any threats that come along or John could get killed. How can she protect him if she can't just grab him and run and she won't kill anyone? This has been Sarah's dilemma.
IS THAT WHY SHE POPPED WINSTON IN THE HEAD?
That's why. All of this stuff that Sarah's been thinking about came to a climax at that moment.
Think about her being hesitant to agree to stop Skynet in the pilot.
Think about her identity crisis in Gnothi Seauton.
Think about her wrestling with the idea of killing someone in The Turk.
Think about her panic over losing John in Heavy Metal.
Think about her being reminded of Kyle in Queen's Gambit.
Think about her sadness when Charley left in Dungeons and Dragons.
Think about her guilt about the video tape in The Demon Hand.
Think about her frustration about people getting killed in Vick's Chip.
Think about her stand-off with the gunman in What He Beheld.
Think about her speech to John through the bathroom door in Samson & Delilah.
Think about her worry about mortality in Automatic for the People.
Think about her decision in the van in The Mousetrap.
Think about her remembering John's birth in Allison from Palmdale.
Think about her words from The Wizard of Oz in Goodbye to All That.
Think about her memory of John killing Sarkissian in The Tower is Tall but the Fall is Short.
Think about her letting the boy go in the bowling alley in Brothers of Nablus.
Think about her smashing Cromartie's chip in Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today.
Think about her dreams in Complications.
Think about her smashing the mirror in Strange Things Happen at the One-Two Point.
Think about her hallucinations of herself in Earthlings Welcome Here.
Think about her experience with Kyle in The Good Wound.
Think about her comments to Zoe's mom in Desert Cantos.
Then think about her killing Winston in Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep.
THAT'S TOO MUCH THINKING!!!!! ALL I WANNA KNOW IS HOW DID SHE KNOW WINSTON WASN'T A DREAM? I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW!
She knew because she'd just been killed in the sleep clinic. How could she be alive in the back of Winston's van if she was dead? The only way that could have happened is if the sleep clinic was all a dream and the van was real.
When Sarah realized it was real and heard Winston talking about her son on the phone, she knew she had to get free and stop him. This wasn't just some kid at a bowling alley that robbed her house, this was a bad guy making bad plans to get her son. He was a true threat to John.
CAMERON WOULD KILL WINSTON IN 2 SECONDS FLAT BECAUSE SHE IS AWESOME.
The point is Sarah was afraid that she was failing in her mission to protect John and that if she didn't change — if she didn't get hardcore badass again — she might get him killed and/or she might lose him to Cameron. So Sarah made the decision to kill Winston. She did what Cameron would have done. And that was the moment of transformation.
BUT SHE ALREADY THOUGHT SHE KILLED WINSTON BEFORE, SO WHY WAS IT SUCH A BIG DEAL?
Do you remember what Sarah said to John in the sleep clinic?
"I'm not supposed to defend myself, I'm supposed to defend you."
Killing Winston in self-defense in the middle of a life or death fight wasn't a choice Sarah thought about. She just did it. But when she killed him this time, she knew what she was doing. She made a conscious choice to put the gun to his head and pull the trigger. And she did it to defend her son.
I TOTALLY GET IT NOW!!!!!! SARAH TRANSFORMERED HERSELF TO BE LIKE CAMERON. BOUT FREKIN TIME TOO. THAT TOOK FOREVER.
When Winston wanted Sarah to call her son, she told him she'd die first. And what did he say to that? "Oh you'd like that — to die. But it's never that easy is it?"
The same thing happened with the Nurse. She wanted Sarah to call to John and Sarah said "I'd die first." And what did the nurse say? She said "You'd like that — to die. It's never that easy."
Sarah had to completely let go of herself — she had to die, in a sense (that's why she got killed in the dream), to make this transformation into the hardcore warrior again. It took a long time because it wasn't an easy process to go through.
I BET SHE IS GONNA KICK ASS NOW! IT'S ABOUT TIME SHE GOT ALL HARDCORE. NOW MAYBE EVERYTHING WILL BE AWESOME AND BLOW UP.
Well, I have no doubt she'll kick ass, but I'll leave you to ponder what she said to John in "What He Beheld"...
"That's our mission. This is our life. If we stop caring about that then we're lost."
WOW. MAYBE I SHOULD WATCH EPISODES MORE THAN ONCE AND ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT THEM BEFORE I SAY THEY SUCK.
WHAT DOES CONCUR MEAN?
Nevermind. We'll do vocabulary another day.
SO DO YOU THINK SARAH WILL WALK AROUND IN HER UNDIES NOW TOO?
ETA: The above post was linked to from the official TSCC blog back when I wrote it. That was really cool and while most of the comments about it there were positive, some people seemed to be put off by it. So in case anyone stumbles in here and has a negative reaction to what I wrote, here's a reposting of my reply to the comments there (I'm allergygal):
Thank you to the blog for linking to my LJ post. I’m kind of amazed by the response. It seems to have been well-received, but hey, it was poking fun at some so I accept the criticism of the presentation that a few expressed. Maybe I can clear up a few issues.
My use of the term “hater” was explained in the brief intro to the piece and I don’t know why anyone took offense to it. To fall under my definition, you’d have to have this attitude: “I didn’t understand that episode so it sucked.” Come on, anyone seriously offended?
I do find the idea of a simple boyfriend/girlfriend relationship between John and Cameron a bit silly, so I made a ridiculous caricature of a Cameron-drooling Jameron fan play my “idiot”. But no, I don’t think John/Cameron is idiotic. On a deeper level there’s definitely something to it. It’s been set up since the beginning of the series and has been unfolding ever since. John is confused and conflicted about his feelings towards Cameron and she is utterly devoted to him (purpose!). It’s a relationship to be sure, but it’s complex, it spans present and future, and I think we’ve got a long way to go on that story.
When I sat down to write about Sarah’s journey, I didn’t write it to tell anyone they didn’t understand it. I wrote it *for* anyone who didn’t understand it or maybe didn’t get it as fully as I delved into it. I never expected more than maybe a handful of friends to even read it, but I made it a public entry so anyone could. I’m glad so many have and that so many enjoyed it.
I personally find Sarah Connor to be the most fascinating character on television. I’ve loved the character since T1, but the way this show has developed her and the way Lena Headey has played her has brought Sarah Connor to life in a way I never expected. Her fierceness and determination are layered with an emotional depth that makes me believe her every sacrifice and feel her every struggle. And of course, she’s totally badass.