My favorite moment of this episode was Riley sitting in the kitchen holding a bleach cleaner when John walks in with a skull t-shirt on. LOL.
Watching Cameron hand the detonator to John, this little exchange from Automatic for the People came to mind:
Sarah: Like a timebomb, am I just going to go off one day?
Cameron: I don't know. Am I?
There's got to be some foreshadowing in there.
When Sarah got that gun out and loaded a round, she was going to take care of the Riley problem once and for all. But she halted and, as if she didn't trust herself to not do it, she completely unloaded the gun. I wasn't really buying that scene (it just didn't play well to me), but I very much like the idea of it. This is the fallout from killing Winston and I'm sure it's going to continue.
Sarah & Cameron
Cameron's mission is to protect John, obviously, but it would seem now that it's also to train John. She's gotten him to hack into Vick's Chip. She's walked him through removing her own chip. And now she's got him enrolled in Robot Repair 101: How to fix a cyborg's hand (he definitely needs a second class since that hand's still twitching). So Cameron is protecting and training John, eh? The blurring of Sarah and Cameron continues. It's no coincidence that we have Sarah and Cameron both contemplating killing Riley in the same episode, or that we have Cameron telling John she can't self-terminate on the heels of an episode that had Sarah twice saying she'd die for her son. I also find it interesting that Sarah told John she didn't believe him while Cameron entrusted her "life" with him. Lines are blurring. B-l-u-r-r-i-n-g.
You know what's kind of freaky about the Sarah-Cameron thing is that future!John seems to have basically sent himself back a metal mother to save his human mother and then help do her job (and surely he knew Sarah wouldn't be too happy about that).
Oh fuck me. I was just reminded of the horrible film I had to watch in psychology class years ago about Harlow and his totally evil surrogate mother experiments on monkeys. They were given fake "mothers" — one made of cloth (comforting but no nourishment) and one made of wire that had food (nourishing but no comfort). And then he scared the baby monkeys with little robots (yes robots!) to see who they'd run to. They ran to the cloth mother. Wow, really? Thanks for that brilliant bit of research, evil Harlow. Glad you're dead.
And I'm now trying to stop myself from thinking about future!John as conducting fucked up psychological experiments on his younger self. I'm also going to sidestep the bizarreness of future!John sending himself a very pretty, teenage-looking robot mother (clearly he has some issues). Anyway...
I'm thinking John is going to have to choose between his cloth mother and wire mother at some point. He already did choose in Samson & Delilah (it's no wonder Sarah's been such a mess), but that wasn't so much John choosing Cameron over Sarah, as it was John choosing Cameron over no Cameron... hmm... while holding a gun on Sarah. Heh. Yeah, he chose. But we'll attribute that to OMG I JUST SNAPPED SOMEONE'S NECK! He was confused and he'll have to choose again when he's not so confused. Then again, if they keep getting more alike, he may not have to.
You know, when Derek showed up last season (and killed Andy and blew away that guy in the alley), I fully expected we were going to have this sort of battle for John's soul between Sarah and Derek. But it never happened. Instead, Derek got shoved over to Jesse story so the battle for John's soul could play out between Sarah and Cameron. Either way, it makes me think of the final voice over from Platoon:
I think now, looking back. We did not fight the enemy, we fought ourselves. And the enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there the rest of my days, as I'm sure Elias will be — fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called "possession of my soul". There are times since that I've felt like the child born of those two fathers. But be that as it may, those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and meaning to this life.
Cameron keeps the spare parts because future!John told her to. John's not too happy about that. "Future me? Yeah, why doesn't that surprise me?"
This is good. This is awesome. I think we might be moving into a John story that I can finally sink my teeth into (and I've been waiting forever). Future!John is calling the shots, pulling the strings, more or less directing the present-day battle from the future. He is the man behind the curtain (although I've wondered if Sarah's line from Mr Ferguson was some kind of hint to the contrary: "This is it. There's nothing else behind the curtain.").
Sarah has her own issues with future!John. That's been on the table since Gnothi Seauton and hit on in several episodes. Mostly it seems to center around her rivalry with Cameron, but you can't exactly overlook the big bloody to-do list future!John dropped on her the second she tried to get some shut-eye in Automatic for the People either. Future!John keeps her busy. And it's kind of cool — mother and son fighting the battle together across time — even if we're not entirely sure future!John is such a swell guy.
But now we're getting John into the future!John mix. It's not like he's been oblivious to it, but I think the amount of influence future!John has on his life is really starting to sink in. Unless we find out at some point that Cameron is some rogue machine with her own agenda, we're operating with the assumption that she's carrying out orders from future!John, which apparently allow for lying and killing when she deems it necessary. So not only is future!John keeping John in the dark about a lot of things, he's also got ideas that present John is feeling unsure about (which is probably why future!John is keeping him in the dark).
Not unlike Jesse, it seems that future!John is trying to change John so he turns out different. Since future!John likes using reprogrammed machines, he's using Cameron to give himself a head start on it. John is learning now what he would have learned much later. And by doing so, he may ultimately solve the "sometimes they go bad" thing. But how does John feel about being manipulated by his future self? I think there's a John Connor identity crisis brewing and at some point he's going to decide his future self is doing things wrong.
Meanwhile, Catherine Weaver is giving Skynet a head start. She's using Ellison to shape John Henry (Skynet), like future!John is using Cameron to shape John Connor (the resistance). Ellison is teaching John Henry about humans, while Cameron is teaching John Connor about machines. John and John are learning about each other — learning about their future enemy. So, both sides of future war are actively trying to advance themselves through changes in the present.
She's dead. I'm not sad. I thought she was going to be an interesting character when she first arrived on the scene, but in the end, she wasn't. The only cool thing Riley did was provide a major contrast to Sarah (especially in The Good Wound). On a character level, I guess that was her real purpose and it's been served. So good riddance.
I think Jesse's plan is much bigger than using wild child Riley to drive a wedge between John and Cameron. Her plan seems to be to bust up the whole Connor clan. I've gone back and forth about who Riley was there to get between — Sarah and John or Cameron and John? Because really, she kind of came between both. And with Jesse in the picture, where's Derek been? He's hardly ever around the Connor house. Now Jesse's trying to make Derek feel emasculated by Sarah and she's trying to plant suspicions in Sarah's head about Derek being a perv. Yep, I think she's trying to break them them ALL up. Why? To what gain? I don't know.
ETA: I think I know. If the Connor clan is ripped apart, John will lose his entire support system — training, protecting, guidance, etc. It'll no doubt make him a weaker leader, one that could perhaps be more easily overthrown by Jesse's faction in the future. So I'll bet her goal is just the opposite of what she's said. She doesn't want a better John Connor, she wants a worse one. She wants him out as leader so her faction can take control of the resistance.
With Jesse playing guidance counselor, she's set the wheels in motion for suspicion to fall on Sarah when Riley is found shot to death. The foster dad thinks Sarah's a bad mother. The social worker had her doubts about Sarah's parenting and knew about guns in the home. Riley was probably last known to be heading to the Connor home. So the police are going to want to talk to Sarah about Riley's death. And let's not forget the introduction in Allison from Palmdale of overly suspicious Kacey baby-daddy, Trevor, the LAPD homicide detective. There's going to be BIG trouble ahead.
Oh! I was just thinking about Jesse bringing up that ridiculous Derek-as-perv suggestion. If she was able to drop that same info on the social worker, that could have cops questioning Derek, not Sarah. Or they might both be suspect. Actually, if Jesse thinks to plant the murder weapon in Derek's truck, he could find himself arrested for the murder, not just questioned... Oh Jesse, you are evil. Yeah, she's busting this family up good. Die, evil Jesse, DIE!
I was really pissed that Derek let Jesse's non-answer about judgment day slide. Would you? NO. That was dumb. But Derek hasn't exactly been smart about Jesse at any point, so I shouldn't be surprised.
Derek needs a major ass-kicking
Back to Jesse's evasiveness about judgment day: I think that means the j-day from her timeline is soon. VERY soon. Derek fucked things up good by killing Andy Goode. Future war sure seems to be going bad for the resistance. Skynet got the nuclear power plant, there are factions of humans fighting each other in the future, Catherine Weaver appearing (why, how and from when, we don't know) and getting her hands on The Turk...
This is all Derek's fault. Sarah will eventually put the pieces together and kick his ass for it. Before she beats the shit out of him, though, I think she's going to put a gun to his head and seriously contemplate pulling the trigger... "Lie to me again, I'll kill you."