I'll show you my shielded nuclear power source if you show me yours
If Cameron's power supply was damaged, wouldn't John have cancer too? Even so, if she believed it could be leaking radiation, why the hell would she let him touch it? And she really had to be laying down and he had to be on top of her to get to it? Please. That scene just didn't add up. It was either a really flimsy setup for Jameron cheers or it was a weak manipulation by Cameron that worked because the blood had left John's brain. I tend to think the latter. Since we just had the Jesse story wherein she spent all season trying to win future war by messing with John's love life, I really hope we're not going to find out Cameron was doing the same. But right now, it's looking that way.
Regardless, to try to get us to the point of John choosing to throw away everything to follow Cameron through time, we needed something like that — a moment of intimacy to push him from being unsure about his feelings for Cameron to deciding he loves her and can't live without her. So forced and awkward as it was, John checking out her breasts, climbing on top of her and slipping his fingers in her, um, sliced open chest, served a purpose.
Massive points for the not!sex cleverness of the scene, though it was disturbing on many levels. From the sadomasochistic not!foreplay with the knife to the "that's good, that's perfect" intensity of John realizing Cameron isn't the cause of mom's cancer, one thing is clear: that boy needs some therapy! I don't think John actually wants to fuck his mother, but the blurring of Cameron and Sarah was clear...
In Charley's house in the pilot, Sarah was sitting on John's bed, watching him sleep. He jolts awake, tells her it's freaky when she does that and asks, "what's going on?" She tells him they have to go.
In the motel, Cameron was sitting on John's bed, watching him sleep. He jolts awake, tells her not to do that because his mom used to do it and he hates it. Then he asks, "what's going on?" Not!sex happens and she tells him it's time to go.
Aside from the squicky similarity of those scenes, the other significance is that they both ultimately lead to a time jump.
The time jump
While the jump has the potential to push the story too far from its roots (and jackknife a giant puh-lease on the already congested time travel highway), it's also an interesting way to explore the what if scenario of a future war without John Connor. So I didn't mind the jump and I'm actually curious to see how it plays out. What I did mind, though — what I absolutely hated — was the way it happened:
John ditched his mother, who he believed had cancer, and bailed on trying to stop the apocalypse so he could jump to the future with some liquid metal he'd just met (whose motives were questionable at best and who was verbally bitch-slapping his mom all over the place) to pursue his one true love: a computer chip. I can't cheer that. I can't be wowed by that. I can't even pretend to enjoy that. It's fucked up and I'm not okay with it. Sarah, however, was okay with it. Um, what?
When John got aroused by touching Cameron's icy cold
We sort of circled back around to Samson & Delilah, but instead of John being unable to let Cameron go because he viewed her as a better protector than his mom, this time he was unable to let Cameron go because he loves her. The mother/lover blurring was getting thick anyway, so I'm glad it's over. I think I'm glad John finally came out of the closet as a cyborg lover and moved out of 2009. And it was fun that he moved in with dad. Check the final voiceover line in my faux S&D script from last August ;)
I'd like to think the reason Sarah let John go is because she figures he's better off with Cameron in the future than alone in the present watching her die (just like when she took him to Charley). I'd still have a hard time with that, but at least it would carry some emotional weight. The other possibility is that Cameron's attempt to manipulate Sarah with "humans are the problem" actually sort of worked. When she was stepping out of the bubble, though, she said "John, we can't." We can't. Sarah didn't want him to go, didn't think he should go. So that pretty well cancels out any notion that she was thinking he'd be better off leaving — better off being away from her.
In "Samson & Delilah", Sarah told John "Maybe you could fix her. I know you want to try, but I can't let you." And we know how that ended up. In "Today is the Day pt1", she told Cameron she'd thought about taking her out with Derek's sniper rifle but she didn't because John would never have forgiven her. So maybe the desperation in John's voice when he said, "he's got her chip, he's got her," made Sarah realize she'd truly lost him to Cameron.
I still don't know if Sarah thought John loved Cameron or was bonded to her like family or what, but at the very least, Sarah understood that John had a powerful attachment to her and there was nothing she could do or say to come between that. So she let him go and she stayed behind to carry on the fight alone. It doesn't work for me, but that's all I can come up with so far.
Without John, your life has no purpose
The series started with Sarah telling John she'd stop Skynet and she reiterated that as he was leaving. So she still has a mission, still has a goal, still has a purpose and that's why she stepped out of the bubble. But what happens to Sarah when she doesn't have her son to fight for anymore? John has sort of been Sarah's moral compass. How could she raise him up to save humanity if she gave up her own in the process? So she's been fighting the good fight for his sake. She has "participated in the miraculous and the terrible and through it all... maintained a moral and good soul." (mostly)
She'll continue to battle Kaliba and work to stop judgment day, and with John gone, I think we can be sure she'll throw herself into it like never before. Cancer or no cancer, you know the woman will fight on until she collapses. But will she still be fighting for John or fighting for humanity or will she just be fighting because it's all she knows? Will she start to believe, as Ellison said, that she's got nothing left to lose? "There's always something to lose," though. I think that something is her soul.
Here's bad news...
Sarah and John failed
Sarah never did stop Skynet and John never did lead the resistance. There was no John Connor when the resistance was formed. He vanished off the face of the earth in 2009 and didn’t resurface until 2027(?). And since it's a post-apocalyptic world, we know judgment day happened. It gets worse. With John at one end of the timeline and Sarah at the other end of that same timeline, it's a closed system. The future IS set now. It's a done deal... They failed.
Assuming judgment day is still set at April 21, 2011, Sarah might spend the next two years running from the law, protecting Savannah, looking for Danny Dyson, and battling Kaliba. But whatever she does has already happened at John's end and it failed to stop the apocalypse. John not leading the resistance might not be a failure. Whoever did form it might be doing an awesome job. I really doubt that, though. I think we're likely to find out that this future is hell and the resistance is losing.
Can their failures be erased? Of course. But only if John jumps back. That would free up the path to an unknown future again. In the meantime, we'll be spending time with Sarah doing things that ultimately don't matter and we'll be spending time with John maybe learning things that won't matter until he comes back. So, cool or not, I think it's likely to be a short stay.
Cause and effect
I got deep into time travel once before and settled on multiple timelines (multiverse) in TSCC. I'm still inclined to think that's what we have going on, despite a few discrepancies in the show. Jesse and Derek established the existence of multiple futures, which I translate into multiple timelines. But it's possible the writers are using some sort of single timeline theory in which anything can happen. I hope not because that gets a little Back to the Future hokey. But I do think we've hit a point where we need to know. When you hurtle John Connor into future war, it's time to set some ground rules.
With characters at both ends of the spectrum, we'll see the result of everything that happens in between. From Sarah's perspective, anything can happen, but from John's perspective it's all history. Sarah won't know what became of John after he jumped or know the future effects of her actions. But John may learn a bit about what his mom did after he jumped away in 2009. By giving us both stories, it could be that we'll sort of get a real-time view of Sarah's impact on the future. In other words, we might get to see the cause of what John sees and the effect of what Sarah does. I don't think that's a long-lasting way to tell a story, but it could be interesting in the short term.
One possible future, I don't know tech stuff
I've seen a lot of speculation that John has jumped to a point before he became the leader of the resistance. Also that the out-of-focus teen John behind Derek in the time chamber in "Dungeons & Dragons" was an actual reveal of how old future!John really was. That's incorrect. This is an alternate future, not one that's been hinted at and not a precursor to what we already knew. Here's why:
- In "Dungeons & Dragons", Cameron told John that he spent 6 years in a Skynet work camp with Kyle from 2015-2021. We learned in "What He Beheld" that Kyle was 8 on judgement day (2011), so that would've made him 12 when he and John first got captured. Kyle in this current future is a grown man.
- In "What He Beheld", Derek told John that he celebrated his (John's) 30th birthday with him. That would mean Derek couldn't be sent back on his time travel mission for at least 13 years. And Derek is certainly not 13 years younger right now than what we knew him to be in 2007 (he'd be about 18 years old if he was). [NOTE: It's been said there was a script error in D&D and Derek was actually supposed to have said he'd celebrated John's 40th birthday with him.]
- In "Goodbye to All that", Derek said Martin Bedell helped John form the resistance. Clearly the resistance is already formed.
As for when John is, we can use Allison as a marker. She was probably born in 2008 because her mom was pregnant when Cam called her in "Allison from Palmdale". And she's what, about 18 now? So I'd estimate John to have landed in 2026 or maybe 2027. (2027 seems most likely since all future events we've seen have been set then.)
John could stay, join the resistance, work his way up the ranks and maybe one day lead the fight. But it would take a long time and it would absolutely be a different story than what we've heard to date. I don't see that happening. Aside from believing Sarah's story is a dead end until John returns, the biggest drawback to him staying in the future is it essentially splits the show into two separate stories: John's and Sarah's. And since she won't have any clue what he's up to, it wouldn't exactly be The Sarah Connor Chronicles anymore. Don't even start with the "it's not about the title character anyway" comments.
I've got lots more to talk about but I'm just going to stop here for now.