God I love this show. Even when it lets me down, it never does.
Well, I think I got all the heavy stuff out of the way already, so even though this is a really long post, it's a bit lighter. And I've got sections labeled, so you can just skip around to whatever might grab your interest.
Dreaming of failure
Looking back at Sarah's dreams from "Complications," they all pointed directly to the end of "Born to Run" and Sarah's failure to protect John from the metal. That fever she picked up in Mexico apparently made her a bit psychic. If only she'd realized it, maybe she could have headed off John's time jump.
Cameron waters some baby cactuses that grow quickly into big metal cactuses, one of which wraps itself around John. I now think that John-hugging cactus represents Cameron and the other two represent John Henry and Catherine Weaver. He's been embraced by the metal and he makes no attempt to get away.
Sarah is awakened by weird sounds on a baby monitor. When she wanders into the living room of the old house, Cameron is caring for turtle!John. But instead of handing him back to Sarah, she passes him off to who we now know as John Henry and he takes John away.
Sarah climbs down into a grave alone and finds Dr. Sherman's office at the bottom of it. She realizes it's pointless talking to him and that she needs to get back to work. She did get back to work, searching for the 3 dots. That led her to Zeira, where Sherman had worked, where John told her about her weight loss, and where the new and improved 3-dot!Turk was residing.
It's my loop
We'd already gotten the reveal of the 3 lights on The Turk when John Henry faced a cyber attack in "To the Lighthouse", so the big 3-dots moment in the finale was just that Sarah finally got to see them. I can pretend that those 3 lights were actually on The Turk originally (they weren't) and I can believe they stuck with her subconsciously. But I feel really let down that the whole thing amounted to nothing more than one massive coincidence:
Sarah sees The Turk and the 3 lights on it subconsciously stick with her ---> Sarah sees 3 bullet hole/beams of light in Cromarties trunk in Mexico ---> Sarah gets sick and has 3 dreams about groups of 3 ---> Sarah realizes the 3 dots are on the blood wall ---> Sarah looks for tech companies using a 3-dot logo and gets conned by Dakara ---> Sarah finds UFO brochure with 3 dots from drone sightings ---> Sarah learns about drones being seen that have 3-dot markings on their hull --> Sarah meets Allan Park and learns about strange metal factory ---> Sarah sees drone with 3 beams of sunlight shining through it ---> Sarah gets kidnapped, learns about Kaliba and gets implanted with tracking device ---> Kaliba attacks, leaving cell phone behind with Savannah's picture on it ---> Connors save Savannah and learn about Zeira and John Henry ---> Visit with Weaver gets interrupted by the drone ---> Sarah sees 3 lights on The Turk.
It was an interesting path for sure, but in the end it was just dumb luck that Sarah's obsession led back to The Turk. There's also the problem of the 3 lights on The Turk having nothing to do with the drone so far, which makes the connection from one to the other even thinner (unless we're eventually going to find out that the drone was specifically designed to have 3 holes to let 3 beams of light shine through in homage to the almighty Turk, which would be silly). So as much as I enjoyed the 3-dots journey, I was terribly unsatisfied with its conclusion.
Sarah knew Weaver was liquid metal and thought she was building Skynet. Yet standing there, unarmed in front of her, she decides to yell at her. Yeah that makes sense. Smart, Sarah, real smart. That was the first time anyone's used the word "terminator" in the series, by the way. I didn't like that. It felt gimmicky and pulled me right out of the moment.
The reactions to Weaver being liquid metal were vastly underplayed all around. I know she'd just saved their lives from the drone and I know everyone was rushed, but still... kind of a big deal to see liquid metal. The only prior experience Sarah and John had with liquid metal was the nightmare and a half that was the T-1000. The only clue Ellison even had about the existence of liquid metal was the vague ramblings of crazy Silberman. I would've liked more from all of them on the reveal. We waited all season for it.
We've been under the impression that there's only one drone (or at least I have). I thought the purpose of Kaliba's secret metal alloy factory was to develop the drone prototype and, once perfected, it would presumably build a whole bunch of them. Maybe the intention was to start judgment day, not by controlling the US's nuclear arsenal, but by simply launching drones as missiles against US targets, igniting a world war. But unless they've already got more in development, it would seem that all the intrigue about the drone ended with it being basically a missile to try to take out Catherine Weaver. Lame! Or am I missing something?
Oh pretty terminator, why did you waste my time?
There was too much time spent on the water cooler terminator in this episode. We watched him patch up his wounds and we watched him go to a gun store in search of silencers. Cool. He must have some awesome plan in the works! Nope. The second he actually heads out for some action, he makes an easy security guard kill and is almost immediately destroyed by Catherine. I wish they'd cut all of that except his encounter with Catherine and then added more time to the last couple scenes at Zeira Corp (which were too rushed).
I think his real purpose in the story was just to have his chip end up in John Henry's hands. We'd already seen that kind of chip with pretzel girl terminator, but we didn't know why the chip burned up. So the phosphorous coating was new info that I assume will be important later. The bigger point of the chip, I think, was in John Henry attempting to recover data from it. He said he didn't think he could, but that he'd try. I'm guessing he did recover some data from it about Kaliba and since that chip must still be sitting in that room, maybe Sarah will take it and eventually get some info from it too.
The machines with these chips seemed to be after the Weavers. I think we all assumed at the time that the one Cameron fought outside of Dr. Sherman's office was after Dr. Sherman, but it's looking different in hindsight. Given that the water cooler terminator was going after Savannah and Catherine, I think pretzel girl terminator was doing the same. And now I've got a wacky theory...
We know that in our current future, John Connor doesn't lead the resistance. In fact, no one's even heard of him. I believe Kaliba only went after the Connors because Sarah had gone after Kaliba. Savannah and Catherine, however, were actual targets. I think they're sort of the bizarro Sarah and John of this timeline.
While Sarah has fretted over John's bond with Cameron, Catherine has has been rather pleased about Savannah bonding with John Henry. Sarah told John that machines don't feel things and they don't know love. She's told him people are all that matter. But John's experiences aren't so black and white because in addition to being chased down by killer robots, he's also been protected by reprogrammed killer robots. And along the way, he's allowed himself to get attached to them — first to "Uncle Bob" because of his desire for a father figure and now to Cameron because of his desire for companionship. Savannah's positive experiences with John Henry mirror that. She sees him both as a father figure and a playmate.
So while John is off in the future with Savannah's "mother", Savannah is left with John's mother. It could be that their combined influences over the girl make her essentially the new John Connor. I don't expect to find her running the resistance; she's too young for that. But if the "will you join us" plan is to set up a human-metal faction to win the war against Skynet and it's just getting started around 2027, Savannah could very well be its leader.
That could explain why Skynet came after the Weavers and also why they might know who Sarah Connor is without knowing John Connor. I think we got a hint of that with the water cooler terminator. He was in the crowd when Sarah got arrested and even with Savannah in plain sight, his focus shifted to Sarah. While he was repairing himself, he heard the name "Sarah Connor" on the news and immediately turned toward the TV. I'm thinking Sarah is a secondary target now because of the time she'll be spending with Savannah.
Now I'm fully expecting the next machine Sarah encounters to grab her by the throat and tell to her to "call to Savannah" ;)
Sarah got left with Ellison?!
Believe it or not, I used to like Ellison. He was a great character in season one, but I turned against him in a big way this season. Aside from finding him rather dull, his excessive arrogance and stupidity made me just flat out hate him. So my one fear going into this finale was that Sarah would get stuck with Ellison when she and John split up. And she did. Augh. Someone kill me now.
Even with John gone and Sarah alone, I can not imagine that she'd even consider teaming up with that lying backstabber. If she was willing to ditch Cameron and Derek because she didn't trust them, it would be ridiculous to think she'd work with Ellison. There's a problem, though. While Sarah Connor doesn't necessarily need a partner, she does need someone to play off of for our benefit. And the way her story got left, it points to Ellison as her goddamn partner. Um, something's got to be done about that situation right away.
Never fear! I have a wacky solution...
The trio of Kyle, John and Allison make for a great bizarro version of Sarah, John and Cameron. John doesnt need to be hanging out with uncle Derek anyway, right? They've already had plenty of time together. So Derek and a red shirt team will get sent to 2009 to fight Kaliba. When his team is dead, he and Sarah will run into each other. He won't know her. She won't trust him. She'll think he's metal and take a shot at him. He'll tell her "cyborgs don't feel pain, I do". Hilarity ensues. Then we won't need Ellison anymore. As a bonus, Derek can shoot him.
Prelude to a Chip
Hey, what do you know, it's Allison! Meanwhile, the real Cameron is inside John Henry's head. The possibilities are amusing, to say the least. I doubt we're going to get a Prelude to a Kiss kind of story, but I'll feel cheated if we don't at least get one scene where John talks to JH!Cameron. Won't you?
While some of Allison's memories are the basis for how Cameron acted, Cameron isn't simply a cyborg version of Allison. She has programming and experiences with John; she's learned things and has glitches, all of which make up who she is. But I'm sure John's going to get know Allison on his way to find John Henry and it's going to mess with his head. It's a very peculiar situation and I have to wonder if John will end up falling for Allison or staying true to Cameron.
There's no easy answer to that one, nor should there be. Now that we've gone down this path of human/cyborg love, it needs to play out the hard way. Meeting and falling for the human that Cameron was based on right after her body was damaged and left in the past would be entirely too convenient... almost as convenient as jumping 18 years through time and landing in the very tunnel that your uncle, father and the human basis for your cyborg girlfriend happen to be walking through :P
Dynamic cyborg duo
There seems to be a few schools of thought about Cameron and John Henry's whereabouts:
1. Cameron is inside John Henry with John Henry.
2. Cameron is inside John Henry, but John Henry is still in The Turk.
3. John Henry is inside John Henry, but Cameron is inside the Turk.
Then there's my own special blend:
4. Cameron is inside John Henry with John Henry and John Henry is inside The Turk.
Since the message that brought him and Cameron together was "will you join us", it seems logical to me that he and Cameron are both needed in the future to enact the plan. And in order to make the jump, they'd both have to be on Cameron's chip. But unless John Henry wiped The Turk, his programming is also still on it too — John Henry is still in The Turk. If so, he'd be in the present and the future. I'm not sure what the implications of that might be, though.
It's also possible John Henry left a copy of Cameron behind on the The Turk as well, but from a story standpoint, it would be an impractical setup. I can't imagine Sarah lugging around Cameron's body (and wouldn't she have to keep it on ice to prevent decomp?) in hopes she can pick up a super advanced neural net processor somewhere then download her from The Turk.
We change a wire, we change John Henry
If changing a wire "tweaked" John Henry, I think it's safe to assume that loading his software into Cameron's chip and sticking it in his processor port will have changed him dramatically. What he'll be like when we see him next is anyone's guess. I suspect he won't be quite the fun machine we're all accustomed to. I'm thinking the change in environment, the untethering and the potentially split personality chip in his head might make him prone to anger and fits of rage against humans and their inferior non-ball-jointed bodies. Will anyone be able to reassure his angry mind? *gulp*
How the hell did John Henry get Cameron's chip to fit his port anyway? Cameron's chip is distinctly different than that of T-888. Did Cameron stop off at Radio Shack on the way to Zeira Corp to pick up a Universal Neural Net Processor Adapter Kit?
Ring of fire
Every time bubble we've ever seen has left a concave impression on the ground when it arrived. This time was no different. There was a slightly depressed circle with a smoldering perimeter where it dropped John and Weaver. Now, we've never actually seen a bubble leave, but when Sarah, John and Cameron time jumped from the bank vault, the entire bank was destroyed. So even if Catherine Weaver's time machine is more advanced, I'd still expect it to leave the same kind of impression from the point of departure as it leaves at the point of arrival. Yet John Henry had already time jumped and there wasn't even a mark on the floor. The room looked completely normal.
I'm inclined to say that's suspicious. Is it possible John Henry didn't actually jump? Could he have maybe left to go find his brother instead? That would certainly put a nice twist on things — John and Catherine get to the future only to find out that John Henry/Cameron is not there. But since no one questioned the lack of damage to the room at Zeira and Sarah wasn't even in a rush to get away from the giant ball of energy, maybe it was just a big oops?
Sarah to the priest: "I don't know about God or heaven, but I do believe something wants this world to burn — the devil, demons." I think if we call those daemons, she's right on the money ;)
Ellison wants Sarah to tell the FBI everything while he says nothing because she's got nothing to lose. Fuck off, Ellison. Not only are you an arrogant, lying fool, you are also a coward.
Weaver to Ellison: "I don't think now's the time to be parse in which laws we'll be obeying and which we will not." John Henry reiterates: "Now is not the time." *SNAP* Even the metal can see how fucking high that horse is that Ellison sits on.
Fugliest motel room ever! Also, not a very secret location. Sarah tells the priest, who tells Chola, who gets followed by Ellison, who was prompted to do so by Weaver, who used logic to deduce that Sarah would be using the priest to get in touch with John.
Not!Mute!Chola! So nice they found an organic way to bring her back. And now we know what became of her — she took over Carlos' business. Cameron's new passport had the alias Emily Gage. Dorothy Gage was L. Frank Baum's niece, and who the character of Dorothy was named for. I guess that means Sarah will be Sarah Gage next season? Maybe we'll get to see Chola again when she gets her new ID.
John Henry was an awesome God in the prison break.
Sarah to Aldridge: "John is dead." That's our Sarah. She wasn't falling for his "I believe you" bullshit. She said it so many times, I think she was trying to convince herself of it since she thought she'd never see John again. Now that John's in another time, I'm sure she's back to thinking it.
I feel like I should say something about John telling his mom he loves her, but since he said it after learning she might be dying of cancer and followed it up with a time jump, it kind of got diluted.
Ellison to Weaver: "I've been asleep." You're damn right, Ellison. That's the first thing you've ever gotten right.
Ellison to Weaver: "I told you, she'll never leave his side and he'll never leave his mother's." Wrong again, Ellison. Wrong again.