This episode is bookended by Sarah Connors's worst speeches yet — we've opened Pandora's box and only hope remained inside it once the nightmares fled, the machine is out there and won't stop until we're dead, blah blah blah — but we're going to admit it: This little TV show is by far the most compelling part of the Terminator franchise. We can't wait to see what happens next in this biblical, Freudian, Philip K. Dickian schizo-robo-cauldron.
Hot bossy mom Sarah and Jesus-figure, Skywalker-substitute teen son John declare a truce this episode as the drama shifts to daddy issues. Derek Reese, John's uncle from the future, is bleeding out on the dining-room table. John wants to reveal their blood ties; mom suggests that there must be some reason John's future self, leader of the anti-robot brigade, hasn't trusted Derek enough to tell him already. In the end, John, Kanye-like, defers to his moms, and only clears up the future mystery of daddy Kyle Reese's disappearance by telling Derek his brother was a hero who died saving them. But would John have spoken differently if mommy hadn't been in the room?
Derek's near-death experience affords us plenty of flash forwards as he recalls the events that led to him jumping through time to protect the Connors. We finally get a glimpse of John's daddy: This Kyle is far prettier than in the original Terminator, but not very convincing as the sort of hero with the balls to spawn humanity's savior. We have to feel a little bad for jealous Derek, stuck in pretty boy's shadow.
Good thing Sarah's old beau, paramedic Charley Dixon, is around to save Derek's life. Pity, though, that Charley is forced to conclude that all this time travel, robot war, and preventing of the apocalypse means he never really had a chance with Sarah. Or as John's spare daddy.
Derek does not get on well with our little robot friend Cameron. Seems he was acquainted with robogirl back in the future and didn't like her then either. And — oops! — turns out there's another Andy Goode who also created a thinking, feeling robot mind, but this Andy is still hanging out with the Reeses postapocalypse — and in other words, wasn't killed by Derek at the chess tournament. That's right: Derek told Sarah it wasn't him, but we see that he did shoot Andy #1.
Cameron still needs to find the enemy's missing hand, but she disposes of most of the rest of the Terminator that she killed in the last episode — in a chemical-sprinkling manner, incidentally, that echoed season four of The Wire. (Meanwhile, The Wire's Bubbles, Andre Royo, takes a cameo here as a future soldier.) Charley's response to this gruesome scene? "Little girl, you freak me the hell out. He's a scary robot; you, you're a very scary robot."
Sarah warns Cameron that if she ever hurts Charley she will tear her apart piece by piece. Cameron seems to acquiesce. At this point, we're more concerned about what Cameron and Derek are going to do or have done to each other — and which of them we should be rooting for. As well as the reason for Cameron secretly holding on to the memory chip she removed from the Terminator… —Kristal Hawkins