We open with a plastic surgeon getting a visit from the reconstructed Terminator: the machine wants a new face because the one he just grew out of that blood solution is a bit too monsterish.
At the Connor house/HQ, John is sad and distracted, thinking about Jordan, a girl from school who killed herself (there was some weird graffiti going up at school and had something to do with her - like she was molested by a teacher or something - and she just couldn't take it anymore, and jumped off the roof of the gym right in front of all the students) - he blames Cameron for not letting him try to stop her from jumping. Cameron has more important things to discuss, however: she's found video footage from the night the three of them jumped forward from 1999 and in the background is the disembodied Terminator head. So the reassembled Terminator is Cromarty, then. Sarah and Cameron think they should make a run for it but John throws a small hissy fit, whingeing that Sarah promised him that this time they would stay and fight.
Also, there's a shipment of a special alloy coming in to port today - the alloy from which the Terminators are made - and they think that Cromarty might try to take it. They grab the shotguns and the C-4 and go check it out. They find a bunch of bodies and realize that the truck has been hijacked by a different crew. That's weird, thinks Sarah, since when does Cromarty work with humans? Then they see the Terminator - and it's not Cromarty.
Ellison finds the plastic surgeon dead in his office, with used instruments and some of that not-human blood solution in the drain. A photograph is up on the computer screen, showing the new face Cromarty has taken: that of "George Lazlo," a former patient. He brings Lazlo in for questioning. Lazlo (and Cromarty) are played by Garrett Dillahunt, who is fabulously creepy as always. Ellison coerces a blood sample from Lazlo - who calls him a fascist - then lets him go. Lazlo returns to his apartment and is nearly immediately visited by Cromarty. Holding Lazlo by the throat, Cromarty checks the resemblance - it's perfect - then snaps Lazlo's neck.
John wants to charge right in and fight the new Terminator but Sarah and Cameron think that's reckless. When the two women get in the car, John wriggles through an open window of the warehouse to plant a tracking device on the truck carrying the alloy. He gets trapped, however, and is still in the truck when the Terminator drives off. An armed guard catches Sarah and Cameron peeing in the the windows and pulls a gun on them. Sarah walks up to him, hands up, and asks, "Have you seen a dachshund puppy?" and then beats him into unconsciousness. Awesome. It's too late, though, as the truck and John are gone.
Back at the house, Sarah is panicking as Cameron tries to track John's cell phone. On the truck, John is also panicking a bit but still manages to bash the guard's head in with a chunk of alloy. His attempt to pick the lock is less successful. Sarah and Cameron go back to the warehouse and pound on the guard guy some more until he agrees to drive them to the army depot where the alloy is being taken. On the way there, the women leave the poor guy standing in the middle of a mine field.
When the truck pulls into a bomb shelter at the army depot, John is able to sneak off and hide, where he watches "Carter," the Terminator, kill the men who were helping him and then seemingly shut down as the blast doors close. As Carter just stands there, John finds a phone and calls his mom, who is right outside with Cameron. Cameron confirms that it'll take Carter 15 seconds to reboot from his "stand-by" mode once he is triggered awake. Sarah tells her son to open the blast doors and then run. One problem: the key to the doors is around Carter's neck. John manages to get the key without waking the Terminator and gets the door open. He and his mom drive out in the truck while Cameron fights with Carter. They lock him in behind the blast doors - where he will presumably go into stand-by again, as the closing doors seems to be his trigger - and drive away.
Ellison pays Lazlo/Cromarty a visit at Lazlo's apartment. He tells Lazlo/Cromarty that someone may be trying to steal his identity - why would someone steal my identity? wonders L/C - and leaves a business card with him. Surprisingly, Lazlo/Cromarty just lets him go.
Cameron sends the truck and its alloy cargo off a cliff and into the ocean; she secretly keeps one bar of the alloy, however, and looks at it that night in her room. John sits down to try to finish his homework that night. His hands are shaking - it was a big day.
Note: I think this show is finally starting to find itself, inserting some small, subtle humor in this episode: when Sarah tells the guard guy he can leave if he can get past Cameron, the guy advances on the girl confidently ... and then there's a cut to the guy driving them to the army base, giving Cameron terrified little sidelong glances and Cameron just gives him a tiny smile. And later, Sarah, watching John struggle to get the truck into gear while Carter advances on them, says “If you’re going to save the world, you’re going to have to learn how to drive stick.”