Saturday, June 9, 2012

Recap: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles S2E2 "Automatic for the People"

Zack Ward ("Zone" from Dollhouse) is another freedom fighter sent back from the future.  He arrives naked in an alleyway, as they all do, but with a nasty chest wound.  He struggles to his feet and runs off.  Meanwhile, the Connor gang is getting ready to leave their safe haven church.  John checks on Cameron who tells him that he is no longer trustworthy since he risked his life to save hers - he is not to do that again.  Sarah wants John to go back to school and attain some semblance of normalcy while the rest of them find a new place to live.

So John does go to school - and with his new, non-emo haircut looks oodles older than the rest of the students.  He watches his classmates in the hallway and is aware of the disconnect.  Later, a pushy blonde girl, "Riley," starts talking to him as he's brooding and convinces him to buy her lunch.  I find her annoying but John seems to like her and invites her home with him after school to see the new house Sarah has found.

The new house is nice.  Derek and Cameron scope it out as a very, very pregnant Busy Phillips gives Sarah the sales pitch.  Sarah says they'll take it, furnished as is, and can move in pretty much now.  Some time later, Zack Ward crashes through their garden door (so much for the security deposit) and dies on their floor, but not without gasping out "Stop Greenway! Two days ... Serano Point."  Serano Point is a nuclear power plant, and in a brief flashback we learn that it will somehow be important to the resistance.  Sarah says she and Cameron will go undercover since Derek has a tendency to kill people when he does.  Like her hands are clean.

Across town, Charlie is surprised to find Ellison in his house when he gets home from work.  Charlie is forced to 'fess up and tell wife Michelle ("Penny" from Lost) all about Sarah still being alive and in L.A., and oh, btw, there are killer robots from the future here too.  Michelle storms out and Ellison tells Charlies that they should leave as their home is no longer safe.  "Where is?" pouts Charlie.

Sarah and Cameron get jobs as temporary janitors at Serano Point.  They identify Greenway, whose boss is "Hank" from Breaking Bad and who is riding Greenway pretty hard to get the reactor back up and not be paranoid about a melt-down.  Later, Sarah "runs into" Greenway at a local tavern (Hank watches them suspiciously from across the bar).  She chats with him, learning that he's a cancer survivor (big scar on his arm) and he's not popular at the plant because he halted the reactor from coming online before and people are worried about their jobs.  Meanwhile, Cameron hustles a bunch of plant workers in a pool game, and also scans a bunch of their ID/access badges.  Sarah, Derek and Cameron talk that night: if the plant powers up and melts down, it'll contaminate half the state, "and Skynet wins."  But if Greenway shuts down the plant, the resistance won't be able to use it in the future ... "and Skynet wins."

John and Riley are hanging out at the house.  Whatever.  We're supposed to be (1) slightly suspicious of this new girl, especially when she builds him a Lego robot and (2) glad that he's found someone his own age to hang out with.  But I mostly find their interactions boring.  Sarah, on the other hand, is ripshit that John brought a stranger home.  He digs his heels in, though, and Riley stays.

The next day at the plant, Sarah uses a forged access badge (compliments of Cameron) to follow Hank into a restricted area.  He catches her and tells her to clean up a hydraulic fluid spill in a room full of toxic waste barrels.  She suits up and goes in, but panics and comes back out.  Hank scans her with a Geiger counter and tells her she's "all crapped up," making her strip and get scrubbed down.  Later, it was all a ruse to get her stripped and show her he had power.  Sarah is more freaked out and less angry than you might assume; all she can think about is how Cameron told her she was going to die of cancer.

Ellison stops by to see Charlie and Michelle off.  Michelle still has her cranky pants on.  I wonder if we'll see Charlie again.

That afternoon when Sarah sees Greenway in the plant's operations center, he doesn't recognize her despite their long and friendly talk at the bar the night before.  He also doesn't have that big scar on his arm.  Sarah calls Derek, who has broken into Greenway's home to see what he's found: poor Greenway, hung from a ceiling fan.  The plant comes back online and Greenway sneaks away to open a coolant valve.  Alarms start going off.  Sarah finds Cameron mopping the floor in her janitor role and tells her that Greenway is a machine.  She has to tell her a number of times before Cameron even responds, which freaks Sarah out.  "Go fix the leak!" she snaps.

Machine-Greenway goes back to the ops center and kills everyone there (well, he only knocks Hank unconscious).  He sees Cameron on the monitors, trying to close the leak, and goes back into the plant after her.  Terminator fight!  Cameron does not seem to be at her best.  Sarah and a newly-arrived Derek try to stop the melt-down from the ops center but can't figure it out, so Sarah runs down into the plant.  She runs through that room with the radioactive barrels; Derek, following her, opts to find another way around.  Sarah grabs a gun from a guard and shoots the bejeesus out of Machine-Greenway, knocking him into a vat of something that dissolves his skin and puts him out of commission.  Cameron closes the leaky valve and the melt-down is averted. Cameron is still acting weird and Sarah doesn't like it.  Later, Cameron puts the pieces of Greenway and the security footage into an empty radioactive waste barrel - it won't be found there.

Back at the house, Sarah notices some smears of blood on the door to the basement.  Someone has written a bunch of messages in blood on the wall, some pertinent to what just happened - but I can't really make it out.  Who did that?  Zack Ward?

Oh dear: because of the incident at the plant, there's a press conference announcing a new partnership between Serano Point, six other plants and some firm that produces automated machines (I missed the name of the company but it wasn't Skynet), in order to eliminate human error.  And also human jobs, I suppose.  When the press conference guy gets back into his car, he morphs into Catherine Weaver.  The machines are beginning to take over - but it was still a boring episode.

Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T:TSCC

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