Cold open: some suburban dad named "Martin Bedell" gets offed by a ginormous T-888. Over to the Connor compound, where Derek explains that in the future, a Martin Bedell is one of John's closest buddies who helps put the Resistance together, so this T-888 is out there trying to eliminate all possible Martin Bedells, just like all the Sarah Connors in the original Terminator. The gang sets out to protect the two remaining Bedells in the L.A. area: one is at the Presidio Alto, a military boys' school. John and Derek head off for P. Alto while Sarah and Cameron are tasked with finding the other guy. On the drive up to the school, Derek points out that the military academy will be as good (read: convenient plot contrivance) as place as any to take on a Terminator, what with all the soldiers and weapons and all.
Ellison meets with Catherine Weaver, who is annoyed about her nuclear power plant shut down from a couple of episodes ago. Ellison goes to investigate. He meets up with Hank from Breaking Bad, who is all fired up and about get a federal investigation launched himself. Hank shows Ellison the valve that had been mysteriously opened and then mysteriously closed, with no security footage. He tells Ellison that it would have had to have been someone with the strength of Superman to open or close that valve. They also check out the damaged tanks where Sarah torched the shit out of the Greenway-Terminator.
When our boys get to the school, the sight of all the soldiers sends Derek into a flashback with his brother Kyle (John's father). Kyle and the commanding officer of whatever ragtag unit have decided to disobey John Connor's order and make a run at a convoy that's hauling a bunch of human prisoners. Derek thinks it's too risky. Back in the now, Derek meets with the schools' headmaster who agrees to have John on a three week trial period. Plus, in another fortuitous plot-contrivance, Derek can sub in for an instructor who can't make it for another week or so.
Sarah and Cameron find the other Martin: he's a little boy, about nine or ten, I guess. They rescue him just as the T-888 shoots his house up. The girls drive off with young Marty as the T-888 tries to give chase. They go back to the Connor house. Marty is a little freaked out by the assassination attempt, plus Cameron can be a little scary. Later, Cameron thinks they should have engaged the T-888 instead of letting him go, but Sarah's like, not with a little boy around.
At the school's firing range, John is kicking all kinds of ass, of course, but also not following the rules too well. He meets Martin Bedell, a senior cadet, who makes John go for a job with him as a demerit. They find Derek out there in the woods, lurking by a big tar pit a la La Brea, scoping out the place. Derek instantly recognizes Bedell as the disobedient CO in his flashback. A little later, Derek is supposed to run a meeting with a bunch of cadets and plebes. He tries to get out of there quickly but some of the guys have questions about all the action he's seen, how many "kills" he's made. Derek gets right up in one kid's face and tells this awful story about gut wounds. Now all the guys are freaked out, except for an observant John who's all, hmmm, poor uncle Derek has been through a lot.
Flashback: Bedell, Derek and Kyle get ready to lay mines to attack the convoy. Now: Bedell joins John at lunch, noting that Derek is kinda intense. They talk a little, bonding, and Bedell confesses that he's thinking of leaving school for a girl. He swears John to secrecy and John's like, when don't I keep secrets for people? Later, Derek finds John in the library and complains about how exposed the school is. John tells him that Bedell is going to leave but Derek says no, he's not: he's going to graduate and then he's going to go to West Point. John starts to feel his destiny crushing in on him.
At the Connor house, there's a t.v. spot of Marty's parents pleading with the "kidnappers" to release their son. But Marty is actually more upset because he's got a book report due Monday and he didn't get a chance to pick out a book yet. He, Cameron and Sarah start pawing through the house's bookshelves. Cameron finds The Wizard of Oz, saying, "It's John's favorite." Marty: "Who's John?" Sarah sends Cameron off to Marty's house to "keep things contained."
Ellison stops by the bar where the plant workers hang out and chats with the bartender about Carl Greenway, discovering that Sarah was involved. He goes back to Weaver and reports that he thinks "one machine" opened the valve and "another machine" closed it, and then they had a fight. Weaver is intrigued by the idea of a second machine and tells him to keep at it. Back at the bar, Hank from Breaking Bad has been drinking pretty heavily when a hot chick hits on him. They go out back and boink up against the side of the bar ... until the hot chick morphs into Weaver who spits Hank like a kebob. Also, when he falls down dead, his pants are totally zipped up which seems like an inefficient way to bang a chick behind a bar.
Derek gets a call from Sarah, warning him that Cameron has learned that the T-888 went to Bedell's house and now knows about the Presido Alto. It's got a couple hours' headstart but Cameron is on her way up there too. She snaps at Derek for not sticking with the plan of snatching Bedell and hiding him and John away. I must say that Brian Austin Green is looking pretty hot in the episode.
The cadets head out into the woods for a strategic exercise. Derek tells them that the mission has changed: there's a man with a gun coming this way and they are to signal when they see him. They are under no circumstances to engage. Meanwhile, Derek and John set up claymores while Bedell frets about the last-minute mission change. After dark the T-888 makes his way through the line, the cadets obediently signalling his approach. Derek shoots one of the Terminator's eyes out and then runs, the T-888 chasing. When it runs past the claymores, John blows them but this barely slows the machine down. Bedell panics and tries to run; the T-888 focuses on him until John distracts it by shouting, "Hey! It's me, John Connor!" The T-888 checks its objectives and is thrilled to note that it is supposed to terminate both John and Bedell. It chases John and falls into a convenient tar pit, where Derek shatters its skull and John sets it on fire. Bedell watches, stunned, as the metal skeleton sinks into the tar. John and Derek wait until it's submerged and then walk off into the woods. Strangely, Cameron - who has just gotten there - just watches from the shadows.
The next morning Sarah takes Marty to a bus stop, telling him to go three stops and then get off and call his mom, But if he's ever in trouble, he should call her and say "book report," and she'll come for him.
As John and Derek get ready to go, Bedell's all, "I'm supposed to stay here and then go to West Point like I don't know the end of the world is coming? Like any of this matters?" John: "Yeah, it really does matter." Okay then, says Bedell, I'll see you around, Connor.
On the ride home, Derek tells John what really happened/is going to happen to Bedell: he suicide-bombed that convoy tank, enabling Derek and his crew to rescue forty human prisoners, including John Connor. Derek: "He died, John. He died for you. We'd all die for you." Shit - that's pretty heavy for a teenage kid to hear, even if he is the savior of the world. I guess that's where the title of this episode comes in - as John says goodbye to any hope he has of getting away from his destiny.
Previously on T:TSCC / next time on T: TSCC
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