Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles isn’t letting up at all, and Skynet is clearly getting more personal in its’ war against the Connors. In tonight’s episode, Cromartie decides to go after Charley’s wife, Michelle, in an effort to use Charley to get to the Connors. Meanwhile, John finds himself caught in an uncomfortable situation between his potential girlfriend, Riley, and the Terminator who says she loves him, Cameron.
The episode opens on Charley and Michelle on the road, stopping at a dusty little truck stop. In many ways, this moment is reminiscent of the end of the original The Terminator film. There is a significant amount of tension shown between Charley and Michelle in their silence. While Charley refills their truck, Cromartie gets into truck and drives off with Michelle.
John is fixing the cable TV of the pregnant lady next door, when he catches a news story about “Charles Lazlo”, failed movie star who killed a bunch of people. Lazlo is, of course, Cromartie’s new body.
John comes back to the house to find Cameron standing in the middle of the house, commenting on the fact that the house is sinking, slowly.
John and Sarah make small talk when suddenly Charley calls John to tell him that Michelle was taken by Cromartie. Charley wants Sarah to help him – because he doesn’t know who else to turn to. Sarah refuses to help him as far as John can tell, but subtly gets Charley to reveal his location so she can come to him. She can tell it’s a trap, but feels like she must go to the rescue. That said, she can’t allow John to know about her rescue attempt, because if she did, he would want to come along too.
Sarah and Kyle then leave to go to Charley’s rescue, while Sarah tells Cameron to guard John. Kyle briefly tries to talk Sarah out of going, but of course she doesn’t listen and heads off anyhow. Kyle, ever the hero, accompanies her.
We get to see that Michelle is tied to a chair in a barn of some sort, and she looks about for a means of escape while Cromartie prepares for the inevitable rescue attempt. He’s building something, though the audience isn’t quite able to see what.
John and Cameron load up their newly purchased computers, where Cameron almost reveals her inhuman status by lifting more weight than a small girl should be able to. Riley calls John to make plans to get together, and John asks Cameron to drop him off to meet her. Cameron initially refuses on the basis that she’s supposed to keep an eye on John, but she eventually seems to relent. When John realizes she won’t, he runs out of the truck to get to see Riley.
Agent Ellison is watching the film Lazlo made before he became Cromartie, when Catherine Weaver calls Ellison to ask him if he’d be interested in a job. Ellison refuses at first, but is convinced to meet with her when she says they’ll discuss who or what actually killed all those people, suggesting she knows about the Terminators.
Showing remarkable resourcefulness, Michelle, manages to get over to her purse and get her phone, while Kyle and Sarah talk to Charley about what the plan of action is. Michelle calls Charley, and tells him where she is. Kyle and Sarah are both somewhat cold and force Charley to make Michelle prove that it’s her and not Cromartie imitating her voice. While testing her, Michelle hears Cromartie come back into the room and ends the call. Cromartie notices that she got into her purse, but doesn’t say anything to her (probably because he wanted her to call in the first place.) Instead, he silently sets up booby traps around Michelle, and tapes her mouth closed. Then he goes into a very un-Terminator monologue about the evolution of the mousetrap and the difficulty in building a better one. (The booby trap around her chair uses a mousetrap as a component.)
Riley and John are browsing the newsstand where Riley complains about how magazines are trying to turn people into little drones. While doing so, she asks John if he’s going to return to school, which he says probably won’t happen. As they flirt, Riley notices Cameron stalking them, and the two would-be lovebirds flee.
Meanwhile, Charley, Kyle and Sarah drive to Michelle’s rescue. Kyle leads the way in a very efficient military fashion, and they easily find Michelle, though Kyle also sees the trap laid at the chair. Sarah keeps Charley from going to Michelle, at first, while Sarah and Kyle examine the trap, realizing that it’s a very elaborate bomb.
Sarah tells Michelle she’s going to remove the tape, but that Michelle can not move or the bomb will detonate. Charley acts as the voice of reassurance while Sarah questions Michelle and Kyle goes off to try to find Cromartie. Michelle isn’t coping with the stress real well, for obvious reasons. Michelle also tells Charley that things will never be ok, not now that this whole thing is a part of her life. Sarah sends Charley to the truck to get the defusing supplies while she stays to talk to Michelle. Michelle wonders why Sarah came, and Sarah avoids answering.
Charley comes back with the supplies and says that the car was destroyed. Sarah wonders why Cromartie went after the car, and then realizes there was no bomb. Cromartie used Michelle as bait to get Sarah and Kyle away from John. She calls John to find out where he is, right as Kyle finds a device that lets Cromartie listen in on Sarah’s call. Cromartie now knows exactly where John is, and the three of them are far away from being able to get to him before Cromartie can. Kyle also sees that Cromartie rigged the building to explode, and the four humans just manage to get under cover before the explosion engulfs the building. Furthermore, they now have wounded to deal with, and there’s no cell tower in the area.
Cromartie, using Sarah’s voice, then calls John back to set up a new meeting place, along with instructions to turn off his phone. John tells Riley he needs to leave to meet his mother. Sarah and Kyle tell Charley they need to leave, and when Charley refuses to leave the possibly mortally wounded Michelle behind, Sarah says they’ll send someone back for them. Michelle then says that she’ll walk, and the four leave.
Ellison has his lunch meeting with Catherine Weaver, and is remarkably defensive about why she would want to talk to him. Weaver gives Ellison a clearly false story about how she first became aware of the Terminators (though she doesn’t use that name). But she provides enough information to convince Ellison that she knows something, and she includes the fact that Ellison knows too. She convinces him that she wants answers about the machines.
John goes to the pier to meet “mom”, walking right into Cromartie’s trap. As he is doing so, Riley is met by Cameron, who demands to know where John is.
The Connors and Dixons carjack a passing van, giving them at least a passing chance at finding John before Cromartie does. Though, of course, John now has his phone off. And there is the slightly distracting issue that Michelle is seriously wounded, and the rough driving Sarah is doing is only making the bleeding worse. Sarah stops the van, torn between letting an innocent person die and the need to save John – and by proxy, the hope of mankind’s future.
John sees Cromartie on the pier and disguises himself as he runs from the killing machine. Simultaneously, Cameron makes her way to the pier where she starts scanning for both Cromartie and John. John trades clothes with another random pier-goer and flees from Cromartie, jumping into the ocean just as Cromartie opens fire on him. Cromartie follows, and manages to grab at John’s jacket, however John wiggles free and Cromartie sinks. He surfaces to see Cameron standing over him, but she also won’t enter the water, for obvious reasons.
John and Cameron are met by Sarah and Kyle, although Charley and Michelle aren’t in the van. John does, however, notice the blood left behind by Michelle.
Cromartie walks himself back to shore, prepared to continue his hunt.
And Charley is at the hospital, just having found out that Michelle has died, when John walks up to him to comfort him.
Charley buries his wife, and Ellison joins him at the funeral, although for obvious reasons the Connors do not. Charley throws the bible that Ellison gave him into Michelle’s grave, having clearly lost his faith. Of course, it’s a good thing that the Connors did not attend, since we see that Cromartie is staking out the funeral.
Pretty good episode, all in all. Come back in seven when No Good Deed airs!