This season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had been largely about shaking expectations. And what better way to do that then to continue to mess with what we know – or don’t know, about everyone’s favorite Terminator – Cameron. Thanks to a computer glitch, we get to see a series of elements from her backstory tonight, and rather than answering questions, it just raises even more of them.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Allison from Palmdale

The episode begins with a view of the future where Cameron is running through a dark hall, with lights chasing her. She pushes open a door and we see the familiar apocalyptic vision of the future. This Cameron is wild and uncontrolled, not at all the mechanically precise Cameron we’re familiar with. A net ensnares and captures her… at which point we see this is just a memory of the present-day Cameron. She and John are in the truck, going shopping – oddly enough, she’s distracted. He’s going to head to Radio world while she goes to the grocery, and they will reunite in half an hour.

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Sarah is on her way off somewhere when she is flagged down by pregnant-neighbor-Kacy. When Kacy says that she’s bleeding, Sarah takes her to the hospital.

Cameron goes grocery shopping, and is acting odd. Her vision flickers between the present and her “memories” of being caught in the net. We see her run into a fruit stand, and she just freezes. When a cop asks her for her name, she flashes back to the future again, where she is being interrogated by the Terminators. She is branded with a bar code, and reveals that her name is Allison Young.

In the present, she is taken to a “drunk tank” where meets Jody – a local street kid. Cameron wonders if tattoos can disappear as she examines where she should have the bar code. Cameron introduces herself as Allison – not Cameron.

At the hospital, Kacy is checked out and is told that the child is still ok, but they’ll need to keep her for some testing. Sarah tells Kacy that she will stay with her.

John goes back to the grocery store to look for Cameron, where he finds out about her “episode”. He finds that she was taken by the cops – meanwhile, Cameron and Jody are released with a “warning”, and get their belongings back. Jody notices Cameron’s large wad of cash, and tells Cameron to come with her.

John goes to the police station to look for Cameron, but finds that she is already gone – having left with Jody. The cops are kind enough to tell John that Cameron went with Jody, who usually hangs at the Boulevard.

Returning to the hospital, Kacy talks to Sarah about her child, saying that it’s a boy. She asks Sarah what John was like. Sarah tells her about John’s birth happening in the jungle during a hike. She lies and says that John’s dad was there. Before she can finish the tale, Trevor – Kacy’s boyfriend arrives. Sarah starts to leave, but Kacy asks for some magazines.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Allison from Palmdale

While John heads to the Boulevard asking for Jody, Sarah stops by the maternity ward where she sees all the infants. Struck with a maternal wave, Sarah calls John to check in. John lies about Cameron being missing while Sarah says she’ll be at the hospital for a while.

Ellison meets with Catherine Weaver to discuss the possibility of taking the job. He says he wants to track down and hunt the machines, and Weaver warns him about anthropomorphizing the machines. She tells Ellison a story about a helicopter crash that killed her husband, after explaining the difference between machines and humans. Machines, after all, can’t be either good or evil.

We flash back to the future where Allison is being held in a cell. She is given food, but she rejects it. Meanwhile, in the present day, Cameron and Jody get some hamburgers. Cameron admires a necklace Jody is wearing, and Jody says she got it at a thrift store. Jody talks to Cameron about her life’s story, and draws a sketch of Cameron. Jody is verbally and physically assaulted by a possible ex-boyfriend who accuses her of stealing her stuff. He hits Jody, and threatens Cameron. Cameron, clearly missing all of her combat training, freaks out and gives the punk her wad of cash, begging him to go.

Jody takes Cameron to a halfway house, and chides Cameron for giving up the cash. Jody tells Cameron to fill out the application so they can crash there for a few nights – and that she can lie about it. Cameron fills in the application as Allison Young. The girls bond, and Jody gives Cameron her necklace. It’s very odd seeing Cameron act so human.

Ellison stops back by the Bureau where he hangs with a coworker. He wants her to check up on Catherine Weaver and ZeiraCorp. He explains that he’s been offered a job, but wants some reassurances. His friend notices that he isn’t wearing his cross, and tries to tell him that the massacre wasn’t his fault. Another agent comes in and addresses her as Agent Ellison, at which point we realize that this agent is James Ellison’s ex-wife, Lila. Lila tells Ellison that she will look into Weaver for him.

We get treated to a side-by-side flashback/present day scene where Allison is interrogated by the Terminators while Cameron is talking to the social worker. Cameron is very un-like her normal self, hesitant, unsure of herself, non-violent, and revealing information about the life of Allison. In the future, Allison says that a bracelet she is wearing was given to her by her sister. Allison talks about a birthday party, and how the next year there was no party, due to everyone being dead. Cameron makes weird leaps, taking from Allison’s memories, and asks the Social Worker whether or not she thinks humanity could ever be hunted down. Cameron tells the Social Worker that she (and Allison) are from Palmdale.

John finds someone who knows Jody, who tells him about the halfway house. In the meantime, Kacy tells Sarah about Trevor, her on-and-off boyfriend, and the father of her child. Kacy tells Sarah that she wants life to be perfect for her child, and she wonders if Sarah felt the same way towards John.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Allison from Palmdale

In the present, Cameron calls Claire Young – her “mom”. The woman has no clue who Allison is – she doesn’t have a daughter, yet. We see that she is pregnant, and she comments that she thinks Allison is a pretty name. Cameron is fairly devastated that her “mom” didn’t know who she was. Jody tells Cameron that they should go and have some fun.

At the hospital, Trevor brings food for Kacy and Sarah. Trevor offers to take John and Cameron out some time, he even offers to take John out to the range. Sarah finds out that Trevor is a cop, which frightens her a bit. Meanwhile, Kacy is told that she can go home tomorrow.

Ellison’s ex tells him that Weaver and the company is clean, although Ellison notes that the helicopter crash was due to mechanical failure, not human error. She suggests he should talk to someone, a suggestion he rejects.

John finds Jody and Cameron at the halfway house, playing foosball. Cameron seems very happy, and acts amazingly normal. John approaches her to take her home, but she doesn’t recognize him, or the name Cameron. She’s Allison, after all. When he tries to tell the truth, because he realizes that her computer chip is damaged again, she flashes to the future again. We see Allison running through a corridor, where she finds a concentration camp with humans and animals held in pens. Allison finds a ladder and climbs up it to find that she’s on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Allison throws herself into the water, but is again snared by a net, and recaptured by Skynet.

John tries to take Cameron out of the home, explaining that he’s her brother John Baum. Cameron throws him against a wall (she’s still super strong, whether she knows it or not). John is escorted by security out of the house while Cameron wonders what happened.

We flash to the future again where Allison is thrown back into interrogation. We then see that her interrogator is a Cameron model Terminator. Allison is terrified to see her own face on a machine. Cameron tells Allison that she wants to get to know her better, she knows that Allison is important to John Connor. Cameron says that Skynet’s plan is eliminate all of mankind, but that she’d prefer for humanity and the machines to live in peace. Cameron knows that John chose her because of her bravery, but she reveals that Skynet chose Allison as well. She wants Allison to tell her where the camp is.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Allison from Palmdale

In the present, Cameron tells the social worker the truth about herself – that she’s a killing machine from the future, designed to infiltrate humanity and kill John Connor. When the Social Worker asks why, Cameron explains John’s importance, but then says that she was sent to kill him – and to hang his head on a pike. The Social worker goes to make a phone call, while John waits outside the halfway house.

Cameron asks Jody about her life, as she begins to revert to her machine-like behavior. Cameron and Jody contemplate leaving and “re-inventing” themselves.

Sarah talks to Trevor about herself, Trevor reveals that his job makes Kacy nervous. He tries to be friendly to Sarah, apologizing for cautious cop instincts. He asks Sarah to stay the night with Kacy.

Back at the halfway house, the social worker has the cops come to get Cameron, but when she leads them to the room, both Cameron and Jody have left.

Weaver introduces Ellison to her daughter, Savannah. Weaver is clearly impersonating someone who belongs in this time, someone who had a husband and child. Ellison tells Weaver that he saw the report blamed the crash on mechanical failure. Weaver admits that wasn’t what she told him, originally. When he asks what the truth is, she wants him to tell her. His response is that what is official isn’t always true. Ellison then agrees to take the job.

Cameron and Jody go to a house in the suburbs where they break in. Jody lies about the house, saying that it’s a place she used to babysit. Cameron realizes the lies in her story, and we quickly figure out that the house belongs to Jody’s family. A stolen set of earrings match the necklace that Jody got “at a thrift store.” She wants Jody to tell her about the necklace, and as she interrogates Jody about it, we flash to the future.

In the future, Allison is being interrogated by Cameron, who says that she knows that the bracelet Allison wears didn’t come from her sister. They found similar bracelets on other humans, and Cameron realizes that the bracelets are identifiers to get them into the camp. She kills Allison and takes the bracelet, realizing that Allison’s plan was to send Cameron into the camp without the bracelet, which would have revealed her to be a Terminator.

Returning to the present, Cameron interrogates Jody. Jody tries to warn Cameron that they need to leave before the silent alarm goes off. Cameron accuses Jody of planning to leave her there, and letting Cameron take the blame for the robbery. She seizes Jody by the throat, just like she did with Allison in the future. John enters and sees Jody’s prostrate form on the floor. Unlike with Allison, Jody isn’t dead, just hurt. Cameron recognizes John this time, and tells him that they need to go.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Allison from Palmdale

Once more at the hospital, Kacy wakes up to see Sarah sitting there. Kacy tells Sarah that the truth isn’t that Trevor freaked – it’s that she did. She was afraid of raising her son surrounded by the dangers of cop life. Sarah also tells Kacy that her story was made up – John’s dad wasn’t there. When Kacy asks why Sarah lied, Sarah says that she says that was the way she wishes the story had been. She tells Kacy that she did it, on her own. She made it through, and so can Tracy.

John drives Cameron back home, and Cameron makes the comment that this was her last “get out of jail free”, to which John says she’s damn right. He notices the necklace and asks where she got it. She lies and says she got it at an “awesome thrift store in Echo Park”, mirroring the lie she was told by Jody.

I thought this was a very solid episode, although it certainly raised more questions than it answered. But the previews for next week suggest that very soon things really ramp up, and John starts to become the resistance leader he is destined to become. Come back in seven for Goodbye to All That!