Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.13: "Earthlings Welcome Here"

Some fans seem to be worried about the pacing of the plot. Others have gone so far as to suggest the writers are casting about aimlessly for direction. I couldn't disagree more. I think this is the kind of series that rewards patience and careful attention, and the writers have proven to be more creative and flexible than most.


After the previous episode, I was certain that Sarah's obsession with the three dots had been vindicated in some way. After all, the rest of the team was happy to march to her drum when saving the Fields family. Perhaps I overlooked John's absence a little too much. Apparently Sarah's obsession is still a problem for him, and in this episode, it becomes a problem for her. In the end, we still don't know if this is the "right" interpretation of the three dots, but it did manage to expose some interesting information.


I love the fact that the writers took actual proported "drone" pictures, the kind of images that have been circulating on the internet and various cable programs for years, and incorporated them into the "Terminator" mythos. It makes sense that the drones would actually exist, and that they might be connected to SkyNet and its unusual technology.


This episode also dropped a huge surprise in terms of Riley. Fleshing out her arrival in the past and the brutal nature of Jesse's treatment of her, it's not hard to understand her decision. Riley was trapped between a rock and a hard place, and Jesse had tossed her to the wolves. With Cameron onto her, and no place to go, was a suicide attempt her only recourse?


If Riley does survive, John will likely blame Cameron. If Riley doesn’t survive, then John will definitely blame Cameron. Either way, Riley's desperation move fulfills her mission and brings her closer to John. And then Jesse can achieve whatever goal she's had in mind. I doubt very much, given the subtlety thus far, that Jesse just wants Cameron out of the picture. If she wants John's protector and future advisor gone, it's to fill that void with someone else.


With all the Connor family intrigue, it would be easy to overlook Ellison’s subplot. Not only do we get to know the reason why Ellison and his wife are no longer together, but we now understand why he's compelled, against his better judgment, to help Weaver on her latest little project. I'm still not sure why a terminator would want to have a human being teach an artificial intelligence human concepts of morality, but it does open a number of interesting doors.

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Dec 18, 2008 4:27PM EST

I think you brought up some really good points here though I'd like to add my own theory to this. I think the reason that a human is being used to teach this thing morals actually has very little to do with morals at all. Now before I explain that I want to say that I'm not trying to pick on religion and I'm not interested in getting into any theological debates here but I think having a human teach a machine morals is more for the purpose of having the machine analyze humanity. Ellison is a great candidate for this because he's theistic which represents 95% of the human race and even his opening statements on morals aren't necessarily logical which, most people rarely bother to really consider their morals since it's much easier to just do as your parents tell you. While John Henry offered him a great reason for why human life is important to maintain, he skips over it and say "nope cause God said we're important". To a machine, especially what is essentially a jacked up chess computer, that's going to sound pretty dumb. The tone of Ellison's voice when John Henry asked what it is relative to humans indicated that Ellison would be delivering some bad news meaning, he was gonna tell the computer that it was less than humans. If that's what you're teaching to the computer, and one that's sentient at that, it will develop resentment towards humanity as well as a certain amount of fear which would be a good reason for later on deciding to nuke the planet. I think what Weaver is aiming to do with this is to train Skynet to know it's enemy as best as possible in the same way Sarah Connor is trying to prepare John Connor to know his enemy. Anyway, that's my theory.

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Dec 23, 2008 1:07PM EST

Personally i thought it was a great episode, i agree there is no aimlessness about the episode but a carefully planned panorama of the differing story lines brewing. I think that Sarah's obsession with the dots has indeed alienated her from those close to her, but may also lead her to a deeper understanding of whats going on in her mind. As for the Riley and Cameron issue i don't how John could blame Cameron for Riley committing suicide i think on the contrary it may lead to Riley telling him whats going on and even so much as get him and Cameron to talk about it. Personally i want to know what Cameron was doing wit her research and why? i am really looking forward to what happens next i think its going to be a interesting to see how things tie together.

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