Terminator: TSCC 2.19: "The Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter"

This episode is not only full of resolution, but also marks the arrival of John Connor as a fully realized character. Previous to this point, it was easy to dismiss John Connor; he simply wasn't yet convincing as the leader of the future human crusade. Much of this episode could be seen as a retcon, but given how careful the writers have been since the pilot, it's entirely possible that this was the intention all along.


In fact, John's confrontation with Jesse nearly overshadowed every other aspect of the episode. I was so amazed by his demonstration of resolve, how well he had been keeping his cards so close to vest, that I was practically ready to download the entire second season and rewatch everything right then and there. John was so specific about his reasons for recognizing who Riley had to be that it should be easy enough to find those moments from those earlier episodes.


The writers have been taking their time with John, and while that has been frustrating at times, this is the right kind of payoff. It also serves to highlight the problem with all of this time travel and timeline manipulation. We simply don't know which "version" of the future everyone is from, and that means assumptions could be very, very wrong.


What we now know (after many hints) is that Jesse doesn't come from the same version of the future as John's father. John's father came from a future where John was winning the war. In Jesse's future, John is too close to the "metal", and this is leading to a slow but steady defeat. And to that the loss of an unborn child, and it's no surprise that Jesse would want to drive a wedge between John and Cameron.


It's not entirely clear which version of the future Derek comes from: a hopeful future in which John is winning, or a desperate future where John is out of his depth. And it's quite possible that there is a decision point that leads to one or the other, something that has yet to be revealed. All things being equal, one would expect that it has something to do with someone we already know: Sarah, Derek, or Cameron. It may be that this will come into play before the end of the season.


The titular last voyage of the Jimmy Carter does more than just provide a basis for Jesse's motivations. It might also prove out a theory that I've had since the beginning of the season. Could the T-1000 seen in the Jimmy Carter, the one that John was trying to forge an alliance with, the same one that has become Catherine Weaver? If so, then it lends much credence to the theory that Weaver represents a splinter group within SkyNet. It would explain why Weaver wants to incorporate human ethics into the aborning John Henry, despite her bloodthirsty ways.


Right down to John's final emotional outlet in his mother's lap at the end of the episode, this was easily one of the best of the season. It gives me great hope that the season will end on a high note. Even if the series comes to a premature end in a few short weeks, the writers have outdone themselves.t

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Mar 25, 2009 7:50AM EDT

Amen.
I just want to say that i loved all Episodes since the pilot, because it was clear that sooner or later things will start to unreveal. There also was a tense athmosphere in all the episodes. I dont know who they created this kind of tension, but i never experienced something like this in any other tv show i have ever seen.
If they ever cancel this show i will turn al-Qaida on those bastards who always cancel the best shows.

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Mar 25, 2009 8:32PM EDT

Did anyone else notice that the whole sub mission was a test by a fraction of machines who were thinking about joining John Connor. The liquid metal seems to have the ability to reason and choose sides; which is leading me to believe that they are descendants of whatever project Weaver "red-head woman" is working on with John Henry (creating a thinking reasoning more human machine). The only reason the Captain of the ship didnt tell them what was in the box was that they (john Connor's camp) were hoping that the humans wouldnt be dumb and would follow orders unquestionably and take it to John Connor. The only reason that the liquid metal killed that one person was to incite a panic on the ship and see if the humans would follow through with the mission. If it really wanted to it could have killed everyone on the ship and headed to John Connor and killed him easily (As Jesse left the ship the liquid metal didnt kill her it just said the answer is no).If the humans would have just followed orders they would have had very powerful allys for the mission to save humanity.
This episode is a commentary how much is too much human and how much is too machine. The rebel machines ended up refusing to work with the humans because they couldnt follow orders and take emotion out of the equation. On the other hand if the humans didnt act and those machines were really out to kill John Connor everything would have been lost. And if they would have just followed orders and acted like machines they would have lost their humanity and individuality which would have cost them more in the long run. It is a double edged sword.
Even so this whole episode leads me to believe that in the future John Connor is dead. He would never have set up a mission which would require the humans to act without individual reason. Cameron is the one who is running the camp (ie telling John is like telling me) and she didnt take the humanity factor into account when setting up the truce.

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Mar 31, 2009 8:38PM EDT

I have to agree that this is my favorite episode, just edging past 'Goodbye to all that'. I always liked it when we see a John Connor that hints at what kind of man he will be in the future.
thetravellerjohn21 raised some good points but one of the other reason why the Jimmy Carter mission went all SNAFU could have simply been because of one thing he wasn't expecting from the T-888, total obedience to his orders. Both Cameron and 'Uncle Bob' have shown that they are capable of going against orders, of defying there programming and maybe he started to think that all Terminator have that capacity. He humanized his protectors so much that he started to expect that all of the metals were like them.

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