As if designed to prove that the tight continuity of the first season was not a mistake, this episode sets the stage for another confrontation between the Connors and Cromartie while paying off some of the encounters earlier in the season. Meanwhile, Ellison finds himself in the middle of a rather odd test.
I was beginning to wonder if John's relationship with Riley was going to matter at some point, and this episode provided me with a simple enough answer. The nice part is that it ties into John's ongoing post-traumatic stress and his rebellion against fate. Riley is coming to represent everything that he might have had, in terms of a semi-normal life, and that has opened the door to "security risks".
The events of "Allison from Palmdale", combined with the theft at the beginning of the episode, are leading into one heck of a confrontation. One can take an interesting point of view on that, however: it took mistakes and poor judgment from all four members of Sarah's "cell" to allow this confrontation to emerge.
It began with Cameron's malfunction, which has been a concern since the premiere and John hid from everyone. John's equally poor decision to trust Riley with the security code opened the door to the break-in. Derek has been distracted by his AWOL love interest. And ultimately, Sarah's compassion at the end of this episode completed the process of exposure.
As ruthless and cold as it sounds, Cameron had the right idea, given the situation. There are too many loose threads and security issues for the Connors right now, and they don't need to add more to the list. Which is why it made no sense for Sarah to show mercy, even if the thief was some stupid kid. I could understand Sarah balking at doing the job herself, but I'm sure Cameron would have happily pulled the trigger.
The net result is that Sarah's lapse will lead Cromartie right to them, and there will inevitably be consequences. Cameron was right about something else: they should move to Canada. The logic has been that the fight to prevent SkyNet is in Los Angeles, but what have they done in that regard this season? Not very much. All of them are struggling to keep their heads in the game, as the previous episode demonstrated, and now those chickens are coming home to roost.
Ellison's encounter with his own personal doppelganger was unusual, to say the least. What was the true purpose of the test? Ellison came very close to getting killed, since he was defenseless, and there has been no sign that Weaver and Cromartie are working together. If anything, Cromartie seemed to be taking independent action by saving Ellison's life.
I've mentioned it several times since the season premiere, but it bears repeating: I believe the writers are intentionally creating a veil of mystery around Weaver, her motivations, and her goals for a reason. Cromartie saved Ellison for a reason. If it were as simple as it seems, why all the intrigue? Matters are being shrouded in shadow for a purpose, and I believe that the apparent monolithic goals of SkyNet hides a more contentious reality.
Whatever the case, this episode has set the stage for the turn from the introductory phase of the second season into the complication phase. As good as the season has been, it would be even better if the impending confrontation shocked the characters back into action.