Thursday, 17 September 2015

Terminator: TSCC Season 2 Episode 19 ‘Today is the Day Part 2' Review

John Connor’s investigation into the death of Riley continues, will Jessie be able to escape her past actions? Meanwhile John Henry has been doing an investigation of his own, what does Zeira Corp have planned for James Ellison?

So this episode follows both John Connor while he hunts Riley’s killer and Jessie as she remembers exactly what happened to the crew of the USS Jimmy Carter.

Back on the submarine we follow the crew as they rapidly descend into mutiny. Some of the crew ignore orders to avoid the mysterious package and open it. In doing so they unleash a T-1000 who immediately kills a member of the crew, takes her form and melts into an air vent to escape. The T-888 Commander of the submarine, Queeg, instructs the crew to continue home as normal, much to their horror.

The crew rapidly become convinced that anyone on the ship could be the T-1000 in disguise and that Queeg is working for the machines. Jessie confronts Queeg and asks him to stand down and let her assume command; he refuses so, she shoots him. Jessie scuttles the submarine and while escaping with the remaining crew is approached by the T-1000. The machine gives Jessie a message for John Connor “Tell John Connor, the answer is no’.

Upon returning to the base, Jessie is confronted by Cameron. Jessie demands to know what the question was that John Connor asked the machines. What they were refusing. “Will you join us?” Cameron responds, confirming Jessie’s fears about John’s leadership. To add insult to injury Cameron, seemingly in frustration, informs Jessie that she has suffered a miscarriage due to the chaos on the submarine.

It’s good to establish why Jessie hates both John Connor and Cameron so much. Her motivation is well established but It’s also presented in a very personal way. Queeg refused to relinquish command of the submarine because he felt the mission was too important. For all we know Jessie’s decision to scuttle the submarine was what led to the machines refusing to work with humanity. Jessie has been driven by revenge and by showing the full story of the submarine we see that she may have been blinded by it. Her inability to see outside of her small viewpoint is exactly what separates people like her from John Connor.

This concept is brilliantly demonstrated by John’s actions in this episode. Jessie returns the hotel to find John Connor in her room. He explains that he was aware that Riley was from the future and he had been for a while. John tells Jessie that he had figured out Jessie’s entire plan but did nothing about it; he regretted that this had led to Riley’s death. Feeling as responsible for Riley’s death as Jessie is, he tells her to leave town.

John demonstrates amazing self-control in not getting revenge for Riley. Jessie proved that she was willing to do anything to get what she wanted, John showed that he wasn’t. John has been becoming more and more able to lead humanity as this show has gone on; this episode really demonstrates that fact. While Jessie is leaving the hotel she is confronted by Derek. Derek is disgusted by her behaviour, saying that she is not the Jessie that he knew; a statement that due to different time lines is correct.

Derek considers shooting Jessie but decides to follow John’s orders to let her go instead. John asks Derek what humanity think for him in the future. Derek responds that they would live and die with him but they are constantly looking for him to show some humanity, to show some weakness in front of them. We end the episode with John breaking down in tears in front of the only two people he can be vulnerable to, Sarah and Cameron.

John’s character has had a real boost with this episode. He has had to become the John Connor people expect him to be to cope. However John is still vulnerable and in crying with Sarah and Cameron he has shown just how important to him they are. With the inevitable death of Sarah; John’s attachment to Cameron in the future becomes far clearer.

At Zeira Corporation John Henry has moved on from playing with Lego to painting Warhammer figures. Weaver is happy to see his progress but is less happy with his questions about Zeira Corp’s files. John Henry has found fake documents to cover the tracks of former employees that Weaver killed. James Ellison has some of these documents prepared for him. 

John Henry is worried about Weaver killing his friend. Weaver explains that she does not wish to kill Ellison but that humans will “disappoint you”… If Catherine Weaver is the same T-1000 from the submarine is unclear at this point but it is increasingly clear that she has her own plans away from purely creating Skynet.

‘Today is the Day Part 2’ is one of the best episodes of ‘Terminator:TSCC’ so far. John’s journey to becoming the future saviour of humanity is almost complete. Unfortunately this transition has not been entirely positive for John; he has had to learn the weight of responsibility and has become more detached in the process. I like that the show has not shied away from showing the descent into misery that is commanding the resistance in the future.

‘Today is the Day Part 2’ has managed to not only build on the first part but also add to the overall lore of the show. I look forward to the conclusion of the show, with only three episodes to go it promises to be exciting.  


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