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Fridge / Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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Fridge Brilliance

  • The show is often brilliant, but one moment that stands out in my mind came after Jesse killed Riley. She went to a bar, started drinking heavily, then picked a fight with a bunch of USAF personnel. I assumed she was just acting out because she was depressed about what she'd done; it was only half an hour later that I realized she started the fight to have an explanation for the bruises on her face.
    • I originally thought that the odd stiff-walk Cameron sported in the second season was just Summer Glau doing a kind of "robo-walk" to reinforce her role as a Terminator. Then, much later in the season when it was revealed that Cameron's constant ongoing battle-abuse has left her parts damaged and she can't repair them perfectly, I realized she isn't acting like a robot, she's been limping because she hasn't been able to fix herself completely after getting damaged in the second season premiere. I'm not sure whether that's just a brilliant piece of characterization or just a terrifically subtle bit of acting on Summer Glau's part, but holy shit. — Unknown Troperso
      • Probably, a combination of both, though it is much probable that Summer has most part in it. She's a former ballet dancer who ended the dancing career for a broken toe and, according to Joss Whedon, still has tendinitis and articular problems. She is definitely a person that knows that physical problems reflects immediately on the way one moves.
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    • On the commentary, Summer Glau states that she mimics a dressage horse for Cameron's weird gait.
  • Another moment in The Sarah Connor Chronicles came earlier in the series when Riley slashes her wrists. John reacts with immediate concern and horror, while Cameron only looks on, nonchalant. At this point, the audience is thinking, "Wow, what a cold metal bitch!", especially when you remember Cameron has already seen a successful suicide attempt and reacted with visible surprise. Fridge Brilliance becomes evident when you realize not only has Cameron been reading enough about suicide to know about deliberately unsuccessful attempts preceding an actual attempt (the "cry for help" stage), but also as a Terminator she has "detailed files" on human anatomy and has been witnessed performing surgeries and making diagnoses of illnesses and injuries. So the reason why she's unconcerned is because she knows the wounds are non-lethal and just to get John's attention. Bravo writers, for sneakily providing a much more subtly in-character explanation than simple depraved indifference.
    • There's also a sequel to this brilliance; even though Riley later admits the wounds really were to get John's attention, her behavior around Jesse hints that it was actually an attempt to get hers.
  • In an episode where Cameron believes herself to be the human woman she was modelled on, Allison Young, there's a scene where she and another girl she met at the police station have lunch together. Cameron/Allison looks at the food, comments on how much of it there is and doesn't have any. At first, I thought there was nothing to this, since unlike other Terminators, Cameron can actually eat. Fridge brilliance kicked in when I realized that although Cameron can eat, she doesn't feel hunger. So, believing herself to be human and looking at a plate of food with a complete absence of hunger, Cameron/Allison just assumed she wasn't hungry.
    • Similarly, this episode also shows why the Terminators use the Robo Cam when they shouldn't really need a visual display like that to show that kind of data. When Cameron starts glitching into forgetting what she is, the HUD vanished from her visual input, and that, couple with memory loss, was what was convincing her that she was human. The display isn't to feed them data, it's to remind them that they're robots.
  • A key theme of Terminator 2 is there is no fate but what we make of it. What is it that John Connor does in the finale? Travels ahead in time and effectively erases himself from being humanity's savior. In other words, John said Screw Destiny to his own fate. Considering that a fundamental caveat of the entire series has been that John will lead humanity in the future, this is as absolute a reaffirmation of the Screw Destiny theme as there can be. John Connor has no future but what John Connor makes of it.
  • This troper was wondering why Sarah chose the seemingly out-of-nowhere surname Baum after using the more significant name Reese. Then I remembered which book Sarah read to John in his childhood.
    • Another Wizard of Oz reference surfaces in "Strange Things Happen at the One-Two Point," where John's fake identity for Sarah has the surname Gale, like Dorothy Gale.
    • This is hardly the end of the Wizard of Oz references. In "Gnothi Seauton", we see John going over the details from his new identity, including that he's supposedly from Kansas. We learn in "Queen's Gambit" that their cover story is, apparently, that they moved to L.A. after their home was wrecked by a tornado.
    • And, of course, the more obvious references to Cameron as "Tin Man."
    • In "Self Made Man," Cameron refers to the fire at the speakeasy as similar to Dorothy's house falling on the witch.
    • There are thematic similarities, as well. Oz is a story of a young girl who travels a long way to a fantastic land, meets some weird people, and faces some challenges so she can save the day. What do the Connors do?
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  • In the pilot, Cameron's eyes flickered blue when she made to show that she was a Terminator. In the raid on the prison, there's damage to her face, revealing one of her eyes to be red. This isn't a special effects failure, this is an indicator that her original programming is still intact (like it was in the second season premiere) and she has chosen to override her primary programing and work to defend John Connor on her own.

Fridge Horror

  • About the shooting in the bowling, when Cameron kills a bunch of losers for being associated with a petty thief that knows where the Connors Live. This is already disturbing but, in a moment of fridge horror, a clever viewer may realize that Cameron has probably also gone and killed the parents of the thief, as soon as she got rid of Sarah. Yes, those gentle old folks that have communicated to Sarah where to find their son, are witnesses and probably would tip the police about two women in a Chevy Tahoe that were looking for their deceased son, were not they be dead by the morning after. And she probably killed also the fence too, but that guy was a jerkass, so it doesn't really count. And one starts to wonder... How many people Cameron kills when the others sleep?.
    • Actually, Jesse got the fence, just ahead of Derek. But yes, they were probably really lucky to avoid a monumentally awkward run-in with Cameron.
    • It's cold comfort, but it's unlikely Cameron killed those people. They only knew that their son stole stuff from them, not where they live or anything about the mission. Cameron only kills people who are a direct threat, and those people were not. Realistically, they've left a lot more dead people in their wake, and Cameron doesn't seem to worry much about cops.
  • In "Allison from Palmdale," we have the Terminator that will become Cameron interrogating Allison Young, asking her seemingly benign questions about who and what she is, her past, etc. Then we get to a later episode, "Complications," where Jesse tells Derek that the "Greys" - human traitors - were teaching the machines how to act more human by constantly interrogating Derek, and that this process took a very, very long time. Then it becomes apparent: Cameron was interrogating Allison like this for possibly weeks. Getting to know her. Understanding her. Becoming her. And then she kills Allison for lying to her. Creeeeeepy as hell in hindsight.
    • Remember the somewhat subtle implications that Allison Young and John Connor were... involved. Now keep in mind that the resistance was able to figure out that Cameron was impersonating Allison and captured her, and that they wipe all memories of captured Terminators to make them more effective. Except that the Allison personality that Cameron had created from interrogating Allison was not wiped. The implications are kind of squicky: future John Connor is keeping around a machine that obeys him completely that looks exactly like a girl he was apparently involved with and can become her in personality. No wonder Jessie had such a deeply revolted reaction to John keeping Cameron around.....
      • Gets worse than that — add in the possibility that this particular Future John also had a Cameron terminator protecting him in his youth; he then grows up, meets the real Allison, has a relationship with her *knowing* that she's going to get killed and replaced with a robot that he's then going to have scrubbed and sent back to defend his younger self... yeah, time travel makes my head hurt enough without considering things like this.
    • We also see in this episode that the machines were keeping a bear and a tiger in cages. This means Skynet is making terminators that look like animals.
  • Riley's "cover story" is that she was orphaned when her parents died in a meth lab explosion. Well, they probably did die in an explosion: Judgment Day.
    • A whole lot of meth labs were lost on that day, so it's technically true.

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