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Recap / Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles S 2 E 2 Automatic For The People

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Plot

An informer from the future arrives, shot and desperate. He yells out the name of a nearby nuclear power plant before he dies. Sarah and Cameron go to work at the plant, to investigate. John makes a new friend. Sarah finds a convenient furnished short-term rental. Meanwhile, Ellison visits the Dixons.

Tropes

  • Almost Dead Guy: Wells, the resistance soldier who travels back in time to warn Sarah about Greenway. He lives long enough only to give her the warning.
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  • Alone in a Crowd: John when he goes back to school.
  • Decontamination Chamber: When Sarah is exposed to radiation at the Nuclear plant she's working undercover, she gets "crapped up," and gets the full Silkwood. Subverted later when her boss tells her she was never "crapped up" and the scanners must have had a hiccup, implying the whole thing was rigged to punish her.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Sarah recognizes that the Terminator is not the real Greenway by its lack of the surgical scar on Greenway's arm.
  • Drink Order: Sarah sits with Greenway and orders "what he's having." He reveals it's tonic water and she changes her order. This shows Greenway's health-consciousness as a cancer survivor.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: After impersonating the corporate executive at the end and getting into the car, Weaver shifts back to her usual Catherine Weaver appearance, but in a very Cyber Punk and somewhat fetishistic brown leather and shades ensemble, when for the rest of the show she'll always "dress" in a more business-appropriate manner, even when alone.
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  • Dying Clue: Near the end of the episode Sarah finds out Wells went to the basement and wrote in his own blood a list of places or people somehow important to the future resistance.
  • Eating Lunch Alone
    • John, a little shell-shocked from the ordeal with Sarkissian, sits by himself in the quad.
    • A variation of this with Greenway sitting at the bar alone, because no one will drink with him. He's drinking tonic water anyway.
  • Gag Boobs: Sarah's new pregnant neighbor, Kacy is quite well-endowed. She first describes herself as "an Orca with boobs," then wonders if she can keep them if she breastfeeds for a few years.
  • Going Critical: The Terminator impersonating Greenway tries to cause the nuclear power plant to melt down so that it cannot be used by the resistance in the future.
  • Hustling the Mark: Cameron beats a braggart employee at pool.
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  • Instructional Film: Sarah and Cameron watch a straight version of this during their nuclear plant training. It's pretty cheesy, including a cartoon squirrel plant instructor and red-hot rods.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration:
  • Kill and Replace: Greenway is killed and impersonated by a Terminator built to look like him.
  • The Last DJ: Greenway is disliked by his superiors and other workers due to his strong concern for safety.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Our Meet Cute with Riley suggests this, although it's subverted later.
  • Mugging the Monster: Narrowly averted when one of Greenway's enemies at the plant smashes the windscreen of his parked car, not knowing that Derek is hiding in the car after being interrupted while searching it. Derek draws and cocks his pistol, but the vandal runs away before Derek can challenge him.
  • Naked on Arrival: When the mortally wounded Wells arrives naked in the past he still makes it a priority to get some clothes. Conveniently, he finds a hobo with spare clothes near where he arrives.
  • Running Gag: John, Sarah and Cameron constantly using "car accident" as an excuse for any injuries or odd behavior on their part.
  • Shameful Strip: Sarah's Decontamination Shower turns out to be this. When she's found poking around the plant her boss rigs her to be "crapped up" and she's get's the unpleasant and humiliating Decontamination Shower where she's hosed and scrubbed while naked.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The episode title, to the album by R.E.M..
    • Riley mentions a teacher called "Mr. Henriksen", who is a nod to Lance Henriksen, an actor who frequently appeared in films by James Cameron, was going to be the T-800 in the original The Terminator before Ah-nuld was cast, and actually played Detective Vukovich in the film.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Greenway is a cancer survivor and tells Sarah about his past struggles. This makes Sarah herself worry, since Cameron told her she died from cancer in the future and Sarah fears working at the nuclear plant may have triggered it.
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