Sarah Connor Chronicles – S02E17 – Ourselves Alone, episode review

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After several less than exciting episodes, Ourselves Alone returns the Connor clan to their murky, badly lit house. Two big things are going on – Cameron is glitching: she’s got pigeon-crushing hand spasms, and suicidal future-girl Riley pays a visit on John, but receives a frosty welcome from Sarah.

Now, by this stage, it’s clear that Jesse and Riley are involved in some human-led futuristic plot involving John. What I’m not clear on is whether Uncle Derek is involved or has any idea what’s going on. For the moment he seems content to pick random people from the phonebook and spy on them in case they’re involved with SkyNet. Ho hum…

So the more interesting story tonight revolved around Cameron and Riley. Riley’s return prompts Sarah to visit her foster father, who reveals that he believes John is the bad influence on Riley. He also lets it slip that her guidance counsellor has been spreading some muck about the Connor family too. He also mentions Riley’s breakdown and her babbling about the end of the world and bleached skulls. Sarah chases that avenue down as well, and meets the guidance counsellor (aka Jesse), who gives her an uncomfortable speech about how John taking Riley to Mexico is a felony. So much for living off the grid, now Sarah thinks the entire town knows about them and their pet Terminator.

Back at the house, Cameron is doing some self-repair on the faulty hand, but Riley sees her through the garage window. Ooops, instant death sentence. Cameron is aware of this but fails to act. Not only that, but she later reveals to John a stash of spare parts she’s been saving for a rainy-day occassion just like this. He’s upset, and the news that his future self instructed her to do this doesn’t help: imagine constantly being usurped by an adult and that adult turning out to be you!

John’s picking up on Cameron’s weird behaviour: her indecisiveness about whether to kill Riley and strange conversation. Nevertheless, he helps her to repair the hand.

Sarah returns home and quizzes John about Riley’s ‘bleached skulls’ revelations. He pleads innocence, but she doesn’t believe him. She then answers the door to Riley (who went for a quick visit to Jesse and came back). There’s a tense stand-off in the living room before a knock at the door interrupts all the staring at each other. It’s a social worker, here to investigate Sarah and John’s living arrangements.

Cameron takes Riley out to the garage and scares the hell out of her with some freaky behaviour, advancing on her, but apparently not ready to kill her. We’re waiting for another pigeon-crushing moment, but with Riley’s skull as a substitute for the pigeon, but John walks in after fending off the social worker. He takes Riley off for a talk and gives her an opportunity to tell him anything she knows, but she blanks him and later runs off to Jesse.

Anyway, by now Riley has twigged that Jesse was responsible for informing the authorities, and attacks Jesse in her apartment. She acuses Jesse of setting her up for Cameron to kill her so that John would turn against Cameron. Ah, clever! But alas, things hit a sour note when the two bitches fight, and it looks for a moment like Riley has the upper hand, clubbing Jesse with a big lump of wood. But wily Jesse has a gun tucked away for this type of thing and shoots Riley in the chest, killing her. Awww. Here is TV Squad’s eulogy for Riley:

It’s not that I grew to love Riley, I actually thought she was quite irritating, but I really wanted Jesse’s plan to fall apart and for her to be exposed as the cracked, manipulative wench she really is. Her plan did fall apart, thankfully, but Riley’s murder means there’s no one left to expose Jesse’s real agenda. So Jesse lives on to push the hard anti-metal line, manipulate the Connors – and annoy the hell out of me – for another day.

Cameron gives John a detonator device which will explode a charge in her head if she ever goes rogue. He seems genuinely touched by this and (I think) unsure as to whether he should hug her or not. It was a thoughtful gift, though I’d still avoid shaking her hand (or any more nefarious body parts) if I was young John Connor.

Hey – did you ever notice the initials – John Connor – JC – Jesus Christ? John Connor as the future saviour of mankind? Appreciate your thoughts on that one.

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