Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: “Earthlings Welcome Here” (recap)

By Julia Diddy


Sarah attends an UFO conference in order to find out more about the triad symbol that has been haunting her dreams. Thanks to the presentation of one UFO conspiracy theorist, she learns of a blogger named Abraham, who claimed to be a top-secret scientist working on top-secret projects with top-secret technologies. Seems Abe also had some theories involving the triad symbol – and alien drones festooned with such. A particularly strapping woman named Eileen approaches Sarah and claims to know more about Abraham, if Sarah’s interested…..

Sarah calls John to update him about this lead. He’s skeptical. Because there’s grasping at straws, and then there’s looking to UFO conspiracy nutjobs to help make sense of some random three-dot symbol that keeps popping up in a dream………..

Riley brings John a slushie as he paints his room. Cameron comes in and is not shy about giving Riley the evil eye. While she claims it’s because Riley didn’t bring her a slushie too, somehow we sense this is about way more than mango-flavored ice……

We flash to the future, where Riley is looking like an extra from Newsies. Jesse spots the poor urchin and takes her under her wing, but not in a bleeding-heart, maternal-instinct-driven way.

Sarah follows Eileen to her trailer, which is located in the desert out in the middle of nowhere, and which, worse yet (or better yet, depending), is decorated with lots of maps and sketches and photographs of the triad symbol. Eileen happens to know that Abraham’s real name is Alan Park, and that he got his master’s from M.I.T.. She even has a map on the roof of her trailer upon which she’s marked all the places that Abraham has been spotted recently. Sarah seems unconcerned that she’s out in the middle of nowhere, having tea with a lady stalker whose sole reason for being involves keeping tabs on a mad-scientist blogger….but after dealing with killer robots from the future for so long, our Sarah doesn’t exactly scare easily now, does she?

Flash to Jesse and Riley arriving in a ball of fire from the future! Soon Jesse has taken Riley to her fancy hotel room and introduced her to all sorts of pre-apocalyptic luxuries, like a hot shower and 800 thread count sheets. Right about now, Jesse is looking a lot like one of those pimps who woos young runaway girls with all the finer things in life. What are the chances that pretty soon she’s gonna be bitch-slapping Riley around and asking where the rest of the money (or information) is…??

Excellent, it turns out, because in the present, John can’t help but notice a new bruise on Riley’s face.

The Artist Formerly Known as Cromartie – or John Henry, as we now know him – sits at a table as Catherine and Ellison stand nearby. Catherine still wants Ellison to teach John Henry about being human. Ellison protests that this machine killed twenty federal agents, but Catherine corrects him – that was John Henry version 1.0, after all! This is John Henry 2.0, who has only killed, like, one measly person so far. (Given that the one person in question was the previous doctor who was trying to teach John Henry what it means to be human, we can understand Ellison’s reluctance to take on this particular gig. Catherine, meanwhile, is having a harder time grasping why he’s NOT jumping at the chance to spend a lot of time in close quarters with her newly rebooted killer robot….)

Eileen and Sarah are seated in a cafe where Abraham was last spotted. Eileen pushes herself away from the table with her giant man hands and excuses herself to go to the little girl’s room (or, in this case, the big…really, really hulking BIG girl’s room), which gives Sarah a moment to hallucinate undisturbed. She sees herself sitting across the table with a knife spinning on the table, where the words “NO FATE” have been carved. This prompts her to go storming into the restroom, where Eileen is splashing cold water on her face. Sarah demands to know where Abraham is. Eileen removes her wig and reveals her true identity…because apparently the meaty man hands and deep voice hadn’t already tipped Sarah off. (In her defense, she’s got a lot on her mind, what with constantly trying to prevent the apocalypse amidst interruptions to the time-space continuum and all.)

Back at the trailer, Sarah is ticked off about the deception, but Alan can explain – he had no choice but to go this deep undercover, because of a weird and mysterious job he accepted once, whereby he earned giant mountains of money, in exchange for which he had to promise not to question the fact that he was forced to work in total isolation, at a secret location, with bizarre cutting-edge technology. This new technology was totally blowing his M.I.T.-trained mind, so he began blogging in an effort to make contact with other scientific minds who might have a better idea of what he was dealing with. But soon after he began blogging, strange things started to happen! His apartment was ransacked! His car brakes were tampered with! So he made himself disappear…though not before taking a piece of some weird, indestructible metal alloy thingie with him. He’s kept it all this time in a safe, inside a storage unit he rented out when he first went on the lam. Needless to say, Sarah wants to see it.

Flashback to Jesse and Riley sitting in Jesse’s car on the day that Riley and John first meet. Jesse spots John, and releases Riley like a hound on the scent of the fox……….

Back in the present, Cameron is keen on taking a look at the bruise on Riley’s face. She also wants to check out Riley’s star tattoo, and does so with a firm grip and accusing eye. John comes upon this exchange, and Cameron insists on speaking to him – pronto.

Ellison has gone to church, and is relaying to his pastor that his marriage ended because his wife – who was freaked out by 9/11 – decided that she didn’t want to bring kids into the world after all, and aborted their child without telling him beforehand.

Alan and Sarah are at the storage facility. Alan opens the safe…but it’s empty. Sarah storms out as Alan trails behind her, insisting someone must have taken it. As they argue, it gives that killer on the motorcycle with the darkened helmet a chance to rev his engine in menacing fashion before attempting to shoot them both dead. Sarah shoots back at the bad-ass biker, but misses. The would-be assassin escapes.

Back at the trailer, Alan is freaking out about being shot at. And he’s also freaking out that Sarah is not freaking out. After a cup of tea, Alan reveals that he’s not sorry that this whole adventure forced him to essentially kill off his old self and previous way of life. Sarah shares that she used to be a waitress, and she had to let her former self die too.

Sarah wants Alan to try harder to remember where that secret lab of his former mystery employer was located. He can’t – he was driven to and from work every day in a weird van with blacked-out windows. It’s a lost cause! Or is it…..? Sarah has a pamphlet from the UFO conference, advertising the services of that groovy hypnotherapist lady who specializes in regression. Hmmmm………..

We flash back, just a tad, to Riley visiting Jesse at her fancy hotel room. She’s a little freaked out, because she’s just been kicked out by her foster family after telling them that they would soon be nothing more than charred skulls! Riley now has nowhere to go, and she’s spazzing over the fact that a nuclear holocaust is coming, and she really needs a friend. Jesse smacks her and reminds her that they aren’t buddies, and that her job is to keep John away from HER.

Back home, Cameron tells John that Riley is a lying, two-faced, double-crossing jackal. Well, she doesn’t use the word “jackal,” exactly, but…..it doesn’t matter, because John isn’t listening. He goes to knock on the bathroom door where Riley has holed herself up. No response. Pretty soon Cameron is busting the door down, where they find Riley on the floor – having slit her wrists.

Sarah storms into a New Age-y past lives group session being led by the regressive hypnotherapist, and demands that the woman put Alan in touch with his past RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND! Sarah hugs Alan to wish him luck during the session…which is weird, because she’s not exactly the touchy feel-y type. Oh, wait – the hug is just a ruse that allows her to plant a surveillance bug in his fugly handbag…….

Ellison and John Henry are playing chess. Ellison is trying to explain to John Henry why killing Dr. Sherman = Bad Robot. Then he tries to explain about God. To a computer.

The regressive hypnotherapist is taking Alan back, back, back to the time when he used to commute to his top-secret job via a top-secret van pool. Sarah is listening in on the session from her car. Back in the room, we witness an unidentified stranger (or more specifically, the boots of an unidentified stranger) who has walked in on the session The therapist demands to know what the stranger wants! Uh, I dunno…….to kill them dead, maybe? Yup – Sarah is soon treated to an earful of gunshots. She goes running from her parked car back into the building, only she’s too late. Both the therapist and Alan are D.O.A..

Sarah is listening to Alan’s taped regression session again, but this time she sits on the same bench where Alan used to wait for the van to pick him up. She retraces his journey based upon his sound and sensory perceptions of the daily van ride to work. Meanwhile, Alan’s voiceover answers to the therapist’s questions lend additional intrigue to the proceedings. (Amongst other revelations, he insists that his top-secret employers aren’t the only ones who are capable of being vague and deceptive – for they “don’t know who I really am” either, he explains.) Sarah soon locates a warehouse in the middle of nowhere which seems to match up to Alan’s description. In front of the warehouse, a van with blacked-out windows has parked. A man exits the van and goes into the warehouse office. At some point, when the therapist asks Alan who he really is, he chuckles before replying, “A waitress….”

Sarah now storms into the office and points her gun at the guy behind the desk. He insists he’s just some A/C technician. She demands to know what’s in the warehouse! He doesn’t know, or so he says – that space is rented out to another company. Sarah is looking like she might just buy his whole anonymous Joe story, but when she turns her back for a second, he whips his own gun out and shoots her in the leg. There’s a struggle. It ends badly for the gun-toting A/C repair dude…and it doesn’t end much better for Sarah, either. Bleeding out, she crawls out of the warehouse as she continues to see past and present versions of herself hovering around her. She collapses on the ground and stares up into the sky………..where she soon sees an alien drone with a triad design on its underbelly hovering over her.

Is the drone a hallucination? Is it real? Will Riley go into the light, too? Or will she revive so we can (hopefully) watch Cameron bitch-slap her around some, like she deserves?

You have until February 13th to speculate, damn it – it’s gonna be a lonnnnng mid-season hiatus.

And seeing as how every episode is chock full of clues, go ahead and watch Earthlings Welcome Here again right here on Fancast, in order to catch what you missed the first time around……………..

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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