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Fridge Brilliance

  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles 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 Troper
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Just a small one for The Sarah Connor Chronicles: 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.

Fridge Horror

  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "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.....
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