Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: “Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep”

by | February 28, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Recap, Terminator

Midnight is the witching hour, when we’re visited by dark spirits, as Sarah narrates at episode’s outset. Lives, love, sanity, sleep are stolen by faceless demons in the still of night. “If you believe in that kind of thing,” she adds.

Sarah is driving and arrives at an industrial park. She phones John – he was hoping she would be sleeping at this late hour. Feh! Why sleep when you can poke around an industrial park in the dead of night?! Besides, she’s found Western Iron & Metal. (Suppliers to Desert Heat & Air.) She wants John to find out who owns the place. She prepares to jimmy the door open when she suddenly hears a noise coming from around the corner. She puts down the tire iron, and picks up her gun. Only when she turns the corner, she sees a coyote right in front of her. Not so the guy in the ski mask behind her, who is in her blind spot, on the other hand. He tazes her.

Dream sequence! She wakes up with electrodes all over her. She wants to get the heck out of there. A nurse bedecked in a white lab coat and friendly demeanor insists Sarah should really stay, because they haven’t yet collected enough data to prescribe a treatment for Sarah’s insomnia. Everyone needs their sleep, insists the nurse. “Not everyone,” says Sarah.

Sarah realizes this isn’t a private room when she hears the flicker of a lighter. It’s her roommate, Dana. A fast-talking Brit with a conspiratorial gleam in her eye. Dana is trying to give up smoking. And she has a staple in her stomach. The doctors want to take away all her vices. But screw that. She’s not going to give up smoking. Nor younger men, either.

Cue John, whom Dana calls “Tiger.” Just call her cougar! Rrrrrahr!

John takes his mom to the cafeteria, with Cameron in tow. Cameron advises him to load up on carbs, and then stands guard nearby as John and his mom break bread. John’s not impressed by the hospital grub. He wants to know if these nice folk have figured out what’s behind Sarah’s sleep problem. She says the end of the world is a pretty good reason to stop sleeping, and she doesn’t need any stinking authority figures in white lab coats to tell her that. But John insists Sarah is useless in this semi-catatonic, walking-dead state. He needs her to get better. Cameron’s taking care of him well enough (how well has yet to be revealed), but she’s not his mommy, either.

Awwwww.

An orderly buses the table. Must be some sort of work release thing, because he’s covered in tatts. Including one of a coyote on the back of his neck. Which doesn’t escape Sarah’s attention. (Does anything?)

She’s sleeping the next night and has another nightmare. She’s blindfolded in the back of a truck, one in which she and the driver are separated by a wire divider. He gets out, goes to the back of the van, and opens the door. It’s Ed Winston. “You’re dead – I killed you,” she says. “And I killed you,” he responds. “One of us is going to have to step it up.”

Sarah passes out, but regains consciousness. Ed’s hanging with her in the back of the van. “I don’t know who I am,” he says. They keep asking him over and over again about that. Sarah knows exactly who Ed is, she points out. He grabs her leg, right around the place where he last plugged a bullet in it. And he admits to having been surprised that she was able to use a crossdresser and a hypnotherapist to find them.

He wants to know who she works for. Did she blow up the factory? Did her boyfriend help her? He punches her when she doesn’t answer. And he produces a syringe filled with truth serum that will have her singing like a Sunday choir.

In her waking state, Sarah wakes up to find her nurse hovering over her. You’ll get used to the electrodes, the nurse assures her. “What’s happening to me?” asks Sarah. The nurse has a chart and everything to help explain.

Sarah is having night terrors. Duh. Now, night terrors can be caused by a brain tumor. But the MRI shows her brain is clear, and there are no signs of any other underlying physical causes. So Sarah must have mental health issues. The nurse recommends therapy. Dana walks by – and the nurse, upon seeing her, wants to know if Sarah’s roommate has been smoking again? Sarah isn’t talking. Not even when the nurse finds cigarette butts in the room. Nicotine is a stimulant! That’s counterproductive! She must file a report about how stimulated and counterproductive that Dana is! She’ll be back later to attach Sarah’s electrodes.

There’s a dream catcher hanging in the window. Hector the cleaning guy made it for Dana. You know, Hector – the guy with the coyote neck tatt. Dana wants to know what Sarah’s nightmares are about. Sarah says she’s being chased. Dana talks about her nightmares, which involves catching on fire. Sarah wonders if it’s true that if you die in your dreams, you die in real life? Nah, says Dana. She’s died thousands of times. Though it never seems to get any easier.

Do the bad guys ever catch you in your dreams, Dana asks Sarah.

Cut to Sarah ingesting the truth serum. Ed waits. He thinks she has an awesome scar collection. Sarah realizes that her pants are unbuttoned. (Ewwwww. Gross.) He estimates, based on Sarah’s C-section scar, that her child must be between 15-20 years of age. They’ll kill you, your bosses at Kaliba, Sarah tells him. He thinks she’s insane. So she tries a different tactic, since fear of the end of the world isn’t swaying him so far.

Diana, your wife, thought you were a good man, Sarah tells Ed. What would she if she could see you now? Especially seeing as how Ed is drugging women in the backs of vans and then molesting them while they’re unconscious! She’d probably still have something to say, only the words “good man” wouldn’t be involved in any capacity. “You leave my wife out of this, you crazy bitch!” Ed says. He starts pummeling her and handcuffs her hands behind her and picks up the syringe. Ah, but a measly pair of handcuffs aren’t exactly going to impede Sarah’s ass-whuppin’ ability. Ed accidentally falls upon the syringe filled with truth serum.

Back in bed, Sarah wakes up and looks over to the next bed just in time to see the nurse injecting Dana with something. After the nurse leaves, Sarah gets up and tries to rouse Dana, but can’t. Sarah follows the nurse, who gets onto the elevator. Sarah takes the stairs. The nurse senses she’s being followed and checks the nearby stairwell, but there’s nothing to see in there. At least not at eye level. Because Sarah is hovering like a ninja at ceiling level.

Sarah lies in bed the next morning. The nurse is eyeing Sarah with some suspicion now, and tells Sarah her electrodes came off again in the middle of the night – did she take them off? Is Sarah a sleepwalker? Sarah feigns ignorance of such things. Nurse looks uneasy. Dana looks dead.

Cameron is vibing on the creepy art in the cafeteria, and wonders if that’s what a dream feels like. John tries to extract a bag of chips from a vending machine the legit way, only he gets a ledge-hugging bag that refuses to budge. Meanwhile, Cameron asks John to describe dreams to her. He says it’s hard to tell if they are real or not. Cameron pummels the machine with one precise thump, which releases not only John’s captive bag of chips, but half a dozen other goodies, too. Pet robots are cool!

Sarah comes upon them. She summons John. There’s weird shit going down. The nurse is giving her roommate injections. Only the roommate was already passed out thanks to sleeping pills, so why’d she need a shot, too? And there’s a room in the basement, where the nurse disappears to, and……

Right about now, Dana materializes in the background and flirts with the tattooed orderly. John thinks things don’t look so dire for his mom’s roommate. As usual, John thinks his mom might be having an elderly moment. Or a lack of sleep moment. Or a ‘driven crazy from the pressure of saving the world’ moment. At any rate, he wants to know if her nightmares are about that guy from the factory? The one who shot her?

She tells him a bit about it. The van. The drugs. He’s not real, John tries to explain to her. He can’t hurt you anymore. Sarah says he’s in her head. Which seems to be hurting her plenty.

The nurse comes along and announces that it’s Sarah’s nap time. Sarah looks back at John as she’s led away.

He’s confused. Is his mom crazy? Even though she was right about that whole drone thing…..

Back in the dream world, Ed is now singing like a canary – while he’s aiming a gun at Sarah, in a kind of wobbly, hazy way. He wants to know what his wife was wearing at his funeral. Sarah mentions pearl earrings, which looked expensive. Ed admits his salary is one upside of this whole nefarious shadow organization business. Sure, but what are some of the downsides of this particular gig, Sarah wonders? Uh – killing people. Yeah, that kind of sucks. Like having to snuff the next door neighbor’s boy.

Ed mentions something about his bosses being foreign. They patched him up after Sarah shot him. At first he thought it was a humanitarian thing, but then he realized it was more like getting a copy machine serviced. They just trotted him out again so he could get back to his evil henchman business.

Sarah says she can help Ed and Diana go on the lam, and start over. He can hold on to Sarah’s phone, and when she gets back to her people, she’ll call him with further instructions.

Yeah, that sounds like a good deal to him. He releases her from her handcuffs. She jumps out of the van – only it’s parked inside a warehouse. And she’s still relatively contained inside a fenced enclosure. Ed jumps her from behind and drags her back. Psych!

Whew! Good thing that was just a nightmare! Sarah wakes up. Things are less scary in the waking world. Er……hold on a second! Her roommate is on fire! The nurse and some orderlies rush into the room. The nurse instructs the orderlies to get Sarah out. Sarah is shouting about how Dana is on fire, only no one else seems all that concerned by that technicality.

Sarah calls John. She says there’s something weird going on. As she says this, John looks at Cameron, who walks by John wearing nothing but undies and a bra.

That’s not weird, so much as hot.

But back to Sarah’s weirdness. John agrees that what Sarah is describing is indeed weird, and thinks maybe Sarah should come home after all. Sarah is aghast. What? Not now! Not now that things are getting interesting, what with roommates spontaneously combusting and all.

Nurse briefs the other patients about how Dana’s not dead, just critical. She says if they’re too freaked out by the fact that a fellow patient can burn to death right under their noses, they can leave. Sarah decides to stay. Nurse figures that Sarah watching her roommate go up in smoke must have really added to Sarah’s stress levels. Heightened stress levels aren’t conducive to sound sleeping habits. But the nurse has just the remedy good, hard drugs! The same ones that Dana was prescribed. The nurse insists that Sarah swallow the pills right then and there. Sarah fakes it, of course.

Sarah goes back to her room and sees Hector staring wistfully at the dream catcher he made for poor Dana. Sarah thanks Hector for the dream catcher. He’s philosophical. He thinks Dana should have taken charge of what was going on inside her head. Either that, or maybe he should have made Dana a bigger dream catcher.

She asks about the coyote tattoo on his neck. Is it mystical? Does it have some sort of symbolic significance? Nah – his woman thinks it’s sexy! That’s all.

Sarah and Ed are back in the van. He has pieced together that Sarah’s son is her accomplice.

Sarah is awakened by the sound of a syringe being dropped into the pan next to her bed. She has been injected just like Dana was.

She’s dreaming again. Ed wants to talk about why she’d die to protect her son. Any mother would, she insists! He begs to differ. Then he says the enemy is like a weed – if you leave any part of it underground, it just pops back up and ruins your lawn…or life, or evil plan, or whatever. Kill the root, he says. Or the seed, or whatever. You know – kill John.

She insists he won’t get anywhere near him. Ed thinks John will come to her. She says no. He says yes, because she’s gonna ask him to. Only Sarah refuses to call him. She’ll die first.

Sarah wakes up in her bed back in the clinic. John is hovering over her. He wants to know if she’s OK. She called him, by the way. Sarah speculates about the shot she was given. John pulls the electrodes off of her. He wants to get out of there. Sarah says no – the nurse will keep hurting people! They have to do something! Like hover in the stairwell and watch the nurse exit the secret basement room with the keypad. Can John hack into it?

In no time, they’re inside a room filled with online neural scans. Sarah wants to know if her brainwaves are amongst them.

Ask a silly question……there’s a ton of data on Sarah. A whole profile.

Sleep is the perfect cover, Sarah realizes! They can extract everything.

John still thinks it’s a sleep clinic.

An orderly reports Sarah has slipped out of her electrodes again. The nurse thanks him for updating her.

Sarah wants John to delete her profile. Only……..it’s not that simple. Wait, it is. He says it’s gone. He deleted it.

The drugs are kicking in. Sarah wobbles a bit. And someone is rattling the door handle.

The nurse isn’t pleased to see Sarah in the restricted area. John is nowhere to be found. Sarah claims to have been sleepwalking. Through locked doors.

The nurse starts talking in a sneering, condescending way about these silly humans being so funny with their emotions and their dreams.

Yep, she’s no human. She smacks Sarah around, Cameron-style. Nurse knows Sarah was talking to her boy, and she wants to know where John is. Sarah says she’ll die before telling this nursebot anything. The nursebot is fine with that plan, too. Only John pops out and plugs the nursebot full of bullets. Then the nursebot plugs John full of bullets. Then she shoots Sarah in the head.

Sarah is back in the van. Outside, Ed’s on the phone, talking about Sarah. She is literally chewing her way out of her handcuffs as Ed is agreeing that Sarah’s probably no longer necessary. He concludes his phone conversation and goes to open the van door. Sarah stabs him in the eye with a syringe.

They rumble.

You’re real, she insists! She shoots him. Again. For real.

Ah, right. Because the dream sequences were real, and the real sequences were drug-induced dream sequences. That would have been my second guess.

Sarah resumes her musings about the midnight beasties, the sirens who steal children in the night, and all that other bad stuff. She is driving again. She sees the coyote. The real, mythical, symbolic kind – not the tattoo depiction that’s just meant to impress chicks.

And thus concludes this mad concoction of dream-like reality, and realistic dream sequences, and so on.

OK, you’ll probably want to watch that again, so you can pick up all the clues about how the dreams were real, and the reality was fake. You’re in luck. You can re-watch this episode right now, right here on Fancast.