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Very nice & subtle media reference - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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November 17th, 2008


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10:55 pm - Very nice & subtle media reference
I was very pleased with the homage to Bladerunner in tonight's episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The turtles were blended in with the episode perfectly, but it was also a exceptionally clear reference to the first part of Bladerunner - definitely one of the most expertly done media references I've seen on television, both in how it was done and how it was used to inform viewers and not merely to show off. T:SCC is definitely the best show I've seen on TV for several years. I'm also rather pleased that I noticed the reference immediately, rather than later when they made it more obvious.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

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[User Picture]
From:kinkyturtle
Date:November 19th, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
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Turtles? Wha?
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From:heron61
Date:November 19th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
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Have you seen the most recent episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (it came one yesterday, Monday, Nov 17). If so, consider the scene at the beginning of Bladerunner, where someone is giving one of the Replicants a Voight-Kampf test.

Holden: You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down...
Leon: What one?
Holden: What?
Leon: What desert?
Holden: It doesn't make any difference what desert, it's completely hypothetical.
Leon: But, how come I'd be there?
Holden: Maybe you're fed up. Maybe you want to be by yourself. Who knows? You look down and see a tortoise, Leon. It's crawling toward you...
Leon: Tortoise? What's that?
Holden: [irritated by Leon's interruptions] You know what a turtle is?
Leon: Of course!
Holden: Same thing.
Leon: I've never seen a turtle... But I understand what you mean.
Holden: You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back, Leon.
Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden? Or do they write 'em down for you?
Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.
Leon: [angry at the suggestion] What do you mean, I'm not helping?
Holden: I mean you're not helping! Why is that, Leon?
[Leon has become visibly shaken]
Holden: They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response... Shall we continue?
[User Picture]
From:alephnul
Date:November 20th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
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I had half seen this post, so I knew the turtle was coming, but it was still very nice. I thought Cameron flipping Ellison over after they don't kill him was a little silly, but cute. The rest of the turtle bits were nicely done.

Sarah's favorite part was that the 3 dots looking like a bowling ball was a fake out. She immediately identified them, and figured Sarah was having anxiety/guilt dreams over the boy in the bowling alley whom she didn't kill, and was pleased when that was acknowledged, but wasn't actually the meaning of the dreams.

My favorite thing about the episode was that the dreams were anxiety dreams over the fact that the show has been stalling on the main plot for a bunch of episodes. Sarah is having frustration dreams, and in the final revelatory dream, she realizes that she is anxious and frustrated because she is wasting time and has been forgetting about the main plot in the basement. Likewise, the show has been stalling, giving us a bunch of one-off episodes, avoiding the main plot (both with Ellison and whats-her-name and with the leads in the basement). One of the weaknesses of the season has been that the main characters have mostly not been plot drivers, so it was funny to see the main character frustrated and anxious over not being a plot-driver.

Barry's favorite thing was that this is an episode in which torturing people is completely useless for getting accurate information, but all of the main characters are confident that torture works.

One thing we were debating after the episode was whether Charles Fisher is a temporal loop. Was the original Charles Fisher locked up in solitary by Homeland Security for the combination of his crazy story and the sabotage committed by his older self, or was the original Charles Fisher locked up for something else unconnected to the time war? Also, does young Charles Fisher, locked up by Homeland Security, become older Charles Fisher, one of the Greys, or will he have a different fate? The thing that makes me think he isn't a self-creating loop is that he isn't a universal across the timelines. There is no traitor Fisher in Kyle Reese's original future. It seems to me that self-creating loop people would be near constants across the timelines, since they depend overwhelmingly only on themselves and therefore would seem likely to be much less contingent on events in the time war.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:November 20th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
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I thought Cameron flipping Ellison over after they don't kill him was a little silly, but cute.

It also seemed to Becca & I a case of Cameron missing the point of her discussion with John in a way that was simultaneously funny and rather disturbing.

As for Fischer, I'm curious if you folks read this as effectively a set-up by Jesse. My first thought was that Jesse way playing Derek and that Fischer was in no way from the future. My final reading of the episode was that the Greys were mentioned as a set up (later in this season) to Jesse being revealed as one and also that she was sent back by the robots and told (likely based on Fischer's ideas of how to play people) Fischer-from-the-future's location, so she could show him to Derek and thus prove she's someone he can trust. I'm also assuming that she didn't expect Derek to not remember Fischer and that time was changed when Derek killed Andy Goode (and once again, it looks like the timeline was changed for the worse). I previously didn't know who Jesse was working for, but am now certain that she's working for Skynet.

Thoughts?

As for Fischer being a self-created loop, I'm not certain he is, it looked to me like young Fischer was in a mental hospital and not a prison, so I'm expecting him to have a different fate.

What did it look like to you?
[User Picture]
From:alephnul
Date:November 20th, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)
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It also seemed to Becca & I a case of Cameron missing the point of her discussion with John in a way that was simultaneously funny and rather disturbing.

Yeah, I read it the same way, it just seemed a little silly, as well as funny and disturbing.

As for Fischer, I'm curious if you folks read this as effectively a set-up by Jesse. My first thought was that Jesse way playing Derek and that Fischer was in no way from the future.

That was definitely my initial thought as well.

My final reading of the episode was that the Greys were mentioned as a set up (later in this season) to Jesse being revealed as one and also that she was sent back by the robots and told (likely based on Fischer's ideas of how to play people) Fischer-from-the-future's location, so she could show him to Derek and thus prove she's someone he can trust.

I'm also assuming that she didn't expect Derek to not remember Fischer and that time was changed when Derek killed Andy Goode (and once again, it looks like the timeline was changed for the worse). I previously didn't know who Jesse was working for, but am now certain that she's working for Skynet.

Thoughts?


I'm fairly neutral on this reading. I could accept it if it is true, but I tend to read Jesse's interaction with Fischer as being legit. Her bafflement over Derek's non-memory seemed legit. On the other hand, her finding Fischer at the Mall does seem like a what-are-the-chances? set-up.

On the other hand, she is definitely playing Derek for some purpose, and she is carrying some sort of future tech device (the massive hacked up surgery scar), so she definitely gets some sort of big reveal later in the season.

I agree that she is probably working for skynet, although I am holding out hope for her working for something weirder, just as I am holding out hope for Catherine Weaver having a weirder agenda than just being another skynet agent. At the point where a terminator is actively controlling the skynet creation, my hope is that she is trying to have it go differently in a way that prevents the war, rather than just improving skynet's chances of victory.
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From:heron61
Date:November 20th, 2008 12:06 pm (UTC)
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I'm betting Jesse is working for skynet, but I think Catherine Weaver's agenda may be more complex & interesting. In part, it depends on what the robot that Cameron killed (who was sent back for the child psychologist) was up to - was it there to kill him or to protect him. It certainly looked like it was there to kill him, given that being a fake temp is nothing like a long-term solution, and that makes no sense if Weaver is going along with skynet plans.

Of course, how much of this we ever find out depends upon how the show does at it's new time in February and how much warning the writers get if its cancelled.
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From:alephnul
Date:November 21st, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
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I suspect that we will get substantial resolution of both Jesse and Weaver this season.

Oh wait, her name is Weaver, she is definitely attempting to create the skynet that isn't out to kill humanity.

Skynet terminators were also trying to kill Ellison, who is working for weaver, so that also points to Weaver not being on skynet's side.

Also, if skynet wanted Weaver to have terminator's to hand over tyo modern scientists, they could just send her some. That she has to use indirect means to collect a terminator body for her scientists to play with suggests that skynet doesn't want her to have any.

I think it would be funny if Connor sent Jesse back to mind-fuck his uncle, but I think for purposes of parallelism that Jesse should be in favor of the existence of hostile skynet, whether she is sent by a bizzaro world Connor, or whether she is sent by the machines.

Your idea that the set-up with Fischer suggests strongly that she works for skynet makes more sense to me today. If Derek had been the Derek from Jesse's universe, then giving him Fischer would have been a huge gratitude and trust building gesture. Instead it was just confusing and doubt creating, but they didn't know that going in.

Weird. In Jesse's future, Derek went back into the past, but when Jesse came back, she didn't find the Derek from her future, instead she found this other Derek. I'm not sure how that works. Where is her Derek, and why didn't she go back to the same past that he went to? Is Jesse from a future that is the result of things that have happened during the show, so the show's Derek came back and made Jesse's future?

I suppose Derek is not a loop (the show's Derek killed Andy Good, that the show's Derek had known in the future, so Derek's original timeline can not derive from the timeline that Derek jumped into), so each Derek that jumps back creates a new timeline, so Jesse can't jump back into the same timeline that her Derek jumped back to, since she doesn't come from the future of that timeline. That raises the question of where did the Jesse from the show's Derek's original timeline jump to. I guess the answer is that she jumped to her own past. In the show's Derek's original timeline, there either wasn't a Derek who jumped back, or that Derek failed, or that Derek came from a future where Andy Good never confessed.

I assume that there is a Connie Willis effect in play, merging timelines back into each other where they are close enough, although that is more for convenience of thinking about it than any clear requirement. There do seem to be a bunch of things that stay stable across a huge multitude of futures (John Connor being the main one), which is also reminiscent of the Willis device of the far future interfering invisibly to maintain its own stability.
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From:heron61
Date:November 21st, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
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Also, if skynet wanted Weaver to have terminator's to hand over tyo modern scientists, they could just send her some. That she has to use indirect means to collect a terminator body for her scientists to play with suggests that skynet doesn't want her to have any.

You know, that's an impressively obvious point that I hadn't noticed.

so each Derek that jumps back creates a new timeline, so Jesse can't jump back into the same timeline that her Derek jumped back to, since she doesn't come from the future of that timeline.

That's my reading of it. Essentially when Derek killed Andy, he made a new (and definitely worse-looking from a human PoV) future. However, clearly this is not the sort of time-travel where people from the future have their memories rewritten when they change the future. So, what we have is something like successive alternate timelines. Derek from Jesse's timeline jumped back into a timeline that doesn't yet exist - time is getting impressivel complicated...

I assume that there is a Connie Willis effect in play, merging timelines back into each other where they are close enough, although that is more for convenience of thinking about it than any clear requirement.

I'm not seeing that at all, I'm instead seeing a continuously changing (due to the intervention of time travelers) personal future with a fixed (personal) past from the PoV of each individual time traveller.

There do seem to be a bunch of things that stay stable across a huge multitude of futures (John Connor being the main one)

John Connor, the discovery of time travel, Kyle Resse going back, Skynet, Judgment Day (although it can clearly be moved) all seem stable points. My guess is that we have a situation where the future presents a serious of stable equilibrium points. Currently things are at the Judgment Day stability point, and while details can be changed, the basic characteristics remain the same. My guess is that all of the stable points are necessary for the Judgment Day future to exist.
[User Picture]
From:alephnul
Date:November 20th, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)
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Continued from above...

As for Fischer being a self-created loop, I'm not certain he is, it looked to me like young Fischer was in a mental hospital and not a prison, so I'm expecting him to have a different fate.

What did it look like to you?


I agree, but he was put there by Homeland Security, so the mental hospital may be just a temporary stay before they ship him off to somewhere deeper in the system. I do feel like Future Fischer's willingness to fuck-over his younger self had the feel of a loop, and that Fischer's personality (both old Fischer and young Fischer) seemed to fit better with someone who ended up in solitary for a crime he didn't commit than with someone who actually committed a crime that would get him life in prison without parole. Also, future Fischer's lecturing his younger self about how he had no idea what he'd be willing to do if he had to makes more sense to me if when future Fischer was young Fischer's age, he was about to commit a heinous crime.

There is just something pleasing about Fischer being willing to betray humanity because (a) he knows that is what he is going to do (b) he is embittered by his own betrayal of himself, and being willing to betray his younger self because he has contempt for his own innocence before the cruelty of his future self revealed to him the brutality and malevolence of the human heart. It seems more interesting than if original Fischer was a murderer or guilty of some other crime that earns a life sentence without parole, and agreed to fuck over his younger self, thereby depriving himself of the chance to become a murderer, and instead causing himself to be locked up in a mental hospital. The second option just seems messier and less meaningful.

On the other hand, perhaps future Fischer was willing to fuck over his younger self because being locked up for treason would put him somewhere completely different than where the future Fischer had originally ended up, and would therefore prevent younger Fischer from ever having to decide whether to go over to Skynet. I kind of like that option, and it does fit better with Fischer among the Greys being a highly contingent result (and thus there being futures in which it never happened).
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From:alephnul
Date:November 20th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC)
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Correction at the end of my first paragraph above...

Also, future Fischer's lecturing his younger self about how he had no idea what he'd be willing to do if he had to makes more sense to me if when future Fischer was young Fischer's age, he was NOT about to commit a heinous crime.
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From:heron61
Date:November 20th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
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On the other hand, perhaps future Fischer was willing to fuck over his younger self because being locked up for treason would put him somewhere completely different than where the future Fischer had originally ended up, and would therefore prevent younger Fischer from ever having to decide whether to go over to Skynet. I kind of like that option, and it does fit better with Fischer among the Greys being a highly contingent result (and thus there being futures in which it never happened).

That makes the most sense to me.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:November 20th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
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Barry's favorite thing was that this is an episode in which torturing people is completely useless for getting accurate information, but all of the main characters are confident that torture works.

Indeed. Meanwhile, Cromartie seemed to get most of his recent info (including info from both from Jody and the fourth thief) by being menacing, creepy, and persistent, but, as far as we've seen, not torturing any of the people he's gotten information from. He seemed far better at playing people than at simply hitting them until they say something.

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