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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
"One Shot"
Terminator: One Shot
Dark Horse
Writer: James Robinson
Illustrator: Matt Wagner
July 1991


A fourth Sarah Connor in Los Angeles is tracked by a second Terminator.


Read the full story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This story takes place over roughly the same time period as the events of The Terminator.


Didja Know?


The title of this story, "One Shot", refers to the one shot Ruggles' Electro Mech-Fazer has per electric charge. It is also a play on the term one-shot, sometimes used in the comic book industry to describe a periodical that tells its entire story in just one issue, with no further issues published, as is the case here.


This story also appears under the title "The Other Sarah Connor" in the Terminator: Hunters and Killers digital comic DVD.


Didja Notice?


Page 2 implies that at least one human life was lost by the resistance as John Connor's computer technicians attempted to decipher the workings of the time displacement device. Articles of clothing are seen flying in the midst of an electrical explosion, possibly explaining how they knew that only living tissue could make the journey into the past through the device. 


   The time displacement platform looks a bit different here (left) than as presented in "All My Futures Past" Part 2 (right).
   On page 2, we witness the T-800 being sent back in time to 1984, as revealed in The Terminator.
   The three triangles in the center of the platform are reminiscent of the symbol for a fallout shelter, introduced in 1961 by the U.S. Defense Department.


This story reveals that the T-800 that Connor and his men witnessed going back in time was actually the second of two to be sent back to 1984 on this offensive. In this story, we follow the first cyborg to go through, a female model Terminator who seeks out the recently married Sarah Lang and Michael Connor on a honeymoon in San Francisco. (On page 4, Michael Connor is mistakenly referred to as John Connor.)


On page 8, Ruggles' police buddy Dan refers to the Rampart police station that was assaulted by the T-800 (in The Terminator) as the 53rd precinct; as L.A. does not use the term "precinct" to describe its police stations, this may be a reference by writer James Robinson to the fictional 53rd precinct of Tony Baretta in the 1975-1978 police detective TV series, Baretta (though the series takes place in New York, not Los Angeles). A 53rd precinct station house also appeared in the 1961-1963 TV series Car 54, Where Are You? and the 1984 film Ghostbusters.


Dan tells Ruggles that all the cops in the 53rd precinct were killed in an assault that day. It seems unlikely that every cop in the "precinct" was at the station at the same time to be killed. Also, in The Terminator Lt. Traxler tells Sarah there are 30 cops in the station to protect her, but Judgment Day states that just 17 were killed there that day, so almost half of those present escaped the massacre. Of course, Dan is telling Ruggles an early accounting of what has happened that same day, so reports are likely exaggerated and full of misinformation at this point.


The bridge seen on page 10 is the Golden Gate Bridge.


On page 12, neon signs in a bar advertise Lite, Rolling Rock, Bass, and Bud Light. These are all real world beer brands.


On page 14, a tourist in the hotel elevator mentions Fisherman's Wharf. This is a famous neighborhood and tourist draw on the San Francisco waterfront.


On page 15, the female Terminator apparently rips the flesh off her hand sliding down the elevator cable!


Page 18 reveals the honeymoon hotel at which Sarah and Michael are staying is the Beaumont. This appears to be a fictional hotel in San Francisco.


Page 19 mentions Haight Street and the Summer of Love. This is a reference to the Summer of Love cultural movement of 1967, largely considered to have been centered in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, which encompassed an open-mindedness towards generally left-leaning politics, music, drugs, creativity, sex, and social mores.


In panel 1 of page 19, a Wasteland store is seen. This is a small chain of clothing stores in California. The one seen here is located at 1660 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA.


Also on panel 1 of page 19, a man is carrying an iguana on his shoulder. This may be a callback to the "real" Sarah Connor's pet iguana, Pugsley, in The Terminator.


On page 27, panel 1, a man is wearing a Zippy the Pinhead t-shirt. Zippy is a newspaper comic strip by Bill Griffith. The character of Zippy originally appeared in underground comics of the '70s, originating in San Francisco.


On page 30, a police officer reports the female Terminator heading west towards Geary Street and a blurry Geary street sign is seen on page 32. Geary is an actual street in San Francisco.


Ruggles implies that the female Terminator is a T-800 series, despite the female outer form. A model number is not provided (the Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator is a Model 101).


Ex-cop Ellis Ruggles reveals that he was sent back to 1955 by John Connor to blend in, learn, and become part of the world so he could watch over the "real" Sarah Connor throughout her life in case Skynet ever sent Terminators back in time to kill her before the acknowledged events of 1984. Now that Reese has arrived and is fulfilling their destinies, Ruggles has no need to be part of it, per John Connor's orders. But, as a former cop, he does feel an obligation to protect this fourth Sarah Connor. Ruggles is from the same time as Reese, of course, and implies that he knew Reese.


The Electro Mech-Fazer used by Ruggles to stop the female Terminator was not a standard resistance weapon, but built by him for such a contingency with both current day parts and a few future parts he carried into the past within his own body in an "uncomfortable" manner. Ruggles is heard to refer to the Terminator as a "mech", hence the name of his weapon, a "mech-fazer". Ruggles does seem to hint that the resistance uses something similar to his fazer in the future. The fazer fires an electrical bolt that is capable of fusing a Terminator's circuits in a direct hit.


Ruggles explains that Reese did not bring back parts from the future with him because he "isn't supposed to" according to John. This would suggest that John has been attempting to keep the timeline the same as he knows it to have existed from his own knowledge and experiences. This may suggest that John knows already that the timeline can be altered, possibly not for the better.


Ruggles tells that he arrived in 1955 in a field in Glendale. Another volunteer was sent to the same spot in 1965, but a freeway had been built through there by then and the man, Corporal Graves, was killed five seconds after arrival, hit by a produce truck. Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County. The freeway referred to is probably the Ventura Freeway, also known as State Route 134, which passes through Glendale. 


The artist's depiction of the Port of San Francisco on page 39 is fairly accurate.


Ruggles reveals that other animals besides dogs also often have the ability to sense Terminators. He's had two dogs and a tame fox in the past and currently has his pet monkey, Peanut. (This concept is later reinforced in Times of Trouble.)


The rifle carried by the Terminator on the boat looks like it is probably an M-16, the most widely distributed U.S. military semi- and full-automatic rifle from 1962 to present day.


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