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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle dot-com
Terminator: Desert Cantos "Desert Cantos"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by John Wirth & Ian Goldberg
Directed by J. Miller Tobin
Original air date: February 20, 2009


The Connors investigate the company town that supported the drone factory recently destroyed.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Didja Know?


The word canto in the title of this episode is Italian for "song".


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Sarah Connor

Derek Reese

John Connor


Skynet (mentioned only)

Ed Winston (in photo only, deceased)

Zoe McCarthy

Stella McCarthy

Henry Douglas, Jr.

Minister (unnamed)

George McCarthy

Diana Winston

Eugene Miller (in video only, deceased)

Edward Walsh (dies in this episode)

Catherine Weaver

James Ellison

Matt Murch

Lachlan Weaver (mentioned only, deceased)

Mike Thompson (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

James Ellison's father (mentioned only, deceased)

Savannah Weaver (mentioned only)

Dr. Sherman (mentioned only, deceased)

Victoria (Catherine Weaver's secretary) 


Didja Notice?


As the episode opens, Sarah, John, and Derek listen to the radio in her truck and a news reporter talks about the destruction of Desert Canyon Heat and Air "earlier this week". Catherine Weaver killed all the employees there and blew up the building afterwards in the previous episode, "The Good Wound".


The reporter mentions the destroyed business was near the desert town of Charm Acres. This is a fictitious town.


At 1:42 on the Blu-ray, Renny's Sporting Goods and Cold Swirls are two stores seen in the background in Charm Acres. These are fictitious businesses.


Cameron remarks that Native Americans believe that if their photograph is taken, it steals their soul. This was/is true only of some Native American tribes, certainly not all.


Zeira Corp investigator Edward Walsh appears again here for the first time since "Samson & Delilah".


Diana Winston mentions the old movies Casablanca, Out of the Past, and His Girl Friday. These are actual films from the years 1942, 1947, and 1940, respectively.


This episode reveals that Desert Canyon Heat and Air's parent company was the Kaliba Group. This is a fictitious company that continues to play an important role in the subsequent episodes.


The big rig truck with CA license plate 9Q49901 seen at 13:42 on the Blu-ray is a Peterbilt 377. The vehicle with CA license plate 2SAQ321 following it is a 1998 Lincoln Town Car modified into a funeral coach; the license plate was previously seen on other vehicles in both "Gnothi Seauton" and "Alpine Fields" and appears again in "Ourselves Alone". The procession escort cycle seen seconds later is a Harley-Davidson FLHP Road King Police special.


Walsh's vehicle with a flat tire is a Dodge something-or-other. Presumably, Derek punctured the tire so that he could offer Walsh a ride in the procession, having sensed something suspicious about him.


Walsh gives Derek the cover story that he's an OSHA investigator. OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a U.S. federal agency that ensures safe and healthy working conditions in private industry.


Derek notices the police ring Walsh still wears on his left hand and Walsh tells him he used to be with Baltimore PD, 4th Precinct, Pikesville. Pikesville is a town in Baltimore County, Maryland. Possibly, the reference to Baltimore PD is a reference to the 1993-1999 TV series Homicide: Life on the Street, in which the actor who plays Walsh played a Baltimore cop for several seasons.


The limousine seen at 17:06 on the Blu-ray is a Cadillac DTS.


Zoe suggests to Henry that they skip the funeral and just keep driving to the Grand Canyon.


Zoe tells John that her former boyfriend, Mike Thompson, liked watching Monty Python and playing lacrosse. Monty Python was a British comedy troupe, first on television, then branching out into films, books, music, and touring shows. As far as lacrosse, we see that Sarah found some lacrosse equipment and a trophy in Ed Winston's storage unit along with bloody clothing, suggesting that Ed had killed Mike as an employee of the secret drone manufacturing facility near Charm Acres.


The car Henry drives is a 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, with license plate 3PCI499 (which has appeared on several other cars in previous episodes!). The car that almost rams into the back of it when Henry slams on the brakes in anger over Cameron's remark that Zoe doesn't love him the way he loves her, is a 2008 Buick LaCrosse.


When Cameron begins making pronouncements about the dead cattle found near Charm Acres, Zoe asks her if she's Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman was a 1993-1998 TV series about a Boston doctor in the American Old West.


The hymn sung at the funeral is "In the Sweet By-and-By", written by S. Fillmore Bennett in 1868.


Why do Derek and Walsh arrive at the funeral at essentially the same time when Walsh got out of Derek's truck earlier to walk the rest of the way when he sensed something off about Derek's conversation? Did Derek sit in the truck at the cemetery waiting for Walsh to arrive in order to follow him?


A Nissan Altima is seen parked at 23:31 on the Blu-ray.


Ellison mentions to Weaver that his father died not to so long ago and that they had not really gotten along with each other.


Sarah holds her Glock 17 pistol while exploring the empty house where she finds the hidden passage to an underground room.


In this episode, Derek implies that human turncoats monitored and administered the prisoners in Skynet work camps. This was also the case in Timeline JD-4 in The Future War.


The car with CA license plate 5XSL942 seen parked along the curb at 38:05 on the Blu-ray is a Volkswagen New Beetle.


At 38:08 on the Blu-ray, Savannah is coloring is what appears to be a Disney coloring book of some kind. The image seen here appears to be of Snow White from Disney's 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.


The big rig seen at 42:26 on the Blu-ray is a Freightliner. It has the same license plate as the Peterbilt seen earlier at 13:42, but is definitely a different truck!
Peterbilt 379 Peterbilt 377
Freightliner Peterbilt 377


Memorable Dialog


you're safe.mp3

I hate funerals.mp3

the free beer.mp3

I'm feeling emotional.mp3

you think she's nuts.mp3

terrorist organization.mp3

your lap is cold.mp3 


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