For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] The Fly ] Galaxy Quest ] Indiana Jones ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Matrix ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Sapphire & Steel ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] Waterworld ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Heavy Metal "Heavy Metal"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by John Enbom
Directed by Sergio Mimica Gezzan
Original air date: February 4, 2008


Sarah, John, and Cameron try to stop a Skynet plot to store a supply of a needed metal for building Terminators in the future.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Didja Know?


The title of this episode, "Heavy Metal", refers to the metal coltan used in the building of Terminators as stated herein, and also to the rock music form called heavy metal. 


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Dr. David Lyman (dies in this episode)

Sarah Connor

John Connor


Jordan Cowan (mentioned only, deceased)


Agent Ellison

LAPD detective (unnamed)


Agent Simpson

Agent Stewart

Dolores (FBI medical technician)

Mike Wilton (dies in this episode)


Didja Notice?


As the episode opens, plastic surgeon Dr. Lyman is dictating a new record about a patient who had breast augmentation with complications of seroma. Seromas are accumulations of serous fluid in the human body that can develop in pockets after some types of surgery, including breast augmentation surgery as alluded to here.


In the opening voiceover by Sarah, she tells of having once read a folk tale called "The Golem of Prague" to John when he was a boy. This is an actual Jewish folk tale that seems to have originated sometime in the 18th or 19th Century about a rabbi who creates a golem to protect the Jews of the city, but it eventually runs amok, killing many of those it was meant to protect. Here, it is an obvious allusion to Skynet or the Terminators.


Cromartie instructs Dr. Lyman to alter its facial features to look like those of George Laszlo, a B-movie actor who was a patient of Lyman's. Cromartie soon kills the real Laszlo and inhabits his apartment, assuming his identity. At 1:48 on the Blu-ray, Lyman's files show Laszlo's address as 1663 Sebastian Street, phone number 555-0196, and insurance company Raymond Mutual. The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film. Raymond Mutual appears to be a fictitious company.


At 2:20 on the Blu-ray, John is looking at a memorial page for Jordan Cowan on the Campo de Cahuenga High School website. Some fellow students have posted anonymous comments on the page, such as:

"Never stop dreaming. U are in our hearts 4 EVER!!"

"I miss you calling to say hey and the way you always had to stop everyone in the middle of everything to take a picture. You're so obnoxious. You always knew how to make me smile."


"too bad. You were hot!"

"We were just sharing a yogurt yesterday. It's so weird. I still can't believe you're gone. What happened? Love ya soooo much. Miss you wayyyy more."

"Jordan, I should have notice how upset you were. You were always there for me. I should have been there you."


Cameron tells the Connors that coltan is a primary element in the manufacturing of Terminator endoskeletons. Coltan is a metallic ore.


Cameron steals a news footage tape from KZPZ hinting at Cromartie's return. This is the same station that reported on Sarah, John, and Cameron's naked prank (their arrival in 2007) in "No One is Ever Safe". This appears to be a fictitious TV station.


At 5:48 on the Blu-ray, Italia and Evergreen cargo containers are seen stacked on a cargo ship at the port. Both are freight companies owned by Evergreen Marine.


The Connors and Cameron set C4 charges around the warehouse at the port. This is a type of plastic explosive, Composition C-4.


The forklift carrying the crate of coltan at the port is a Caterpillar P-Series. The truck the crate is loaded into is a Mack Mid-Liner for Tetsuo Corporation; the truck has CA license plate 2SBI653, which was previously seen on a Volvo sedan in "No One is Ever Safe"! Tetsuo Corporation appears to be fictitious; the "Tetsuo" name may be derived from the 1989 Japanese film Tetsuo: the Iron Man, about a man who finds himself transforming into a metal man.


The shotgun Sarah carries at the port operation is a Mossberg 500 Persuader. The armed security officer there carries what appears to be a Glock 17 pistol. The port worker who catches Sarah and Cameron peering in the window a few minutes later also carries a Glock.


Cameron remarks that T-600s had a titanium endoskeleton but were vulnerable to extreme heat. Newer Terminator models were made with coltan alloys, having a much higher melting point. It is true that coltan has a melting point twice that of titanium.


AM General military Humvees are seen at the warehouse and one is later driven by the new Terminator's lackeys.


The Terminator in charge of obtaining coltan is called Carter.


At 11:22 on the Blu-ray, the police detective shows Ellison footage from the surveillance cameras at Dr. Lyman's office on a Dell computer and monitor. Cameron also uses a Dell computer to track John's cell phone later in the episode.


John is seen to be wearing a t-shirt with a mohawked skull design on it.


John secures a cell phone to the side of the coltan crate so they can track where it is taken on a laptop. The cell phone appears to be a Palm Treo, probably one of the Treos Sarah bought in the previous episode, "The Turk".


The port worker who Sarah knocks out at 15:12 on the Blu-ray has a logo for the Port of Los Angeles on the back of his coveralls. The logo is similar, but not exactly the same, to the one actually used at the port. Possibly, the city does not allow the use of the actual logo in entertainment media.


At 16:26 on the Blu-ray, Cameron is tracking John's cell phone via the Cell Division website. Cell Division is the fictitious store where Sarah bought several phones in "The Turk". The screen shows the cell phone number as 323-555-0128. 323 is a Los Angeles area code and the 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film. The tracking map shows the vehicle is heading north of Los Angeles into the desert and past the city of Lancaster on State Route 14.


During conversation with Ellison, Agent Simpson accuses him of being back in 1999 with Sugar Ray and Monica Lewinsky. Sugar Ray is funk-pop band that has been performing since 1986; they reached the height of their popularity in the late 1990s. Monica Lewinsky was a White House intern from 1995-96, where she had an affair with President Bill Clinton; after the outing, she became a television personality and activist.


The Coltan is being taken by Carter to Depot 37 at the McGuire Gunnery Range for storage until after Judgment Day, to be used in the construction of Terminators by Skynet. Cameron reveals that she was built there in the future. McGuire Gunnery Range appears to be a fictitious military range outside of Edwards Air Force Base.


The truck in which Carter's men transport the coltan and which Cameron drives off a cliff at the end of the episode is a 1996 GMC Topkick.


In his apartment, George Laszlo drinks a can of Heisler beer. Heisler is a fictional beer brand that has appeared in a number of TV shows and movies.


At 23:15 on the Blu-ray, Laszlo is seen setting his beer can down next to the microwave. But a few seconds later, he picks it up from the cabinet on the opposite side of the kitchen.


Laszlo is seen taking a drink from the beer can as the microwave beeps that his hot pocket is ready. But when he drops the can after being grabbed by the intruding Cromartie, the can seems to still be sealed, as no liquid spills out!


From his name patch on his fatigues, the man guarding the coltan in the back of the truck is named Wilton. Later, he tells John his first name is Mike.


At 24:48 on the Blu-ray, John sees barrels of trichloroethylene stored at Depot 37. This is a toxic chemical compound used largely as an industrial solvent.


Carter has to show an ID badge to get past the gate leading onto McGuire Gunnery Range. How did he get military ID?


How do Sarah and Cameron get past gate without ID?! We don't see that moment in the episode.


As John makes his phone call inside the bunker to his mom's cell phone at 33:42 on the Blu-ray, a portrait of President John F. Kennedy is seen hanging on the wall above the telephone and an old U.S. Civil Defense emblem is seen below that, both an indication of when the bunker was last in use. The rotary phone John uses is another indication of age.


Cameron states that it takes 15 seconds for a T-888 to reboot from standby mode. In TIMELINE JD-4, John also estimates it will take a T-800 about 15 seconds to reboot after taking a series of shotgun blasts and falling to the floor in Rising Storm.


At 36:56 on the Blu-ray, the coltan truck bed is empty! But it should have the crate of coltan in it, as seen in later shots.


At 40:54 on the Blu-ray, smoke is coming from the rear of the coltan truck as it plunges off the cliff. But why? There was no smoke or fire from it in the scenes immediately previous or following and there is no reason for it to be on fire!


At 41:07 on the Blu-ray, both the driver and front passenger doors of the Hummer are open as Cameron approaches to meet back up with Sarah and John. But when they turn to get back in the vehicle at 41:29, the driver's door is closed.


At the end of the episode, we see that Cameron has saved one of the bars of coltan.


Unanswered Questions


Why does Cameron keep the coltan bar? It's never specifically revealed in the two seasons that the TV series on the air, though in "Ourselves Alone" , we learn that future-John instructed Cameron to keep some components from captured or destroyed Terminators during her mission in the past. Why John wanted her to do this is left unresolved. With the destruction of the rest of the coltan that was supposed to be left in Depot 37 for Skynet to use after Judgment Day to build over 500 Terminators, it's possible that the parts and coltan bar will be needed by John himself to build Cameron in the future.


What ultimately happens to Carter? He is left stuck in the bunker behind the blast doors at the end of the episode without a key. There is seemingly no viable way out from the inside.


What happened to the port worker who was left in the middle of a mine field by Sarah and Cameron? Did he try to walk out and get blown up? It seems like a cruel fate for Sarah to leave him in considering he didn't know that Carter was a Terminator or that he had any particularly evil plans for the stolen coltan. It's vaguely possible he could see where Cameron stepped to get in and out and follow that path out, if he was very careful. It's also possible that Sarah only left him there long enough to keep him out of their hair while they went to rescue John and may have picked him again and turned him loose. Since the minefield was a military training ground, as stated in one of the signs along it's perimeter, it's also possible that a military vehicle would come by before too long and find him.


Memorable Dialog


downer than usual.mp3

you work with me.mp3

no wonder you're so dense.mp3

you're not above self-examination and improvement.mp3

if you die...they win.mp3

without John your life has no purpose.mp3

I'm not for you to understand.mp3

the John I know.mp3 


Back to Terminator Episode Studies