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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: No One is Ever Safe "No One is Ever Safe"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by Josh Friedman
Directed by David Nutter
Original air date: January 13, 2008


Sarah and John have prevented the 1997 date of Judgment Day and are living a new life in 1999...but no one is ever safe.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This episode opens on August 24, 1999.


Didja Know?


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a television series on the U.S. Fox network that ran for two seasons from 2008-2009. The events of The Terminator and Judgment Day are part of the series canon but, here, Sarah does not die of leukemia in 1997, altering an important event that led to the events of Rise of the Machines, making it non-canon to the TV series. The series opens in 1999 with Sarah still alive and she and John living under assumed names and hoping they've truly averted the rise of Skynet as it seems.


Sarah Connor is portrayed by Lena Headey. John Connor is portrayed by Thomas Dekker. John's protector Terminator, Cameron, is played by Summer Glau, best known to PopApostle readers as River Tam in Firefly/Serenity.


The Terminator called Cameron is probably named for franchise creator James Cameron.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Sarah Connor

John Connor (aka John Reese)

Charley Dixon

FBI Special Agent James Ellison

Miles Dyson (mentioned only, deceased)

Theodore Buchwald (mentioned only)

Skynet (mentioned only)

Mr. Ferguson (chemistry teacher)

Cameron Phillips

Kyle Reese (mentioned only)

Deputy Ridge


Joey Aarons (on Cromartie's class list)

Mary Bohai

Donald Chase

Franklin Lane

Cynthia Nolan

Wayne Parker

Marcia Woske, Andrea Walker, Charlie Raston, Mike Momannon, Jamie Maldonado, and Maria Torres (students at John's high school, mentioned only)

Tarissa Dyson

Danny Dyson

Michelle Dixon 




Didja Notice?


The episode opens with a view of an asphalt highway rolling by under the camera while Sarah Connor delivers an opening narration. This is similar to the ending of Judgment Day, with Sarah delivering a closing narration.


Sarah's narration describes John as 15 years old, but if the birth date given in Judgment Day is correct (February 15, 1985), he would only be about 14 years, 6 months old, turning 15 in 2000.


Sarah's SUV is a 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The license plate is 3CIP951, with no state printed on it, just the nickname "The Beautiful State"; there is no U.S. state with that slogan. According to the story, Sarah and John are supposedly living in Nebraska at this point.


In Sarah's nightmare, she stops at the R. Hadley Public Library to pick up John. This is a fictitious location, actually Highland High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


In Sarah's nightmare, at 0:52 on the Blu-ray, John appears to have a stylized 888 drawn on his school textbook. John and Sarah will soon meet a model 888 Terminator called Cromartie, making the dream somewhat prophetic.


At 0:59 on the Blu-ray, a copy of the book Illustrated Classic Editions: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is seen on a library shelf.


    At 1:14 on the Blu-ray, Sarah and John exit the library to find the West Fork police waiting for them, guns drawn (Beretta 92FS pistols). Since this is still Sarah's dream, it is not clear which West Fork this may refer to. There does not appear to be such a city in Nebraska.

   A scene similar to this (this time for real) occurs at the end of "Adam Raised a Cain". 


The police cars in the dream sequence are 1993 Ford Crown Victorias.


At 2:05 on the Blu-ray, a CRST truck drives past in the background.


The shotgun used by the Terminator in the dream sequence is a Mossberg 590 "Compact Cruiser". He then switches to a pair of Heckler & Koch MP5A3s.


In his bedroom in their West Fork home, John has a mini-banner for Rage Against the Machine hanging on the headboard of his bed. Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band. In addition, the name of the band likely strikes a chord with the boy who is supposed to grow up to be the leader of the Resistance against the machines after the rise of Skynet.


Sarah must have a thing for pancakes. As they prepare to flee again, she tells John, "Pack the guns. I'll make pancakes." In later episodes she also talks about pancakes or is seen making them for breakfast.


    FBI Special Agent James Ellison may have been named after writer Harlan Ellison, who sued Orion Pictures after the release of the film The Terminator, claiming that it was based on his 1964 Outer Limits episode, "Soldier", about a soldier from the future who travels back in time and ultimately sacrifices his life fighting his future enemy in 1964 (the episode was itself based on Ellison's 1957 short story "Soldier from Tomorrow"). Orion Pictures reached a settlement with Ellison for an undisclosed amount of money and a credit ("Acknowledgement to the works of Harlan Ellison") in future releases of the film.

   A later episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles titled "The Demon Hand" is presumably an homage to another of Ellison's Outer Limits episodes which may have been an inspiration for The Terminator, "Demon With a Glass Hand".


At 9:37 on the Blu-ray, Agent Ellison shows Charley an old newspaper article about Miles Dyson. The photograph of Dyson accompanying the article is a different actor (uncredited) than the one who portrayed him in Judgment Day. The article shows as written by Theodore Buchwald. Most of the text of the article pictured here is actually from a 1999 Gannett News Service article about UN military protection in East Timor.


    At 9:47 on the Blu-ray, Agent Ellison shows Charley part of Sarah's file from Pescadero State Mental Hospital. Amusingly, notice that the description of her behavior misspells the word "robots" as "robotots": "...Believes that Robotots from the future sent by 'Skynet' have been sent to kill her son..." I'd actually pay to see a movie about robotots from the future sent back to kill someone.

   Later in the description, the word "annihilate" is misspelled "anihilate". 


The Dyson family photo shown to Charley by Agent Ellison shows Miles, his wife, Tarissa, and his son, Danny. But the extended version of Judgment Day, as well as its novelization, reveals there was also a Dyson daughter (Blythe).


Agent Ellison's report at 11:40 on the Blu-ray states Sarah's height as 5'4" (though the computer screen at 11:53 shows her height at 5'5" instead, which happens to be the actual height of actress Lena Headey!). In "Gnothi Seuton", Sarah's new identity driver's license also lists her height as 5'4". A known alias is "Sarah Reese". Her age is listed as 33, which would mean she was born in 1965-66 since the scene takes place in 1999. Several different birth years for Sarah have been presented or implied throughout the various stories of the Terminator universe.


Sarah's middle initial is left blank in Ellison's report, but the novelization of The Terminator reveals her middle name to be Jeanette (the phone book in the film also shows her middle initial as "J").


Ellison's report also states that Sarah has puncture scarring on her front and back right shoulder. This scar is from a wound she received from the T-1000 in Judgment Day.


Ellison's report states that if contact is made with Sarah, utilization of FBI HRT is highly recommended. HRT stands for Hostage Rescue Team. It may be that the FBI assumes that her 15-year old son is essentially being held hostage by her.


Ellison tells Charley that Sarah Connor believes her son will become the leader of the human rebels against Skynet and asks him if John seemed like the "...leader of a scrappy band of rebels? Luke Skywalker type?" Luke Skywalker, of course, is the hero of Episodes IV-VI of the Star Wars film series.


Act 2 of the episode opens in Red Valley, New Mexico on September 6, 1999. Red Valley appears to be a fictitious town.


The song playing over the exterior shot of the high school is "Save Tonight" by Eagle Eye Cherry (1997).


At 13:20 on the Blu-ray, a poster in the high school hallway about guidance counseling has "guidance" misspelled as "guidence".


The song John is listening to on his headphones at 13:50 on the Blu-ray is "Pardon Me" by Incubus. It seems unlikely he would have access to the song at this point though, as the album it was on (Make Yourself) was not released until October of that year!


At 15:31 on the Blu-ray, the sign for Red Valley Airport states it is at latitude 35°08'42", longitude 106°47'40". This would place it not in New Mexico, but in China!


At 15:39 on the Blu-ray, signs for Cessna and Garmin are seen at the Red Valley Airport.


A sign for Bode Aero is seen at 15:48 on the Blu-ray at Red Valley Airport. This is probably Bode Aero Services in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


The police officer picks up Ellison at the airport in a 1987 Ford Bronco. The red pick-up in the background is a 1961 Ford F-Series.


While taking attendance, Cromartie skips Joey Aarons at the top of his list (likely cut from the scene for time). Names that Cromartie doesn't call after attempting to kill "John Reese" are Marcia Woske, Andrea Walker, Charlie Raston, Mike Momannon, Jamie Maldonado, and Maria Torres.


Cromartie has a pistol (a Glock 17) embedded in the skin of his thigh, presumably in order to bring a weapon back in time with him from the future. To retrieve it, he cuts his thigh open with a letter opener that has a figure of Kokopelli on top of the handle. Kokopelli is the fertility and trickster deity of the Pueblo Native American peoples of New Mexico.


The school bus John runs alongside at 19:29 on the Blu-ray is a 1984 Chevrolet B-Series Carpenter Coach. The bus is seen to have the New Mexico license plate SBA-851.


At 19:50 on the Blu-ray, a television newscast from KTML is presented. This appears to be a fictitious TV station.


The newscast reveals that John is attending school at Crestview High School in Red Valley.


Cameron's Terminator model is never revealed in the course of the series.


    The truck in which Cameron rescues John from Cromartie is a 1996 Ford F-250 SuperCab XLT. It is later seen to have New Mexico license plate 972-S4R. At 33:32 on the Blu-ray, Cromartie erroneously identifies it in his POV display as a 1988 F-150.

    During this rescue, Cameron says to John, "Come with me if you want to live," a well-used phrased in the various stories set in the Terminator universe.


At 21:59 on the Blu-ray, Sarah pulls out a Colt M1911A1 pistol in an attempt to kill herself when Cromartie catches her.


At 23:33 on the Blu-ray, Sarah smashes open a wall panel in her house to grab up a hidden Remington 870 shotgun to use against Cromartie. Perhaps this is the same one she picked up from a SWAT van in Judgment Day!


At 24:21 on the Blu-ray, Cameron is thrown through the wall of John's bedroom by Cromartie and a poster for Iron Metal is seen coming down with the wall. Iron Metal appears to be a fictitious heavy metal band.


The semi truck at 26:01 on the Blu-ray is a White-Freightliner.


Cameron tells Sarah that she was sent back from 2027 and she had been searching for John and Sarah for 73 days. In her future, someone else built Skynet after the death of Miles Dyson and it goes online April 19th, 2011 and declares war on mankind and triggers a nuclear apocalypse two days later.


The police car seen at 27:28 on the Blu-ray is a 1992 Chevrolet Caprice. It has a New Mexico government license plate that matches an actual design used by the government in that state. The police SUV seen here is a 1995 Chevrolet Suburban.


Cromartie uses the ever-reliable duct tape to patch up the hole in his leg.


Cameron eats a corn chip, indicating she is different from the average Terminator models.


Sarah, John, and Cameron drive into Los Angeles on September 9, 1999.


At 32:48 on the Blu-ray, Cameron makes her eyes light up blue to show Tarissa Dyson that she is a Terminator.


At 33:37 on the Blu-ray, Cromartie's POV display gives the address of the Dyson residence as 41645 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90272. In the real world, 41645 Mulholland Drive is the address of a shopping center. The zip code 90272 actually belongs to the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, not Mulholland.


Cromartie carries an M16 rifle to the Dyson home in his attempt to kill the Connors.


The Connors drive away from the Dyson home in a 1997 Land Rover Range Rover.


Even though it's supposed to L.A., the shot at 34:31 on the Blu-ray appears to be on Menaul Boulevard in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Big O Tires store and Chevron gas station are also seen here. The episode commentary track by Executive Producer Josh Friedman reveals that the entire episode was shot in Albuquerque.


Seconds later, John runs into Hi-Lo Market to get medical supplies to patch up a gunshot flesh wound on his mother. Hi-Lo Market is an Albuquerque grocery store which also appeared in an episode of Breaking Bad.


At 36:11 on the Blu-ray, a car with CA license plate 5Q49923 drives past camera. This same plate also appears in the 2016 Bosch episode "Everybody Counts".


At 36:17 on the Blu-ray, a Wendy's restaurant, Starr's Market, and Bank of America are seen in the background as Cameron and the Connors walk across the parking lot to Security Trust of Los Angeles. A few seconds later, China Town Buffet and Desert Sands Motor Hotel are seen. Most of these were actual businesses in Albuquerque at the time of shooting. Security Trust of Los Angeles is a fictitious bank; the location is actually that of the Bank of Albuquerque.


Cameron tells Sarah and John that she opened a safe deposit box account at Security Trust of Los Angeles in 1963, which a plaque on the bank's exterior reveals was the year the building was constructed. This would seem to imply that she time travelled to 1963 before coming to 1999, but it would make more sense that she didn't do it at all and it was actually the unnamed engineer Cameron soon tells them about who worked on the bank building's construction at the time and hid the parts for the plasma rifle and time machine within.


The gun Cameron takes from the bank's security guard is a Smith & Wesson Model 28.


Cameron's POV display shows dozens of names of safe deposit box holders as she searches for hers. Many of the names are jokes: D. Jones, M. Dolenz, M. Nesmith, and P. Tork were all members of the rock band The Monkees; F. Mulder and D. Scully are characters from The X-Files; S. Spade is a fictional private detective (Sam Spade) in the 1930 novel The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (famously portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the 1941 film version); some possible references to novelists/writers are M. Helprin, A. Brugess (Burgess?), J. Irving, F. Oconnor, V. Vinger (Vernor Vinge?), P. Anderson, (Ursula) K. La Guin; others are R. Rosebud (possibly a reference to the "Rosebud" plot device in Citizen Kane), M. Envelope, B. Overunder. The name Cameron's box is filed under is E. Boykins.


The motto on the door of the police cruiser at 38:47 on the Blu-ray is "Dedicated to serve", but the motto of the Los Angeles Police Department is actually, "To protect and to serve". The motto "Dedicated to serve" also appeared on an LAPD cruiser in The Terminator!


At 38:50 on the Blu-ray, a Volvo 940 in the bank parking lot has CA license plate 2SBI653. This same plate has appeared in other productions such as Lost and Columbo. It also appears again on a Mack truck in "Heavy Metal"!


The SWAT officers who storm the bank are carrying Heckler & Koch MP5A3 rifles.


At 39:06 on the Blu-ray, a framed photo of President Bill Clinton is seen hanging on an FBI office wall. He was U.S. president in 1999 when this scene is set. An award plaque for Mark Matheson is also seen in this shot; presumably he is the FBI agent whose office it is.


The car seen in the parking lot at 39:49 on the Blu-ray is a 1989 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. Next to it, part of a Ford Expedition is seen. The car driven by Cromartie that screeches into the parking lot with CA plate 2PCE340 is a 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1.


A Long John Silver's fish and chips restaurant is seen in the background at 39:52 on the Blu-ray. Route 66 Paint and Body is seen in the background a couple seconds later; this is a local business in Albuquerque.


Cromartie's POV display at 40:27 on the Blu-ray shows that the bank vault handle has The Kendal Safe Co imprinted on it and he identifies the company as existing in L.A. This appears to be a fictitious company.


At 41:29 on the Blu-ray, the display on the custom time machine reveals the current date to be September 10, 1999. Cameron sets the destination for September 2007.


When Sarah fires the custom-built plasma gun at Cromartie, notice that his head gets blown off in the flash.


When Cameron and the Connors arrive in the middle of a freeway in 2007, a sign in the background indicates it is near an interchange of Interstate 5, an actual freeway running through Los Angeles. A later newscast reveals the trio materialized on the I-105, another actual freeway.


Arriving naked in 2007, it can be seen that Sarah's right shoulder is uninjured even though she was shot there just the day before!


The freeway arrival scene here later inspired a similar freeway arrival by Sarah and Kyle Reese in the 2015 film, Terminator Genisys.


Notice that Cameron grabs John by the arm to get him to safety off the freeway, not Sarah. She is programmed to protect John.


As the naked trio run down the embankment from the freeway lanes, it's pretty obvious they are actually wearing nude-colored leotards!


Shoulder barriers on the freeway construction seen at 44:12 on the Blu-ray are labeled with Highway Supply LLC, a real world company in Albuquerque (again, scene is supposed to be set in Los Angeles).


When Cameron beats up the young "frat boy" types who come at her on the freeway, notice that Sarah is grinning as she watches the one-sided fight.


A Caterpillar 330C Excavator is seen among the freeway construction equipment at 44:35 on the Blu-ray.


The stolen t-shirt John puts on says "Southern California Football" on the front. It is probably intended to generically represent University of Southern California and their football team.


At 45:40 on the Blu-ray, the TV station that broadcasts a report of the "prank" on the freeway is KZPZ, channel 7, seen on a television in Ellison's office. KZPZ appears to be a fictitious station.


Sarah's quote of "It is said that the death of any one person is the death of an entire world," is based on words from the Jewish Talmud, "Whoever destroys even a single life in Israel, Scripture regards him as if he had destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single soul in Israel, Scripture regards him as if he preserved the entire world."


Unanswered Questions


What happened to the engineer who hid the plasma rifle parts and time machine inside the bank vault in 1963?


What happened to Cromartie's body in 1999?


Memorable Dialog


John picked it out.mp3

he gave you a ring and now you're freaking out.mp3

I'll make pancakes.mp3

Luke Skywalker type.mp3

grade A whack-a-mole.mp3

my name is Cromartie.mp3

class dismissed.mp3

come with me if you want to live.mp3


same where, different when.mp3

no one is ever safe.mp3

the death of a child is no less than a holocost.mp3 


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