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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Queen's Gambit "Queen's Gambit"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by Natalie Chaidez
Directed by Matt Earl Beesley
Original air date: February 11, 2008


Andy builds a new Turk chess computer...and is murdered for his trouble.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This episode takes place on October 25, 2007, though the date is not revealed here. In "The Demon's Hand" it is stated that Andy Goode died on this date (he is killed here in this episode).


Didja Know?


The title of this episode comes from an opening chess move called Queen's Gambit that is at least as old as the 15th Century.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Sarah Connor

John Connor
Andy Goode (dies in this episode)

Charley Dixon
Cromartie (aka FBI Agent Kester, an alias)

Dimitri Shipkov
Michelle Dixon

Jordan Cowan (mentioned only, deceased)

Cheri Westin



Derek Reese
Vick Chamberlain (T-888)
Mr. Harris

Agent Ellison


Didja Notice?


At the beginning of the episode, Sarah is seen to be taking echinacea tablets, among others. Echinacea is thought by some to be a cancer preventative, though this has not been proven scientifically.


Sarah tells John that Andy has been spending his time since the Turk was destroyed re-writing the code from memory at a coffee shop in Van Nuys. Van Nuys is a neighborhood of Los Angeles.


Sarah refers to Cameron as "Tin Miss".


At 9:10 in the episode, two posters are seen hanging at the end of the school lockers: "Elements of a novel or a short story" and "You are about to enter a learning zone". These are both real world posters, largely intended for educational use.


At the memorial prepared by the students at the school for Jordan Cowan, many of the photos of her show her in a school cheerleader outfit.


At the memorial, one of the messages for Jordan reads, "I miss you Pollywog!" Apparently she had a nickname or pet name of "Pollywog".


At 9:48 in the episode, an Atlas motor analyzer is visible behind John in the school's auto shop.


At 9:58 in the episode, Morris is wearing a Smiths t-shirt. The Smiths were an alternative rock band in England from 1982-1987.


Andy has entered his new Turk chess computer in the SoCal Computer Chess Invitational. This is a fictitious tournament. 


Derek Reese is wearing a duster that is very similar to the one worn by his brother Kyle in The Terminator!
Derek in duster Kyle in duster
Derek in duster Kyle in duster


There is a nice shot from 11:30 to 11:39 in the episode of a line-up of robots at the Computer Chess Invitational, ending with Cameron standing at the end of them. One of the robots even waves at her; don't know if it's intentional, but the robot's plastic human face looks kind of like Robocop (actor Peter Weller)!. A small robot dog toy barks at her, ironic considering real dogs are known to be able to detect Terminators and will bark at them.


The robot's face-recognition software at 11:54 in the episode has a button labeled "BladeRunner", probably a reference to the 1982 science-fiction film Blade Runner, which featured human-looking robotic "replicants". Also, as the robot looks at Cameron, her face is labeled with "101", a possible reference to the Model 101, Series 800 Terminators played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator and Judgment Day.


After a bad move by the Japanese computer in the chess match against the Turk, John says the Japanese are in total zugzwang. Zugzwang is a German term meaning "compulsion to move", used in chess when a player has no choice but to make a move that will only worsen their position.


When the Japanese win the match after all, John remarks that they sacrificed their queen, "Just like Byrne-Fischer all over again." He is referring to the 1956 game of Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer. Chess master Byrne lost to the young boy.


After the Turk's loss, when Cameron remarks it could still be a threat and become Skynet, Sarah snaps back, "It could also become Pong." Pong is one of the earliest, primitive video games, released by Atari in 1972.


The police squad cars that surround Derek are 1998 Ford Crown Victorias.


The laptop John uses to hack into the LAPD database is a Dell Inspiron.


Derek is referred to as John Doe while in police custody at the county jail. "John Doe" is a placeholder name used in the United States and Canada for people, patients, or bodies who are unidentified or who must remain legally anonymous.


The T-888 Terminator called Vick Chamberlain is the same Terminator who posed as a dead Resistance fighter in "Gnothi Seauton".


The photo Ellison shows to Derek at 26:13 in the episode is of the corpse of Enrique Salceda, who was killed by Cameron in "Gnothi Seauton". The photo after this one is of the corpse of Dr. Lyman, killed by Cromartie in "Heavy Metal".


When Cameron is in the counselor's office at school, the front-view shots of her show the strap of her book bag hanging straight down from her left shoulder. The rear-view shots show the strap slung diagonally across her back.


The car Cheri's father picks her up in at school is a 2008 Ford Taurus.


Derek tells Sarah he didn't kill Andy, but we learn he was lying about that in "Dungeons and Dragons".


The police van that the Connors and Cameron intercept to free Derek is a Utilimaster P-500. The Connors drive the same 2007 Jeep Wrangler introduced in "The Turk"; the Jeep is seen to have Goodyear tires on it.


Cameron fires a Heckler & Koch MP5K at Vick as they escape with Derek in the police van.


At 35:16 in the episode, shipping containers for Uniglory and Evergreen are seen on a storage lot during Cameron's fight with Vick on the police van. Both are freight companies owned by Evergreen Marine.


At 37:38 in the episode, Vick and Sarah each pull Glock 17 pistols on each other (it appears that Vick took his from the fallen Cameron).


Where did Cameron get the metal rod she uses against Vick at 37:44 in the episode?


Agent Ellison finds Vick's flesh-covered mechanical hand on the side of the road at the battle site where the police van was left behind. It becomes important later in "The Demon's Hand".


Memorable Dialog


this song might just blow up the world.mp3

I'm busy doing John's homework.mp3

I do not know Sarah Connor.mp3

I never sleep.mp3



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