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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle dot-com
Terminator: The Tower is Tall, But the Fall is Short "The Tower is Tall, But the Fall is Short"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by Denise Thé
Directed by Tawnia McKiernan
Original air date: October 20, 2008


The Connors track one of the names on the wall: Dr. Sherman, a family therapist. But what is his connection to the future war or Skynet?


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Sarah Connor


Dr. Boyd Sherman

John Connor

Matt Murch

Catherine Weaver

Photographer (unnamed)

Catherine Weaver's assistant (unnamed)

Savannah Weaver

Kyle Reese (mentioned only, deceased)

James Ellison

Derek Reese

Jesse Flores

Dr. Sherman's assistant (unnamed, dies in this episode)

Bird (mentioned only, deceased in the future)

Cullie (mentioned only, deceased in the future)

Cullie's brother (unnamed, mentioned only)

The real Catherine Weaver (seen in video only, deceased)

Lachlan Weaver (husband of the real Catherine Weaver, seen in video only, deceased)

Rosie (Terminator) 


Didja Notice?


When Cameron looks in the medicine cabinet at Dr. Sherman's house at the beginning of the episode, the listed drugs are all real world medications. The prescription medication celecoxib (most commonly known under the brand name Celebrex) is used for the ailments listed in Cameron's POV analysis screen: arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis.


The books seen in the raid of Dr. Sherman's house are Textbook of Work Physiology, Psychology of Selecting Employees, Mosby's Medical & Nursing Dictionary, Alcoholics Anonymous, Glory Be!, Approaches to Cross-Cultural Psychiatry, and Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology. These are all real world books, though Glory Be! seems out of place, being a book in the Penny and Tippy Parrish children's' series by Janet Lambert.


At 0:48 on the Blu-ray, an old advertising poster for Bambu papel de fumar is seen. This is a Spanish brand of cigarette rolling papers.


Also at 0:48 on the Blu-ray, an inkblot similar to those from the Rorschach test is seen, though it does not seem to match any of the official Rorschach inkblots.


At 1:46 on the Blu-ray, notice that the photographer's camera has the brand name on front obscured (presumably to prevent free publicity for an unsponsored brand).


Dr. Sherman tells the Connors that he's treated civilians almost exclusively, but Iraq's changing that. This is a reference to the Iraq War, a coalition of the UN forces led by the United States against Iraq and the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein from 2003-2011, with flare-up insurgencies against the UN-supported government intermittently since then.


At 6:58 on the Blu-ray, two framed quotes on the wall of Dr. Sherman's session room for children read "As long as you have fear you cannot really love. As long as you have anger you cannot truly love. As long as you have selfish ego, you cannot truly love," and  "There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.” These are quotes by alternative medicine advocate and author Deepak Chopra.


Dr. Sherman's first name is seen as Boyd on his deskplate (and in the closing credits), but his PhD. diploma from Columbia University hanging on the wall at 11:09 on the Blu-ray reads "R.M. Boyd".


The "squirrel and the tree" method of remembering how to tie a shoelace that John teaches Savannah is a well-known one for kids.


Mr. Murch's first name is generally reported as "Matt" in SCC sources, but "Today is the Day" Part 2 shows his file in the ZeiraCorp system with the name Walter Murch.


Derek chases Jesse to the Alistair Grand Hotel. This appears to be a fictitious hotel made up for the episode.


Jesse tells Derek that John Connor has at least one Terminator working for the Resistance in every major base.


Jesse tells Derek that Cullie's brother sent her back from the future. Derek remarks he's the same one who sent Derek himself back.


At 16:15 on the Blu-ray, the book Forever Beat by John Cline can be seen on the bookshelf in Dr. Sherman's office. According to Publisher's Weekly, the novel includes a Hollywood star running a baby-selling racket, Catholic nuns selling drug-addicted infants, the IRA, chainsaw massacres, and lesbianism!


Dr. Sherman states that Cameron exhibits some possible Asperger's symptoms. Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that includes social dysfunction as one of its symptoms.


The identification bar on the video interview with the (now-deceased) real Catherine Weaver and her husband states that they are the co-founders of ZeiraCorp.


The transit bus seen at 24:06 on the Blu-ray appears to be a 1989 RTS (Rapid Transit Series) manufactured by Transportation Manufacturing Corporation (defunct since 2003).


An advertisement in Spanish is seen on the side of the transit bus. The visible words on it translate as "Call 24 hours", "toll free number", "accidents", "no charge", and "don't have insurance?".


A Dell monitor screen is seen at 27:56 on the Blu-ray.


The Lego tower Catherine Weaver builds for Savannah looks similar to ancient painting depictions of the Biblical Tower of Babel. This is likely the inspiration for the "tower" in the title of this episode. Also, Weaver's team that is working on the Turk is called Division Babylon.


The redheaded female Terminator who arrives in this episode is referred to as Rosie in the Blu-ray special feature "Cameron vs. Rosie Fight Rehearsal". The special feature states that the performer who played Rosie was a contortionist, allowing for the shots of Cameron twisting her limbs into pretzel-like shapes!


At 40:14 on the Blu-ray, Savannah appears to be coloring with Crayola crayons whose brand name has been covered up.


This episode reveals that it was John who killed Margos Sarkissian during the break-in at the Connor home, not Sarah (in "Samson & Delilah").


Ironically, Cameron seems concerned here that John might contemplate suicide, while she herself tells him that she will stop herself if she should have another moment where she turns against him.


Unanswered Questions


What became of Rosie's body? Presumably the Connors and Cameron burned it with thermite as they had with the Vick Chamberlain Terminator (in "Queen's Gambit"), but it is never revealed. 


Memorable Dialog


opposite of foes.mp3

you could say that.mp3

I want my old mommy back.mp3

some people never get a sense of humor.mp3

why is a math book so sad?.mp3 


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