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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle dot-com
Terminator: The Mousetrap "The Mousetrap"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by John Wirth
Directed by Bill Eagles
Original air date: September 22, 2008


Cromartie takes a different tack in his pursuit of John Connor.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This episode takes place on November 18, 2007.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Charley Dixon

Michelle Dixon (dies in this episode)


Kacy Cotton

John Connor

George Laszlo (deceased, seen in old B-movie)


Sarah Connor

Derek Reese

Riley Dawson

Agent Ellison

Catherine Weaver 


Didja Notice?


A country-western song plays over the opening scene, but I haven't been able to identify it. The discernable lyrics are "If today the sun should set, and never rise again, if the world should turn upon me, and take my every friend, if all the flowers withered... but safe within your arms, I'd never feel the cold, but safe within your arms, I'd feel no cold."


The gas pump at the desert station where Charley fuels his Land Cruiser is an old Smith Geosource pump.


The truck Cromartie drives in his pursuit of the Dixons through the desert is a 1985 Dodge Power Ram.


An old tow truck at the gas station has "Cal-Rod Motors" in faded paint on the side. This may be from a former car dealership of that name in Oxnard, CA around the 1960s-70s. The truck itself is a 1947 Nash 3148 Haul Thrift.


The gas station scenes were shot in the Mojave Desert at a "for rent" movie set of the Easy Rest Inn, originally built for the 1991 film Eye of the Storm.


After John wires cable TV into Kacy's bedroom for her, they flick through the channels, landing on KZPZ (seen in a few previous episodes) and find a scene from Beast Wizard 7, starring George Laszlo (the facial template of Cromartie's current face). The title, scene, and costuming in the movie suggest that it was based on the Beastmaster films starring Marc Singer.


When Sarah guesses that John stole cable TV for Kacy, he tells her, "No one that pregnant should be forced to watch network television, it's bad for the baby." Of course, The Sarah Connor Chronicles originally aired on network television, the Fox Network!


As Sarah unpacks the groceries she bought at 6:48 on the Blu-ray, a box of Nutty Nuggets cereal is seen. This is a generic brand of Post Grape Nuts cereal.


Charley calls John's cell phone and opens with the code the Connors' set up for identification, the current day's date. From this, we know that this episode takes place on November 18, 2007. This episode seems to take place the day after "Automatic for the People", so that episode must have taken place on November 17.


During their phone call, Charley tells he Sarah is somewhere off the 14, just south of the California City turnoff. This is a roughly accurate description of the location of the Easy Rest Inn movie set, with Highway 14 running near both.


The vehicle Sarah and Derek take to go help Charley rescue Michelle is a 1970 Ford Bronco. It's CA license plate is 1E49983.


At 12:17 on the Blu-ray, a 2003 Toyota Tundra is parked outside the store where John and Cameron buy computer equipment.


The pick-up truck John drives here is a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew-Cab Laramie.


At 12:53 on the Blu-ray, Vitae magazine is seen on a magazine rack. As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious periodical.


Riley tells John on the phone that she is "captivated by the Lohan." I'm not sure what she means by this but, since she is looking at a magazine rack, she may be referring to a cover featuring actress/model Lindsay Lohan.


The truck that drives by at 14:35 on the Blu-ray is a 1987 Dodge Dakota.


When Michelle manages to call Charley, she tells him that Cromartie has taken her to a building just outside of Mojave. Mojave is a desert town about 14 miles southwest of California City.


While setting his trap, Cromartie tells Michelle that James Atkinson invented the mousetrap in 1897. Though Atkninson did invent a variation of the mousetrap at that time, most historians currently agree that the original spring-loaded mousetrap was invented by William C. Hooker in 1894. Cromartie goes on to remark that it is "hard to build a better one," a reference to the popular American idiom, "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door."


At 19:11 on the Blu-ray, the magazines Healthy Man, Luciano, and The Classic Man are seen. As far as I can tell, these are fictitious periodicals. John and Riley also mention US, People, OK, Popular Mechanics, Guns and Ammo, and Cat Fancy, all real magazines. John jokes about Yarn Collector, but this is a fictitious magazine.


Sarah carries a Remington 870 shotgun, Derek an M79 grenade launcher, and Charley is given Sarah's Glock 17 during the Michelle Dixon rescue attempt. Cromartie also carries a Glock 17 later on at the pier.


Catherine Weaver shows Agent Ellison photos from the wreckage of a commuter jet that crashed in the eastern Sierras on a flight from Sacramento to Portland five years ago. "Sierras" refers to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.


The Red Valley incident mentioned by Weaver occurred in "No One is Ever Safe".


The pier Cromartie sends John to is the Santa Monica Pier.


The van commandeered by Sarah and her crew is a 1997 Ford Econoline E-350 from High Desert Cellular with license plate 3PCI499; the license plate was seen on two different cars in "Samson and Delilah" and will be seen again in "Desert Cantos". There was a company based in Nevada at the time called High Desert Cellular, though the company in this episode is probably intended to be fictitious.


At 37:08 on the Blu-ray, a visitor to the pier is seen wearing a Dinosaur Bar-B-Que t-shirt, a restaurant chain on the northeastern seaboard of the U.S.


When John and Cromartie jump off the pier into the sea, John is able to escape Cromartie's grasp and swim away, but Cromartie's metal endoskeleton weight causes him to sink to the bottom (he is able to walk out later, having lost John's trail). A Terminator sinking into the ocean also occurs in TIMELINE TT-1 in "One-Shot" and in TIMELINE TT-3 in "Secondary Objectives", parts 1 and 2.


The corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue is seen at 41:02 on the Blu-ray, with Sushi Roku, Portofino Plaza, and The Georgian Hotel visible. 


Charley tosses a Bible on top of Michelle's coffin as it is lowered into the ground. It is the Bible given to him by Agent Ellison in "Automatic for the People".


Unanswered Questions


Weaver explains to Ellison that in the airplane wreckage from a 2002 jet crash a damaged chest frame and arm from a Terminator was found. What was it doing on a plane five years ago (2002)? There are no story points that tie back directly to 2002.


Weaver tells Ellison that she and her "late husband" attempted to reverse engineer the robotic technology found in the plane crash from 2002. Her "late husband" is later named as Lachlan Weaver in "Allison from Palmdale". We will learn still later that Lachlan was killed in a helicopter crash, while Catherine "survived" it (actually the T-1001 taking Catherine's place) in "The Tower is Tall But the Fall is Short". The description here would seem to suggest that the human Weavers were the ones who came into possession of the robotic technology and tried to reverse-engineer it before the T-1001 arrived in the future. What repercussions would there have been on the world if the real Weavers had continued their reverse-engineering attempts instead of begin killed and Catherine being replaced?


Michelle Dixon dies from an injury suffered in the explosion set by Cromartie in this episode and we see her funeral at the end. What explanation did Charley give to the doctors and authorities for her injuries? 


Memorable Dialog


this town can screw you up.mp3

forced to watch network television.mp3

people like me.mp3

yarn collector.mp3

Cat Fancy.mp3

they never let you have a good day.mp3 


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