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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle dot-com
Terminator: To the Lighthouse "To The Lighthouse"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by Natalie Chaidez
Directed by Guy Ferland
Original air date: March 27, 2009


Sarah leaves John with Charley Dixon while she goes to an important medical appointment; John Henry is compromised by a brother A.I.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Didja Know?


The title of this episode, while obviously referring to Charley's lighthouse home, may also refer to the 1927 novel of the same name by Virginia Woolf.


The lighthouse that appears in this episode is the Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. This is also the lighthouse that appeared in several episodes of the 1980s V series as the Resistance headquarters for a time.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Sarah Connor

John Connor


Derek Reese

John Henry

Savannah Weaver

Matt Murch

James Ellison

Charley Dixon (dies in this episode)

Hal Beesley (mentioned only)

Dr. Martinez

Ed Winston (in flashback only, deceased)

Miles Dyson (in photo only, deceased)


Didja Notice?


At the beginning of the episode, Sarah's voiceover states that when John was a child the legends of the jungle were his fairy tales, his favorite being the story of El Viejo del Monte, the Old Man of the Forest.


Sarah's voiceover states that the jungle legend describes El Viejo del Monte being turned into a simisco, half-animal, half-man. From what I can find, simisco is a German term for such a creature.


The wild parrot young John finds in the jungle appears to be a scarlet macaw.


Cameron states a latitude of 33-42-31 North as the location of the safe house the Connors are bugging out to. These would be latitude coordinates, but not that helpful without longitude (East-West) as well!


Throughout the second season, John has been a bit rebellious toward his mother's leadership, but this episode seems to mark him actually starting to assume a leadership role himself. He gives commands and establishes control in a number of instances here and in the following two episodes as the season ends.


At 4:00 on the Blu-ray, Sarah's Chevy Suburban has CA license plate 5L803J1.


As Savannah enters John Henry's room to play with him, he is playing with toys from the Lego Bionicle line: Solek, Toa Tahu, and Toa Gali. John Henry tells her that they are at Mount Valmai on the mystical island of Voya Nui protecting the Mask of Life from the Dark Hunters. This is roughly accurate to the storyline of the Bionicle toy series. 


After Savannah has introduced her three duckling toys to John Henry, an image of a duckling toy is seen on the large monitor screen behind John Henry...but it does not match the design of the duckling toys Savannah has placed in front of him!
Savannah's ducklings John Henry's duckling
Savannah's ducklings John Henry's duckling


At 5:39 on the Blu-ray, notice that the Turk box that houses John Henry's "consciousness" has three red dots on the front, possibly an indication that this is what the three dots left by Wells on the Connors' basement wall was meant to represent (in "Automatic for the People"). Turk


At 7:10 on the Blu-ray, John is perplexed about the static coming through the truck radio on all stations as he and his mom drive from the city. It's not explained, but the static is most likely due to interference from the transmitter that Sarah will soon learn was implanted in her chest, presumably by Ed Winston for the Kaliba Group in "Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep".


Sarah decides to play Bug Slug with John while they drive, a game in which the first person to see a Volkswagen Beetle on the road gets to punch the other in the arm. John protests that she didn't announce the game ahead of time and that they haven't played it since he was about eight. This game is an actual real world time-killer played during long drives, believed to have originated in the 1960s. Fun violence for the whole family!


Murch's description of a "daemon" as a computer program that runs in the background is, in simplified terms, accurate.


After discovering that John Henry was infected with malware, Murch says " "bad news" I mean, on a scale from one to 10, one being a hangnail, 10 being Katrina...this is Katrina with a hangnail." "Katrina" refers to the 2005 hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, one of the deadliest in history.


At 11:28 on the Blu-ray, the Connors' storage unit visited by Derek and Cameron appears to be called Topsy Storage. This seems to have been a fictitious company at the time, though a self-storage company by that name was later started in 2016.


Cameron mistakenly refers to the submarine U.S.S. Jimmy Carter as S.S. Jimmy Carter. S.S. stands for "steam ship", which the Carter most certainly is not! (U.S.S. stands for "United States Ship".)


At 12:10 on the Blu-ray, the Chevrolet emblem on the grill of Sarah's Suburban has been covered up by the production. This is often done to avoid free advertising for commercial brands.


    At 12:27 on the Blu-ray, a Yamaha outboard motor is seen on a boat in front of Charley's house. Later, we can see the boat is a Parker model, a company which has an agreement to outfit their boats with Yamaha motors.

    In this same shot, both the standard U.S. flag and the U.S. Coast Guard flag are seen flying behind the house and next to the lighthouse. U.S. lighthouses have flown the Coast Guard flag since 1939.


At 12:39 on the Blu-ray, two Dell monitors are seen displaying live security camera footage inside Charley's lighthouse home.


John doesn't recognize the dog living at Charley's house, but he is immediately drawn to it, petting and coddling it. John must be a dog person! Which is good, since dogs are able to detect Terminators.


At 13:31 on the Blu-ray, Charley's pickup truck appears to be a 1979 GMC C/K-Series.


Charley serves John some bouillabaisse, a French fish soup.


Charley asks John if he wants more soup after he's taken just one spoonful! It would seem some shots were cut from this scene that would have allowed for passage of time for John to have eaten most of it.


Charley seems to appreciate John's presence, but not so much Sarah's. First, she abruptly ended their engagement (back in 1999), then she was indirectly responsible for getting his current wife killed, and now wants more help from him. Notice that he's happy to serve John leftover bouillabaisse, but he pleasantly demonstrates that the pot is empty when she comments on the good smell and tells her there is bread and peanut butter, "Help yourself."


Charley tells John that the beach is rigged with Semtex explosives. Semtex is a plastic explosive developed for the Czechoslovakian military in the 1960s.


When Sarah finds a lump in her breast and assumes it is the same cancer that Cameron said would kill her before their time jump form 1999, she tells Charley, "It's my fate..." This is an ironic contrast to the "no fate but what we make" messages sent to her by John from the future through Kyle Reese in The Terminator.


When John Henry's system is powered back up, he puts a message on his monitor screen, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" These were the words of Jesus as he was crucified, according to the Bible.


After his shutdown, John Henry tells Ellison he now knows what it's like to die and to be alone. This could mean that he will do anything to avoid it happening again, which could be an ominous omen. On the other hand, it could also mean he now understands why human life is sacred.


At 30:35 on the Blu-ray, Sarah is armed with an AKMS assault rifle during a flashback sequence to her time raising John in the jungle.


The Kaliba van with CA license plate 4D0Q678 that pulls away from the storage building at 33:35 is a 2007 Chevrolet Express.


Sarah has her Glock 17 pistol with her at the doctor's office. Cameron also uses a Glock 17 against the Kaliba agents during the gunfight in the street.


When Sarah goes to the doctor to have the mass in her breast looked at and realizes it is an implanted transmitter, the doctor seems to go along too easily with her explanation that it's a transmitter and her decision to use the shock paddles of the defibrillator in the exam room to short out the device. Wouldn't the doctor just advocate for her to have the piece of metal surgically removed? She might even call security when Sarah prepares to use the defibrillator on herself!


Derek carries his Beretta 92FS pistol as he approaches the Kaliba van at 35:23 on the Blu-ray. John also appears to carry one during the gunfight at the lighthouse.


The stun gun the Kaliba agent uses against Derek looks like it may be a TASER M26C Police Stun Gun. 


The Kaliba agent carries a Heckler & Koch UMP submachine gun during his pursuit of Sarah at the medical office. Later, the agent who comes after John and Charley at the lighthouse also uses one.


Charley uses a Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle against the Kaliba agent at the lighthouse.


John Henry states that Miles Dyson was killed in an explosion at Cyberdyne Systems set off by Sarah Connor just days after she escaped from Pescadero State Mental Hospital. This incident took place in Judgment Day. John Henry says that Dyson was killed in 1997, but the events of the film, including his death, took place in 1995. However, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has used the 1997 date instead throughout the series, all the way back to the first episode, "No One is Ever Safe".


At 39:26 on the Blu-ray, the image in the sideview mirror as Cameron looks at the Port of Los Angeles warehouse from the truck does not appear to be the same location we just saw her pull up to. In fact, it looks as if the shot may have been filmed at the same location as the storage facility she left! Notice a few seconds later that the warehouse has old, mostly faded words painted on it that read "customs bonded storage", suggesting the two locations were filmed in the same place. The address on the warehouse is 2500 Signal, which is in the city of San Pedro, and can be seen as the filming location on Google Maps: 2500 Signal Street, San Pedro, CA.


At 39:57 on the Blu-ray, some of the breaks in the chain-link gate can be seen before Cameron pulls it apart!


It seems that Cameron faked her immobilization after the Kaliba agent electrocutes her through the wet floor in the warehouse, in order to draw him close. The Kaliba agent seems to have been following the instructions of the A.I. that infiltrated John Henry's systems, so why did the electrocution not work on Cameron? She is seen to be wearing boots, so possibly they have rubber soles, insulating her from the electrical shock on the floor.


Cameron tells Derek that she rescued him from the Kaliba men because he knows the location of John's new safe house and he might have revealed that to their enemies under torture. Derek objects that that would never happen, to which Cameron retorts, "It has before." This may be a reference to the torture Derek apparently underwent in the future in "Dungeons & Dragons".


There are one or more small fires burning in the shrubs at the lighthouse after the gunfight, an indication of Charley's explosives having been set off.


Unanswered Questions


Who/what is the other A.I. that infiltrates John Henry's systems? Was it Skynet or a predecessor of it? John Henry calculates that the A.I. has planted its worm in a significant percentage of the world's computer systems, allowing it to remote control those systems as needed.


Does Sarah have cancer? The lump in her breast turned out to be a transmitter implanted by Kaliba agent Ed Winston, but her feelings of nausea and weight loss are left unexplained. 


Notes from the deleted scenes on the Blu-ray special features


A voiceover from John informs us that the jungle legend of El Viejo del Monte was not his favorite story as a kid as his mother was hers. 


Memorable Dialog


we can change the rules.mp3

Bug Slug.mp3


you don't fool John Henry twice.mp3

I know what it feels like.mp3


what we all want.mp3


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