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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Vick's Chip "Vick's Chip"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by Daniel T. Thomsen
Directed by J. Miller Tobin
Original air date: March 3, 2008


John attempts to glean information from Vick's chip to stop a computer program that could become the central nervous system of the Turk.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode



school administrator (unnamed, dies in this episode)

Sarah Connor

John Connor


Margos Sarkissian (mentioned only)

Derek Reese


Vick Chamberlain (in video only, destroyed)

Barbara Chamberlain (in video only, deceased)


Cheri Westin

CCHS gym coach (unnamed)

Eric Carlson

Jessica Peck (body only, deceased)

Skynet (mentioned only)

Tracy (mentioned only)

Mr. Jennings (mentioned only)

Timms (in video only, deceased)

Sumner (in video only, deceased)

Sayles (in video only, deceased)

Andy Goode (mentioned only, deceased)

Kyle Reese (mentioned only, deceased) 


Didja Notice?


Why does Cromartie looks so closely at the snow globe in the school administrator's office? Could it be that the miniature city model with simulated snow particles falling reminds him of the nuclear winter experienced in the future after Judgment Day?


The "Teach the People" poster in the school administrator's office is printed with a quote by Kuan Chung, a Taiwanese politician. The quote is ”If you plant for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests.”


Why does Cromartie say, "Thank you for your cooperation," to a man he has just killed? No one is there to hear it.


At 2:12 in the episode, as Cromartie looks up the names of male high school students with a date of birth of 1989-1992, a number of school and student names are seen. High schools listed are Cartwright, Campo de Cahuenga, Coldwater, Hills, Laurel Canyon, and Van Owen; these are all fictitious high schools (Campo de Cahuenga is the high school John and Cameron are currently attending). The student names listed are Jonathan Davoren, Thomas Klein, Gary Lansing, Jeffrey Mosket, Peter Allen, John Baum (John Connor's current identity), Steven Valdez, Timothy Cleary, Matthew Pierce, Roger Casey, Richard Davis, Edward Kroger, Daniel Mason, Alastair Walsh, Gregory Berman, Shaun Murphy, and Benjamin Schwartz. He must have entered further details to narrow the search to only those who'd entered local high schools recently in order to get such a low number of hits.


While leaving a voice message for Sarkissian, Sarah leaves her cell phone number, stating it as 818-555-0189. 818 is an actual area code in the Los Angeles area. The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film.


It's amusing that, like a typical teenager, John does not remove the burning roast from the oven even though he's almost right next to it, instead calling for his mom to do it.


At the arcade at 4:57 in the episode, some Colorsource boxes are seen in the background. Colorsource is a line of lighting and video products made by ETC.


As he begins his attempt to get data from Vick's chip, John asks Cameron to make a 7-11 run for burritos and chocolate milk. 7-11 is an international chain of convenience stores.


At 7:11 in the episode, John is seen to be using Dell monitors on his computer as he attempts to gain access to the visual records of Vick's chip.


At 7:34 in the episode, video of an assembly line of Vick-model Terminators is seen.


At 8:19 in the episode a NOHO sign is seen in the side-view mirror of Vick's car in the video playback of the chip. NOHO stands for North Hollywood, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. In this same shot, Vick's wife, Barbara, is seen to drive a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T.


    At 8:46 in the episode, the Chamberlains' mail shows they live at 317 Treadwell Street, Van Nuys, CA 91605. This is a fictitious address, though Van Nuys is an actual neighborhood of Los Angeles and 91605 is a zip code of North Hollywood.

    One of the envelopes Vick holds reads "A Green Company" in the bottom left corner. A green company is one that claims to act in a manner designed to minimize environmental impact.

    A couple pieces of mail are seen to be from Lily Orvinglal at West Haverbrook Way, Haverbrook, KS 60227 and Mr. Witherington, 42 Sheffield Place, Nelson, NY 03907. Haverbrook and its zip code appear to be fictitious. Nelson is an actual town in New York, though the zip code seen here is for Ogunquit, Maine.


In Vick's visual memory at 12:09 in the episode, Vick and his wife are enjoying a bottle of Casa di Fazio merlot. As far as I can tell, Casa di Fazio is a fictitious wine company.


Morris tells John and Cameron about an injury he sustained when he got dropped while crowd surfing at Bjork's "secret show at the Echo last October". Bjork is a well-known Icelandic singer/songwriter. The Echo is a nightclub in Los Angeles. The secret show Morris mentions would have been in October 2006, but I've been unable to find any evidence of such a performance (but, then it was secret).


John tells Cheri his cover story that he's moved here from Lawrence, Kansas and that he heard she is from Wichita, another Kansas city about 150 miles southwest of Lawrence.


Cromartie comes to John's school trying to find him, first asking to see Eric Carlson. But this was not one of the names on the search list he pulled up earlier at the school administrator's office.


The call slip the student gives to Cameron to give to John shows that the principal's name is Mr. Jennings.


Cameron uses a photograph printed out from the video footage from Vick's chip to compare and identify the exact location where he apparently killed a woman in the woods. But, having computer memory, she shouldn't need a photo for the comparison! Possibly, the photo was for the benefit of the humans with her, particularly Derek since he does not trust her.


At 26:39 in the episode, the sideview mirror of Vick's car shows the sign for Many Paths Bookstore. This is an actual bookstore in North Hollywood.


In the tunnels under city hall, Derek points out to Sarah the exact location where Kyle was captured by the machines as a boy and sent to a work camp.


Derek and Sarah use plastique to blow up the walls in the tunnel under city hall. Plastique is another term for plastic explosive.


The monitors used on the computers seen at city hall during Sarah and Derek's break-in are Viewsonic models.


When Sarah connects the USB drive to the computer at city hall, a map displays the zones of several cities: Los Angeles, Pasadena, El Monte, Burbank, Inglewood, Torrance, Fullerton, Anaheim, West Covina, Pomona, Corona, and Rancho Cucamonga. These are all actual cities in southern California.


The programming code seen on the screen during Sarah's attempt to infect the computer at city hall appears to be written in Objective-C programming language, originally developed in the 1980s and still in use today in, for example, Apple's OS X and iOS operating systems.


As John is about to remove Cameron's chip, she tells him it's all right, "It's not the first time we've done this." Presumably, she is referring to a time in the future, before she travelled back in time.


Notice that Cameron's chip looks a bit different than Vick's, implying she is a different model from Vick's T-888. Her actual model is never revealed in the course of the series.


As Sarah interrupts Derek's shower near the end of the episode, we see that besides a number of tattoos, he has several scars on his body from his time in battle in the future war against the machines.


Sarah confronts Derek with the knowledge that she knows he killed Andy Goode. It's not spelled out how she suddenly knows this, but it seems likely that Cameron saw it in security camera footage during her infiltration of the city system in this episode (recall that when John asked her what she saw in there, she responds, "I saw everything.") It's possible that she gives this information to Sarah because she sees Derek as a threat to herself since he is constantly telling Sarah and John that she is likely to betray them all at some point. 


Unanswered Questions


This episode reveals that the T-888 called Vick was posing as the husband of Barbara Chamberlain, a Los Angeles city manager who was responsible for the deployment of the ARTIE computerized traffic management system. Was Vick based on a real person who existed, a real Vick who was Barbara's husband and whom the T-888 replaced? It is implied that "Vick" was in a car accident that left him with his odd (i.e. Terminator) mannerisms.


Was John killed by a Terminator in the future, just as he is said to have been in Rise of the Machines? Derek implies as much to him in this episode, saying "Someday one of these things is gonna kill you," as he threatens to destroy Cameron's chip after the successful ARTIE sabotage.


Why did Cameron hide Vick's chip in the first place (as seen in "Dungeons and Dragons")? If she suspected they needed data from it, why not tell the Connors that in the first place?


What was Cheri Westin's secret? Though played up throughout the season, she is not seen or mentioned again after this episode (due largely to the writers strike of 2007-2008 which prevented episodes 10-13 of this season from being completed; the plotline was completely dropped without explanation in the second season).


Memorable Dialog


a little marijuana.mp3

crank the juice.mp3

you can't fight city hall.mp3

are you sure?.mp3

you don't have to trust her.mp3

you lie to me again and I'll kill you.mp3 


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