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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: The Turk "The Turk"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TV episode
Written by John Wirth
Directed by Paul Edwards
Original air date: January 21, 2008


A brilliant geek develops a chess computer that just may evolve into Skynet.


Read the story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Didja Know?


The young actress playing Jordan Cowan in this episode is Alessandra Torresani, who is also known as Zoe Greystone in the Caprica TV series.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Sarah Connor

John Connor


Jordan Cowan

Cheri Westin

Tarissa Dyson
Danny Dyson (mentioned only)

Mr. Bianchi (chemistry teacher)

Andy Goode

Agent Greta Simpson

Agent Ellison

Enrique Salceda (deceased, mentioned only)




Dr. Fleming

Derek Reese (not named until "Queen's Gambit")

Sarah's doctor (unnamed)




Didja Notice?


The "Previously on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" segment at the beginning of the episode features a shot not previously seen: when the Connors and Cameron arrive in the time bubble in 2007, Cromartie's metallic skull flies through as well. In "No One is Ever Safe", we saw his head get blown off by Sarah's plasma gun just before the time jump, but did not see it fly through the bubble and arrive in 2007.


In Sarah's dream in which she kills the atomic scientists, she uses a Glock 17 pistol; it also appears to be the pistol she has at her bedside when she wakes up. The Terminators in the dream are armed with Westinghouse M95A1 Phased Plasma Rifles.


In the opening narrative of this episode, Sarah refers to her time at the mental hospital. This is Pescadero State Mental Hospital, as seen in Judgment Day.


When Sarah begins explaining all the entrances and exits of his new high school, John tells her, "Mom, it's high school, okay, not supermax." "Supermax" refers to a "super-maximum security" prison, which are designed to hold the worst criminal offenders.


Cameron says that the school "graffiti" of an office door painted on a school wall, seen at 6:07 on the Blu-ray, appears to be a trompe l'œil fresco. Trompe-l'œil is French for "trick the eye" and is an art style intended to create an impression of the depicted subject as an actual, three-dimensional object in space.


During the metal detector scene at the school at 7:38 on the Blu-ray, one of the female students is wearing a CCHS cheerleader outfit. In "Gnothi Seuton" the two were seen to register for high school there.


Agent Simpson remarks that the last time Agent Ellison worked a crime scene, Hoover was cross-dressing at Quantico. J. Edgar Hoover was the director of the FBI from 1935-1972; there have long been rumors that Hoover was a cross-dresser at homosexual parties. Quantico, Virginia is the location of the FBI Academy.


Ellison tells Simpson that one of the guns fired at the "resistance" crime scene is the one that killed one of his CIs (criminal informant), Enrique Salceda. Enrique, a former confidant of Sarah's, was killed by Cameron in "Gnothi Seuton".


Simpson doesn't believe the resistance house was part of a terror cell because she checked the victims identities with CAL-ID, NCIC, CDP, and Interpol with no suspicious hits. CAL-ID is the California Identification Card Program, NCIC is the National Crime Information Center, and Interpol is the shorthand name of the International Criminal Police Organization. I'm not sure what CDP is.


Simpson tells Ellison the victims must have been small-time drug dealers, not worth his putting on his tie and breaking open the Thomas Guide. A Thomas Guide is a series of thick, spiral-bound map books of cities, counties, and regions across the country.


At 12:56 on the Blu-ray, Cromartie's POV display lists the composition of the blood plasma he's looking at in the medical storage refrigerator. He takes several pouches of O Positive blood plasma for use in his later skin and flesh reconstruction. Apparently Terminators (this one anyway) use O Positive blood type!


Andy Goode is seen to work at a cell phone store called Cell Division. This is a fictitious establishment.


In this episode, Sarah drives a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. She continues to use it for most of season one.


The cell phones Sarah buys at Cell Division are Palm Treos, a series of cell phones released from 2002-2008. Dr. Fleming also uses a Trio a few minutes later in the episode.


The green and yellow car parked in Carlos' driveway at 17:25 on the Blu-ray is a 1969 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe.


At 19:27 on the Blu-ray, a book on Dr. Fleming's shelf is Wild Animus. This is a notoriously bad novel by venture capitalist Richard Shapero.


At 20:35 on the Blu-ray, a canister of McCormick Black Pepper is seen on top of the stove in the Connor home.


After seeing what Cromartie has written on the wall as the formula for artificially-generated skin, Dr. Fleming is shocked and mentions keratynocite. This refers to keratinocyte growth factor, the skin-growing phase of wound healing. He also mentions Woo, Thomason, Parker, and Lang; presumably these are the names of scientists or doctors who have worked on perfecting processes of rapid skin growth for covering wounds.


The story of Werner Heisenberg and Moe Berg during WWII that Sarah tells is true.


Andy tells Sarah he attended CalTech to get a computer degree, but dropped out after his father died, to help his mother.


Andy asks Sarah if she ever wanted to be anything other than a waitress. She says yes, but she can't remember.


Andy has a poster in his living room advertising the Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz chess match. This was an actual match between Vladimir Kramnik and the computer program Deep Fritz in 2006. Deep Fritz won the match. The poster seen here is also real. Ironically, the robotic hand seen in the poster (not real) was loosely based on the robotic hands of the Terminators in the Terminator film series!

Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz


Besides Kramnik, Andy also mentions the Kasparov vs. Deep Blue match. This refers to IBM's Deep Blue defeating chess master Garry Kasparov in May 1997. Garry Kasparov was the title holder of the World Chess Championship at the time.


Andy calls his chess computer "the Turk" after the hoax chess-playing "automaton" built by Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1770. The "automaton" actually had an expert chess player hidden inside to play the game.


When she is unable to describe the Turk to John to his satisfaction, Sarah simply tells him, "It plays chess." John's response is, "So did Einstein." Einstein, of course, is a reference to Albert Einstein, the renowned theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity in physics and was one of the fathers of the atomic bomb.


John explains the concept of the Singularity to his mother. The term was popularized by computer scientist and science-fiction author Vernor Vinge and described in a manner similar to what John speaks of here; machines becoming able to build more intelligent versions of themselves until even human-level intelligence is surpassed. Vinge has postulated that this event will occur by 2030.


Agent Simpson shows Ellison a file on one of the dead Resistance members, still a boy at this point in time (2007): Warren L. Krazcetac, birth date 06/12/03, phone number 939-555-1039, address 47 East Street, Canton, Ohio. Contacts for the boy are listed as Scott Buckwald or Jared Fleury. Buckwald and Fleury were both prop masters on the series. Warren's street address appears to be fictitious. The 939 area code is actually for parts of Puerto Rico, not Canton, Ohio; the 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film.


At 30:35 on the Blu-ray, notice that the Cromartie endoskeleton seen here is also reflected in the medicine cabinet mirror on the far right of the screen. A nice touch by the SFX team.


The "Effects of Smoking" chart hanging on the wall of the doctor's office at 31:12 on the Blu-ray is an actual medical poster.


Sarah's doctor unknowingly voices (though in a different context) Sarah's actions since 1984: "Don't drive yourself crazy chasing the future. We can't predict. No, we can only try to prevent."


A Beretta 92FS pistol is sitting on Sarah's dresser at 32:08 on the Blu-ray. This is the gun she takes with her to her afternoon date at the park with Andy, with the possibility that she will kill him.


Why did Cameron go into the girls restroom at school in the first place? She seemingly does not need to use it, being a robot!


The two girls Cameron talks to in the restroom are named Zoey ("Does this make me look fat?") and Franny ("Bitch-whore much?") according to the end credits.


Andy tells Sarah that he has the guts of 3 X-Boxes and 4 Playstations daisy-chained as part of the Turk. X-Box and Playstation are, of course, real world home video game systems.


Andy swears to Sarah that some of the modded-out code he's used on the Turk came to him in a dream.


How is the person (student?) who is doing the trompe l'œil frescos able to do them fast and unnoticed, even during the middle of the school day?!


Notice that the hair on the girl in the trompe l'œil fresco at 38:15 on the Blu-ray looks like that of Jordan Cowan, indicating that the artist is targeting this student for some reason.


Sarah's telling of the first atomic bomb test (Trinity) near Los Alamos, New Mexico is accurate. She also quotes J. Robert Oppenheimer as having said, after the Trinity test, "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds," from the Bhagavad Gita; he did, indeed, say this. The Bhagavad Gita is a lengthy verse of Hindu scripture.


The story of a blind woman who saw the Trinity flash from 150 miles away was actually reported, but is generally believed to be an apocryphal account.


As Sarah states here, Oppenheimer's colleague Ken Bainbridge (director of the Trinity test) declared, "Now we are all sons of bitches."


Memorable Dialog


brain surgery.mp3

don't you kiss me.mp3

I've been reading the dictionary.mp3

don't walk around acting like my bodyguard.mp3

is that what happens now?.mp3

I didn't get killed and she didn't kill anybody.mp3


don't drive yourself crazy chasing the future.mp3

does this make me look fat?.mp3

what are you looking at?.mp3

the Turk has moods.mp3

I'm a bitch-whore.mp3

isn't that what I'm supposed to be?.mp3

now we are all sons of bitches.mp3 


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