Sarah’s not nuts after all. Well, let’s qualify that: she may very well be nuts, but she’s not nuts about the three dots, as a lengthy flashback episode – gin joints! The Charleston! Twenty-three skidoo! – explained that the machines use three particular stars in relation to the other stars around them as a means of telling time…in years. Very valuable information to us now, but couldn’t Cameron have figured that out before Sarah decided to get medieval on the bathroom mirror? Just a thought.

Tonight’s episode reveals that Cameron has been spending her sleepless nights (cyborgs, apparently, do not dream of electric sheep) at the Hall of Records, reading up on…oh, who the hell knows. One night she stumbles upon a picture from a speakeasy fire in 1920…and she recognizes someone. Soon she’s researching the written history of a man who built a real estate empire from nothing – while another real estate baron suffered a suspicious string of bad luck at the same time, including the death of his son in the speakeasy fire – only to disappear completely in 1925. Where did he go, and why would he erect a building in the name of his rival’s dead son? Cameron knows, but can’t tell. She visits the building, given landmark status and due for reopening in 2010, and finds her man, behind a wall…with a Tommy gun. Nice!

Of course, she kills him, and as far as we know, she leaves the body, which is just nuts. N-V-T-S nuts.

Gotta be a bad girl in this world.

There is one unanswered question and one Pandora’s Box-sized concept raised by this story. The question is obviously what role the 2010 mayor of Los Angeles plays in Skynet’s plans, since our real estate magnate was clearly sent back to kill him. Were Cameron’s visions of the shooting actually visions, or video data from her memory banks? More importantly, though, is the concept: Time travelers can actually miss their mark. Holy cow, what a “12 Monkeys”-style can of worms that opens. Is that a result of mechanical failure on the part of the travel medium, or the Terminators? The “Previously on ‘Terminator’” clips made a call-back to when Cameron’s chip was acting up, and our real estate killing machine did have the message “Temporal Error” pop up once he realized he missed his mark by 90 years. They’re clearly suggesting that this is a problem with the Terminators, but since we know nothing about the process of sending people back, we can’t be sure of that. Either way, I now see a season (series?) finale where armies of soldiers on both sides reveal themselves for the first time to fight at some Alamo-type last stand. The problem, of course, is that if that happens, the Terminators have a substantial advantage, since they never age.

Tonight’s B story involved John receiving a call from a distressed Riley asking him to come get her, only to realize that she’s at the party of some wife beater-wearing douchebag (whose mom is buying them beer, dumbass), and she’s not at all distressed. She sweet-talks John into staying, but then puts him in the position of defending her honor after the host accuses Riley of stealing his lighter, at which point John beats said wife beater-wearing douchebag to a pulp. Later, John discovers that Riley did steal the guy’s lighter. Then they make out. Let’s recap: John just watched Riley lie to him twice, and then kisses her. I’m suddenly starting to think Riley isn’t the solution for Future John’s ever-growing dependence on Cameron: she’s the problem. I’d love to see them write that into the plot.

Anyway, cut to the next morning, when John comes home covered in “red dye 27,” according to Cameron. Does this mean that both John and Cameron were out all night, leaving Sarah alone? That has to be a tactical nightmare on a number of levels. “Shit, we’re being attacked! Where’s my robot? Holy shit, where’s my son, the savior of mankind?” As paranoid and agitated as Sarah is right now, I don’t see her sleeping so deeply that she doesn’t notice either John or Cameron coming or going. And where the hell is Derek? He hasn’t been to Camp Connor in weeks, maybe months. Did the military school call him back to substitute? Sigh.