John Connor is confronting his mother, Sarah, after she’s agreed that his Terminator protector, Cameron, made the right call when she physically retrained him from trying to save a girl who committed suicide by jumping off a building. She tells him the girl probably would have found a way to kill herself anyway—he couldn’t have stopped it. But John looks at his mother with frustration.I liked this scene from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles because it gets at a couple of things. First, it addresses straightforwardly the ongoing tension in the series between John (who’s trying to come to grips with his destiny) and his mother Sarah (who believes in that destiny but struggles with her maternal instincts and responsibility to humanity to protect him from the risk involved in letting him start to be who he is destined to become). They know the future isn’t written in stone, that events can change it. That means that they may be able to prevent the events that bring about the war—but that also means that John could be killed too.
John: You didn’t see her. If you’d of seen her, you wouldn’t be talking like this.
Sarah’s pained, and reminds him gently what could happen to him if he were noticed:
Sarah: What were going to do—be a hero? Get your name in the papers, your face?
John steps closer to her, his voice growing louder and intense with emotion:
John: Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be? A hero? Isn’t that who I am?!
Sarah looks up at him, not speaking.
John: If it’s just going sit inside me, if it’s just going to sit in my gut, then what are we doing? What’s the point? Why not just give it to them if we are going to act like them?
—From "The Turk," the third aired episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a series which follows the present day teenage years of John Connor, who is destined to become the savior of the human race when he becomes the leader of the resistance against sentient machines trying to destroy them.
This makes me consider again the concept of dangerous woman on which I’ve been thinking. I imagine this must have been a dilemma with which Mary (the mother of Jesus) struggled. I can’t help but think it might have played a part in her trip with Jesus’ brothers in their attempt to “take charge of him” after he’d begun his perilous preaching (Mark 3:21, 31-34). There’s a point when mothers must give up their own visions of what their children will be as well as hold back on their instincts to protect them and allow them to become who they are meant to be. In The Real Mary, Scot McKnight points out that Mary knew Jesus was the Messiah, but the Messiah he came to be wasn’t what Mary expected—and that made everything much more perilous than she anticipated. She had to come to terms with that. I get a bit of insight into her struggle here, with Sarah.
There’s another reason I liked this scene: it gets at some things that we all struggle with: to do the right thing regardless of risk, to put others’ lives before our own, to be true to our callings—all things that Scripture and Jesus say quite a bit about. And that makes them things worth considering.