Derek and Sarah have split up -- she's "hunting" a machine, he's looking for them. He finds them in an abandoned garage: Anne Fields, pregnant and bullet ridden, and her teenage daughter, Lauren. We flash to the future:
Where people have died in an underground bunker. Gas mask pulled over his face, Derek finds families -- mothers, children -- all apocalyptic survivors, now gone. It's heartbreaking.
Back in the present, Lauren turns her gun on Derek. "Sarah Connor sent me," he confirms. "I'm here to help." She relents. Anne struggles for both her life and that of her still unborn child. Lauren informs him that the Terminator has been tracking them for six months, ever since they met Sarah Connor. We flash back:
Six months earlier. Anne, David, and Lauren Fields are startled to find a gun-toting Sarah Connor and Cameron in their cabin. "I'm here to help" Sarah insists. "I need to get you out of here now, someone is coming." John calls, distracting Sarah momentarily, as Lauren surprises her with a gun.
"Who are you? What are you doing here? David asks.
Sarah explains it all -- the apocalypse, Skynet, cyborgs, the bloody list on her basement wall. "I have a target list. Your name is on it. A machine is coming to kill you..." Cameron defuses the situation by taking back the Fields's gun. Sarah and Cameron pile them into their van and drive off...
...before crashing into a pickup truck, driven by none other than the machine after them. Cameron fights it off as Sarah runs them back to their cabin. Sarah glances back ever so slightly before leaving Cameron for safety.
Back in the present, Derek's got Anne hooked up to an IV. Lauren explains that they were on the road, outside a motel, when the machine found them. As David tried to stop it, Lauren and Anne escaped for their lives, unsure of his fate. "She told us to call if it came back." She being Sarah. In the future:
Sick and bedridden Derek is injected with something... by Lauren Fields. Clearly there's more to this family than meets the eye...
The former, familiar nuclear power plant has become Serrano Point Resistance Base -- 2027. Derek confers with General Perry about a mission. Skynet hit Eagle Rock Bunker with a bioweapon that killed everyone inside -- save for one survivor. And she must be rescued. Derek volunteers, knowing full and well that this is a suicide mission...
"He's not out there, you know. Your brother Kyle," General Perry reminds Derek. "Now either you learn to live with that or you die from it." As Derek marches off on his destiny, we're back with him:
In the present. Lauren watches over Anne, asleep. Derek inquires as to how the machine found them. Lauren tells him she called a friend -- Roger. "So you broke the rules?" Six months earlier...
Sarah helps the Fields back into their cabin. Anne takes care of David and his newly sprained ankle. "What the hell was that?" A Terminator. Sarah informs them that they're stuck where they are -- the only road out is blocked. "No one gets left behind." Sarah goes on, "I need to know which one of you that thing is after." She lists possible connections to the usual things -- computers, technology, etc. But no, no connection. "It's a mistake, we're normal people," Anne insists.
But Sarah's determined to be proactive anyways. She searches the shed for flashlights and wires -- she plans to set a trap (electricity connected to the front door handle). When Lauren meets her in the shed, Sarah deduces that something's up. And she's right -- Lauren tells Sarah that her father has a secret.
Sarah accuses David of working with a cybernetics company. He reluctantly tells her that the tech company is one of his clients. "It's just business. Banking." Eventually, David admits that his business with the company isn't exactly legal. As the Fields family fight, Sarah spots something in the distance out the window.
Inside the nearly destroyed Eagle Rock Bunker in 2027, Derek investigates. Weapon in hand, gas mask attached to his face, it's the same scene we saw earlier -- motionless bodies, apocalyptic survivors now dead by a Skynet bio-weapon. He calls out but can't find any survivors. Only bodies. He panics, barely able to contain himself. It's a Derek we haven't seen before. He stares at his gun -- a standoff -- could he really be contemplating ending it all? No Kyle, no hope, no reason to live. But he's interrupted...
"Excuse me?" Jesse. "Your fly's open." And thanks to her perfect timing, Derek and Jesse meet for the first time.
Anne awakens to Derek in the present. He's trying to re-stitch her up. She wonders why he let Lauren go outside on her own with the machine on the loose. "Your kid will be fine," he insists. But "she hasn't been a kid for months," Anne tells him. Derek admits that he knows she is protecting Anne -- it certainly wasn't Lauren that called Roger and incited the machine again. We flash back to:
Sarah smashing up the the Fields' cabin wall. She's wiring up the door handle for the trap while David and Anne fight over his legal business adventures. She exits and Sarah follows her...
Anne's tries the phone but hangs up when she sees Sarah. After spotting a wedding photo on their nightstand, Anne confesses that their family isn't as perfect as they first came across. Lauren spots someone outside and calls out: it's not Cameron or the machine, it's Roger... from the next property over. But what's he doing there? "He's coming to see me, okay?" Anne admits, and we fall back into the present...
Yes, Anne called Roger, not Lauren. But he's dead now. And probably David too. She knows that Lauren matters, as does her unborn baby.
We pick back up with the standoff between Derek and Jesse in the future. Weapons drawn, she asks if he sent the signal -- he didn't. But the signal confirms that someone is still alive inside the bunker, and together they must find her. Jesse tells Derek where she heard the signal -- her station, a nuclear submarine captained by a reprogrammed Terminator. "You got metal running a sub," Derek barely hides is disgust. "Well you find me a sub commander who survived J-Day and I'll switch him in," she retorts. Hardly the machine-loathing Jesse we know now...
Gas mask against their faces, Derek and Jesse head back in the bunker and find more dead people, bodies piled everywhere. Then, a knock at a door. Behind it...?
In the present, Anne is screaming in pain. She apologizes to Lauren, as we flash back:
Six months earlier. David confronts Anne about her affair with Roger, their fight broken up by Sarah Connor -- she means business. As Roger tries to talk them out of listening to Sarah, Cameron comes flying through the window! With the Fields' barking dog going crazy, they know it's coming...
Gun in hand, David goes to confront it -- after all, he's the one it wants. But through the machine's T-vision we soon realize that he is not the one it wants... he is not the machine's target. There's not time and Sarah needs to know who's lying to her -- what doesn't she know. Quickly she learns that Anne's pregnant, but David doesn't know. Sarah temporarily stashes Lauren in a closet in attempt to sneak Anne out of the house and get her to Roger's car.
With Derek, Anne's pain is worsening. "What is this about?" Lauren asks. "It's about your mother and your baby sister, they need you right now," he tells her. But with the mention of a baby sister, Lauren's suspicions are confirmed -- Derek, too, is from the future. "Your sister's name is Sydney and I knew her."
And behind that door in the devastated wasteland that is Eagle Rock Bunker -- Sydney Fields, the lone survivor of Skynet's bio-weapon. "Those gas masks, they won't help. You're already infected," she informs Derek and Jesse.
Derek, Jesse, and Sydney wait for nightfall to make their escape. Jesse hopes that when they get to Serrano Point they can cure the infection. She gives Sydney some food, prompting Derek to surprise -- "You guys are growing food again" Yes they are.
With Jesse's health deteriorating, Derek knows they can't wait for nightfall. He makes the brash decision to leave now. Sydney confirms his suspicions that Jesse doesn't have much time, she's got the symptoms. We return to:
Present day. Anne is even worse for the wear. As Derek tells Anne the importance of her daughter, Sydney, Anne convulses, and we flash back even further to:
Lauren in the closet. Six months earlier still. Surprised by Roger, Cameron knocks him to the ground unconscious and heads out with Lauren. Meanwhile, Sarah and Anne run from the machine and meet up with David, Lauren, and Cameron and hop in David's car. As they drive off, the machine chases behind them...
Anne is fully dilated -- the baby can't wait. Lauren is forced to deliver her own sister while Derek keeps Anne calm. After little baby Sydney's birth, Anne's consciousness fades and she closes her eyes one last time.
In the future, Derek and Sydney carry a fading Jesse through Serrano Point. They've made it back, but at what price? Derek, too, is infected. General Perry sends Derek and Jesse to isolation, where they're placed in comfortable beds to deal with the infection. "You're ready for it." Jesse ponders. But Derek's not. He's not ready to die, despite nearly giving it all up before she found him earlier. Now he has her. Once again we see Derek injected with something -- it's a virus to rid them of infection. As she injects him with it, Lauren smiles. "Thank you for saving my sister."
With Anne gone, Derek gives Lauren the hard truth -- this isn't going to be easy. "I've been where you are."
"Does it ever end?" Lauren wonders."I don't know. We're trying."
Derek invites Lauren (and the baby) to stay with them. Lauren rocks the baby -- a woman with a sudden new mission. A new life. No, it isn't likely she'll be staying with the Connors anytime soon.
Six months earlier, a temporarily safe Lauren questions Sarah Connor while her parents work things out. "I don't know if they get it." Lauren squeezes in next to them, a family reborn, if only for now...
In the present, Derek gets back in contact with Sarah on the phone. She's sure she's stopped the machine; he's secured the baby -- she's fine. When he returns to Lauren, Derek realizes she's taken off, leaving the body of her mother behind.