Our Zombies Are Different: Although strictly speaking not undead per se, the increasingly decayed and putrefied form of The Terminator, not to mention its increasingly robotic and shambling gait as its form is punishingly pulverized by speeding vehicles clearly invokes the image of a murderous living corpse. This is the only Terminator to date whose decay is portrayed as being horrific; from the T-800 Mark 2 onwards, punishment taken by the Terminator's flesh is portrayed in a heroic manner, and hence does not invoke the Zombie imagery.
Voice Changeling: One of its techniques is to record and impersonate the voice of someone it has just killed in order to lull its target into giving up its location.
Zombie Gait: As the body of The Terminator begins to take on horrendous amounts of punishment, its gait becomes increasingly stiff and stilted, more befitting of the rods-pulleys-and-levers that it really is than the human that it tries to masquerade as.
This Terminator, reprogrammed by John Connor, is sent back in time to protect himself as a pre-teen.
Adorkable: His every attempt at mimicing human emotions has him come across as an enthusiastic but naive Man Child; the stiff and literally parroted "I swear I won't kill anybody" scene in particular is an amusing example of this.
Genre Savvy: When John notices his foster mother is acting strangely, the T-800 asks her a trick question to confirm it's the T-1000 in disguise. And because he is also a Terminator with the same data files as the T-1000, he understands how it operates and is able to predict what it will do to get to John. He even correctly predicts that the T-1000 may anticipate Sarah and John using the T-800's files to prevent Judgement Day.
John: "I gotta stop by my house, I wanna pick up some stuff." T-800: "Negative, the T-1000 will definitely try to re-acquire you there." John: "You sure?" T-800: "I would." (He was right.)
T-800: [to John] What's the dog's name? John: Max. John!T-800: Hey Janelle, what's wrong with Wolfie? I can hear him barking. Janelle!T-1000: Wolfie's fine, honey, Wolfie's just fine. Where are you? The Terminator:(hangs up the phone) Your foster parents are dead.
Loophole Abuse: He swears not to kill anyone. Doesn't stop him shooting kneecaps and breaking bones.
Nominal Hero: He's a killer machine with no emotions, only protecting and following the orders of a ten year old because of his programming. By the end of the film he's able to understand human behaviour and emotions, so he becomes a more traditional hero over the course of the movie.
Papa Wolf: Enough so to defy John's orders so he could better protect him and humanity's future.
Parental Substitute: Sarah's narration gives a short monologue about how he seemed to be a better father than potential figures she met in the past.
Rasputinian Death: The T-1000 hits him badly, including destroying his arm, hitting his head with a steel bar, and even an impalement that deactivates the T-800. He still finds an alternate power to return and destroy the T-1000.
Terrifying Rescuer: Probably the most famous example in film. He's a killer cyborg, but he's on the side of the good guys. When he arrives to rescue Sarah, she's terrified since he's an exact copy of the T-800 who tried to kill her previously and murdered almost everyone she knew.
That's What I Would Do: He and the T-1000 were built for the same purpose allowing the T-800 to anticipate its moves based on what terminators would do in a given scenario. He correctly predicts the T-1000 waiting for John at his foster parent's home and even that it may look for them at Dyson's home as they might try to prevent Judgement Day.
Tin Man: He asks John "Why do you cry?", but it becomes a subversion. The T-800 explains that his model is switched to Read-Only mode when they're sent out on solo missions; Skynet doesn't want them to do "too much thinking." He seems to develop a grasp on human emotion once he's rebooted, mimicking smiling and an urgent tone of voice. He even seems to display some pride at locating the keys to a semi (using the sun protector trick taught to him by John).
This Terminator — which runs on a different fuel supply than the T-800 — is sent back in time in Terminator 3 by Kate Brewster, John Connor's future wife/widow to protect John as a young adult.
Badass Decay:invoked Intentionally invoked by his crashing a bachelorette party while still in the buff. The song "Macho Man" blares while he reaches into his jacket pocket and dons some Elton John sunglasses, in an obvious send-up of the Terminator persona.
Groin Attack: During the fight between T-X and T-850, the female Terminator grabs and squeezes his nuts and then lifts his body as if he's just styrofoam before she rams him into some fences. Could be considered funny when you realize this happened in a toilet.
Guile Hero: He never lets on that Judgement Day can not be stopped, and allows John to believe that Skynet is located inside a remote mountain bunker. He did this so that John would be in a safe location when the bombs started dropping.
Other forms played by: Jenette Goldstein (1991), Dan Stanton (1991), Leslie Hamilton Gearren (1991)
This Terminator was sent back in time to kill John Connor as a pre-teen.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Unlike the T-800, the T-1000 understands how to use human psychology and technology to aid its mission — it uses the police database to look up John's address, gets a picture from his parents to show to people to help find him, and when John escapes he kills his foster mother and takes her place during normal life at home in case John comes back.
Deceptively Human Robot: He can talk and behave more like a human than both versions of the T-800. If it wasn't for his Robotic Reveal when T-800 shot him, he would've continued fooling the audience into thinking he was human, let alone the hero.
Eye Scream: He often stabs people through the eyes. Likely a pragmatic decision, to make sure the death is quick and they don't struggle.
Finger Wag: After Sarah shoots him multiple times but runs out of ammo.
Intangible Man: He can allow physical blows to pass through him, he can shrug off bullets, he can even pass through metal bars.
Kick the Dog: We don't see how he kills John's dog, but it's probably for the best given his usual methods of killing.
Knife Nut: As said by the T-800 himself, his main weapons are to morph his limbs into knives and other stabbing weapons.
Lightning Bruiser: He's just as strong physically as the T-800 model, his liquid body allows him to form weapons for melee fighting, and he does not walk, he runs and can keep up with cars. And when it comes to destroying him, while he's not as invulnerable as the T-800, recoiling when shot and taking a few moments to recover if damaged heavily, he does recover that damage, and it takes liquid nitrogen to noticeably damage him, and then a vat of molten metal to actually kill him.
Not So Stoic: Like all Terminators, he's normally stone-faced and focused. However compared to the T-800 in the first two films, he shows subtle degrees of emotion, such as being shocked or even horrified when he gets damaged severely (being frozen or having a grenade fired into his chest), annoyed when John's foster father talks while he's on the phone with John, and taking a moment to look at a silver-skinned mannequin in what might be interest that it looks like his liquid form.
Power Incontinence: In the extended edition, after being frozen, shot, thawing, and reassembling, he begins glitching and his body parts take on the texture of whatever surface they touch. This is the first indication he isn't invulnerable.
Breast Expansion: One of her special features, used in an effort to seduce a police officer.
Catchphrase: "I like your X" where X is something she's about to kill you for.
Composite Character: In terms of technology, she's a compromise between the T-800 and the T-1000 — she's liquid metal over an endoskeleton, making her more durable than the T-1000, as well as being able to carry on-board weapons, and is still able to shift her appearance to impersonate other people.
Technopath: She can control machines by infecting them with nanomachines.
Spoilers! Click here to see Skynet as it appears in Terminator Salvation.
"It decided our fate in a microsecond"
The artificial intelligence responsible for Judgment Day and the "leader" of the machines in their war on humanity.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Skynet determined that humanity as a whole was a threat to its survival as soon as it gained sentience and set out to exterminate them all. In the original timeline, that is. In the revised timeline as of Rise of the Machines, it just attacks humanity with no explanation given.
Apocalypse How: Judgement Day, a "Class 2" scenario via nuclear warfare.
Big Bad: The ultimate villain of the franchise and leading a genocidal war on humanity in the future.
Bigger Bad: Before Salvation, whatever Terminator unit was chasing the heroes was the actual Bad of the film, because defeating it eliminated the immediate threat. However, those threats will keep coming becomes of Skynet.
Determinator: No pun intended. It's hinted in the last two films that Skynet remembers (or at least, has some data on) the timelines before it. Thus, no matter how many times it gets defeated in each timeline, as long as it can use Time Travel, it will keep trying.
Gone Horribly Wrong: Designed to oversee an advanced military missile defense network and protect against outside enemy threats. It gained sentience and immediately saw all humans as a threat, launching nuclear strikes to provoke a nuclear holocaust.
Hypocrite: Once it was given control of the Strategic Defense, it removed human decisions from its protocol because it realized it had outgrown them. To stop the same thing from happening, it sets Terminator units to "Read Only", and destroys any unit that seems to be getting a little too smart.
Kill All Humans: "Decided our fate in a microsecoond." In the original timeline, Skynet fought back when it realized humans would try to destroy it out of fear. In the new timeline, it makes the same decision with no reasoning whatsoever. However, it's also hinted that each "version" of Skynet keeps files on what occurred the previous timeline, and adjusts its plans accordingly.
Master Computer: Skynet Central on the former U.S. western coast contains its main processing facilities. In the original timeline the resistance destroyed it for good in 2029 before all the time traveling shenanigans started. Subverted in Terminator 3 where it survives specifically by decentralizing itself on a global scale.
Offstage Villainy: Until Salvation, we only heard about Skynet's most heinous crimes (rounding up humans, enslaving them, working them to death, and then incinerating them by the thousands). Salvation, finally, shows us one such camp.
In the Special Edition of T2, it's revealed Skynet sets a Terminator's chip to read-only when sending them out on solo missions. It doesn't want them learning too much. As it turns out, this paranoia actually has some justification. The T-800 in the second film, freed from such restrictions, later comes to respect human life.
Ultimate Evil: It's actually just a floating skull, according to Robocop Versus The Terminator. Admittedly, it's pretty unnerving. Subverted in Terminator Salvation when it appears as various human faces to instruct its latest cybernetic experiment.
Xanatos Gambit: Sending the Terminator agents back in time has a twofold purpose: one, to eliminate its worst enemy so that the new Skynet can rule unopposed in this timeline, and two, to teach the new version what went wrong last time. This is made most apparent in Salvation, where Skynet's top priority is not to kill John Conner, but to kill Kyle Reese, despite Conner already being born in that timeline.
Default form played by: Roland Kickinger (body), Arnold Schwarzenegger (face)
Fake Shemp: He's still played by Arnie... but placing his face on a muscular man's body.
Purposefully Overpowered: Given that he was built before the T-800s were supposed to, he's much stronger than the ones in the first two movies.
"The hardest thing is deciding what I should tell you and what not to."
Played by: Linda Hamilton (1984-1991)
Action Survivor: In the first movie; turning on the hydraulic press that kills the Terminator shows her transition to...
All Girls Want Bad Boys: In the first film she was guilty of that, she dated a guy that treated her like dirt before she met Kyle. It was clear that despite Reese's attitude toward her was unnerving to her, but she liked him. As proven with the scene when she tried tip toeing around the question of whether or not he had a girlfriend, seconds before his Anguished Declaration of Love. Lastly in 2 she started going out with military personal, mostly to learn things she can teach John, but given her history....
Gold Digger: In the second film... sort-of. John says Sarah would "shack up with" any guy who looked like he had something worthwhile to teach John so that he'd grow up to be the competent leader she knew he was destined to be. It's a nobler example than most, but hey, using people is still using people.
Making Use of the Twin: Linda Hamilton's real-life twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren, in Terminator 2. Leslie is seen as both the fake Sarah inside the steel mill and as the waitress Sarah in the nuclear nightmare scene. She is also seen inside the garage operating on the fake Arnold's head (the "reflection" is Linda and the actual Arnold on the other side of the mirror frame) in the Special Edition.
My God, What Have I Done?: Silently after the attempted hit on Dyson. Exacerbated by the fact that not only had she taken on a dimmer view on human life than the Terminator she was traveling with, but had adopted the MO of the Terminator that first tried to kill her, right down to its weapon of choice (.45 Longslide with laser sighting). She almost killed a father in front of his wife and kid, something that hits her close to home after losing Reese and almost losing John. Also when her best friend/roommate Ginger and her boyfriend were killed by the Terminator in their apartment in the first film.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the second film as a result of having lost her paramour to a cyborg that was hunting her down with the intent to kill her.
Straw Feminist: Her borderline Narm speech of "Fucking Men like you created the hydrogen bomb" comes to mind.
Take the Wheel: Is made to do this in both the first and second movie.
Ungrateful Bitch: Instead of hugging her own son and thanking him, she just checked if John was hurt and scolds him for trying to rescue her.
Sarah: You cannot risk yourself, even for me. You're too important! Do you understand? (John begins to cry. Sarah shakes her head in disappointment.) John: I had to get you out of that place. I'm sorry! Sarah: I don't need your help. I can take care of myself.
Adult John Connor played by: Michael Edwards (1991), Nick Stahl (2003), Christian Bale (2009)
All-Loving Hero: As reviewer Confused Matthew notes, despite Sarah having raised him to be a resistance leader, throughout the film series John never fails to recognize the value of human life, indeed often putting his own life on the line to try to save people, sometimes who he barely even knows. The fact this is such a consistent and natural part of his character, arguably makes him one of the greatest examples of this type of character in cinema history.
Big Good: He is fated to be one of these, and in Terminator Salvation he consequently is.
Delinquent: Second movie. He's disobedient to his parents, steals money from AT Ms, skips school, and hangs out with hooligans. This is basically him venting his frustrations against everything his mother taught him, which he believes to be a lie.
Future Badass: This is the entire reason Skynet wants him dead. Note that he's badass as a kid and young adult, but he takes it Up to Eleven when he becomes leader of The Resistance.
Honor Before Reason: Will not tolerate the death of even a single innocent human being, even if it means stopping a nuclear holocaust from happening.
Hope Bringer: As Kyle put it, "He taught us to fight, to storm the wire of the camps, to smash those metal motherfuckers into junk. He turned it around." In Salvation, his radio messages throughout the wasteland are all that some humans cling to to survive.
Morality Pet: He tries to teach the Terminator not to kill people, and eventually succeeds.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: John owes his existence to the fact Skynet sent a machine back in time to destroy him. There is a strong implication every time the machines fail to kill him in the past he emerges better prepared for the future war. For example: he knows about advanced Terminator models, their tactics and their weaknesses before they even exist.
Playful Hacker: Gleefully exclaims "Easy Money" whenever he hacks into something in Terminator 2.
Rebel Leader: His main plot in the story is to lead the resistance against Skynet.
Refusal of the Call: In the third movie, he's a reluctant adult who despite thinking Judgement Day was prevented is still afraid of the future. Then more Terminators arrive...
Death by Sex: His fate is sealed the minute he and Sarah make love.
Determinator: He will not allow Sarah to die, no matter what. Not just because it's his mission, but because he loves her. However, it becomes subverted at the end, when he begs Sarah to leave him behind because he was slowly dying anyway.
Drives Like Crazy: Without a doubt. Justified in that he learnt to drive After the End. He also instinctively drives cars at night without the headlights on, as doing so in the future would draw Aerial Hunter-Killers.
Future Badass: Applies more to the fourth film than the first. The first film's Kyle is the "Future Badass". The fourth film is Kyle as a teenage kid just trying to survive in a nuclear wasteland.
Gaia's Lament: A deleted scene would have had Kyle sobbing when he saw how beautiful the world used to be.
Heroic Sacrifice: The bomb he uses to bifurcate the Terminator is the same bomb that kills him in the end.
The Kindnapper: He kidnaps Sarah Connor to save her from the T-800 sent to kill her.
Future Badass: In the third film Kate's informed she's Johns second in command and spouse. Though she's fairly capable already.
For Want of a Nail: John concludes that if not for the events of the second film Kate would have likely become John's long-term girlfriend after a make-out session in a highschool friends basement. In meeting Kate's father Robert Brewster, John would have gained the necessary military skills and knowledge to later defeat SkyNet in the war (or even prevent Judgment Day). Instead John's foster parents were killed by the T-1000 not long after meeting Kate and he'd spent his life running ever since. Of course, the skeptical Kate initially think it was just a coincidence.
Stuffed into the Fridge: To anyone remotely genre savvy, her fiancee Scott Mason is doomed the moment Kate meets John. Sure enough the T-X murders him and poses in Scott's place to try and kill Kate. Kate briefly blamed herself until John tells her it's not her fault.
Agent Scully: Throughout the first and second. Subverted by T3 as it's strongly implied he is unable to shake off what saw during the events of T2, despite his best efforts, and is noticeably still shaken by the implications.
Believing Their Own Lies / Double Think: He's obviously tried to rationalize away what he saw at his hospital but it clearly still haunts him. Even as he attempts to comfort Kate Brewster with the lies he told himself he clearly doesn't quite believe what he's saying.
Dr. Jerk: Highlighted in his nonchalant behavior towards a clearly distraught Sarah in the first film. The second film does not alter this assessment.
Heroic BSOD: Whilst "hero" is a stretch, Silberman does believe what he is doing is for Sarah's own good which makes seeing the T-800 and T-1000 in action all the more horrifying.
Go Mad from the Revelation: In Terminator 3 he not too subtlety implies it took him years to get over seeing two terminators in action. The revelation that terminators existed and that Sarah was not lying would be particularly horrifying for Silberman given she discussed Judgement Day in great detail.
Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Miles wanted to make life a little better for humanity. Turns out his invention leads to the demise of billions.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: He's a far cry from the person you'd think would create SkyNet. Indeed he sees only the possible positives of his creation. This may even blind him to the military applications of his invention or to the dangers of removing humans from certain decisions.
Played by: Sam Worthington
Anti-Hero: Of the Knight in Sour Armor variety. He doesn't see himself as a good man. He killed a police officer and has a hard time dealing with the guilt. However, he is a rather unambiguous good guy in every other capacity.
The Atoner: To the point that this is what the eponymous "Salvation" was referring to in the title. This is as much Marcus's personal story to forgive himself and save his humanity as it is a story about saving humanity itself.
Badass: He was tough enough to kill a cop in the present day, and is even more Badass once he wakes up in a Bad Future. Justified, because he's become a Terminator.
Despair Event Horizon: He doesn't suffer just one, either. His first happens offscreen before the movie starts, whereupon he killed a cop and kind of just gave up on himself. The next happens when he wakes up in a post-apocalyptic nightmare despite his last memory being of a prison execution. The next one happens when he's captured by the Resistance and revealed as a Terminator.
Fragile Speedster: In comparison to other machines. He can't outfight a Terminator, but he can outmanuever them.
Heroic Sacrifice: Gives his heart to John Connor so he can live on to guide the revolution.
Manchurian Agent: He's Skynet's final solution to the Infiltrator problem: a machine that believes he's still human, rather than merely pretending to be human.
Replacement Mooks: Skynet has been trying to create more convincing Infiltrator units for decades. The problem was that all of the Terminators, in some way, fell into the Uncanny Valley no matter how convincing they were at casual glance. Marcus is the first unit to ever completely fool humanity, because he himself believes that he's human.
General Ripper: Averted. He's suspicious of putting Skynet online and is generally a cautious, sensible man.
Played by: Paul Winfield
Reasonable Authority Figure: While the others are making fun of Reese, he's quite frightened by the possibility that Reese may not be lying or crazy. He even comes to believe Reese in a deleted scene when he's dying, telling him to protect Sarah.