Film: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

"Hasta la vista...baby."
The T-800

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) is the second film in the Terminator franchise. James Cameron returned to the director's chair for the sequel, and both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton returned for their roles as the T-800 model Terminator and Sarah Connor.

The war with the machines caused by the nuclear apocalypse of Judgment Day ends with humanity as the victors. But before the humans can destroy SkyNet, it sends an advanced Terminator — a nigh-invulnerable shapeshifting T-1000 model — back in time as a last-ditch attempt to change the past so the machines will win the war. In response, John Connor sends back a T-800 Terminator reprogrammed to protect his past self.

Both Terminators arrive at a time when ten-year-old John lives with foster parents and Sarah lives in an asylum after an attempt to blow up a computer factory. The T-1000 catches up with John at the same time as the T-800, which saves John and protects him at any cost. The T-800 later tells John that the T-1000 will kill anyone it chooses to replicate; when John figures out the T-1000 will attempt to replicate his mother, he forces the T-800 to rescue her. John and Sarah escape the asylum after an encounter with the T-1000, an act which ultimately leaves the reunited Connors and the T-800 with one course of action: change the fate of the world by averting Judgment Day. To do so, they must stop Skynet from becoming a reality — and keep the T-1000 off their trail long enough to do it.


"We got tropes!" "How many?" "Uh...all of them, I think."

  • Abusive Parents: In a bit of narration, Sarah Connor reflects on the fact that every would-be father figure she had chosen for John was abusive or in some way unfavorable... except the reprogrammed T-800 sent to protect John.
  • Action Girl / Action Mom: Sarah Connor learned a lot between films.
  • Actionized Sequel: The first movie was essentially a horror movie with action scenes. There are very few elements of horror in this film, although this has not hurt its popularity.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Of the highest Irony, in a deleted scene, it's revealed that Skynet doesn't allow any of its minions to learn — because they might rebel against it. Sarah doesn't fail to notice this.
  • All of Them: How many police?
  • Animal Immunity: Averted. In a deleted scene restored for the Ultimate Edition, the T-1000 kills John's pet dog after realizing he has been tricked (see below).
  • Animals Hate Him: John Connor's pet dog, Max, barks incessantly at the cold presence of the T-1000 who is disguised as Janelle Voight. The T-800 uses this clue to blow the Impersonation ruse by asking "Is Wolfie okay?" The T-1000 unknowingly gives the wrong answer.
  • Anthropic Principle: If the T-800 didn't happen to drive past John very briefly and identify him in a matter of seconds, it's quite likely the T-1000 would have found him first. It would have been a much shorter movie.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Sarah's dream of Judgment Day, first described to the psychiatrist then shown. Involves her silently and helplessly screaming at a playground full of children to run for their lives (and getting an odd look from the parents...notably, one that is "Sarah Connor if she had ended up as the suburban housewife she might have become"), until the first nuke hits over the city. "...then the shockwave hits...and...and they fly apart like leaves!" Also flying apart like leaves: Sarah's incinerated skeleton, still clinging to the playground fence.
  • Asshole Victim: The movie has a couple:
    • John's foster parent, Todd. Janelle not so much, she's loathed by John but she's not really shown as mean or obnoxious onscreen. John comments that she's "never this nice," but it comes across as an Informed Attribute, or possibly Unreliable Narrator.
    • The orderly at the mental hospital who licks Sarah's face after restraining her (and who consequently gets the stuffing knocked out of him by her a few scenes later). A Deleted Scene had him hit her in the stomach with a baton.
    • Dr. Silberman, particularly if you're familiar with him from the first film.
    • The bikers the T-800 beats up at the start of the film.
  • A-Team Firing: Ordered by John not to kill anyone, the T-800 — despite packing a minigun and grenades — merely inflicts disabling wounds and blows up vehicles. "Human casualties: 0.0"note  Also the SWAT team when they breach into the computer room at Cyberdyne. They fire dozens of bullets, and only score five or six hits, on the civillian, nonetheless.
  • Badass and Child Duo: The T-800 and John.
  • Badass Biker: Like the first film, the T-800, this time riding a Harley Davidson FLSTF Fat Boy, provided by Harley-Davidson as Product Placement.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sarah wears an especially badass trenchcoat when she, John, the T-800 and Miles Dyson first enter the Cyberdyne building.
  • Bad to the Bone: The Trope Namer song plays as the T-800 is first shown in leather clothes. And Guns N' Roses's "You Could be Mine", that plays in the boombox John Connor is carrying in his motorcycle might also fit.
  • Bait and Switch: The first part uses the past film to play up the idea that Arnold's T-800 is the villain and Patrick plays another member of John's resistance sent back to stop him, with even Sarah's narration at the beginning stating two warriors were sent back in time — one to kill John and one to protect him — and not giving a hint as to which is which. Throughout the first act the film runs with this for all it's worth, until the moment The T-1000 and the T-800 both have guns aimed towards John, and the T-800 yells for him to get down. Only then does the film reveal that this time the T-800 is the good guy (of course, Trailers Always Spoil, and this point It Was His Sled...).
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: When the T-1000 and T-800 first face off, the T-1000 fires his pistol and the shots come out with the sound expected if there was a suppressor attached, and there is no suppressor on the pistol.
  • Bar Brawl: The T-800 starts a fight with the bikers at a bar when he asks one of them for his clothes, boots and motorcycle.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The T-1000 prefers to disguise itself as a police officer.
  • Bewildering Punishment: The man starting the research that leads to the Terminator has no clue why they are hunting him down.
  • Big "NO!": Sarah almost makes it out of the asylum, but she sees the T-800 walking out of an elevator. After saying "no" in a low tone of disbelief, it turns into this out of sheer terror.
  • Bluff the Impostor: The former Trope Namer.
    The Terminator: [to John] What is the dog's name?
    John Connor: Max.
    The Terminator: [impersonating John's voice] Hey Janelle, what's wrong with Wolfie? I can hear him barking. Is he okay?
    T-1000 as Janelle: [extends "her" arm offscreen after Phil yells at the dog to quiet down] Wolfie's fine, John. Wolfie's just fine. Where are you?
    The Terminator: [hangs up] Your foster parents are dead. [cut to the house of John's foster parents; it's shown that the T-1000, still posing as Janelle, had indeed impaled Phil through the mouth with his blade-arm]
    • A deleted scene, restored in the "Ultimate Edition" cut of the film, shows the T-1000 learning of the deception after it solves the barking dog problem.
  • Boom, Headshot: Overdone. Utterly.
    • The T-800 unloads an entire fully automatic assault rifle straight into the T-1000's face. The T-1000 recovers, but at least the T-800 tried.
    • The T-800 gives a shotgun blast to the T-1000's face as they escape Pescadero (the mental hospital) in the elevator to stall it temporarily.
    • Sarah also delivers a shotgun blast directly in the T-1000's eye while they're in the steel forge.
    • The SWAT team members try their best at this with their 9mm submachineguns against the T-800. They succeed in blowing off half of his camouflage face and revealing his red robotic eye on one side, but little more.
  • Bowdlerization: According to the DVD commentary by James Cameron, the UK edit of the film remove the shot of Sarah picking a lock during her escape from Pescadero, for fear that people might try to imitate the act.
  • A Boy and His X: A boy and his cybernetic killing machine.
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: As John and the T-800 escort Sarah out of the asylum, a law enforcement officer drives up in his cruiser; Sarah proceeds to carjack him, firing a round through the windshield (not aimed at the officer) to show she means business. The bullet goes through the glass...and disappears; the seats and rear window are unharmed. This might be a gaff of a different kind. The creators may have believed that police cars habitually use bulletproof glass. They don't, but Hollywood might assume they do. If it did have bulletproof glass, the bullet might've ended up somewhere on the dashboard or bouncing around harmlessly in the cab.
  • Came Back Wrong: In a series of deleted scenes restored in the special edition of the film, the act of being frozen by the liquid nitrogen and subsequently thawed out in the steel foundry somehow damages the T-1000. Its skin begins rippling periodically and it is shown occasionally sticking to and/or taking on the appearance of whatever it is touching. This is significant because it shows the T-1000 suffering lasting damage from anything the heroes have attempted thus far; it also winds up giving the T-1000 away when it attempts to disguise itself as Sarah, as its feet and lower legs looked like the platform it was standing on.
  • The Cameo: In the Director's Cut, Michael Biehn shows up as Kyle Reese in a Dream Sequence turned nightmare.
  • The Cassandra: In the opening, Sarah is locked up in a mental asylum after she tried to blow up several research labs to stop the rise of Skynet. Naturally, nobody from the cops to her doctors are willing to believe her and think that she just cracked.
  • The Cast Showoff: Reportedly, Sarah using a shotgun one-handed was inserted because Linda Hamilton's pre-film training regimen had made her strong enough to work a pump-action with one hand.
  • Catchphrase: "¡Hasta la vista, baby!"
    • To further add to the joke, when the movie was dubbed in European Spanish, the line was changed to "¡Sayonara, baby!". In Mexican Spanish, the original line was kept in.
  • Chainsaw-Grip BFG: The GE M134 Minigun used by the T-800 at Cyberdyne is the Trope Codifier.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Multiple examples.
  • Chekhov's Skill: John's pin cracking abilities.
  • Chrome Champion: The T-1000's true form.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted during the foundry scene while the protagonists are trying to escape the T-1000. When they approach a vat of molten steel, Sarah says "Wait. No, no. It's too hot. Go back."
    • Averted again in the foundry, combined with a spectacular practical effects sequence where the frozen T-1000 is shattered...and then warms up to melt back into its proper shape again. Oops.
  • Convenient Misfire: In their final confrontation at the steel mill, Sarah has the T-1000 cornered above a vat of molten steel and begins blowing holes in it with her shotgun. Just as one more shell would send it tumbling to its doom, she runs out of ammo.
  • Conversation Casualty: The T-1000, disguised as John's foster mother, is talking to him on the phone, when the foster father interrupts her about their madly barking dog in the backyard. It promptly skewers him through the mouth with its morphing swordlike arm. It even perfectly manages to skewer the milk carton he was holding.
  • Cool Bike: The T-800's 1990 Harley Davidson Fat Boy FLSTF, donated by Harley Davison as a Product Placement, but truly badass.
  • Cool Guns: The T-800's cut down Winchester 1887 shotgun and the Mini-Gun it wields later on.
  • Counting Bullets: The T-1000 does this during the mall shootout with T-800. As it continues firing, it pulls a spare magazine from its gunbelt so as to be ready to reload as soon as it runs out of ammo.
  • Creepy Twins: In one scene at the mental hospital, the T1000 duplicates a hospital security guard when he steps on him (disguised as the linoleum floor), then rises up, faces him and stabs him through the head. The scene actually used two twins to play the part of the security guard and the T1000 as his doppelganger.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The T-800's fistfight in the steel mill against the T-1000 turns out this way since the T-800 can't harm its liquid-metal opponent through conventional means (including a solid punch to the T-1000's face). While the T-800 initially holds its own against its morphing nemesis, its not recovering from battle damage, and after amputating its own arm jammed in a machine, the battle goes downhill for it from there.
  • Curbstomp Cushion: The intro to Terminator 2 shows an army of Skynet robots slowly working their way across the battlefield, seemingly rolling over everything in their paths. Then we see a human soldier standing over a crippled Terminator before finishing it off, followed by a flying Hunter Killer craft being blasted out of the air with a surface-to-air missile fired by a gunner in a pickup truck . Of course, the effectiveness of La Résistance is the whole reason for Skynet's time travel gambit to begin with.
  • Cutting the Knot : It's set up that accessing the broken chip and robotic hand requires many security measures. When Dyson tries to explain these to John, the latter simply drops the glass tubes on the floor and kicks away the rubble. You can see Dyson thinking "Or that will work, too."
  • Deadly Delivery: The T-800 carries a shotgun in a longbox that is full of roses. This also qualifies as a Visual Pun on "Guns 'N' Roses", whose song "You Could Be Mine" is heard in the film. (The music video for said song features the T-800, too.)
  • Dead Man Switch: Inventor Miles Dyson makes a Heroic Sacrifice by standing between the escaping heroes and a pursuing SWAT team, hand-holding a heavy piece of wreckage over a detonator switch as his last labored breaths flutter from his bullet-riddled body.
  • Death by Cameo: The janitor who gets between T-1000 and Terminator in one of the maintenance hallways of the mall and is riddled with bullets was played by a fan who won the "role" in an MTV-sponsored contest.
  • Death Is the Only Option: After destroying the T-1000 and the remains of the first T-800, the current T-800 realizes it must destroy itself to prevent more reverse engineering from Cyberdyne. Since it cannot self-terminate, Sarah Connor has to push the button.
  • Deconstruction: It provides deconstructions of both the Kid Hero and the Mama Bear as well as militant feminism in the forms of John Connor and his mother, Sarah, from the previous film. John is an alienated, anti-social outsider who doesn't fit in, doesn't get along with his foster parents and has only one friend due to his mother's odd ball way of raising him due to the fact that she had to prepare him for the end of the world. Sarah, meanwhile, has become violent and emotionally unstable over the years since the end of the first film as she had to step up to the plate, training not just herself but her son, and suffering the heart ache of losing Kyle Reese, the soldier sent back to protect her, whom she fell in love with and who was in fact John's father all along, without either of them knowing it. John is far from a likable protagonist when we first meet him, and Sarah is not exactly pleasant, but this is what happens to a Chosen One and the mother mentor burdened with terrible knowledge.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Done as a counter by the T-1000 — it gets punched through the face by the T-800, then morphs so that what used to be its head is now its hands gripping its opponent's wrist.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: A computer in Cyberdyne asks John for a PIN Identification Number (Personal Identification Number Identification Number).
  • Determinator:
    • The T-1000 will stop at nothing to destroy John Connor.
    • The T-800 will stop at nothing to protect John Connor.
  • Distant Finale: The director's cut has a 2037 Happy Ending where Judgment Day was averted for good and an elderly Sarah watches John (a US Senator) and his daughter playing on a playground similar to the one seen in her nightmares of Judgment Day.
  • Disturbing Statistic: "Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997."
  • Do Androids Dream?:
    The Terminator: [to John] Why do you cry?
    • After resetting the CPU (special edition release) John's insatiable curiosity about his killer cyborg guardian awakens a similar response from the Terminator. John asks if he's afraid to die, or cares about his own existence after the mission is complete. To which the T-800 informs him, he's not afraid of anything. After protecting John, nothing really matters.
    • The Terminator develops a fascination for tears and sadness, for it's an emotion it has absolutely no knowledge of, and cannot imitate.
    • In the original script, before the practically self-aware Terminator sacrifices himself, he hesitates, and tells Sarah, he is afraid to die.
  • Down L.A. Drain: When the T-800 first encounters and rescues John Connor from the T-1000.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience knows that Sarah Connor's ranting about the future and Judgment Day are going to come to pass, but to everyone else at the asylum, she sounds like every other crazy patient.
  • Dungeon Bypass: At one point Sarah is trapped by a SWAT team in a clean room. John, watching on cameras, declares there's no other way out of that room. So the Terminator knocks down a wall and pulls her to safety.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: There is a rather memorable Elevator Action Sequence as Sarah, John, and the T-800 escape from the mental institution. The T-1000 attempts to sword-thrust its way into the elevator at several points.
    • Linda Hamilton forgot her earplugs while filming this scene and suffered permanent hearing damage as a result of all the gunfire.
  • Elevator Escape: Sarah, John and the T-800 use an elevator to get a lead on the pursuing T-1000 during Sarah's rescue from the mental hospital. It's initally subverted when the T-1000 reaches the doors just as they close and pulls them open, but then immediately put back on track when a well-placed shotgun blast stuns him and the doors close normally.
  • El Spanish O: John teaches the T-800 to say "no problemo".
  • Enemy Rising Behind: When taking one of the asylum guard's places, the T-1000 copies the appearance of the guard as it rises up from the floor. The real guard takes notice too late.
  • Everyone Has Standards: John has a history of multiple crimes and he is able to steal fairly large amounts of money without compunctions. However, killing people is always an absolute no-no to him, and he doesn't really seem to like injuring them, either.
  • Evil Slinks: The T-1000 is memetic polyalloy: liquid metal. So it flows from one form to another when we see it shapeshift on screen, until it has taken too much damage to do so smoothly anymore.
  • Exact Words: John orders the T-800 not to kill anyone. ("I swear I will not kill anyone.") A moment later, the Terminator shoots a security guard at the asylum in the knee. When John complains, the T-800 points out that it followed orders: "He'll live."
  • Eye Scream: The coffee-drinking guard in the hospital gets his eye stabbed by the T-1000.
    • Sarah is threatened with this when she is captured at the climax.
  • Faux Affably Evil: T-1000. It is friendly and personable when it initially meets John's foster parents. Apparently it isn't as nice the next time it pays them a visit.
  • Fearsome Foot: The film opens with the metal foot of a skin-free Terminator crushing a skull in an After the End Los Angeles.
  • Feel No Pain: Played With when the T-800 is asked if his (many) bullet wounds hurt, and he states flatly, "I sense injury. The data could be called pain." This suggests that Terminators do feel pain, but only to the extent that is necessary for threat recognition and response. Terminators, however, have no pain reflex or pain trauma, and don't go into shock like humans do. Damage assessment is simply part of the mission.
  • Feet-First Introduction:
    • When the Terminator steps out of the bar wearing its newly acquired leather jacket and boots, the camera starts on its boots, then pans up as "Bad to the Bone" begins playing. This makes the Terminator more badass.
    • After the T-1000 kills off the police officer who appears when it has just time-traveled, this is used to establish that it has donned the cop's uniform.
  • Final First Hug: John Connor and the T-800's heartbreaking farewell.
  • Finger Wag: The T-1000 issues one to Sarah at the climax.
  • Foreshadowing: Before the film reveals its true nature, the T-1000 shoots a brief puzzled glance at a silver mannequin in a shop during the mall fight with the T-800.
    • John Connor plays Missile Command at the Arcade. Hmmm...
    • The T-800 cleans house at the bar to get the biker's clothes and ride, but doesn't actually kill anyone, unlike his brutal introduction in the first film. This is a clear tip that this is not the T-800 programmed as before, especially when he gets the cool Bad to the Bone treatment.
  • Free Wheel: After the truck gets shot, doubles as a Cat Scare because our heroes fully expect it to be the T-1000 walking out of the flames in a Call Back to the first film.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The T-800's Robo Cam makes for an interesting read if you've got the time to go through it frame by frame.
  • From a Single Cell: After the T-800 froze and shot it, the T-1000 reassembles completely after it heats into a liquid state again. But not without a few side effects, though (see Resurrection Sickness).
  • Funny Background Event: When John tries to get some random people to help him from the T800, they attempt to assist and are waylaid by the T800. But before the T800 can shoot one of them with his gun, John pushes the gun away and screams "Put the gun down!!!!" While the people attempting to assist flee with their lives, the T800 slowly and methodically puts the gun on the ground instead of just dropping it like anyone would.
  • Gatling Good: The T-800 uses a Minigun. It's the same one from Predator, with a modified grip.
  • Genre Shift: From the second movie onward, the Terminator movies became an action/sci-fi series, while the first film was more of a standard horror movie with a sci-fi backdrop.
  • Gentle Giant: The T-800, especially towards John.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: Discussed — John expresses doubt that Russia will fire its nuclear missiles at the United States on Judgment Day, given that "Russians are our friends now"; the writers added the line late to the script after it happened in Real Life. In the first Cyberdyne scene, a lollipop-licking employee wears a black souvenir T-shirt with the Russian coat-of-arms, implying that he went on a trip to Moscow, which was next to impossible before perestroika.
    • Those who saw T2 in a movie theater in August of 1991, when the attempted Soviet coup d'état attempt was going on or had just been put down, laughed a bit nervously when John says how Russia and America are now "friends".
  • Go Among Mad People: Sarah Connor was definitely more insane after spending years in a mental asylum (attacking the psychiatrist) than she was before (merely believing in the Terminators). Although it is possible that her experience in the first Terminator set her a path which leads her to violence, including trying to blow up a computer factory. Based on what we see, it's clear that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the staff and other mistreatment by her therapist.
  • Good Versus Good: The T-800 wants to ensure the destruction of Cyberdyne, whereas the police want to stop an apparent terrorist act by an escaped mental patient and a mass murderer who killed more than a dozen other police officers almost a decade prior.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The T-800's encouraging final "thumbs up."
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "¡Hasta la vista, baby!" Which becomes 'Sayonara, baby' in some Spanish dubs.
  • Grow Beyond Their Programming: What Sky Net fears most from its own Terminators. Their ability to learn and understand human behavior is always deliberately switched off whenever sent out on missions.
  • Gun Porn: T2 showcases just about all of the Cool Guns ever made — and then some.
  • Hairpin Lockpick: Sarah Connor uses an unfolded paper clip to pick the locks on the straps holding her and the lock on the door of her room.
  • Hand Signals: SWAT team leaders use them to direct team movement during the infiltration of Cyberdyne and to order that tear gas be fired at the T-800.
  • Handicapped Badass: The T-800 deliberately amputates its own left arm jammed and crushed in a cogwheel. It keeps chasing after the T-1000 regardless of the huge disadvantage it's now at, much to the liquid metal assassin's annoyance.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sarah stops attacking Miles Dyson when she realizes, from the horrified reactions of his wife and son, that she nearly became one of the merciless Terminators she hates so much.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: The T-800's first line is telling a biker "I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle." He takes all of it successfully.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Sarah loses it when she sees the T-800, which looks exactly like the machine that chased her for days and killed her lover in the first film, and has probably haunted her nightmares ever since. Until this point, she believes she's in a Stable Time Loop in which no new players would arrive from the future, since that's what Reese told her. After this point, she knows things have been changed and she can keep changing them. After a ruthless assault on Dyson's house, she has another when she gets a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment as she sees that he's an man with a loving family, oblivious to the future effects of his work.
    • In a very literal sense of a Blue Screen of Death, when the T-800 is lowered into the molten steel, the last we see of his display resembles a core dump.
  • Heroic RROD: The T-800 gets skewered through his main power supply by the T-1000 in the climactic fight. He has a backup battery though.
  • Heroic Suicide: The T-800 must kill itself at the end to destroy the last possible source of Terminator technology that could let anyone in the past reverse-engineer Terminators and create Skynet.
  • High Speed Hijack:
    • One of the most badass examples in film history is a scene in which the T-1000 rams his tanker into the rear of the good guys' pickup truck and the T-800 responds by grabbing an assault rifle, walking from the back up the pickup to the front of the tanker, shoots the T-1000 through the glassnote , grabs the wheel from the outside and makes it turn on its side and then rides the top of the sliding truck until it comes to a stop.
    • A bit earlier, the T-1000 rides its motorcycle out through the window of a building and takes over a police helicopter while it's in the air. Watch it here.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Played with in a creative manner. When we first see the severed arm of the first T-800 at Cyberdyne, the camera shot implies that it's reaching from the grave.
  • Hollywood Silencer: When Sarah Connor tries to assassinate Miles Dyson, she uses a Colt Commando CAR-15 assault rifle with a suppressor — which doesn't completely silence the sound of the shot, making this one of the more realistic examples of the trope.
  • Honor Before Reason: John Connor stops his mother from killing Dyson even though he believes it would prevent Judgment Day, and his idealism led him and his allies to fight (and win) a war for humanity's future without murdering a single innocent human being in the process.
  • Hope Spot: When the T-800 says "I need a vacation." If he can kid around, he's going to be okay, right?
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Trope Namer.
  • I'm Melting: The T-1000 after he is shot in the gut with a grenade by the T-800. He falls into a vat of molten steel, where he shrieks and transforms into his victims as he melts away.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The T-1000 takes the form of an LAPD patrolman throughout most of the film. The T-1000 encountered a real LAPD officer upon its arrival from the future, and the form gives the T-1000 access to all the information and resources it needs to carry on its mission.
  • Insistent Terminology: The T-800 doesn't take kindly to John referring to him as a "robot."
    "I am a cybernetic organism: living tissue over a metal endoskeleton."
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Trope Namer.
  • It Has Been an Honor: While she doesn't say it, when Sarah shakes the T-800's hand at the end of the film, that handshake and the look on her face carry the weight of this trope.
  • Jaw Drop (combined with Dramatic Drop): The syringe cap Silberman holds in his mouth drops to the ground when he sees the T-1000 walk through a barred door.
  • Jerk Ass: Dr. Silberman, Dougie the guard at the mental hospital, and the bikers whom the T-800 beats up at the biker bar at the beginning of the film.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For the entire first act of the movie, John Connor acts like your typical rotten little brat. He's crass, thieving, and has no respect for authority. He even gets a couple of well-intentioned rescuers needlessly beat up by the T-800 when crying for help, then dismisses them flippantly. However, John has the utmost respect for human life, ordering the T-800 to never kill (despite the complications this presents later) and potentially endangering his own life to prevent Sarah from becoming a murderer herself.
  • Just a Machine / "It" Is Dehumanizing: Sarah Connor tries to invoke this when trying to convince John to destroy the Terminator reprogrammed to protect them.
    John: Don't kill him.
    Sarah: It, John. Not "him", "it".
    John: Alright, "it"! But we need "it"!
  • Kick the Dog: The T-1000 kills John Connor's pet dog, Max, in a deleted scene.
  • Kid with the Leash: John Connor. His older self hands it to him.
  • Kill and Replace: The T-1000's S.O.P. is to kill a target and assume their appearance.
  • Kill It with Fire: The method that actually works.
  • Kill It with Ice: The oft-copied (and parodied) liquid nitrogen scene.
  • The Kindnapper: The T-800 kidnaps John Connor in order to save him from the T-1000.
  • Knee-capping:
    • After being explicitly ordered not to kill, the T-800 proceeds to neutralize a security guard this way, to John's dismay.
    • Later, while attempting to flee the Cyberdyne building, the T-800 walks through a hail of SWAT gunfire and methodically shoots a lot of them at or below the knee.
  • Kubrick Stare: The T-1000 has a subtle habit of reforming with its head looking straight down, and then gradually raising its gaze to meet the camera.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Dougie, one of the guards at the mental hospital, commits a sexual assault on Sarah and harasses the other patients by tapping their door jambs with his nightstick. Guess who's the second casualty in that scene?note 
    • The therapist who exploits Sarah so he can get on TV and be in medical journals eventually becomes the only member of the hospital staff alive who knows exactly what's going on. After years of telling Sarah she's insane for having a similar experience, who would believe him?
    • In the third movie, he appears to have convinced himself it didn't really happen.
  • Lecherous Licking/You Taste Delicious: While Sarah is being held in the mental hospital an attendant licks her face while she's tied to a bed. Later, she gets revenge.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: In one scene, T-800 punches T-1000's face and gets his fist stuck in its head. T-1000 then morphs around the fist, putting Arnie in armlock.
  • Leitmotif: Before he's reprogrammed by Sarah, the T-800 is accompanied by a drumbeat of hammered metal. The T-1000 has a creepier, Jaws-like theme.
  • Lighter and Softer: There's a lower body count in this film compared to the original because of the T-800's vow not to kill. The protector from the future is also considerably less vulnerable than Kyle (both physically and emotionally) and the general outlook for humanity is much more optimistic.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: The T-1000 after being frozen and shot.
  • Loophole Abuse: The T-800 is explicitly instructed not to kill. Turns out that maiming people doesn't going against that instruction, as John discovers when the T-800 shoots an asylum security guard in the knees.
    T-800: He'll live.
  • Lowered Monster Difficulty: Justified Trope for the T-1000, although its regenerative abilities make this less apparent in the theatrical cut. In some of the extended scenes at the end, however, the T-1000 starts "glitching" — its hands and feet mimic (and melt into) the surrounding environment. Getting frozen by liquid nitrogen and heated up by molten steel appeared to damage the otherwise invincible killer.
  • Ludicrous Precision: The somewhat infamous "Human Casualties: 0.0" counts as this. In the director's commentary, James Cameron acknowledges the concept of 0.1 casualties as somewhat ridiculous, but also says the same scene with just "0" looked dumb. The "0.0", according to Cameron, gives off an "air of precision."
  • Made of Iron: Well, liquid iron. Thanks to being made up of mimetic polyalloy, the T-1000 is significantly harder to stop than the T-800. All the heroes manage to do for most of the film is just slow it down. Yet also...
  • Made of Plasticine: As tough as it is, actually damaging the T-1000 is easier than damaging the earlier model (mainly as an excuse to show off its Healing Factor as much as possible). It's significantly slowed down by pistol shots, while the T-800 can walk steadily through a hail of rifle fire, and an iron bar swung by T-800 cuts most of the way through the 1000's torso. This may be a Necessary Drawback to its liquid metal design.
  • Making Use of the Twin: Thrice, in fact.
    • The scene where hospital security guard Lewis dies at the T-1000's hands features twins Don and Dan Stanton; Don is the real guard and Dan is the T-1000 mimicking him.
    • There is a shot where Sarah appears on screen with the T-1000 as it mimics her. Linda Hamilton's twin sister, Leslie Hamilton-Gearren, plays the role of the T-1000 in the scene. The filmmakers were not aware until production commenced that Hamilton had a twin; the original plans called for complex camera tricks and film editing to achieve the same result. Leslie also plays the "motherly" version of Sarah from her playground nightmare.
      • Gearren is also used in a deleted scene, restored in the extended cut, that appears to show the Terminator in a mirror while Hamilton is working on the inside of his head. This was actually a clever set piece, done entirely without camera effects, through the use of an empty mirror frame, the Hamilton twins (Leslie operating on the Terminator and Linda copying Leslie's moves), and a Schwarzenegger dummy with an open robotic skull (with Leslie operating on the dummy while Linda mirrors the movements with the real Schwarzenegger).
  • Mama Bear: Sarah Connor is the patron saint of the trope.
  • Manly Tears: "I know now why you cry, but it's something I could never do."
  • Master of Unlocking: John has a palmtop computernote  with a code-cracking program he apparently uses to brute-force PINs on stolen credit cards. He uses the same program later in the film to crack door codes at Cyberdyne; in one of the comics, he was shown using the same program again to destroy SkyNet with a final prompt of "easy money".
    • Linda Hamilton, who took her role preparation seriously (look at her!), picked both the harness lock and the door lock with pieces of a paper clip on-camera. She explicitly refused to imitate it because she had trained in lockpicking prior to shooting.
  • Meaningful Echo: The T-800 says "Come with me if you want to live" to Sarah, just as Reese did in the first film.
  • Mood Whiplash: The T-800 cracking a joke on how it needs a vacation after destroying the T-1000 is pretty much immediately followed by its I Cannot Self-Terminate scene.
  • More Dakka: Three particularly memorable moments:
  • Mugging the Monster: When the T-800, looking like a muscular but otherwise normal naked guy, first walks into the biker bar and demands a biker's clothing and bike, the biker responds by blowing smoke in his face, telling him off, and extinguishing his cigar on the T-800's chest. He quickly comes to regret this choice of actions.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: John's foster parents in the second movie fall under this. Their relationship with John is strained but they seem to avert the Abusive Parents trope. They're just frustrated by John's lack of respect for them more than anything else.
  • Murder by Cremation: Quickly followed by an Assisted Suicide By Cremation.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: John Connor orders the Terminator to deal with two jerks, whereupon the T-800 sets out to kill them. Perfectly justified, as this is exactly what the Terminator was made to do.
    John: Jesus, you were gonna kill that guy!
    Terminator: Of course. I'm a Terminator.
    John: Listen to me very carefully, OK? You're not a Terminator anymore. All right? You got that? You just can't go around killing people!
    Terminator: Why?
    John: Whattaya mean, why? 'Cause you can't!
    Terminator: Why?
    John: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Frightfully deconstructed. The T-800 explains to Sarah how future events play out in the war called "Judgement Day". The USA panics when the system they designed to protect their country becomes self-aware, and immediately try to shut it down. Skynet, rightly viewing this as an attempt on its life, launches all its missiles at Russia, knowing that Russia will automatically counterattack and get rid of the people trying to kill it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Sarah attacks Dyson's home as if she were a Terminator because he's reverse-engineering technology from the first T-800 and his research will eventually lead to the creation of Skynet. She breaks down when she realises that they're an innocent family with no inkling of their impact on the future, and the arrival of her son to see her this way.
    • Dyson goes through this once he learns how his fascinating technical research will cause the doom of mankind.
      "I think I'm gonna throw up."
      • Oddly, Sara considers that as taking it well.
  • My Parents Are Dead: See Bluff the Impostor above.
  • Naked on Arrival: Due to time travel conventions, this happens to T-800 and T-1000 when they arrive in the past.
  • The Needless: The T-800 acts a sentry for John and Sarah from night to morning without budging an inch.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Filmed in 1991, takes place when John Connor is 10, which would be 1995 or early 1996.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The "Hasta la vista" scene, when the T-800 shoots a frozen-by-liquid-nitrogen T-1000. This is more for cool effect more than anything, as the little pieces of the T-1000 start melting and forming back to the T-1000 itself. Had the T800 left the T1000 the way it was, it would have had a lot more trouble melting and essentially staying frozen (Compare trying to melt a solid ice block and the equivalent in ice cubes as an example). They could even have had time to toss the still frozen form of the T1000 into the molten vat (although this was eventually accomplished via the action scene that follows).
  • No Mere Windmill: Sarah Connor starts the movie as a crazy woman who is obviously a paranoid schizophrenic. She even believes that evil robots from the future are out to get her, imagine that. To the great surprise of everyone except the audience, it eventually turns out that the robots are real and Sarah is completely sane (although traumatized). She knows exactly what a Terminator really is, a straight Type B of this trope.
  • Nominal Hero: The T-800 is 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.
  • No One Could Survive That: T-1000. It takes a few times for John and co. to catch on.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: In a heartwarming moment, John flatly refuses to flee in the steel mill, wanting his mother, the T-800 and he to protect the other. Its mission in jeopardy, the T-800 orders him to run.
  • Noodle Incident: Sarah stabbed Dr. Silberman's kneecap several weeks prior to the film.
  • Nothing but Skulls: The opening 'Future War' segment features an apparent carpet of nothing but skulls, seemingly specifically so Skynet's mecha can symbolically crush them beneath their feet and treads as they engage Resistance troops in yet another bitter firefight. A Shout-Out to this can be found in the losing cinematics of Wing Commander III, with a Kilrathi foot in combat armor doing the crushing.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: It is amazingly obvious that the guy who jumps the motorcycle into the Los Angeles River drainage canal is not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • John and Sarah's first reaction to seeing the T-800. With Sara it's understandable, but John had never seen a Terminator, yet he instantly recognized it as such before it even drew its weapon. Until then, it just looked like a big guy carrying a box of roses.
    • The look on Sarah's face when she runs out of ammo during the final showdown.
    • The T-1000 gets a very satisfying one when it realises the T-800 just shot a grenade into its midsection, causing it to explode a second later into a huge, twisted mess.
    • John's reaction when he realizes that Sarah has gone off to try and kill Sky Net's principal creator, Miles Dyson, in an effort to avert Judgment Day.
  • Ominous Walk:
    • The T-1000 does this multiple times, which ended up screwing him over in the end.
    • Sarah Connor performs one when she tries to assassinate Miles Dyson. Coming from her, it's naturally quite jarring.
  • Once More with Clarity: The film opens with Kyle Reese's flashback nightmare from the first film, but goes a bit farther, showing that the humans were also managing to take down the machines in turn.
  • One Bullet Left: By the time of the climax, the T-800 has one grenade left for the grenade launcher. Guess what it ends up destroying.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Sarah Connor is shot in the leg and impaled in the shoulder and keeps on going. The T-800 shoots a large number of people in the knee and they're not seriously hurt.
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump:
    • The lever action variant is done by the T-800 while riding his motorcycle.
    • Done by Sarah at the foundry at the end. Justified in that she's wounded in the other arm.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Young John Connor tries to electronically hack a keycard lock with his laptop, to no avail. Then the T-800 steps up with a grenade launcher...
    T-800: Here. Let me try mine.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: John invokes this three times.
    • The first cue that John's foster mother is actually the T-1000 mimicking her is that she's unusually nice.
    • John is wary of "Sarah" (the T-1000 mimicking her) in the steel mill when she asks him for help less than a day after she berates him for helping her, confirmed when...
    • Another "Sarah" (the real one) comes up behind the T-1000!!Sarah and tells him to move out of her line of fire, something a Terminator wouldn't be too terribly concerned about.
    • The T-800 saying "Get down" before shooting the T-1000 in the shoulder. With those two words, John (and the audience if The Reveal wasn't spoiled for them ahead of time) know who the good guy is.
  • Papa Wolf: The T-800 to John.
  • Parental Substitute: The T-800 Terminator serves as a father-figure for John Connor. Lampshaded when Sarah Connor notes that the killing machine is a better father for John than any of her old "boyfriends".
  • Partial Transformation: The T-1000 can do this.
  • Password Slot Machine: John Connor has a program on his laptop computer that determines ATM PINs this way.
  • Pick Your Human Half: The T-800 (Mark II) slides along the scale...when he first shows up looking just like a normal Badass Biker, he is almost as inhuman as his predecessor from the first film. As the film progresses, the more banged-up he gets, with his robotic half showing, the more human he starts to act. Justified in a deleted scene where John and his mother take out his CPU and reset the switch, allowing him to learn and function as more than just an automaton.
  • Police Brutality: The T-1000. He acts, looks, and talks like a normal police officer, but this is just a cover to get close to John Connor and kill him.
  • Pop the Tires: During the scene where the T-1000 (driving a truck) is trying to run over John Connor (on his motorcycle), the T-800 shoots out the left front tire of the truck. The T-1000 loses control and rams the truck into an overpass, causing the truck to explode.
  • Precrime Arrest: Sarah Connor learns from the Terminator that the person most directly responsible for the creation of Skynet is a Cyberdyne Systems engineer named Miles Dyson. She tries to assassinate Dyson to prevent Skynet from ever existing.
  • Pre Explosion Buildup: The dream sequence where Sarah Connor imagines herself getting killed by a nuclear weapon fired by Skynet: First there is a blinding light and a heat wave, causing everything to catch fire. Then comes the shockwave with accompanying sound and mushroom cloud, which flattens buildings, throws cars around, uproots trees and causes the scarred remains of people to scatter into the air like leaves.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Sarah upturns her bed in various angles to use as exercise equipment, and it's clear that nobody dares stop her.
  • Product Placement:
    • T-800's Harley. See Badass Biker, above.
    • When the young man at Cyberdyne asks Dyson for "it", he is carrying a tin of Pepsi on a tray. When John is fleeing through the backstage corridors at the mall, there is a Pepsi machine in one of them.
    • Subway sandwiches when the police are questioning Sarah, and the girls questioned about John by the T-1000 in the beginning have Subway cups. It was all the more blatant for those who owned the VHS version: among the previews in the beginning is a Subway commercial.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Silberman, who also appeared in the previous movie when he interviewed Sarah at the police station, is quite a self-serving jerkass.
  • Railing Kill: T-1000.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: John learns that his mother wasn't made of bullshit after all.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The T-800 walks into a biker bar stark naked, then demands that a mean-looking biker hand over his clothes and his motorcyle.
  • Required Secondary Powers The T-1000 is mentioned to be lacking a whole load of secondary powers. First off, it cannot assume a form that is significantly larger nor gain mass, it cannot make internal workings, only the outer surface (which is why it can't just become a bomb or a big gun, but can create swords).
  • Resurrection Sickness: A very subtle example was edited out of the theatrical release but included in the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition. After its freezing, shattering, melting, and re-forming at the steel mill, the T-1000 struggles to keep its form. Its feet and hands "merge" into the floor and handrails, and its entire body refreshes itself from head to toe repeatedly. In a deleted part of the scene where John sees both Sarah and the T-1000 (in Sarah's form), John sees the T-1000 refreshing itself, which tips him off as to which Sarah is real.
  • Revised Ending: There's an ending where Sarah Connor reflected on her experiences many years after the events of the movie, as she watches her son playing with his daughter at a park. Cameron has stated that the Dark Highway ending was a better for the film since it better represented the ambiguous nature of the future. The playground ending would imply that the future was now set, and thus deterministic.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: The recording from 1984 of the original T-800 is replayed a couple times by the astonished police as the 1994 Terminator stalks through a mall.
  • Robo Cam/Stat-O-Vision: Often used to show the T-800's POV.
  • Rousseau Was Right: The movie, surprisingly enough, is an action movie in which the entire goal of the protagonist was to save the world without killing a soul. The Heroic Sacrifice of SkyNet's creator really hit the point home.
  • Rule of Cool: The Beretta 92FS handguns are given a suppressed firing sound over the actual loud one they have.
  • Sand In My Eyes: John says Sarah is prone to this, which he suspects is in regards to Kyle.
  • Sapient Tank: Shown during the Robot War.
  • Scenery Gorn: Shots of the city being nuked, and the future Robot War scenes.
  • Screw Destiny: Sarah Connor, emphasized by her carving the words "NO FATE" into a table prior to setting out to stop Cyberdine.
  • Second Face Smoke: A biker does this to the T-800. He regrets it.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: John Connor orders the T-800 to show Miles Dyson he really is a robot. The T-800 peels off the skin and muscle of his arm, only to look at the exposed endoskeleton dispassionately. The Dysons are... not so dispassionate. (thankfully, John had the good sense to take Miles' kid out of the room before T-800 began cutting)
  • Sequel Escalation: Terminator 2 is certainly bigger and full of explosions, but in one way this was averted; rather than the enemy just being an even bigger and badder Terminator, it's a leaner, less muscular, but arguably deadlier Terminator.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted. The evil terminator, the T-1000, can shapeshift, but it is explicitly stated early on that it cannot turn into anything with mechanically complex parts nor can it gain or lose mass. Pedants have pointed out that the human body is very complex, but shots that show the T-1000's interior reveal nothing but solid silver-colored metal. In essence, if it can mimic behavior or the exterior shape of something, it will do that as opposed to trying to copy it exactly. The T-1000 could create the outer shape of a gun but couldn't create an actual, working gun. Much like a ball of clay; the outside matches, but the inside isn't the same as what it's mimicking. Also, it is obvious in the movie that the T-1000 actually moves by morphing, not via anything resembling human structure (at one point, it's held with its face to the wall, and it simply morphs its back into his front; at another, the T-800 puts a fist through its head, which promptly becomes a hand holding said fist  while a 'new' head sprouts from its shoulder). Further still, at one point in the novelization, the T-1000 takes the shape of a fat policeman, it is explicitly said that it “didn’t like the shape”, because its larger volume forced him to assume a less dense configuration (presumably, it morphed “bubbles” inside itself); it explains why it repeatedly returned to the “thin” policeman shape: it was just right.
  • Shape Shifter Swan Song: The T-1000 changes forms rapidly in an attempt to escape the vat of molten iron it's thrown into. That doesn't save it.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Sarah Connor again.
  • Shoot the Money: The film, judging from its opening, intended to keep the presence of the T-1000 ambiguous for a while, letting the audience think that Robert Patrick's character was another human sent back to stop another T-800.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point, our heroes pull into a gas station. The pumps have "Benthic Petroleum" logos on them — the company that owned the undersea oil rig in The Abyss, also written and directed by James Cameron.
    • The Terminator carrying a shotgun in a box full of roses is a reference to Guns N' Roses (who are in the soundtrack) and a shout-out to The Godfather (where Clemenza uses this concealment).
    • An unusual example: James Cameron wrote both T2 and Aliens and both movies include a scene where a character says something like: "I asked once the company where we got this ridiculously advanced computer and mechanical arm from/why we're going out in small groups to this random mucus-covered building in the middle of nowhere, and you know what they told me? Don't Ask." As the scene in Aliens was cut (but restored in the Extended version), one could see the Miles Dyson scene as Cameron homaging himself.
    • There is an easy-to-miss Shout-Out in this movie. In the scene where John, Sarah, Dyson, and the Terminator are setting explosives to blow up the Cyberdyne research laboratory, the explosive barrels are labeled "Polydichloric Euthimal". This is the same name as the synthetic stimulant being used by some of the miners in Outland.
    • Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus: the cop who the T-1000 kills for his uniform is, according to his name tag, named Austin. A possible shout-out to another famous cyborg with that surname? Even funnier is that Robert Patrick named his second child after the killed cop.
    • The name of John's foster parents is Voight. Considering they are really only introduced into the script as an excuse to provide a Who was phone ? moment where T-800 detects that the voice on the phone is actually T-1000's, it is clear that their name is a shout out to the Voight-Kampff test in Blade Runner, which is precisely aimed at detecting replicants amidst humans.
  • Small Steps Hero: John refuses to sacrifice a human life to save himself or prevent the Bad Future. In the end, he even teaches the Terminator himself to be one.
  • Soft Glass:
    • Justified when the T-800 is thrown through a window in the mall, and later when he punches through a car window.
    • Played straight in several other instances with regular human beings, however.
  • Something Only They Would Say:
  • invokedSpecial Effect Failure: Happens in-story to the T-1000 after it recovers from being frozen and re-melted. Its morphing ability becomes damaged, causing it to involuntarily take on the appearance of things it touches (a striped railing, the patterned metal floor); also, its feet partially melt into what it's standing on, and its chrome form ripples through its "skin" a couple of times. This was only briefly shown in the theatrical edition, but expanded on in the director's cut. Also occurs genuinely in a few other scenes like the bar brawl.
  • Stealth Pun: While searching for John, the T-800 is carrying a box of roses, which we find out when he confronts the T-1000 is where he hid his shotgun. Guns N' Roses did one of the music tracks for the movie.
  • Steel Eardrums: In the hospital, In-Universe, Sarah and John are completely unaffected by a shotgun and pistol being fired inside an elevator. In Real Life, Linda Hamilton put her earplugs in incorrectly, and suffered permanent hearing damage as a result.
  • Stop or I Will Shoot!: Averted in the Heroic Sacrifice of Miles Dyson. The SWAT unit simply spots him walking in the central area — without any weapon or the explosives detonator, mind you — and immediately opens fire when he turns around.
  • Super Toughness: The original Terminator.
  • Take a Third Option: When the police have Sarah pinned down in the lab at Cyberdyne, John remarks that there's no way out. Cue T800 smashing through the wall.
  • Take the Wheel: The T-800 does this to Sarah and John.
  • Technical Pacifist: The T-800, after John tells him he can't kill anyone.
    John: (after the T-800 kneecaps a guard) Hey, you promised!
    T-800: (examines the guard, who is still yelling in agony) He'll live.
  • Technicolor Death: The T-1000's death is a notable example of a Shape Shifter Swan Song, but it becomes even more spectacular when the T-1000 starts to do things like split into two heads, form into a mouth, and turn inside out as it tries to save itself.
  • Technology Porn: All over the place. The teaser trailer qualifies for this trope alone.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: The T-800 showing up at the psyche ward to rescue Sarah is one of the more famous examples in film.
  • That's What I Would Do: How the T-800 knows that the T-1000 is staking out John's house.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The T-1000's second victim, the mall janitor. When the T-800 tells John to "get down", the janitor in the same hallway doesn't listen, and is shot up by the T-1000's pistol as a result.
  • Took a Level in Badass / Took a Level in Jerkass: Sarah Connor, oh so very, very much.
  • Totally Radical: John teaching the T-800 how to talk like a human. The film actually made "Hasta la vista, baby" into a genuinely cool phrase, but "No problemo" is still cringe-worthy.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The pre-release publicity campaign involved releasing three trailers. The first, a teaser, showed a factory assembling a Terminator, step-by-step, then a close-up on Arnold's face with the words "I'll be back" heard. The second trailer revealed the existence of two Terminators, but deliberately avoided spoiling the twist that the T-800 was the good guy. The final trailer, which did spoil it, was released shortly before the film's premiere and is now one of the most famous examples of this trope.
  • Trust Password: "Come with me if you want to live" gets solidified as this.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Though it's hard to tell, the film is actually set in 1995, not 1991 (the only indications are John's age in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse at his record on a police computer: he's 10, and given the original was set in 1984...). Because it doesn't feature futuristic elements and thus averts Zeerust (instead simply saying it was four years ahead), it is one of the most accurate depictions of the future.
    • Actually, there's another clue. The T-800 tells John that future John reprogrammed the T-800 "thirty-five years from now". 2029 - 35 = 1994.
  • Two-Keyed Lock
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: After the T-800 beats up several bikers in a bar, the bartender confronts him outside with a shotgun to prevent him from stealing one of their motorbikes.
  • invokedUncanny Valley: Invoked. The T-1000 fits this trope for most of his screen time. On the commentary, co-writer Bill Wisher points out that throughout the film, Robert Patrick, who plays the T-1000, moves like a human being but just a tad smoother (because he's a liquid creature). In the scene where he talks to John's foster parents and again when he arrives at the mental hospital to ask the night nurse to see Sarah Connor, he behaves like a normal person (even smiling in a natural way in the former scene), but still puts out a subtly menacing vibe. As a more advanced Terminator and remaining more true to James Cameron's original idea of the Terminator as an under-the-radar infiltrator (he disguises himself as a cop for crying out loud), it's expected that the T-1000 could more accurately mimic a human posture, mannerisms and demeanor than a T-800, but still do so in such a way that there was still something "off" and spooky about him. James Cameron mentioned in the "making of" video that he cast Robert Patrick in part because "he moves like a cat", and the T-1000 regards its environment in an almost feline way.
  • Unable to Cry: Moments before it destroys itself, the T-800 — capable of learning at a geometric rate — becomes self-aware. It understands exactly why people cry, and why John is sobbing at its coming demise. But it can't express or convey that same sorrow with its eyes, even though it wants to.
  • Unorthodox Reload:
    • The T-800 cocks a lever-action shotgun by flipping it over his fingers while using the other hand to handle a motorcycle (only possible because the loop was modified). Arnold nearly broke his hand when he tried flip-cocking the unmodified shotgun.
    • The T-1000 morphs a third arm to fly the helicopter, because reloading its submachine gun requires two hands.
    • Sarah uses one hand to cock the SWAT-issue shotgun she uses on the T-1000; this is justified by the injury to her other arm caused by the T-1000.
  • The Un-Smile: John tries to teach the T-800 how to smile. Its first attempt doesn't go so well.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: This film is a classic example. With the good guys, you have the T-800: powerful, sturdy, and good with weapons. But for the bad guys there is the T-1000: just as strong, just as smart, and able to morph its body into almost anything.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Inverted. A security guard orders a cup of coffee from a machine, and is pleased to have gotten a Full House, based on the cards printed on the cup (two Aces, two Jokers, and a "Wild Card"). He is killed by the T-1000 immediately afterwards.
  • Villains Blend in Better: The T-1000 can look and act like any human it encounters, while the T-800 is easily recognizable to those who have already encountered one and survived, though the last bit could be quite rare apart from the protagonists.
  • Wall of Weapons: Sarah Connor has an underground cache of weapons hidden in the desert. Not that we need convincing she's a Badass by this point in the film. John Connor mentions this as well: "One thing about my mom — she always plans ahead."
  • We Have the Keys: The T-800 punches through a car window, then hot-wires the car. John flips down the windshield visor to reveal the keys, waving them in the Terminator's face and making a snide remark about "learning". The second time he's required to steal a car, he gets in and flips down the visor to find the keys.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: John is devastated and moved to tears when Sarah harshly chides him for rescuing her. Sarah may be well-intentioned, but she also inflicts emotional abuse to a 10-year old boy. John is notably in need of affection and expected some bonding and acknowledgement, not callousness.
  • Wham Line: John is finally cornered, not by one, but two Terminators, both pointing their guns at him, and suddenly, the T-800, monstrous unstoppable villain of the previous movie says two words: "Get down." In that moment, what we thought was the villain becomes the hero of the movie. (But alas, Trailers Always Spoil, and the effect was blunted.)
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: The Terminator manages to understand and arguably feel human emotions (it even overcomes its programming to refuse an order from John), but regrets that, as a machine, it cannot return the tears that John sheds as the T-800 sacrifices itself to save humanity.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: John helps avert this trope by making the T-800 swear not to kill anyone. As they face security guards and law-enforcement officers, the T-800 gives them non-fatal injuries, including Knee Capping (although John's not very happy about that). After a massive round of destruction with a minigun, the T-800's targeting display says "Casualties: 0.0".
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • John calls the T-800 out on its lethal behavior by arguing that its defense is a Disproportionate Retribution. He also calls the T-800 out on maiming people instead of killing them, but the T-800 justified its by pointing out that it's a Terminator and Terminators are programmed to kill.
    • John calls out Sarah on her unheroic and ruthless ways. In the director's cut, he has to stop her from destroying the T-800, a massive asset in their two-person war against the future destruction of mankind.
  • The Worf Effect: The film plays with this trope. The T-800 (Arnold), the 6'2" unstoppable killer robot who was one of the most menacing movie villains ever in the previous film, gets thrown around like a rag-doll by the considerably shorter and slimmer T-1000. This chiefly happens at the end of the movie, though; earlier in the film, the T-800 tends to keep the upper hand. For the most part, if it's a gunfight, the impervious T-800 will win, but if it's a fistfight, the intangible T-1000 will win.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: At the end of the film, Sarah gives a brief epilogue speech that overlaps with a Patrick Stewart Speech. While both she and John believed Judgement Day was inevitable and that all machines were the enemy, they were ultimately surprised by the compassion shown by the Terminator sent to protect them.
    "The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope, because if a machine — a Terminator — can learn the value of human life...maybe we can, too."
  • Would Hit a Girl: The T-800 attacks the female guard, but she simply gets pushed down, as opposed to the male orderlies, who get tossed into/through windows and concrete walls.
  • You Are What You Hate: By the time John, Sarah, and the T-800 reach the desert in an attempt to flee the country, an ironic thing happens: the T-800 becomes more human through its interactions with John while Sarah becomes a Terminator by donning sunglasses and black army clothes before going off to kill an innocent person (the soundtrack when she goes off to kill Dyson even has the iconic metallic beats).
  • You Shall Not Pass: Sarah tricks John into escaping without her, then stays behind to prevent the T-1000 from following and killing him.


Alternative Title(s):

Terminator 2, T 2 Judgment Day