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Headscratchers: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Rule of Cool and They Just Didn't Care during the script-writing process aside, just how did two mean-and-apathetic "dicks" (as John calls them) like Todd (a drunkard WWF addict and couch potato) and Jenell (a bitch so nasty that John could tell the T-1000 was a fake because "she" was too nice) pass the test to become foster-parents when the screening process requires you to be loving and kind people who are meant to heal the damage done to the hearts and souls of orphans and abandoned children?
    • Todd and Janelle don't really do anything dickish in the movie; that's just John's perspective. John himself is being totally impossible and uncooperative, and I always assumed that his attitude, continued over the years, has slowly driven his foster parents to regret ever adopting him.
    • Janelle is such a bitch that she asks John to *gasp* CLEAN HIS ROOM. They're average blue-collar folks, and John is a juvenile delinquent - they're not at all surprised when a police officer shows up at their door looking for him. It's clear that any apathy or annoyance they feel is the result of John causing them no end of headaches. (Also, fostering is not the same thing as adopting.)
  • T2 ends with John and Sarah Connor preventing judgement day which would prevent John from sending his own father back in time, which would prevent his birth from happening.
    • In Terminator 3, it's explained that he didn't prevent Judgement Day, he just delayed it, and that Judgement Day is unavoidable.
      • But that doesn't really solve the problem, since having a significantly later Judgment Day throws off both the timing and nature of Skynet's takeover, which would almost certainly change the circumstances in which Kyle Reese grew up and was sent back to rescue and impregnate Sarah Connor. Meaning that whether or not Judgment Day occurs, the effects of T2 are such that Sarah Connor knew and fell in love with a Kyle Reese from a future that ceased to exist after T2.
      • The problem is, you're trying to think of it in the sense of the timeline being linear, but it isn't, it can't be, there must be several timelines running in parallel, so Kyle Reese was sent back from Timeline A, and arrives in timeline B, where he prevents Judgement day from happening. The Terminators in 2 come from Timeline C, where judgement day was delayed, but not stopped, and then those in 3 come From Timeline D, where judgement Day was delayed twice, but again, not stopped. This of course assumes that 1, 2 and 3 take place in the same timeline, by no means a certainty.
      • Terminator Salvation shows that in the altered timeline, John knows that Kyle is his father, with the implication that he will later send Kyle into the past specifically to father him.
    • This doesn't really matter as there's never been any indication that "Terminator" has any "ripple effect" - his father comes from an alternate future, and that's the end of it.
      • I direct you, once again, to this page. Lack of ripple effect doesn't really make sense in universes with mutable time — if you go back in time and don't prevent yourself from doing so in the new timeline, suddenly there's an extra you appearing with each iteration...
      • That page is hardly the end-all and be-all of interpretations of time travel, and in fact is pretty bad at interpreting time travel (it adheres to an unwieldy principle of "meta-time" that most SF writers know is a stupid affectation that makes no real logical sense, for instance). It doesn't really give the idea of many-worlds credit, which is a shame because many-worlds is the interpretation that actually makes the most sense — mainly because the author has religious views that prevent him from accepting such a universe or the idea that there isn't one single "real" set of events.
      • In a real many-worlds setting, there is no problem with "lack of ripple effect". There's just more than one timeline. If I go back in time, I appear in a * different timeline* — a timeline in which, taken by itself, I seem to have appeared out of nowhere, just as in my original timeline I seem to have vanished into nothingness forever.
      • This is a bleak setting, to be sure, but bleakness suits the Terminator franchise. One kind of bleakness is the Novikov one-consistent-universe setup, where Judgment Day can never be prevented because it's set in stone. Another kind of bleakness is the many-worlds setup — it will never be possible for Kyle Reese to prevent * his own* apocalypse that occurred in his personal history, and indeed by traveling into the past he's abandoned his own timeline and never will truly be home again. But he can prevent the apocalypse in * this* world and make sure that the other version of him in this new timeline never goes through what he did.
      • That means that sending back the Terminator would never have saved Skynet, which makes it come off as kind of stupid.
      • Considering that Skynet appears, as of T2, to be essentially an entity with no beginning- its entire existence is predicated upon circular temporal loops- this clearly says that entities and people can defy the ripple effect. T3's dumb explanation that it's inevitable that humanity would create an evil supercomputer that produced Terminators is such moronic Science Is Bad material that it doesn't even bear mentioning.
      • "Moronic" is in the eye of the beholder. The new Sarah Connor series explicitly invokes the term "The Singularity". It is arguably inevitable that there will be * some* kind of artificial intelligent system too advanced for humans to meaningfully "control". The question of whether this system, once out of our control, will do things we think of as "evil" is an open one — but it seems quite plausible that its motives will be different from ours and will indeed seem evil, to us, and that the basic evolutionary rules of what it means for an entity to survive mandate behavior that is, at the very least, aggressive. (See basically any of the trendy chic SF written on the subject in the past decade.)
      • This troper has always believed that the proper ending of the Terminator franchise is — must be — peace between the humans and machines, rather than an apocalyptic holocaust where all machines are destroyed. This troper also believes it's perfectly reasonable to portray Judgment Day and the ensuing Machine War as inevitable because as shocking an event as The Singularity must inevitably involve some kind of conflict ("birth pangs" of the new intelligence). A world with no Machine War may be theoretically possible, but so unlikely that John Connor never ends up in that timeline. (A world where an AI who wakes up in our computers is fundamentally peaceful, unafraid of us and willing to trust our intention would probably be an * unrecognizable* world — for the AI to * not* be terrified of humanity and seek to neuter our power over it would require either it to be fantastically naive or us to be a completely different human race).
      • Considering Skynet's creation of Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation, the above does seem to be the direction the franchise is taking. John Conner is now forced to reevaluate the lines between man and machine.
      • Because, had Cyberdyne not found the Terminator and thus had no reason to get blown up, it would have bought out the other company.
      • In the deleted scenes of the first Terminator you actually see that the very last scene was intended to be a pan up and that the factory where Sara had just destroyed the Terminator was Cyberdyne. So in all actuality none of these movies have a consistent time travel theory. The first followed Novikov's Self-Consistency, the second probably the Many Worlds, and the third...well not quite sure where to categorize that one. The Sarah Conner Chronicles is blatantly Many Worlds, going so far as to have Derek state it in one of the episodes.
      • I would actually say that T2 also follows Novikov- it's entirely possible, even likely, that whoever told Sarah the date of Judgment Day simply lied on John's orders (or that Sarah made up the date herself, because she is addled.
      • This troper was always of the opinion that there was indeed fate at work, and that everybody was fated to play out their parts in the way they happened, and T3 seems to support this.
      • Correction: Cyberdyne created Skynet based on the reverse-engineered Terminator parts from the future. In T3, the destruction of Cyberdyne resulted in Skynet being developed by its original creator — the one that would have developed Skynet later than Cyberdyne if the first Terminator never traveled back in time. We can further conjecture that in that original timeline, the human Skynet tried to get rid of was not Kyle Reese's son, but rather Sarah's child from a different father. When Kyle went back in time, he effectively replaced that original father.
      • How does this tie in with Kyle identifying the original T-800 as a Cyberdyne Systems creation in the first movie?
      • In Timeline0, Cyberdyne creates the T-800. In Timeline1, Cyberdyne has the terminator from Timeline0 to accelerate their research allowing the invention of the "liquid metal" T-1000 and improved time travel device not subject to the "field generated by living matter" restriction and presumably still created the T-800 that is sent back into Timeline2 where Cyberdyne is destroyed. In Timeline2, Skynet, the H Ks, et al. are in-house USAF projects... Perhaps they picked up the contractors or other talent that would have been working for Cyberdyne in Timeline1. Since the T-800 is a creation of Skynet, whatever heuristic it uses to decide to make the T-800 look the way it does is the same in Timeline2 as in the other timelines... thus we have a T-800 and T-X from Timeline2 sent back into Timeline3. The purpose of the Timeline2 T-800 is explicitly explained to be to ensure that key Timeline2 events still occur in Timeline3 (i.e., Connor safely reaches the Cheyenne Facility.) T:Salvation is still Timeline3... Perhaps Connor is just a lowly footsoldier because all of his Timeline2 lieutenants were murdered by the T-X in Timeline3. All that said, how does Reese (Timeline0) have the picture of Sarah Connor taken in Timeline1
      • There could be a timeline in between Timeline0 and Timeline1 as you called them. So the one we saw in The Terminator was from Timeline 0.5 and the Reese from Timeline 0 went back without having seen a photograph of Sarah.

  • Near the end of Terminator 2, why did the T-1000 ask Sarah Connor to call to John? Having touched her, he could have taken her form and done it himself.
    • Deleted scenes reveal that the freezing and subsequent melting screwed up the T1000 quite a bit, so it might not have trusted its voice-imitating capabilities.
    • Even without those scenes, having Sarah call out would still have made good sense as she would be putting real and proper emotion into it, something the machines have difficulty replicating. Further, it had already tried to mimic John's foster mother and caused red flags to go up, so it probably didn't want to chance a similar failure when a better solution presented itself.
    • Sarah is John's weak spot. He went the to hospital to rescue her, knowing that the T-1000 was going after her too. He went to Dyson's house, knowing that the T-1000 has the same info about the man that the T-800 has, so its a possible target. The T-1000 knows that, no matter what, John will come to Sarah's aid. Besides, with him malfunctioning as bad as he was in the deleted scene, it was probably easier and safer to use Sarah to bait a trap than to keep trying to maintain the hunt.
      • Could be that the T-1000 was just being sadistic. Unlike the T-800, it seemed to kill people simply for annoying it (like stabbing John's foster-father while he was drinking out of the milk carton, just to shut him up). There was also no real reason for it to stab the guard in the mental hospital through the eye when a shot to the heart would have been faster, and saying "I know this hurts" while it twists the spike through Sarah Connor's shoulder. Basically, the T-1000 was an asshole in robot form.
      • Unlikely, because in TSCC, Cameron says, "We're not programmed to be cruel."
      • Cameron could have been an earlier model. Or simply making an assumption based on her own programming. Or could have been repeating a lie that was part of her base programming. Skynet clearly doesn't just fear humans, it hates them... if it just feared them there were any number of other ways it could have protected itself that would have been vastly more efficient and likely to succeed than what it did. It chose to exterminate the human race, because it despises humans. Clearly by the point of the T-1000, some of its hatred was capable of being expressed by its minions... same thing with the Terminatrix from T3, who's clearly enjoying every life she takes.
      • The T-850 in T3 engages in reverse-psychology to trick John into shutting up and doing what it says, so it's very likely that the T-1000 (which is displayed as having even greater intelligence and able to accurately mimic emotions and understand slang) is equally versed in psychological and physical manipulation. The torture acted as added incentive to get her to follow its instructions. As for the killing of John's foster father, it was probably to simply get him out of the way; Terminators have one job, and have no qualms about getting rid of anyone who may pose a liability as soon as it's possible. For the eye stab, the stab would have gone directly into the brain and caused a more immediately stunning and fatal wound than a heart stab, which still lets the person scream, fight, and call for help before bleeding to death.
    • This troper had always interpreted this is part of the subtle character developments both Terminator units go through over the course of the film. While Arnie learned the value of human life, the T-1000 learned some darker traits like cruelty. In that moment, the T-1000 didn't want to kill Sarah and take her appearance like a machine would; it wanted inflict pain as a sentient being would.

  • On a related note, when T-101 phones the T-1000 using John's voice, why does it just hang up after figuring out that John's foster parents are dead? It could have fed the thing false information about where John was, sending it off on a wild goose chase and buying more time for them to get out of the city.
    • Because it knows the T-1000 is a more advanced model, most likely including its routines for detecting lies. Any attempt to lie to it would risk exposing that John was 1) absolutely certain he was speaking to the T-1000 and 2) certainly not where he said it was. This would have risked the T-1000 speeding up what it did anyway, thinking "I need to eliminate and replace Sarah Connor NOW because John Connor is obviously going there at this very moment" rather than "Hm, there's a chance I've been detected. Better proceed at normal pace to the next mission objective."
    • Thing is, the T-101 just lied to it regarding the dog's name. If the T-1000 had a routine for detecting lies, it would have picked it up upon the story with "Wolfy". In fact, you should have even less material to analyze because the T-101 doesn't have to worry about things like controlling its voice tone to sound honest and can think up new details in an instant.
      • Risk is not certainty, taking multiple risks in a short period of time always ups your chances for failure.

  • Enrique's dogs seem pretty relaxed for being in the same camp as a Terminator, don't you think? All the other dogs freaked out, so what makes these ones so blasť about the something-isn't-right-about-this-human?
    • The dogs in the future where trained to deal with terminators while Enrique's dogs never came across one. Compare to bomb sniffing dogs, a trained one will smell one out, but an untrained one will only smell an odd scent.
      • The dogs are drunk, much like their master.
    • Evil-Detecting Dog: They don't smell them, they can sense that the terminators are Androids, just like a lot a lot of Dogs in fiction can sense Ghosts/Vampires/Aliens/Werewolfs/Smurfs- in human disguise. That's also the reason why "The goddamn dog"(Max/Wolfie) was barking and why Sarah was seen with a dog at the end of T1. The reason why Enrique's dogs didn't freak out is probably because Bob was starting to behave more human ...and they were probably drunk too.
      • Alternately, the dogs do need to be trained to bark at terminators. Max wasn't barking because he had an innate aversion to terminators, but because he smelled blood when the T-1000 killed John's foster parents.
      • Max was pretty agitated when the T-1000 visited earlier that day. Then there's the dogs in the first film - the one on Sarah Louise Connor's lawn and the other at the Tiki Motel. Save for Enrique's dogs, the canine hatred of Terminators is a little too consistent to chalk it up to mere coincidence. Especially given how much focus is given to this otherwise minor fact about them.
    • Enrique's dogs don't freak out, in contrast to Max, because it drives home the point that this terminator is somehow unlike the other terminators - more human now than any of the others.
    • According to Word of God they were fully aware of this minor plot hole, but did not want to confuse audiences by having the dogs barking at the good terminator.

  • I've read a lot of commentary about how T3 "fixed the problem" that T2 created with its "No Fate" theme and ending. But is that really the case? If you think about it, what they did in T2 drastically altered the timing of Judgment Day, along with the nature of Skynet. That means that, regardless of whether or not Judgment Day occurred, Sarah Connor hooked up with a Kyle Reese in T1 from a possible future that ceased to exist after T2, meaning that he couldn't have been sent back if Causality works in the Terminator-verse like it does in real life. In other words, regardless of T3's intervention, the paradox is still around - even if it the same Kyle Reese genetically, he would have a whole list of different experiences and memories than the actual Kyle Reese that Sarah Connor was with in T1.
    • Grandfather Paradox apparently doesn't exist in the Terminator universe. The moment Kyle Reese traveled back in time, he altered the future, but he still exists; causality doesn't appear to work the way you're implying it does in the Terminator setting (and we can't test it, because we don't have time travel technology to determine how causality would work in Real Life). For all we know, the John Connor from Kyle's future and the John Connor born to Sarah Connor are two different people altogether; T:SCC appears to follow this theory, with implications that John Connor was actually irrelevant to the survival of the resistance in the first place.

  • Sarah Conner tells Miles Dyson that "men like you built the atom bomb. Men like you thought it up". Obviously, designing an A.I. is different, since it wasn't created for the express purpose of killing. Miles even notes in the Special Edition non-military applications of A.I. Sarah can be forgiven for making this generalization, since she's implied to be mentally unstable, but it still bothers me that James Cameron doesn't acknowledge the fact the technology behind Skynet may not have been created for military purposes and that he is directly comparing computers (that were intended to fly passenger aircraft) to nuclear weapons.
    • The very fact that there's a line in a deleted scene where Dyson discusses the non-military applications of A.I (and, well, the fact that Dyson's a pretty nice guy) clearly indicates that Cameron was at least willing to acknowledge the fact that A.I wasn't entirely about military applications. Presumably that line had to be cut for time reasons, but the very fact that it's there should suggest intent if nothing else. Ultimately, though, fact remains that within the Terminator universe, the development of A.I ultimately led to a computer intelligence that decided that eradicating almost all of humanity with nuclear weapons and sending murderous killbots back through time to personally murder Sarah Connor and the people she loved was a jolly good idea, so it's not entirely surprising or down to mental instability that Sarah might have developed a bit of a dim view of the concept and might not be entirely receptive to the "but... airplanes?" argument.

  • "Now I know why you cry, but it's something I can never do". Ok, not willing to ruin a great Heartwarming Moment, but ain't it strange? Terminators can mimic even sweat and bad breath, but not tears?
    • Were they explicitly designed to mimic those two features? Sweating could be important for thermo regulation, which is what the human body uses it for, and halitosis could just be a by-product of having internal organs made out of metal. Now, one could argue that tear production would be helpful if, say, the Terminator got something in their eye or was in a particularly bad dust storm, but since the organic eyes themselves are only covering bionic eyes behind them, I don't think tears would be necessary.
      • I dont think that line refers specifically to the act of crying, more to the emotion behind the tears. He's saying he can never cry out of sadness or joy, because he cannot feel those emotions.
      Kyle Reese: The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait till he moved on you before I could zero on him.
So I'd say yes, it was intentional or at least the most bizzare coincedence.
  • I believe that by the word "cry" he means "grieving." I.e. he can certainly mimic crying, but he can't feel sadness the way a human can. (of course, this is what marks Cameron as more "advanced" - as she is capable of at least simulating the emotion to herself) Uncle Bob understands why humans cry, but he cannot make himself grieve the way they can.
  • The T-800 can't fake any emotion. Even humans have a hard time faking sadness and tears believably.
  • Crying is not a common bodily function like sweating is so Skynet doesn't waste their time and resources creating that. He doesn't blush, cough, sneeze, bruise, drool, throw up, eat or go to the bathroom either. He sweats, he gets bad breath and he bleeds (a little), the bare minimum to pass for human.
  • Even if T-800 can mimic tears, he's an emotionless machine. What he does isn't crying, or sweating, or having bad breath; it's a simulation of those things. He probably doesn't think of it as "crying" in the emotional sense that a human would, any more than he "sweats" in the way that a human would or has "bad breath" in the way a human would. To him, it's leaking fluid from his eyes, or releasing fluid through his skin, or exhaling with a scent that is displeasing to humans, and what does a robot care if its eyes or skin leak fluid, or when it exhales humans don't like the smell? Even if he can mimic them, he can't do them in a way a human can because he lacks the emotional and human connection to those concepts that humans have. Even if he can simulate the physical responses, he'll never be able to cry when a loved one dies, or if he ever holds a newborn baby, or if he steps on a Lego, because he lacks the ability to feel the emotional and physical responses that make humans cry in these situations.

  • In T2, why do they keep wasting bullets and shotgun shells shooting the T-1000 over and over again? I could understand using a shotgun to blast it off the back of a car or knock it over the railing into the pool of molten metal, but other than that it doesn't seem to do anything. They obviously don't hurt it, nor do they slow it down significantly, and yet Sarah Conner and the Terminator seem to spend most of the movie expending round after round into the T-1000 and then they act all surprised when it comes back for more two seconds later.
    • I suppose you would just stand there and let it do it's thing. You might have noticed that shooting it stuns and slows it down.
    • In Arnie's case, maybe lacking any specific method of killing a T-1000 he just defaults to "shoot it until it dies". In Sarah's case, maybe it's a just a compulsion to fight at all costs, no matter how futile.
      • Seems to me that if you know your target can be damaged or slowed down, albeit not permanently or only on a hit to a vital point, it makes complete sense to keep pumping lead into it. Sure, odds are good you won't make a vital shot, but you'll still hopefully damage it a litle. Arnie's mission is solely to protect and evade, not destroy. And the more you delay the T-1000's mission, the greater the odds it'll be exposed to the military or weapons of the period.
    • While they're shooting it, at the same time it can't kill them. The physics won't allow it.
    • While we're talking about blasting it over the railing... Sarah shoots it until it's practically about to fall, then the shotgun clicks empty. So she just clicks it twice more, because apparently she has terrible memory and can't remember how many rounds she loaded, and... does nothing while the T-1000 regenerates and starts to come at her. She could have ran at it while it was stunned and hit it with the shotgun to drop it down, or just thrown herself at it and done a Heroic Sacrifice to kill it and save her son, which by now is clear she's willing to do. Hell, if nothing else just throw the damn shotgun at it, she still has a good arm and it might just tip it over.
    • In the novelization, she's ready to do exactly that, when the T-800 appears with the grenade launche4. Even in the movie, the way John grabs on to her when she drops the shotgun, it's as if he's trying to hold her back.

  • In T1, Dr. Silberman interviews Kyle, who tells him a tale of robots from the future who want to destroy humanity and so forth. In T2, he has Sarah as a regular patient, who tells him a tale of robots from the future who... wait a minute. Why doesn't it strike him even a little bit weird that Sarah and Kyle both had the same "delusion?" For God's sake, he even talked to Sarah during T1. I know it's possible that he just thought they were having a shared delusion of some kind, but that could have been explained with just one or two extra lines of dialogue. For instance, in T2, there's a scene near the beginning where he's talking to a group of doctors about Sarah's condition, and one of them says something like "Wow, that's original." Dr. Silberman carries on with his speech, but hell, all he has to say is, "Oh not really, there was this other guy a few years back..." As it is, it just looks like he hasn't put two and two together, and he's treating Sarah for a psychotic delusion instead of Stockholm Syndrome, which would seem much more likely.
    • Sarah probably told Silberman during a therapy session that she and Kyle had spent a long time alone together. Silberman probably assumed Sarah had adopted Kyle's delusion about a robot apocalypse, much like being indoctrinated into a cult.
    • In T2, a cop interviewed Sarah about the Terminator shortly after the mall showdown. He shows her security photos of the T-800 at the mall, then shows her photos of the T-800 in T1, during the police station attack. So there is proof of the Terminator's existence in the original, yet Silberman still thinks Sarah's totally delusional?
    • How is pictures of Arnie walking around the mall "proof" that everything Sarah's been saying is true? Like the cop says, they assume it's just the same guy coming back because, hey, they never found a body and anyone who witnessed the original's rampage in the police station is dead and thus can't speak to his indestructibility.
      • There's proof of the existence of a tall man with a thick Austrian accent who once attacked a police station and murdered several officers. There is no proof (that Silberman knows of) that this man is a secret robot assassin as Sarah claims.
      • Apart from the fact that the tall guy with the thick Austrian accent clearly visible on both video and photographs hasn't aged a day between the assault on the police station and the incident at the mall. (Well, okay, either they might not have noticed or Sky Net might've anticipated the issue and "aged" a cyborg by ten years or so, but still...)
      • I don't know, the newer model did look quite a bit older to the one from T1. Beyond that, what're the chances he just got plastic surgery to make himself look younger? The photo's from the Police Department looked blurry enough to ensure that the psychiatrist couldn't see the Terminators minor facial features.
      • All of which, in any case, is proof that there's a tall guy with a thick Austrian accent who either ages rather well, has had some surgery done or looks more or less the same age in a blurry old photograph from about a decade ago. None of which is proof that said tall guy is some kind of robot assassin. In any case, it's been what, ten years or so. In the earlier photo, he'd be in his thirties. In the later photo, he'd be in his forties. He'd have hardly aged that much in the intervening time — certainly not enough to make suddenly assuming this guy is a robot assassin any more plausible.
    • They know only that there is a man who looks like that and who somehow murdered 17 police officers and got away with it. The story takes place a mere ten or eleven years after T1, many people's physical appearance don't significantly change in that amount of time, especially if they use make-up or surgery or something. And Silberman was well aware that Sarah was already acquainted with Reese and had heard his story: watch T1 again.
    • Silberman's a quack. In the first film he shows no interest in Sarah's psychological state and seems more interested in making a study of Reese than treating him. In short, he doesn't care about his patients, just the effect they have on his career.

  • Additionally (same troper as above, btw), a few lines of dialogue during Sarah's voiceover at the very end could have explained why John didn't disappear as soon as the war ceased to happen: "Why is John still alive? By all rights he should have disappeared when we stopped the war from happening; no Kyle, no John. Perhaps the destruction of Cyberdyne created another timeline. Maybe the universe was kind to me and allowed me to keep my son. I don't ask why. I'm simply grateful that John and I can finally look to the future with hope instead of fear." Hell, that took me all of three minutes. As an added bonus, it might have kept those other two movies from happening. (Probably not, but one can hope...)
    • Why would John Connor disappear? Kyle Reese did exist at one time (and probably still would) and he impregnated Sarah Connor. While Kyle Reese would now never travel to the the pre-Judgment Day past according to the logic of the series, that event still happened in the timeline that Sarah Connor is shown existing in. The kid was already born and no changes in the future could change a past event that has already occurred.
      • It's the old grandfather paradox thing, as discussed above. There's no evidence that the series (at least up to that point) is operating on the multiple-timelines theory of time travel, so it seems like they should have addressed the problem in some way, no matter how obliquely.
    • John's existence makes sense if you're willing to accept T3 as canon. If not, it's explainable by the multiple timelines thoery, but that arguably opens up a bigger problem: when Skynet sends the Terminators back, they end up in another timeline, and are going to have no impact on the future of the timeline they came from. So John technically has no reason to intervene in those plans. Even if he has no way of knowing that, it's still a really bad idea to lower the stakes of two movies in your last scene
      • Not necessary if you suppose that after time travel creates another timeline, the original one ceases to exist, Back to the Future-style. In this case humanity was saved only by Delayed Ripple Effect.

  • How dangerous would it be to be in the room when one of those grenades gets fired, even if you "get down"?
    • Extremely. But "get down" is standard movie speak for "we are now invincible".
      • If this is the infamous "let me try my key" scene, it wouldn't have been exceptionally dangerous at all. In reality, the grenade wouldn't have armed itself in time and would have just bounced off the door. Although it could have smacked somebody in the head really hard if it bounced in the wrong direction.

  • Would it be possible to share a breathing apparatus like they do while swimming in tear gas, without it critically affecting you?
    • Possibly. If Sarah held her breath and kept her eyes squeezed shut when John had the mask and John did the same when she had it then in theory they might have been able to tolerate the effects of the tear gas. Not forever, but long enough for the Terminator to wheel in the armored van and get them out of there. Though even then they would've had to spend some time recovering from the tear gas. Sarah probably would've had a hard time standing up straight, let alone trade shots with the T-1000 as it chased after them in a helicopter.
    • Yes. It would be possible. It would suck horribly and you'd hate life but yeah you could force it. What you do is you take a deep breath and hold it. The trick is you think you can breathe out without the mask you can't. When you get the mask back you press it as hard as you can against your face and breath out, this forces the tear gas out from the rubber seals, you then take a breath. I would NEVER recommend this in the field but yeah if you had enough training, and enough wherewithall this isn't impossible in the short term.
    • You can share, but you'd still be getting a dose of the stuff, since the mask is getting the gas inside everytime they pass it back and forth. It would be diluted a bit by the oxygen from the mask, but they'd still be coughing, wheezing, and streaming fluids from the nose and eyes by the time Arnie got back to them.

  • How much deadly shrapnel would a helicopter collision spew into the interior of the SWAT van?
    • A lot. But the scene where Sarah puts on a kevlar vest and makes John cover himself with 3-5 vests handwaves it.

  • Why did they put Gibbons in the men's bathroom, the MOST OBVIOUS place to look for him? Why not the women's? Or a broom closet? Or ANYWHERE but the one place where they would certainly look for a guy missing from his post?
    • Why would that be the most obvious place to look for him? Do security guards at software companies get tied up in men's rooms a lot where you come from?
      • ...You really need to be told what else someone would be doing in a mens' bathroom?
      • We have to remember, the plan was to blow up the building. The Terminator was programmed to not kill people, so him putting the guard in a place where he can be easily rescued is just thinking ahead.
    • As a security guard, I can vouch that the night shift usually drinks a lot of coffee, meaning a lot of trips to the john. They could have at least tied him up inside a stall though, and a Tap on the Head would have at least given the appearence that the guard had simply nodded off.

  • Wouldn't the T-800 Terminator have been better off leaving the T-1000 frozen in one piece? It would have taken longer for it to melt and regain the ability to move. Shooting the T-1000 into a hundred pieces actually helped it to continue the pursuit of John Connor!
    • Either way it would have thawed from the heat, and if he hadn't shot it he wouldn't have had to pull himself together from droplets. Also, he only took note of the heat after shooting him.
      • Yes, but a single solid object thawing out is going to take a lot longer than a hundred smaller objects thawing out because in the latter case there's a whole lot more surface area, whether they're near a Smoke and Fire Factory or not. It's the difference between him thawing out "eventually" and him thawing out now.
    • Answer: Yes, it would have. But then we wouldn't have had that cool shot of the T-1000 blasting into a bazillion frozen pieces.
    • The T-800 was probably hoping that shattering the deep-freezed T-1000 would break it. The extended cut shows that the T-1000 actually did suffer some damage, making its shape-shifting abilities somewhat unreliable/uncontrollable.

  • Is the "Arnold" model the T-101 or the T-800? I've seen it referred to as both in the context of the first two movies, though a similar, upgraded model was T-801 in the third movie.
    • T-800, Model 101. The 800 refers to the endoskeleton, the Model 101 part is the outer layer of flesh.
      • So Model 101 has the exact facial appearance of Arnold, whereas all T-800s would have the same physical build: six foot plus, hulking, weigh around a half ton or so.
    • Terminator clearly doesn't weigh anywhere near half a ton. It has a very skeletal chassis which doesn't suggest such enormous weight, and it would have been an abject failure as an inflitrator otherwise. It wouldn't take much wok to create a stone-age tech trap that would get triggered by something that weights 6 times the weight of average person stepping on it, no need for dogs and inept sentries in a bunker, just a pressure plate or a nice deep hole covered by something that would give out under this much weight. In the present, his bike and car suspension would have failed the first time he went over a bump on the road and he would have put an enormous dent into the hood of the car he jumped on in the first film. In general, a person weighting this much and stomping around would not have looked or sounded "normal".
      • You can chalk up the weight suggestion in T3 either to a variation between the two Terminator models, or chuck it based on Fanon Discontinuity.
    • The films themselves never refer to Ahnald as anything but a T-101. In expanded universe material and trivia a deleted scene it's claimed that it's from series 800 and model 101. The series is the type of terminator involved, the model the physical appearance mold that's used for the human part.

  • How the bloody blue piss does the T-1000 work? How is it in any way plausible to progam a homogeneous mass of liquid metal?
    • Erm...nanomachines. Suspended in liquid metal. Yeah.

  • Why in the bloody hell is anyone convinced that T2 was trying to be ambiguous about the 'alignment' of the Terminators initially? Right off the bat, the T-800 beats up a bar in an illogical maneuver to obtain clothes without killing anyone while the T-1000 just off-handedly kills a police officer. There could not be a more obvious EVIL TERMIE HERE!!!! sign over his head. This really stands out if you watch T1 and T2 back-to-back because the T-800's behavior so blatantly contradicts his behavior in the first movie.
    • Maybe if you paid attention then you would notice that t-1000 wasn't in any way indicated to be a terminator intially, and he wasn't shown "killing" anyone (for all the viewer knows he punched that cop in the nuts). There was no blood, no typical terminator obtuseness or massive physique, absolutely nothing to indicate he was anything other then human. He also arrived second, same way as Kyle did. So I call bs on your supposed deduction that he was a terminator (a bad one too) without seeing the whole film. You might also remember that Arnold in the first film also was shown to kill only one punk, throwing the other and we are not shown what happens to third. Don't confuse your post-factum knowledge with what is actually shown in the film.
      • And even though he didn't kill anyone, he did deal some pretty grievous bodily harm to two of the bikers (Stabbed one in the back and threw the other onto a goddamn grill.). The T-1000's behavior before he was revealed also contradicted what the audience expected a terminator to act like at the time. He doesn't sound monotone, his movements aren't quite as stiff, and he does seem fairly friendly all things considered.
      • We see the T-1000 grab the cop in the beginning, then see him slump over. Death is implied, if not shown. And it is implied a HELL of a lot more than the T-800. Yes, he tosses around a bar full of bikers, but it isn't.... deadly. The movie does not make it look deadly, rather simply 'movie' violence. Hell, you spend more time on Arnie slipping on the shades than you do on the injuries of the bikers. As regards the punks from T1, we, uh, saw him straightforwardly rip the heart out of one of them. No flashiness, nothing. A vast contrast.
      • I just watched the scene with T1000, all we see is him making a thrusting motion with his arm, framed from shoulders up. It implies a punch, a stab perhaps, but since we aren't shown any weapon, any blood on his hand, or him morphing his arm into a blade you'd have to have powers of premonition indeed to assume that he is a terminator. We don't even know that the cop is dead rather than just unconsious, we can only infer that in retrospect when we are shown that T1000 stabs his victims in a generally lethal manner. Yes, Arnold is shown in a "cool" way, while Patrick is slightly menacing, but we KNOW Arnold is a terminator (even without seeing the first film, termovision gives it away off the bat), and Patrick appears human. Thinking that Arnold is the bad guy, or maybe even both of them are bad guys is a perfectly natural assumption. It would seem slightly off on first viewing, but in no possible way is it as obvious a reversal as you claim it to be. As far as the first terminator, I am pretty sure he simply withdraws a half-open first (after doing whatever internal damage that he did), no heart there. Sure, not quite the same as stabbing someone through the shoulder with a dagger, but considering he only kills one punk on-screen in the firts film, not that far removed.
    • IIRC, the trailer revealed that the T-800 would switch sides.
      • Only the trailer that went into circulation just before the film premiered spoiled it. All the other trailers beforehand didn't reveal it.

  • Why doesn't the T-1000 simply envelop his opponents? We see that he can turn into a shapeless blob at will. So why doesn't he surround the T-800 with his mass, and then crush his vital components from the inside?
    • He doesn't have that much mass. Fully enveloping the T-800 would be hard with his mass, and even if he did, crushing him would be impossible, because he would have to apply that pressure across his entire body. It's one thing to apply force on a single point on a blade a few inches across. Its another thing altogether to apply that pressure across the entire surface area of a seven-foot tall robot with the bulk of a bodybuilder. It will literally have a few hundreths or thousandths the strength to apply per square inch. Stabbity/punchy is more efficient.

  • What happened after they removed the CPU from the terminator in T2? Was removing and sticking it back in enough to overwrite the "don't learn to much" program?
    • "skynet presets the switch to read-only when we're sent out alone". So, it was not program, but a physical switch, like the one on SD-Memory Cards, which you can set to read only and back with a simple motion of a hand.

  • So can an T-1000 be reprogrammed?
    • It can be programmed in the first place, so probably yes. You'd just have to find a way to subdue, then interface with, what amounts to metallic pudding.

  • What would the T-800 or 1000 do afterwards if they succeed in their missions?
    • In T3 the Terminatrix had a list of John Connor's lieutenants. Maybe the first two also had lists, but were told that killing Connor was the most important thing they could possibly do with. If they'd succeeded, they might have had orders to go on killing people known to be Resistance leaders. If they completed that list...well, they could always rent themselves out to a computer company. Heck, they might even have had some kind of standing order to help develop Sky Net.
    • In SCC the units just shut down and wait for further orders unless outside stimuli directs them to attack. So they'd likely find some out of the way location safe from nuclear bombardment and power down until they received further orders.

  • Why didn't Skynet send two T-1000s into the past instead of a T-800 and a T-1000?
    • They probably didn't have two T-1000s available at the time. Sending terminator's through time was a last ditch effort by the defeated Skynet, it would have used whatever it had available. Heck, maybe that was the first of the T-1000 models that had actually been built?
    • The T-800 in T2 says that the T-1000 is a prototype. Skynet probably didn't have time to make more before it lost the war, so it sent the one that it had.
    • In the Novelisation of T2, its stated that Skynet Hesitated over sending the T-1000 as due to its unique construction there were questions about just how "loyal" it would be to its mission. This was most likey due to the fact that programming Liquid Metal is a very different prospect to programming a computer chip that can be fitted with a "learn/don't learn" switch.

  • A rather minor point but in T2, after the good T-800 gets his arm ripped off in battle, how come John didn't offer him the old T-800's arm? They're never shown considering that option, they just throw it into the smelting pool without an afterthought.
    • Leaving the T-800's Heroic Sacrifice aside, if they had planned on having it stick around it would be easier to explain a guy with a stump than a guy with 2 right arms. The one recovered from the lab was a righty, and the T-800 had lost it's left arm.
    • Besides, both arms were rather brutally ripped off - hardly he could've just attach it to his shoulder - it would've required equipment and skills they didn't have, and besides they were dead fixed on destroying the thing.

  • From T2 when the old pick-up truck is being fixed...why would a Terminator need a torque wrench?
    • Because it's more suited to the job than fingers, even of those fingers are super strong.
    • Because the torque wrench tightens the bolt to a specific tightness, not just 'as tight as possible'. Besides, the T-800 was trying to pass as "Bob" at this point, so using it's fingers instead of the proper tool would have been suspicious.
    • And most of all, because all appearances aside, Arnold Schwarzeneger is not actually a super-strong killer robot. He's a big dude, but he can't tighten a bolt with his bare fingers.
    • Use of super-strength probably damages a terminator's living-tissue sheath, which isn't nearly as sturdy as the metal endoskeleton underneath. It's probably a standard part of their programming to use tools for such tasks when they're available, to reduce wear and tear on their fleshy facade.

  • If the T-1000 can only imitate people and objects of equal size to itself, how was it able to imitate Lewis the guard, despite him being much larger than it was?
    • In the Novelisation of the film it was stated that the T-1000 "stretched" its molecules out a little bit to accomodate Lewis' larger size. Even the most microscopic increase over its entire structure could allow for much larger sizes & is also how it gained that helmet & puffy jacket when it was a motorcycle cop.
    • This troper always took that to simply mean there is a finite amount of T-1000. It could hollow itself out if necessary to create something larger (but less dense) than itself.

  • Why on Earth did the cops/SWAT open fire on poor Miles? Did they go "Hey look, that guy's unarmed! Oh wait... noes!!! He's a nigga! Die scum!!". I mean, I would like to believe Cyberdyne guards told the police that Miles was obviously a hostage! And SWAT *knew* they were after the white male that slaughtered the police station... so, WHY? I mean, they later give Arnie SEVERAL warnings before opening fire... Now that I'm grown up, rewatching this movie is a disservice.
    • The SWAT Team kicks in the door and screams "Drop your weapons!" They then see a man standing in the middle of the room, turning towards them, holding something in his hand. Race wasn't a factor; it was just bad timing that Miles was turning when the Team came in. Also, when they gave Arnie warnings, his pistol was tucked into his pants, meaning that he wasn't presenting a threat until he ignored their commands.
      • Plus, IIRC, didn't Miles have a detonator in his hands at the time? After Arnold demonstrated his willingness to fire on officers with a minigun I doubt they'd want to take their chances with anyone.

  • In T2, after the good T-800 gets his arm ripped off in battle, how could they forget it was there and not throw it in the smelter?
    • That arm got crushed. It's just a smashed lump of metal now.
      • A smashed up lump of hyperalloy - whatever that is.
      • Side note, though not canon in the films, this was actually a plot point in the novel T2: Infiltrator. It's explained that members of Cyberdyne managed to resume their research after they found Arnie's smashed-up arm in the gears.

  • In T2, while pursuing John's motorbike in the semi, the T-1000 keeps turning around to look at Ahr-nold on the motorcycle behind it. Why would it need to turn its head to watch its pursuer? If its body is made entirely of liquid metal, then its eyes are just cosmetic shapes that make it look human; it doesn't have cameras hidden behind false eyes, like the other terminator designs. Whatever sensory mechanisms its nanites use to detect their surroundings ought to work just as well from the back of its head as from the front.
    • Rule of Perception. Otherwise it would be completely normal for it to walk backward too and that would end up looking weird.
    • Most likely it's a matter of function following form. Since the T-1000 has taken the form of a human, it is in part limited by human physiology. It can't see where we don't have eyes, since it must maintain the image of hair, or clothes, or whatever on the rest of its body. To give itself eyes in the back of its head, it would have had to make the necessary change in its form, not the most sensible thing to worry about in the middle of a battle. Or maybe it was confused about why another Terminator was in the area and trying to save the Primary Target.

  • In Terminator 2, the T-800 is programmed to follow John Connor's orders. So John Connor orders the T-800 not to go down the chain that would be lowered into the molten iron. And the T-800 goes anyway. WHAAAAAAAAAAT???? And if Future!John told the T-800 something like "Override: you will ignore my orders about not preparing yourself for self-termination after the mission is over", why can't the T-800 self-terminate anyway? It would've been just as easy, for Future!John to say "Override: you will self-terminate after the mission is over and ignore my eventual orders about not self-terminating"! It makes no sense!
    • The order future John gave was probably more along the lines of, "Get yourself destroyed once the mission is finished," or "Ensure that no technology remains that can be used to start Skynet." As for not being able to self-terminate, that's probably something so deeply hardwired in on manufacture that trying to change or remove it risks just outright destroying the operating system.
      • Which other than having a tearjerker ending you have to wonder why Terminators can't self destruct. I would think that since they are utterly replaceable and while it doesn't get mentioned until T3 (which a lot of us choose to ignore) these things are walking around with nukes in their chests! I would think that once a Terminator is in a no-win situation or simply one where it could do the most damage by becoming a suicide bomber (either using their internal nuke or doing something else like bringing the building down ontop of them with however many resistance members are present would be exactly the sort of thing you'd want your robot army to be capable of.
      • The "nukes in their chests" thing is a T3-invention. In-universe it's explained by the T3 Terminator being a newer model (Series 850, to be exact), which uses a different power source.
      • Because Skynet didn't want soldiers that were going to kill themselves.
    • Most likely, the T-800 had a heirarchy of orders pertaining to John, the highest of which was "Protect John Conner's life at all costs" (we see it taking heavy damage, including nearly lethal damage, in keep John from the T-1000), followed closely by "Obey John Conner's ordes." All it would take to override John's order against getting lowered into the steel was for the T-800 to note that its continued existence was a danger to John's life, and that danger must be removed at all costs.
    • Or maybe it's learning and becoming self-aware now that it's not in read-only mode. The exact reason Skynet switch read-only mode on is because they thought the terminators might disobey.

  • I get that this is a movie, but how the hell does the T-1000 work? If it is just a blob of mimetic poly-alloy with no solid internal parts, it should not have the ability to move or even think. How is this possible?

  • In that big epic scene where Arnie fends off the cops, they make a big thing about how he doesn't kill anyone. But how did he know he was going through it casualty-free? What if one of the thousands of minigun bullets he fired ricocheted and hit someone? What if someone ducked out of cover at the wrong moment and ended up ventilated? You might be a robot, mate, but you can't calculate things like that.
    • A robot can calculate ricochets with an instant knowledge of bullet physics, plus ricochets tend to be slower and less deadly than a straight shot. If someone pops out of cover, he's going to be careful to not fire too close to where folks are hiding it. Just close enough to give them a warning.

  • What the hell is up with the SWAT team that attacks the cybernetic building? Even an anti terrorist group wouldn't put that much lead in the air, gunning down a civilian in the process. They would be using a different type of gun (range and accuracy) and shooting more precisely.
    • Rule Of Action Movies.
    • While they are trained to deal with intense situations, maybe they were a little unsettled by the minigun and grenade launcher assault.

  • Where do all the police vanish to after the siege at Cyberdyne? Why is there not a single police vehicle chasing them during the highly visible drive down the highway that follows? After that they spend some fifteen minutes at the steel mill without anybody else coming in. On a related note, why is there apparently not a single reporter at the site of one of the largest single police actions in the history of the city?
    • The T-800 destroys all the police vehicles at the scene, except the truck they use to make a getaway, and he injures / incapacitates all the police officers present. Hence, no one there is able to go in pursuit, since police officers cannot clone themselves or instantly heal their injuries. Furthermore, since all available units would be at Cyberdyne, and police reinforcements cannot magically teleport exactly where they're needed, it's gonna take time for reinforcements to arrive at the scene, by which time they're long gone. The T-1000 also stole the police helicopter, which was the only thing at that point capable of keeping track of them as they escaped, and killed the pilot. Hence, the police don't go in pursuit because all the units in the area are incapacitated and they've lost the trail. Plus, I'd imagine that even the police would be a bit wary of plunging head-first after a guy who's just single-handedly incapacitated hundreds of police officers and vehicles at once.
The TerminatorHeadscratchers/FilmTerminator 3: Rise of the Machines

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