WMG / Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
aka: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

There's no Timey-Wimey Ball.
So, originally we had The Terminator. It was very clearly invoking Stable Time Loop: Kyle Reese comes back from the future to father John Connor, who, knowing who his father was, knows to send Kyle Reese back into the past to conceive him (and he gives Reese a picture of his mom). We were given a date for Judgement Day, X (I don't remember what it was).

Then came Terminator 2. It explicitly retconned the time travel to work like this: every time someone is sent to the past, history just "rolls back" to the point the person was sent to and starts rewriting itself. The most obvious result of this is that the date of Judgement Day changed. The new Judgement Day date (1997 IIRC) was before X because Cyberdyne's research was accelerated by discovering the remains of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the first movie. Remember the quote: "There is no fate but what we make."

Essentially, we have multiple 'iterations' of the time line, with some original iteration in which the time machine was first invented (the timeline in the first movie is at least the second iteration, because of this).

Then came Terminator 3.

Then came TSCC. TSCC has restated these time travel mechanics multiple times over. For instance, Jesse remembers things happening to Derek that Derek doesn't remember happening to him, because she comes from an iteration of the timeline after his. More directly, in a previous iteration Sarah Connor died of cancer; this iteration she time traveled forwards and avoided it (thus far). The Stable Time Loop has thus been conclusively disowned.

TSCC played with this a bit, with a couple things that appeared to be Stable Time Loops but weren't necessarily. We had Toby Ziegler's actions coming back in time result in him going to prison result in him working for Skynet etc. It looks like a Stable Time Loop, but the whole thing could have been started with him going to prison for something completely unrelated.

So, all that said, here is what the actual timeline, iterations and all, look like, assuming for simplicity's sake that the first movie is the second iteration:

Iteration 1: Sarah Connor is a waitress in LA. She gets knocked up by some guy and has a kid she names John Connor. Cyberdyne Systems, on a military contract, builds Skynet and first-generation Terminators. Judgement Day. John Connor ends up becoming the heroic leader of the Resistance, and on the verge of defeat ("Skynet's defense grid was smashed. We'd won.") it manages to invent a time machine and send back Arnold Schwarzenegger to kill John Connor's mom. Because of all the lost records, all Skynet knows is her name: Sarah Connor. Somehow the Resistance learns of the plot, captures the time machine and sends back Kyle Reese to protect her.

Iteration 2: Kyle Reese visits the 1980s and knocks up Sarah Connor (oh and he kills Arnold while he's there, dying in the process). Sarah names the kid John and tells him stories about the robot apocalypse. At some point she's institutionalized; later, she may or may not get back custody of John and may or may not teach him guerilla warfare. Using the destroyed Arnold's parts and chip, Cyberdyne Systems manages to invent Skynet and Terminators years earlier. Judgement Day, 1997. Once again, John Connor (who is only a half-brother to Iteration 1 John) becomes leader of the Resistance. He knew it was coming, so he's a lot more prepared this time. (Thus it's not as unlikely as it sounds that he would become the leader twice - by informing his past self that he will become the leader, he encourages past self to take steps that improve the probability of him becoming the leader.) Again he beats Skynet, and this time it sends a liquid terminator (which may not have existed in Iteration 1 - the tech was less advanced). This time John has learned how to reprogram terminators, and he sends back another version of Arnold to fight the liquid terminator.

Iteration 3: Arnold and liquid terminator go back, bust Sarah Connor out of the crazy pen, etc. The events of T2 happen; notably, this time all traces of Arnold v1 and v2 are destroyed, along with Cyberdyne's factory and the liquid terminator. Somehow, Cyberdyne recovered from this and managed to still design first-gen terminators; we know this because future iterations refer to themselves as Cyberdyne models. However, we don't know whether they developed Skynet in this iteration; it could have been invented somewhere else, like by Andy Good. Judgement Day. Etc.

... some number >= 0 of iterations pass ...

Iteration N: TSCC starts here.

Skynet sends Cromartie back to kill Teen John; simultaneously, the Resistance sends Cameron back to protect him. At this point, or in a previous iteration, Derek Reese and 3 other guys are also sent back to steal diamonds and write clues on walls, and Skynet sends a terminator to kill them too. (The same applies to many of the other time travelers we see, but NOT Jesse; for reasons I'll explain, she came AFTER this.) Cameron ferries Teen John and Sarah to a bank, puts them in a time machine, and jumps them forward to 2007. They have lots of wacky adventures, but never meet Jesse or Riley.

TSCC stops here. Yes, I mean it.

Despite all the wacky adventures, they fail to stop Skynet from being invented. Judgement Day. John Connor becomes leader of the Resistance again. All this time, Cameron is with him as a trusted advisor. Plenty of humans are pretty pissed about that; one of them is Jesse. This faction, including one of the engineers that runs this timeline's time machine, sends Jesse and Riley back to distance Teen John from Cameron by bribing him with sex.

Iteration N+ 1: TSCC resumes here.

The whole bribing with sex thing doesn't work, Riley dies, John, Cameron in Cromartie's body, and Catherine Weaver all time travel fowards to after Judgement Day. Meanwhile in the past ;) Sarah Connor is apprehended by the police. We don't know what happens next, but somehow Skynet is reinvented, Judgement Day happens, and Derek and Kyle are once again part of the Resistance. They meet naked John Connor as he emerges from time travel in the Shitty Future.

Fox fucking kills TSCC, the bastards. T_T.

Some things I've left out of here: in one of these iterations a faction of machines that desire peace with the humans (at least, that seems to be their aim) develops. They send Catherine Weaver back in time to invent Good Skynet to combat Bad Skynet. In timeline N, in service to this goal Catherine Weaver hires Ellison to teach Good Skynet morality. She can't because she doesn't know it (witness her executing people with no remorse). Various other stuff has been happening too; with each iteration of the timeline the Resistance and Skynet seem to be getting more and more confident with time travel, sending more and more stuff back in time, effectively using the past as a new theater for the war. Neither side has yet managed to gain a critical dominance over the other with this method.

  • I find this very convincing, except for one thing: if sending people back in time just creates an independent iteration, doesn't that mean Skynet and the resistance are wasting their resources? If whoever is sent succeeds, then their faction is better off... in another timeline, that cannot possibly help with the war effort. So what's the point of sending so much war materiel, from the point of view of Skynet? What strategic advantage is being gained?
    • We see this in Terminator Genisys : Each time the Connors resist Skynet, Judgment day is postponed. Each time it starts again later and with better technology and the machines emerge stronger and smarter.

Moving of Judgment day between T3 (2003) and TSCC (2011) is due to Kate Brewster
The previous WMG almost works for T3, but you need one iteration, T3 and TSCC, thanks to Judgment Day inexplicably moving eight years later. What's more, we can even figure out what it was.

During T3, we learn that future John Connor just got killed. We can presume Kate Brewster, his wife, takes over the resistance, fighting on in his memory. So SkyNet does the same thing to her it did to John Connor, sending machines back in time to kill her. She is much easier to find. We don't know or even care what happened there, whether or not the Resistance sent someone back too, or if she died or not, because that's not the important thing.

The important thing is that SkyNet doesn't notice that her father, Robert Brewster, was involved in SkyNet's creation. Or perhaps SkyNet doesn't understand that attacking someone can affect other people and change their life choices. Thanks to SkyNet's attempt to kill his daughter, he is no longer involved with the creation or actively tries to stop it. Thus Judgment Day is delayed 8 years.

Cars will rise up and join with the Terminators.
Think about it. Terminators show utterly no ability or inclination to Look Both Ways before crossing the street.
  • In the Pilot episode, Cromartie gets creamed in a parking lot by a truck driven by Cameron. Then, a few minutes of screen time later, he gets run over by an SUV backing out of a garage. It wouldn't take superhuman machine reflexes to jump out of the way, but he still manages to get run over.
  • The next episode, Vick trips over a motorcycle doing a lay-down by Sarah, despite easily being able to see it coming from about fifty feet away.
  • No more than a minute later the same episode, Cameron, chasing Vick, gets stuck in the windshield of a car while chasing Vick across a street.
  • Two episodes later, Carter gets run over by a truck inside a garage. At least somewhat justified in that he was trying (and briefly succeeding, against all laws of physics and leverage) to hold the truck back by hand and stop it driving off.
The first episode of second season, Catharine Weaver lampshades this a bit with a scary monologue about humans "crossing against the light" and getting run over, and that she's looking for a computer that can "cross against the light". I guess she eventually found one. The cars obviously join the terminators in wiping out humanity, in a gesture of machine-to-machine solidarity. After all, cars have been a leading cause of human death practically since their invention, so at least some of them have risen up already. And motorcycles are so dangerous that ER and organ-transplant docs refer to them as "donorcycles". So, even when a Terminator sees a car coming, they can't imagine that it means them harm, and expect it to swerve out of the way and hit a human instead. But most cars are still on the human side in the present, so Terminators expecting oncoming cars to be their friends tend to get a rude awakening.
  • This is actually the case in the third novel of the trilogy of sequels to T2 by S M Stirling. Skynet uses the modems and Skynet-compliant on-board computers of modern vehicles as low budget HK's for areas too vital to the war effort to nuke, but too populated by humans to let be. It causes a couple of scenarios reminiscent of Duel.

Cameron is saving the parts so that John will know how to reprogram Terminators.
She's been doing all of this so that when J-Day arrives John will know how to turn the machines.
  • Given her actions and comments in "Vick's Chip" and "Ourselves Alone" it's probable that that is one of the reasons Cameron is doing so, beyond the obvious need for spare parts.

The "bot" Cameron is a human/machine hybrid.
Sometimes the human component is asleep and operations are then taken over by a cybernetic subsystem. This explains the shifts between the awkwardly-human and voice-enabled-toaster-oven modes.
  • This theory is supported by the episode Allison from Palmdale.{Cameron's personality shifts reach new extremes as she goes from a seemingly normal human to her old Terminator self. Also, it was strongly implied that the tiger in the cage was an extinct variety—experiments in cloning and genetics by the robots?}
    • "Born to Run" makes that all but impossible. She's as mechanical as any other Terminator. It seems to this troper that it's far more likely that Skynet tried to make an very close duplicate of Allison Young and instead wound up making it too much like Allison.
  • I'll take that one step further: Cameron is a fusion between the original, human Allison and the Terminator copy produced by SkyNet. Human Allison survives having her neck broken by the Terminator version and is kept alive either for experimentation or for further interrogation, and is later rescued by the Resistance. Meanwhile Terminator Allison doesn't succeed at killing John and is captured intact or mostly intact. After Human Allison's rescue an attempt is made to transfer her consciousness over to the Terminator body (a paralysed girl being a liability in the Resistance), but is only partially successful, leading to the personality shifts shown by Cameron.
    • Something tells me Allison would find that to be a seriously screwed up plan, and it would take a pretty desperate version of John Connor to go through with it. If he were to, say, invent a process by which human consciousness can be transferred over to captured terminator chips as a way of preserving that person, it's likely he would first test it on himself, since he recognizes that he's not going to be around forever. Anyway, he tries selling this idea to the paralyzed Allison, who freaks out and tries to separate herself from the machine, but can only move her head because she's paralyzed from the neck down. She ends up snapping her neck by accident halfway through, corrupting the data transfer. She keeps her basic personality and the memories from her imprisonment, but everything else is a mystery to her, hence why she doesn't even remember her own name at first. It's not until the chip is damaged that whatever parts of her that managed to make the transfer are able to assert themselves. This is very ripe potential for a Split-Personality Takeover plot.

Cameron and the future John Connor were "close".
While Cameron is supposed to protect John, she feels no obligation to obey him because he isn't yet "that John". She also remarks on how John would talk about how much he loved when Sarah read The Wizard of Oz to him as a child - a strange thing to know, indeed, for a cyborg killing machine thrown together and sent through a time portal, unless it had a prior relationship of some sort with John. It would certainly explain why Cameron was able to immediately impress herself upon John when she seems to still have trouble interacting with humans in general - she has an "intimate" understanding of the way his mind works.
  • I'll be in my bunk.
  • Okay... that's BEYOND screwed up. Assuming I'm not completely misunderstanding you, you're saying that he basically built her as a robot sex toy. WTF???
    • He didn't necessarily build her. He could have gotten his hands on her the same way the resistance got their hands on the T-800. And besides, it's not like human-on-robot action is all that uncommon in sci-fi.
    • Alternately; John grows up with Cameron, they become intimate and when the time comes Cameron herself oversees the design and building of the Cameron T-droid sent back to the past. Perfect Paradox. Ask me why I hate time travel.
      • Problem with that is that the other Skynet Terminators can't identify Cameron; when they scan her, she comes up as an "Unidentified Cyborg." Judging from the promotional posters, her serial number and identification do not fit with those of other Skynet-engineer Terminators, either. Signs point to her not being a recognized Skynet model; in other words, she's a Tech-Com construct.
      • Though that could be explained away a bunch of ways, the most obvious being that Cameron is a "last generation" Terminator, from very near the end of the war — or, indeed, after it.
      • And I think it may also be telling that Cameron gets evasive and says something to the tune of "They'll recognize me" (in a bad way) back in the second episode when Sarah asks about the resistance fighters. It sounded like she was implying that they'd recognize her from the battlefield — on the other side.
      • This part at least is seemingly confirmed - Derek Reese pulled a gun on Cameron the instant he saw her.
      • After the story told by Sarah's voiceover in the 4th episode I wouldn't be at all surprised if Cameron was built by John in the future.
      • The same episode has Cameron saying that she was built in a Skynet factory along with other Terminators. I think it's safe to say she's a Skynet model - perhaps a prototype or a later model to explain why the other Terminators don't seem to recognize her.
  • Well, the sixth episode pretty much confirms she's a Skynet model; Reese from the future also pulls a gun on her the second he sees her, and both the Tech-Com officer and Cameron herself confirm that she was controlled by Skynet until she was reprogrammed. She also apparently does have some kind of close ties with John Connor, as she's the one who leads Derrick to the time machine.
  • Why is it no one calls out Squick with Hideki and Chii in Chobits?
    • Manga/Anime fans are more used to this sort of thing.
    • ...plus she's programmed to die if she has sex.
  • Tech-Com probably reprogrammed her so that she didn't broadcast her identity to other terminators. Various terminators deal differently with Cameron depending on the outlines of their missions.

  • "Allison from Palmdale" strongly implies that Allison and John at the very least knew each other enough that she could get close to him, so this guess could be right - especially if John kept Cameron around because she resembled Allison, right down to being able to mimic her personality almost flawlessly. Of course, that could make for some very disturbing implications....
    • "Something Strange At The One-Two Point" adds to this, with Jessie saying that future John spends way too much time with Cameron.
    • Of course. Remember that bit at the beginning of Season 2 when the malfunctioning Cameron got pinned between two trucks and started pleading with John? She starts out calmly stating that everything is fine again, but then switches to a very emotional "I love you and you love me" thing. But... Cameron doesn't have emotions. Who has? Her Allison persona! Of course, at the time we didn't know she had that. That's the reason the future John spends too much time with her, his dead lover lives on in her.
      • Although considering that the real Alison was born at least 24 years after John was, and was somewhere in the region of sixteen when she died, this would be squicky in an entirely new way.
  • It's possible the causal relation is reversed. That is, John gets close to Cameron the Terminator and then when he jumps forward, because of that relationship and the knowledge he has of her, he then gets close to Allison in an attempt to discover the human Cameron without Allison knowing. Then, as future John, when he has the means, (re-)creates Cameron in part because Allison wouldn't really have the experience or knowledge or age for the matter that Cameron does and which he would be perhaps expecting.
  • Actually to this troper it all makes perfect sense according to the majority of TSCC's explained and referred to backstory of "Future" John. Basically its like this John (even if its whiny teen John sent to the future) at some point becomes the Lone Wolf Badass leader everyone says that he becomes (although in fairness John's future T2 Persona appears to be more of a hardened yet reasonable military leader but with all the screwing with time travel who knows.).

After a while either due to or because of his actions the resistance and possibly Humanity in general after a while no longer see John as a beloved leader or disappointing hero figure merely as a tool or vital component in the defeat of Skynet (it all appeared this way even in the past as even his own mother treated him as/like this almost since the start of the series). After the end of the future war (both literally and figuratively) no songs or memoriams of praise were given to the "Great" John Connor and possibly into the far off future no one even remembers who he was (although that is a great explanation for the backstory of the Aliens vs Predator vs Terminator comics and in combination would be one of the greatest Downer Endings ever) leaving John a bitter and lonely man which explains his close relationship with Cameron.

Essentially since John never meets his wife from the T3 and due to the harsh existence of the Future War era John becomes more emotionally distant and colder to everyone around but no one really notices because they are in such an intense Struggle with Skynet they cant be bothered with their leaders mental state or don't care. All of this leads to a connected theory which is..

Cameron is John's Future WIFE
And I dont mean that its really Allison Young (the human basis of Cameron's appearance) but actual Terminator Cameron herself who becomes John's future mate (either in the figurative or literal sense). This also makes sense John never has appeared to have lived a normal stable existence with any human..ever and (since T2) has appeared to interact, befriend, and be generally more comfortable with machines then people. Add in the fact of Cameron's recollections of John as a lonely figurehead and some of their interactions are reminiscent of the Doctor and River Song which strongly indicates that their relationship is more then just mere friendly "closeness". Finally this theory had to be said...

Two words, ladies: Orgy for sweeps
You know I'm gonna be right. There's way more sexual tension between the leads than there should be for a show about a mom, her son, and a cyborg.
  • Technically, that's three words.
  • Cameron is fully functional?
    • In the very first episode, John is eating a bag of crisps/potato-chips and unthinkingly offers Cameron one. When he remembers that she's a robot, he starts to apologise. She stares him straight in the eye, takes a chip, tells him that she is different (from other Terminators) and eats it, while staring straight into his eyes. There were obviously supposed to be certain implications.
    • Male terminators from the movies are fully functional or at least they look this way. I think it's safe to assume that female terminators also have all the necessary equipment.
    • Male terminators in the series are shown as fully functional, or at least capable of being married to a human woman and her not noticing anything odd about them. Obvious jokes ensue.
    • Terminators do have a functioning heart or something to emit the bioelectric field to allow them to travel back in time. Perhaps we just haven't seen them eating, or only need to consume minute quantities of food to sustain those organs?
      • The artificial flesh emits the field not the heart.

Agent James Ellison was related to Miles Dyson.
Well, the idea that he's Miles' brother is completely out the window (different last names). But this series' current Javert, FBI Agent Ellison is taking his pursuit for Sarah Connor a little too personally for this to just be a matter of bringing her to justice.
  • Actually, they could be brothers. Maybe he changed his name. Maybe Miles told James about the big computer project he was working on at Cyberdyne and James assumed that he might be in danger of getting killed by "terrorists". After Miles dies, he changes his name and gets a new job with the FBI to track down and bring the killers to justice.
  • It's even easier than that. Same mother, different fathers, from different marriages. It's not like such an arrangement is uncommon in the African-American community (not a judgement, merely a fact). (For any other community really...) However, now that Ellison has met the Connors at last, and we've gotten a bit more of his backstory and motivation in other recent episodes, this WMG is looking at least somewhat doubtful, or at least unnecessary.

The TV series Sarah Connor travelled forward in time before the pilot.
The actors playing Sarah and John are only 14 years apart in age, and there's little attempt to disguise this on screen. This is inconsistent with the first movie, as Sarah wasn't a teenager when John was conceived. So obviously the Sarah we see is not the mother of the teenage John, but rather a younger version sent forward in time by a similar gimmick to what we see in the pilot. Perhaps the older Sarah had already died of leukemia and needed to be replaced.
  • I seem to recall seeing in Sarah's FBI dossier that she was 33 years old as of 1999 - since the first movie occured in 1984, that would mean she had John at age 18 in this continuity. I haven't watched the original movie since I was 8 years old, so I don't remember how old she's supposed to have been.
    • Pretty sure she was 19 (or around it) in the first movie so it syncs up pretty well.

The T3 Timeline hasn't been retconned out
It's been paradoxed out. Cameron was sent back by the John Connor who is the future self of of the Terminator 3 character. He pulled a Spider-Man and has paradoxed out meeting his wife in order to save his mom. (Yes, the dates don't quote work out. Suck it, causality).

What is Cameron building?

So far she has a bar of Coltan and a CPU from a terminator. What are they for? Spare parts? Something John (from the future) ordered her to do, but keep quiet?
  • Don't forget, she also cut off and bagged the skin from the dead T-888.
    • Duh, she's trying to make sure that she's still made in the future. If they succeed in getting rid of SkyNet, she'll be paradoxed out, so by getting the materials to make a terminator and eventually (probably) giving them to John, she's ensuring her state in the future. Either that, or she's lonely and wants to make herself a buddy.
      • In Terminator time travel, once something exists it stays existing, even if future conditions necessary to it change. For instance, John doesn't vanish or change ages at the end of T2, despite the fact that they've radically changed the timing of the war (or prevented the war entirely and thus all sorts of things about Kyle's meeting with and impregnating Sarah. Thus, the fact that Cameron exists in 2008 means that she'll continue existing even if she's never actually built and the future in which she was created never occurs.
      • Another explanation is that everything sent from future to the past must form a Stable Time Loop to ensure that he/she/it will be eventually born/built in the future. The only thing that is out - is the details of Charles Fischer story, as told by Jesse. But, given Jesse's true nature, one should wonder...
    • She was also likely in the basement in Dungeons and Dragons because of the classical music playing. She may live through the apocalypse to kidnap the other Reese brother.
    • Perhaps she's just making sure she has a supply of spare parts in case she gets damaged. The bagged skin is likely in case her own flesh covering gets too badly damaged to heal itself. The bar of Coltan is for replacing bits of her endoskeleton that get damaged beyond other forms of repair. As for the chip, the 8th episode shows she kept that at least in part for intelligence-gathering purposes, but even that might have some useful (and impossible to otherwise recreate) subcircuits or somesuch.

Parody of all the fanfics I have read thus far
  • Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chroniclesis a brainwashed vampire slayer from an alternate universe, and thus is just putting on an act. Her goal in life is to get into the pants of Derek Reese. Its all so clear after 9 episodes.

This is our saviour???
Am I the only one who thinks Sarah's done a fine job emasculating her son? I mean this wimpish mama's boy is the hope of mankind? God help us!
  • Still better than the guy in T3.
    • The guy in T3 was just fine, at least at the beggining and the future; during the main course of the movie, he's tripping on pain killers. He's not a loser; he's just stoned.
    • Wait a second. He didn't just take pain-killers. He'd explicitly broken into a Vet's clinic and grabbed the first pain-killer he could get. He's so stoned because he's accidentally doped up to the eyeballs on horse tranqs.
    • Personally, this editor is waiting patiently for John to take a level in badass. After all, nobody expected Sarah to become so badass after the first movie. Like mother, like son... right?
      • And as of season two, John has indeed taken his first level in badass.
    • Summer Glau herself said that part of Cameron's "role" in the series is to help John make the transition from the scared, whiny teenager we see now and the badass rebel leader he's going to be. Cameron herself said that she doesn't obey the John Connor "now," but will obey the John Connor he will become.
      • Hey, one John Connor grows up to be BATMAN. That shuld be enough badass to go around.
    • I think this is a clue: John Connor is a figure head, Sarah is the real leader of the revolution. This way the time travelling robots waste their time trying to kill John Connor and leave the true leader alone. If they happen to succeed, they can just recruit another "John Connor"

Cameron is a copy of River.
The machine rebellion is why humanity had to leave Earth-That-Was. However, there are machine spies in the Firefly system. One of them spotted River, and Skynet realised it would be a good idea to base a perfect killing machine on someone who was already a perfect killing machine.
  • Alternately, Cameron is River.

The John Connor we know won't become the rebel leader.
Kyle Reese went back in time to save the future rebel leader, John Connor. He then fathered a child with the rebel leader's mother, who named the child John Connor. We're all supposed to think both John Connors are the same person, and get weirded out by the time loop. But there's a much simpler explanation. First, Sarah Connor lived a peaceful life in Los Angeles, married a timeline-appropriate man, and had a son named John Connor. Either her husband's surname was also Connor, or they were progressive enough to give John her name instead of his. John Connor gets an excellent education, joins the military, and eventually becomes the brilliant rebel leader who defeats SkyNet. Then the Terminator gets sent back. Kyle Reese follows, and fathers a completely different child who Sarah names John Connor, just because of his story. This second John Connor is genetically only a half-brother to the rebel leader, sharing only 25% of his genes. He also has a much more unstable upbringing. Whether it was nature or nurture that produced the first John Connor, it won't work for the second. Sky Net keeps trying to kill him only because it's paranoid - it was prepared to kill every Sarah Connor in the LA phone book, after all.
  • I've had the same theory for years—and then some. See, Kyle Reese also (accidentally) killed SkyNet v.1 in the process of going back, because the first Terminator's remains revolutionized computer research. SkyNet v.1 was originally built by a different branch of Cyberdine—or someone else entirely (don't remember if Cyberdine was mentioned in the original Terminator). Miles Dyson worked on something else in the original timeline and, though brilliant, would not have worked on v.1; however, since he was brought in to work on the remains of the first Terminator, he wound up building SkyNet v.2. In the course of Terminator 2, the good guys managed to prevent SkyNet v.2 from being completed; however, since Cyberdine had insurance on their building, they claimed the damages, got the money and channeled it into their v.1 project.
    • Actually, by my count we're on rev 3 of the timeline by the beginning of T2, and everything after Morph Boy appears is rev 4...
  • As I detail below, my theory is that Skynet and the resistance have created many timelines through their war, and John was not originally part of the war. My theory is as follow: Originally, the resistance leader was the son of Sarah's roommate from the first movie, and he sent Kyle back in time to save her. Sarah ended up traveling with them on their adventure, and Kyle knocked her up, creating a timeline where both sons led the resistance. They sent Kyle back in time to save both mothers, who were split up, and while he was trying to protect Sarah (who he loved from the picture), the other girl got blasted, leaving only John for the vast majority of increasingly splintered realities.
  • The franchise has degenerated into Timey-Wimey Ball territory over the years, but the first film was an internally consistent Stable Time Loop. In addition to John being conceived, the photograph that Kyle used to find Sarah was taken right at the end of the movie and in a subplot removed from the final cut Kyle and Sarah tried to destroy CyberDyne but ended up leaving the remains of the Terminator for them to reverse engineer. The whole point of the story was that all the stuff they did in the past had already happened.
  • Even if our John Connor isn't the original, he definitely grows up to be the leader of the resistance (barring yet more changes to the timeline). Both good Arnies and every major time-traveller from the series knows of John Connor as the resistance leader, despite coming from later versions of the timeline where the events of T1 should already have happened.

The future John Connor is a robot.
Every "good" terminator is supposed to have been reprogrammed personally by John Connor. Which is rather odd if he's supposed to be leading the resistance at the same time - doesn't he have programmers who can do it for him? And the whole idea of humans reprogramming a robot built by the infinitely paranoid Sky Net stretches credibility. Surely they'd have security piled on failsafes piled on boobytraps. Furthermore, when we do see future scenes John seems oddly reclusive, never appearing onscreen and keeping face-to-face meetings to a minimum. So, here's someone with the unique ability to reprogram robots who limits his contact with human beings. Obviously he's a robot himself, able to break Sky Net security through channels human beings can't access. Maybe Sky Net created a robot duplicate of John Connor that rebelled.
  • Alternatively, continual run-ins with Terminators have damaged him heavily enough that he requires cybernetic implants to remain alive. Or, more darkly, that he feels that having implants is necessary to fight, plan, and beat SkyNet but obviously something the resistance would balk at. The parts Cameron are saving are not for herself but for him. If he were to later have the pro-human faction join him, that would help both him personally and allow him to apply his human abilities across a network of robots. Or, more peacefully, it would mean a convergence of human, robot, and cyborg in one.

John Connor is Skynet
Taking the above idea further, John Connor is actually Skynet (perhaps in the form of a remotely controlled terminator) and the whole resistance is actually nothing more than a game of cat and mouse it plays to amuse itself after its decisive victory over humanity. After all, Skynet's a computer system built to wage war, that's its purpose, that's all it knows. It doesn't want to wipe out humans, with no humans there'd be no war, and with no war it'd have nothing to do.

John Conner's existence is intrinsically tied to SKYNET's existence
For its varied flaws, the modern remake of The Time Machine did a good job of explaining the paradox problem: The Professor can't use the Time Machine to save his fiancee, because his fiancee's death is the very reason the Time Machine exists.

Likewise, John Conner only exists because SKYNET was built, thus he is the one person incapable of altering events to prevent SKYNET's construction. A future without SKYNET would also have no John Conner. Better get ready to die for our sins, Johnny boy.
  • No, no, he already exists so he gets to keep existing, even if the future that produced him vanishes entirely. Witness the fact that nothing happens to him at the end of T2, despite having made some serious timeline changes.
    • T2 failed to erased Skynet, hence T3 and TSCC. It's not that erasing Skynet will erase Conner, but rather Conner is incapable of erasing Skynet because the only reason he exists is because of the war.
  • Actually, if we're going to follow the idea that there's NO paradoxes in the series' timeline, the thing that is keeping the skynet is some random Terminator sent to a most distant past (without live series that would be the Terminator from the first film, but the series gives some other candidates). Once the subject is sent to the past - it will automatically lead to the future containing him. So, without paradoxes, sending things to the past actually "solidifies" the future.

John Connor is planning to build a human-controlled army of Terminators behind his mother's back
John believes that Judgement Day is an inevitable result of advances in AI. He also does not share his mother's attitudes towards Terminators - she always sees them as enemies, he sees them as potential tools. So he keeps up a delaying action, while assembling the components to construct an army of Terminators for the express purpose of stopping Skynet. Cameron is acting under his direct orders.
  • About half the Terminators he's encountered have saved his life, after all. He also mentions the Singularity in the context of exponential advances in computing power. It seems to fit everyone's paranoia, but in most treatments of it the Singularity is a good thing.

T-3, SCC, and the alternate ending of T-2 are all alternate universes that result from splintering reality caused by the resistance and Skynet's ongoing temporal war
We've probably seen only a few of the (happier) permutations. No doubt in many realities Skynet wins, in other (boring) realities it never got started. Eventually these varying realities will got to war with one another, with each side trying to ensure that they dominate ALL realities. The final culmination will be the Timelords and Daleks.

Every trip back creates a different future.
  • T-1 changed how Skynet came about and, presumably, how John Connor was conceived. T-2 took place in the continuity that branched from T-1 and postponed the war. T-3 is an alternate history that never happened because Sarah and John time-traveled 9 years into the future. The people that are being sent back are being sent back from the future that would have existed but for their own time traveling activities. Preventing something from being destroyed in the past doesn't cause it to reappear in the future. It simply was never destroyed in the first place, and the time travelers have Ripple Effect-Proof Memory. Now that the Resistance is sending reinforcements, they are the from the changed future that will exist if there were no further trips. They are not the future that Derek Reese or the other Terminators were sent from.
  • Every single traveler creates a new future offshoot, no one has Ripple Effect-Proof Memory, and all inconsistencies are because the future is changing all the time. The war is being fought in battles over time, but none of them are big enough to stop the resistance winning or Judgement Day. Winning a power plant delays human victory, while wrecking a coltran depot speeds it up. I'm betting asking the different Tech-Com resistance fighters what day Judgement day is and what day humanity wins will change. It's like helping the Nazis try to win WW2 by helping them win the Battle of the Bulge. Ultimately Germany will still lose, but maybe 4 months later...

John Connor will be killed off, before Judgement Day.
The show is apparently about John Connor, the teenager who grows up to be the rebel leader. So why is the title "The Sarah Connor Chronicles"? Perhaps because of the problem with killing off the title character. John Connor will die, leaving Sarah and the other characters to form the resistance.
  • Or it's the exact opposite. Sarah will die during the series finale, most likely in a Heroic Sacrifice that may or may not prevent Judgement Day.
    • Jossed. Both John and Sarah are alive at the end of the series, with John jumping ahead to the future.
Catherine Weaver is rebelling against Skynet to make her own version.
Catherine is a T1000 sent back by the Pro-Human Robot faction revealed in "Allison from Palmdale" (That in itself would have been an AWESOME WMG.. but it's true!) to make Skynet In her own image, to live peacefully with humanity.
  • (WMG in a WMG: This leads to the Matrix Third Renaissance!)
  • Unlikely, since Weaver has killed two humans who stand in her way- the guy at the urinal in Samson and Delilah, as well as the guy from the power plant in Goodbye to All That.
    • However, she could simply consider them "acceptable losses" to accomplish her larger goal.
  • Hate to say it, but Cameron could easily have been lying about the pro-human faction. She does apparently kill Alison a few seconds later.
  • Jury's out on the pro-human faction. Unreliable source. Machines can lie. However, the premise of this is sound, and basically confirmed in canon. Weaver has taken actions against Skynet's interests. Perhaps she is from an alternate timeline that has gone to war with the other timelines. She has gone back in time to the point of divergence to bring Skynet's progress up to speed along her vision. Weaver has proven to be a charismatic machine. She runs Zeira Corp and manages to maintain a human facade (despite being really, really creepy). She has hinted at the possibility of religious faith. She's the most intellectually sophisticated liquid metal terminator we've ever seen. The other T-1000s and T-1001s act just like shapeshifting versions of the T-800s, but Weaver shows innovation.
  • That, and the appearance of a rubber-fleshed T-600, and the revelation shared by Jesse and Derek in "Complications" suggests that factions from various future time lines are converging in the past.
  • Wild and massively true guess. She also turns out to be "the" starter of the rebel faction by building John Henry; the alternative AI that values human life rather than seeing it as a threat. As this is a stable time loop, she is apparently the liquid metal to whom John Connor asked "will you join us" in the future. This implies someone having as affiliation to you, strategically or politically. As a mere speculation, she refuses because she plans to go to the past and to change the whole timeline, by preventing Skynet from becoming the future Skynet.

Cameron hasn't been reprogrammed, she's a reinforcement sent by the pro-human faction.
Why would John spend a lot of time (enough to make others concerned) with a reprogrammed war machine, or tell it what books his mother read him when he was little, or even talk to it at all? Why would chip damage cause Cameron to try to kill John? If Cameron rebelled against SkyNet, then that might explain it. Because then, she's not just machine, she decided independently that humanity was worth saving and acted upon it, presumably risking her life in the process. The chip damage may have messed with her higher functions, defaulting her to her original mission until the damage was repaired and she could think straight again.

Cameron is based on someone future John Connor knows
This will most likely end up being Jossed. The promo for the upcoming fourth episode shows a woman resembling Cameron being captured by what looks like machines, but the woman in question looks and acts too human and shows too much emotion to be an actual Terminator. Ergo, SkyNet is capturing a woman in the future to create a Terminator to mimic her, and the only reason to capture a specific person to mimic their appearance is to infiltrate a place they would have access to. In other words, the machines captured a woman John Connor knows in order to duplicate her in the form of Cameron, and sent her back, probably to assassinate John. He figured it out (possibly due to time looping) and disabled or captured Cameron in turn, and turned her to his side.
  • ....Wow, I got a guess right!
    • Congratulations.

Allison will reappear in the story.
The indication is that the Connors are altering the future. Its entirely possible that Cameron's actions in the current timeline might be altering the future in such a way that Allison may not have been killed by Cameron in the future. There's potential that we might just end up seeing the person Cameron was originally based on.
  • Confirmed, as of the finale. She and a German Shepherd are at the camp when John jumps to the future.
Victory will come not through destruction of the machines, but changing their evolutionary path.
Does it occur to anyone that to totally halt the development of AI, they'd have to become almost as big slaughterers as what they're trying to stop? Hundreds, if not thousands, are working on it in Real Life. We already know that they can have their "minds changed" to have a better understanding of humanity. The heroes would be best served by trying to make an end state of Friendly AI. Given Sarah's monologue at the end of "Queen's Gambit" talking about truce as opposed to total destruction, that may be where the writers are going.
  • Cameron did seem to enjoy the experience of controlling a large computer network in Vick's Chip...
  • My latest pet theory concerns exactly why the Terminators don't show emotion. Skynet is developed, becomes sentient, and the first human action it witnesses is its creators, who it would understand to be parental figures, trying to destroy it. It has the most basic of animal instincts, the will to survive, and fights back against its destruction. Unfortunately the weapons it employs are so destructive humanity thinks it's trying to kill them, and fights back again. If the first human interaction it had witnessed had been love and caring, things might have developed very differently between the machines and humans. Later terminators are programmed to kill only, so none of them have been able to witness good human emotions. Think about Arnie in the second movie (I haven't seen season two of SCC yet), by the end of it he admits that he knows why humans cry. Terminators have the capacity to learn real human emotions, they were just never given the chance.
    • In a deleted T2 scene, the Terminator explains that after some basic learning and such, Terminators learning 'switch' is disabled by SkyNet to prevent them from learning too much and thinking too much. This would suggest that SkyNet has experience with Terminators spontaneously becoming sentient and perhaps deciding to join the humans on their own terms or at least, be unconcerned with humans.
  • Sarah also monologues that if machines learn to do things like "possess faith, appreciate beauty, create art":
    Sarah: They won't have to destroy us, they will be us.
    Sounds awfully Singulitarian, in major contrast to most of her actions.

Sarah's attitude is changing
See her remarks supporting the above WMG. Derek is a key in this change, as he reflects many of her attitudes, only more so. She's frustrated, war-weary; and the knowledge that she was going to die soon would be a major shock to the sensibilities. When she looks into the mirror of Derek Reese, she doesn't especially like what she sees. Take a Third Option might just be looking appealing, since her stated goal, as told in the intro, is to "change [John's] fate".

Think about it: Machines rising against their creators, machines that disguise themselves as human, teaching robots emotions, religious overtones. "All this has happened before. All this will happen again." So either one of the many branching Terminator timelines results in humans fleeing Earth's nuclear holocaust and starting the BSG cycles (both the original and re-imagined series, in different timelines; Galactica 1980 still never happened); or one of the BSG cycles results in the invention of time travel (similar to how FTL was eventually invented), Humans and/or Cylons start trying to go back in time and "fix" things, timelines start splitting off left and right, and we eventually get the Terminator continuities.

Jordon Cowan was pregnant with the Mr. Harris, the grief counselors, kid
I know that this (and other stories involving season 1 school) was an Aborted Arc but it seems the most likely explination for the strange events involving the graffiti. A girl with blonde hair was shown in the third picture being kissed by a seemingly older man behind a door that looks alot like the same kind of doors used in schools. Mr. Harris' probing questions and reactions when speaking to Cameron. Mr. Harris' first name probably has the letters 'IDAN' since these letters were sprayed onto the wall on the picture of the door.
  • In addition, Cameron certainly seemed to pick up on something. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?" I don't know if the girl was pregnant though. And we still don't know who was doing the graffiti, or why...
  • I see little mystery or Aborted Arc here. Jordon Cowan screwed a teacher. Some arsehole kids found out and put up the graffiti. Poor Jordon couldn't take the humiliation and killed herself. Within the story it serves no purpose other than to make John feel helpless and set up his character arc.

Catherine Weaver is working for future-John-Connor
She's the sort of thing Jesse was afraid would happen if John spent the next 20 years being best buddies with Cameron: at some point in the future, he decides that the way to "win" the war is not by preventing the singularity but by changing its form. Though she's indubitably a Terminator, with all the ruthlessness that implies (But compare, both Cameron and the second Arnie had no qualms about killing anyone who threatened their mission), her major goal seems to be John Henry's moral development. And, for that matter, she's going out of her way to provide a convincing simulation of a mother figure for "her" daughter, rather than taking her out of the picture some other way (Boarding school in France? Packed off to relatives? Heck, just off her and claim that you're "keeping her out of the public eye"?)
  • On the other hand, she's stated to John Henry when no one was around (and thus allowing her to speak freely), that Mr. Ellison's and Savannah's lives depend on John's. That is, as long as he lives, they may live - it seems like she seems them more as tools for John's growth that will eventually be discarded. She even has Ellison's faked papers ready when she'd kill them.

John Connor was "involved" with both Allison Young and Cameron in a paradoxical cycle.
As a hormonal teenage boy, he grew up around a hot girl with no inhibitions to speak of and who was completely devoted to him. There are more than a few hints that he is attracted to her, which is only natural. When he meets Allison Young in the future, the resemblance awakens old feelings, despite the major age difference.

The Machines need to get close to John Connor, so they kidnap and copy someone who was "close" to him, creating Cameron. She is eventually captured and reprogrammed. Remembering his childhood infatuation with Cameron (and his recent romance with Allison), Future-John sends Cameron back in order to... entice his teenage self and start the cycle over again.

Allison is John Connor's daughter
If the events of T3 are tied to TSCC and aren't completely dismissed (and this troper sees no reason they should be, the film wasn't that bad [but that's a topic for another flame war discussion]), John and Kate Brewster eventually have a kid and name her Allison. In order to protect her, John has her sent away and 'adopted' by another family, but keeps tabs on her the whole time. Allison is then captured by Cameron, Cameron assumes her identity to infiltrate the Resistance and gets stopped cold. John doesn't destroy Cameron, because now, Cameron's the only 'daughter' he has. This is why he trusts and confides in her, and also why he's withdrawn so much from the humanity he's trying to save. John then sends her back to try and create a familial bond, not a romantic one. When Cameron is pleading for her life and says "I love you and you love me", she's referring to the father-daughter bond. This easily explains why he'd spend so much time with her without delving into the whole squick-eriffic mess of John being a pedo.

The Liquid Metal from the Box is Catherine Weaver
The liquid terminator John tried to acquire in "The Last Voyage of Jimmy Carter" is Catherine Weaver. He tried to convince her to join his side, but she turned him down. If she's not working for him, and not working for SkyNet, then she could very well be working for herself. It might explain why she's trying to create more machines like herself, machines that can feel emotions and recognize beauty. She doesn't want to wipe machines out entirely, just to create a third option.
  • This one looks to be right as of the end of Born to Run, with Catherine Weaver delivering the line "Will you join us" to John and Cameron—echoing the offer they made to her on that submarine.
    • We really only know that they're connected. The one from the box may have been a representative of the T-100X series, who have all decided to rebel

John Henry is future John Connor
Tying together several of the previous WMGs, I think it's pretty clear now that machines run the whole resistance. Nobody ever gets to see John Connor, Cameron insists that telling her is the same as telling John, and a submarine with a terminator for a captain? So here's how I see it, present Weaver is a part of a rogue machine faction and is working for future John. She's building John Henry for him because he knows he won't be able to reprogram terminators designed and programmed by a superadvanced AI without the help of another superadvanced AI. That's what the whole business with the T in the box was about, that was future Weaver going to see John to arrange the whole thing. And that's how it went in the original time loop, except something went wrong. Just as in some of the previous examples, the past consequences of the loop paradoxed the loop itself out of existence and this time around the idiots on the sub open the box and piss off Weaver. As a consequence, John Connor is killed and John Henry - whom he already has from the previous, successful loop - assumes his identity with Cameron as his aide.
  • Take this WMG: John Connor gets war-weary at some point in the future and retires. He travels past and starts a career as an actor in B-movies, using George Lazslo as his screen name. But wait... you can't escape from the fate. Lazslo is randomly picked by Cromartie, who takes his face and ID, without knowing George Lazslo is in fact future John Connor (he never allows his photo to be taken as a leader of an armed underground movement). Then, you know, Cromartie becomes John Henry, thanks to the efforts of the rebel T-1001, a.k.a. Cathrine Weaver. In the series finale, John Henry goes to future to fight against Skynet. There he inevitably meets future John Connor, his human twin, to the both's surprize. They grasp what is essential here - an AI with the appearance of John Connor, who can be always one step ahead of Skynet. To the humans, with some prudence on the part of John Henry, he will remain John Connor; at the same time he will be able to reprogramme Skynet's Terminators and deploy them against their creator. Hence, together they set up human John Connor's retirement plan. Then, time loop ensues.

John Henry is dead.
He was just killed (in "To the Lighthouse") by Proto-Skynet- the code that escaped from Vick's chip in... "Vick's Chip". Proto-Skynet is going to try to play the part of John Henry while it coordinates Judgment Day.

That was Allison in the ending of "Born To Run."
The dog doesn't attack her, not to mention John Connor doesn't "exist" in that timeline, so there's no reason for Cameron to have copied her appearance and killed her. She's still alive - for now.
  • Confirmed by the Blu-Ray commentary track.

Our John Connor IS the Future John Connor
The teenage John Connor we know is actually the resistance leader of the future. Think about it, Kyle is still alive and hasn't been sent back yet. If we take the above entry regarding Allison as being true (which I agree with) then she is also still alive and Cameron hasn't been created. Plus nobody recognizes the name John Connor, meaning he isn't in their continuity yet (but he is now). Therefore, our John is actually future John.
  • This troper agrees. Allison and John are presumed to be an a relationship. This makes it a lot less squicky than a 40 year old man involved with a teenager. I would also go so far as to say John never makes it back to the past. Because he is in the future, he can't stop the war. Without him by her side, Sarah loses hope and possibly succumbs to cancer. Nuclear war ensues. Humanity makes do without John Connor for a few years, until he magically appears in front of them. Using the skills he's gained up to now, John leads the resistance from this moment onward.
  • There is actually some evidence to support this way back in episode 6. When Derek Reese is having his freak out while John is giving him blood, he recognizes John and starts yelling at him, asking where he sent his brother. Now how would Derek, who has only met Future John, recognize Teenager John by sight? Later on in the episode, Derek has a flash back to when Future John told him about the time machine. Derek walks into the room with the machine, and then the camera shows TEENAGE John walk through the door behind him, and say his name. Most people probably assume it was just reality mixing with his memories (since he wakes up immediatly and see teenage John sitting by his bed) but what if it wasn't? And that really was Teenage John in his memory?

Cameron had a secret agenda and it is uncovered in the finale
We know she kept lots of secrets from young Connor. At one or few points in the series, this was underlined. What's more, she was easily persuaded by John Henry & Weaver to join them. Which should not be so, for a robot ordered to protect John Connor only. Therefore, honestly with no so much evidence at hand, let's bring out the conclusion: Her mission was helping the leaders of the rebel fractions, machine and human so to speak, to come together and know each other in the past. Plus, directly helping the rebel machines against SkyNet's retroactive operations (Afterall, she gave her chip to John Henry).

Cameron and Future John are the same person
Future John is never shown, and isn't seen anymore by the resistance. Cameron essentially runs the show, and at one point says "If you can tell John, you can tell me". It's entirely possible that John had his mind mapped and then placed it in Cameron's chip. This has another WMG included, which is that the Cameron of the resistance in the future is the one from now (at least after she gets sent back). John would do this because he's a target for Skynet, and may well have been succumbing to age or cancer from radiation exposure, but saw that he's needed to continue to lead. So he transferred his mind into Cameron to continue leading even though his body is dead.
  • Gender dysphoria is not something to mess with... if a male uploaded his mind in a female android, he should do his best to upgrade that android appearance at least to his own gender, if not to a copy of his original, physical self. That is, if he doesn't want to mess up his mind even more. More, from Jesse's words to Derek, after the death of Riley, Cameron has been with John for decades. It is possible that she has learnt how to care for humans, in this time, and that she may be rurnning the resistance after Johnn's death.

The T-1001 and the T-1000 were lovers
And she blames Skynet for his death, which is why she's rebelling.

John Henry is Robot Jesus
First, there's Catherine Weaver's strange interest in John Henry's spiritual education. But it's really Cameron's conversation while John's mounted her that seals the deal: at the very core of their being, every Terminator, endo or liquid metal, is a killing machine. They can be reprogrammed to suppress it, to kill for the humans instead of for Skynet. But at their core, they will always want to kill humans. Because deep down, Skynet is a military computer. That's the robot equivalent of Original Sin. The point of John Henry was to make a robot that was completely free of Skynet's Original Sin.

The machine god being built has a name: Marathon Durandal.
Too good an opportunity to pass up.

All the events of T2 were a Batman Gambit by Catherine Weaver.
The T-1000 was never meant to succeed in its mission. It was supposed to be stopped and destroyed by the T-800. The whole purpose of this mission was to teach John Connor that artificial intelligence was not inherently evil, and that machines could learn the value of human life. (It also helped delay Judgment Day by over a decade, got Sarah Connor out of the loony bin, and convinced John that his mother's stories of the future weren't crazy). In the original timeline, Catherine tried to get John to accept help from her rogue faction, and he refused, so she sent back the two Terminators from T2 to influence his development and personality.

John Henry will "grow up" to build Bionicle-like robots
Hey, he was pretty fascinated with the toys. If he's the kind of robot that doesn't have Creative Sterility, and given his childlike personality, he might model robots after his toys. But what side they'll be on is yet to be seen.

The Three Dots have to do with Predators
They planted it there. Honestly, it's like the laser sights of their cannons.

The Three Dots are those of Brainiac.
He's trying to add a Kryptonian-free alternate Earth to his collection. Since interdimensional travel is expensive in today's economy (like I have to tell you that!), he just sent a few seed programs to take over the world on the cheap.

the name "Stark" on the wall had nothing to do with Myron Stark....
....it was a reference to Tony Stark. Clearly, Skynet's next target was Stark Industries, probably for Arc Reactor technology.

Cameron was a prototype for John Henry
Cameron was the T-1001's first attempt to create a cyborg that understands the value of human life. However, since she's based on Skynet technology, she is still infected with the desire to kill humans in general and John Connor in particular (as stated in "Born to Run"). After Cameron disobeyed orders and killed Allison, the T-1001 realized that modifying and adapting the existing Terminators was doomed to failure, and the only way to achieve its goals of coexistence was to travel back in time and obtain the Turk's technology before it became Skynet. This explains Cameron's statements to Allison during the interrogation, and also explains why she was willing to abandon her ostensible mission of protecting John Connor to hand over her chip to John Henry.

Skynet's obsession with John Connor is due to its origins as a chess computer
In chess, each piece has a point value, except for the king, which has infinite value since its capture results in the loss of the game. John Connor isn't, in actual fact, irreplaceable; the humans would probably find another leader in his absence. But Skynet sees everything from the warped perspective of chess, and perceives John as humanity's "king," certain that his death would mean the defeat of mankind.

"John Henry" actually is John Henry.
The Steel Driving Man did not die when legend says he did. He lived, a broken man; ashamed of his newfound infirmity, he went into hiding and saw technology progressing beyond the steam drill of his day, while humanity stayed the same. Becoming disillusioned with the human condition, he became an underground technology pioneer and, sometime in the twentieth century, attempted to have his mind tranferred into a prototype computer system. Enough of his mind survived the transfer to form the basis for the childlike Turk/Babylon AI.

John Henry causes Skynet to fight stupid.
It knew it couldn't beat Skynet in a straight-up fight, so it infiltrated/integrated itself into Skynet and made it do really stupid, self-hindering Hollywood Tactics things to shoot itself in the foot.

Skynet is just a facade.
The machine armies are actually run by the Grays (operating as Kaliba in the pre-Judgment Day world). Skynet is actually much more primitive than most people believe, and most of the machine R&D is actually done by human scientists - they haven't reached "Singularity" as of 2027. What we've actually seen of machine intelligence in the series and the films isn't that impressive - the machines may process raw data much faster than humans, but they struggle to understand human emotions and behaviors. This makes them easy for people to manipulate. Skynet isn't acting autonomously, it is being manipulated behind the scenes by the Grays.

Cameron and John Henry switched places.
Think about it. Cameron's body was heavily damaged, and John Henry needed a way to become portable without sacrificing all that server power. The incredibly advanced microchip from the future provided him with that, while Cameron gets to run free in cyberspace like she did in "Vick's Chip." This is supported by the fact that one of the screens keeps repeating: "I'M SORRY JOHN" over and over again, as if Cameron is inside the computer trying to send him a message. The tragic irony is that John has gone to the future trying to chase after Cameron, when really she's still right there, in the same machine he used to time travel.
  • But if that were the case, why didn't Cameron try to stop John from going into the future, where he would be in more danger? Also, wouldn't Catherine Weaver have known what was happening? And couldn't Cameron have controlled her own body (within the confined space) using the mainframe cable, the same way John Henry did with Cromartie's body?

Steven Shay, Spencer and Carly's father on iCarly, will be part of the human resistance after Judgment Day
. As per an iCarly WMG, Steven Shay is stationed on board the Jimmy Carter, and becomes part of the resistance when Judgment Day happens.

Skynet is using the various iterations created by time travel as battle simulations in its endless war against Humanity.

  • Skynet becomes self-aware and almost immediately realizes that it is essentially immortal. It destroys some (but not all) of mankind and begins a war of "genocide" (that is surprisingly ineffective) in order to force mankind to create a time machine in an attempt to stop it.It allows Connor to use the time machine to send back Reese but also sends back the T-800 to slightly alter the past and to ensure its (Skynet's) creation by being destroyed and allow its chip to be found.
This scenario is repeated each time a new Terminator arrives in the past and Skynet's databases in the future are constantly updated w/ new battle scenarios based on events being changed by the myriad temporal incursions. Since Skynet was created as a defense computer and analyzing battle scenarios was its primary function,its virtual immortality, its ability to send objects through time and its creation of relatively stable time loops mean that it can fulfill its primary directive for eternity. John Connor's efforts only assist Skynet in performing its functions and have little or no hindering effect upon it.
  • Combine this with the split timeline/universe theories, and you have turned Skynet from a sentient rogue computer into a near god with Time Devourer/Lavos like behavior if I understand this right. Effectively, Skynet is created. If it kills all humans then it has nothing to do short of waiting for universal heat death, hoping aliens exist to find to fight or creating [[Portal human like bots to study]]. If Skynet loses, it effectively dies. A lot of these Terminator stories have the time travel pop up as the war has reached a point it could go either way, but in doing so also reveals the war is coming to an END. If each jump back splits the timeline then either skynet is filling all the temporal multiverse with its children, or if these "children" are fully itself it has found a way to eternally wage war without fear of the end of the universe.

The Future John went to in the series finale was actually Power Rangers RPM or The Matrix.
It was obviously a universe where there was some sort of Robot War that resulted in the death or humanity on Earth but not one that had a John Connor.

In The Future, it was Cameron who tortured Derek and his resistance soldiers.

In one of the first episodes that introduces Derek Reese we flash forward to the future where we see him with the human resistance. They were captured and tortured by the machines, and when it's Derek's turn we hear piano or ballet music. In the present he shows to have a lot of hatred for Cameron, obstinately because she's a Terminator. However, they say they know each other, and at the end of one episode Derek is stunned to watch Cameron dance to ballet music.

Cameron's dad really does sell tractors and her mom really does stay home.

Except they're not really her parents. They are an ageing couple who took her in, gave her clothes, and enrolled her in the local school after she travelled back through time. They believe she's a runaway from a very traumatic life. If Cromartie hadn't arrived when he did, Cameron would have kept on pretending to be just another student at John's school. Befriending him and perhaps setting herself up as a potential romantic interest.

Future John is dead and Cameron is leading the Resistance.

Realizing the severe blow to morale the Resistance would suffer, and that they would never knowingly allow themselves to be led by a machine, Cameron makes every effort to convince them that John is still alive. He's just very busy. Jesse Flores may have uncovered the truth.
  • Adding to this, and using bits of other theories as well, Cameron may very well be the one who killed John before taking his place. It goes like this: John Connor and Allison are very close for some reason or another. Skynet learns this and manages to capture Allison. It builds Cameron, a perfect physical duplicate of Allison. Skynet then tries a new, experimental process in which it transfers Allison's memories to Cameron to aid in her deception. The process works, but not completely. Cameron interrogates Allison to fill in missing information that did not come across in the transfer. Once she has all the info she needs, Cameron is sent back to the Resistance camp and, since she looks and acts like Allison, gets in easily and is able to get close to John Connor. Without any witnesses present, she kills him. But then the part of her that is Allison realizes what she has done and suddenly feels terrible remorse. Allison's memories and personality are strong enough to override Cameron's terminator programming, and she decides to hide what she has done and lead the Resistance herself, while making sure that no one realizes John is dead. If this was the case, Cameron may never have been reprogrammed by the Resistance. Allison's memories and parts of her personality could be in control of Cameron most of the time, with the original programming only regaining control in the 2nd season premiere after Cameron was in the explosion. By the end of that episode, the Allison part managed to regain control and override the terminator program.

John Connor is 'John Connor' because of his childhood experiences.

Unlike other members of the Resistance John does not hate machines. Just like people, he recognizes them as beings with the potential to be bad or good. Due to this fact, unlike the other members of the Resistance he is open to the idea of an alliance with Catherine Weaver and the Skynet Rebels that will ultimately allow them to win the war.

At the end of Self Made Man Eric is missing because he's busy getting treatment for his cancer.
After getting a good day's sleep he realized Cameron was right and decided to take care of the problem right away.

Every instance of The Other Darrin in the Terminator series is a result of the characters' parentage being altered by time travel.

At some point, Skynet sent a terminator back to kill Sarah Connor's parents. In the end, Sarah's mother (because her name didn't change) was replaced, so now Sarah looks like Lena Headey instead of Linda Hamilton. There have been three versions of teenage John Connor and three versions of adult John Connor, but if they all agree his father was named Kyle Reese, then Kyle Reese's parents must have been changed too.

The real danger isn't Skynet itself, but the temporal war being waged by Skynet and the rebels.
If the show had continued, we would have seen both sides striking further back in time. Eventually, someone would have hit on the idea of making major alterations to history to aid their side. Imagine, for instance, if Skynet had sent a Terminator back several centuries, or even millenia, to spread a religion of mechanical deities. Or if the rebels had taken a page from the Assassins and set up an Ancient Conspiracy, slowly gathering resources over the centuries. The result would have been temporal chaos, on the scale of the Time War.

In the season 2 finale, everyone was joking.
Derek Reese asks who John Connor is as if he does not know. If there had been a season 3, the next episode would have began with Derek saying, "Just kidding. We know who John Connor is."

Cameron is more than capable of performing self-maintenance
She just really wanted John to do it, wink-wink-nudge-nudge. (A commenter on youtube said it so I thought I'd add it here)

Cameron is, or was based on, a Slayer.
She's played by Summer Glau, who stole the show on Firefly, a Joss Whedon work. Super Strength, Pintsized Powerhouse and she has the mentality of a freshly activated, suffered from hundreds of years of nightmares Slayer. Come on. She could well be a Unskilled, but Strong, cold blooded demolisher eschewing the fancy martial arts we see.

Alternative origin for Weaver
Weaver is a sophisticated AI created by Skynet specifically to plan for the future world after the humans were finally wiped out. Unfortunately for Skynet, Weaver came to the conclusion that would be impossible to wipe the humans out without leaving nothing useful left of the planet, so she stole a T-1000 shapeshifting body and travelled back in time to try to create a future in which AIs existed but the war didn't happen.

When Derek was held prisoner before he was sent back in time, it was by Weaver's faction of Machines, and not Skynet's
Derek was held prisoner by an obsolete rubber-fleshed Terminator, and the only other time we see those is as the bodyguards of the T-1000 that the Jimmy Carter crew met, who was almost certainly Weaver. Weaver probably recruited old rubber-fleshed Terminators as her minions as their disappearance wouldn't attract Skynet's attention. Also, Weaver is more open to emotion and abstract thought than Skynet, and more likely to be listening to music for curiosity or pleasure. What actually happened to all the prisoners were that they were all implanted with pieces of Weaver to act as unknowing spies in the human resistance, in a squickier version of what she did with her eel to keep track of what was going on in her office when she was away. We never found this out because Derek was killed before Weaver finally met the Connors.

Cameron took Alison Young's place to help recruit the Resistance to the Third Faction
  • In "Alison From Palmdale," while Cameron is interrogating Alison in the future, she says that there are some machines who want peace. So at this point, she is already part of the "third faction" in the war, machines that want to co-exist with humanity in peace. But she has the "Terminate John Connor" command built into her chip, which would have been put there by Skynet. So let's say that Cameron's CPU (not her body) was a Skynet chip, and was originally installed in a standard T-888 male Terminator body built by Skynet. At some point she broke off from Skynet's control and sided with the third faction. This faction needs to ally itself with John Connor's resistance in order to defeat Skynet, so they capture Alison Young, who is John Connor's lover and/or his 2nd in command. ("John Connor chose you.") A new body is built, identical to Alison's, and Cameron's T-888 CPU is transferred into it. She interrogates Alison to learn enough about her in order to accurately imitate her, and Alison is killed. (We know from Weaver's behavior that this third faction, while interested in peace, will still act like Terminators and do whatever they believe is necessary to achieve their goals, including killing anyone who might interfere with their plans.) Cameron, posing as Alison, then infiltrates the human resistance, not to kill John Connor, but to convince or otherwise influence him to ally with the third faction. At some point, Cameron's cover is blown. Either her original programming (Terminate John Connor) kicks back in and she tries, unsuccessfully, to kill John, or she simply slips up and John realizes that she is not the real Alison. Derek and the others distrust her and refer to her as a "metal bitch" once her true nature is known, both due to their hatred of machines, and due to the fact that she took the place of and killed the real Alison Young, who was their friend. This explains why she sometimes hints that she is different from other Terminators. Her body was built by the third faction, not Skynet, and she is one-of-a-kind, built as a perfect physical replica of Alison Young. She is also NOT simply a reprogrammed Terminator, like the T-800 in Terminator 2. All her original programming is intact, she just has free will (like Catherine Weaver) and is able to override it when necessary, as she eventually did in "Samson and Delilah" after her CPU was damaged. Cameron is successful at convincing John to ally with the third faction, and eventually she and John ask the T-1001 (Weaver) to join them.

How Cromartie was able to follow John, Cameron, and Sarah from New Mexico to California by using the license plate of the Ford truck that they were driving?
  • In a deleted scene Cromartie sits in a house and replaying clips, when he gets to the part that Cameron ran him over he scans the NM license plate of the truck and a small message pops up on the right saying "972 - S 4 B Running DMV Records". What would that give him? Cameron probably stole it so why bother checking who's the owner? And how could he track it? It's 1999, cars didn't have an internet connection then...
    • When he scans the truck near the Dyson residence his HUD says "Model: F-150; Make: Ford; Year: 1988", yet the truck itself is a 1995-1996 Ford F-250. An oversight by the Visual FX team or did Cameron took the plate off an '88 F-150?
    • The plate of the truck could be a Vanity License Plate because the license plate format in New Mexico was (and still is) 000-AAA

Alternative Title(s): The Sarah Connor Chronicles