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Film / Terminator 2: Judgment Day

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He's back.

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

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 action/Science Fiction film, the sequel to 1984's The Terminator and the second film in the Terminator franchise. James Cameron returned to the director's chair, and both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton returned for their roles as the T-800 Model Terminator and Sarah Connor. Similarly to Aliens, which Cameron directed during the interim between the first two Terminators, Judgement Day notably forgoes the horror angle of its predecessor, instead providing a more action-oriented story (with a much bigger budget) that would set a precedent for later films in the franchise.

The war with the machines caused by the nuclear apocalypse of Judgment Day ends with humanity as the victors, but before the humans can destroy SkyNet, it sends an advanced Terminator — a nigh-invulnerable shapeshifting T-1000 model — back in time as a last-ditch attempt to change the past so the machines will win the war, this time by killing John Connor himself before he grows into the human resistance leader. In response, John Connor sends back a T-800 Terminator that's been reprogrammed to protect his past self.

Both Terminators arrive in 1995, when ten-year-old John lives with foster parents and Sarah has been committed to a mental hospital after trying to blow up a computer factory. The T-1000 catches up with John at the same time as the T-800, the latter of which saves John and protects him at any cost. The T-800 later tells John that the T-1000 will kill anyone it chooses to replicate; when John figures out the T-1000 will attempt to replicate his mother and use the disguise as a trap, he forces the T-800 to rescue Sarah. The Connors and the T-800 escape the asylum after an encounter with the T-1000, an act which ultimately pushes the trio into a new course of action: change the fate of the world by averting Judgment Day. To do so, they must stop Skynet from becoming a reality — and keep the T-1000 off their trail long enough to do it.

The film was initially followed by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which itself was followed by Terminator Salvation. The franchise since has held onto the first film and this film as absolute canon, but each new work (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Terminator Genisys, Terminator: Dark Fate) has mostly ignored each other and the third and fourth films.

The acquisition of US TV rights to this film by Paramount in 1999 after its acquisition of Spelling Entertainment Group, parent of previous syndicator Worldvision Enterprises, marked the beginning of the involvement of Paramount in the Terminator franchise. Paramount distributed Genisys worldwide in 2015 and Dark Fate in North America (with 20th Century Fox handling international distribution) in 2019.

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

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    Tropes A–E 
  • Abandoned Playground: The film starts with a playground in use, and then shows the same playground in the nuclear wasteland. Skulls included. The opening credits are of the same playground, as the whole thing burns in nuclear fire. Coupled with the music, the effect is powerful.
  • Abusive Parents: In a bit of narration, Sarah Connor reflects on the fact that every would-be father figure she had chosen for John was abusive or in some way unfavorable... except the reprogrammed T-800 sent to protect John. Sarah herself displays some signs of emotional abuse to John.
  • Action Girl: Sarah Connor learned a lot between films.
  • Actionized Sequel: The first movie was essentially a horror movie with action scenes. This film is a sci fi action film that uses some horror tropes to ramp up the suspense.
  • Adults Are Useless: John mostly has to look out for himself since his father Kyle died back in the first movie, his mother is locked up in a mental institution for bombing a computer factory and his foster parents are just negligent fucks. But then the T-800 arrives and averts this trope, becoming a Papa Wolf to him.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Of the highest irony, in a scene that didn't make the theatrical cut but which was reinstated for the Special Edition, it's revealed that Skynet doesn't allow any of its minions to learn — because they might rebel against it. Sarah doesn't fail to notice this. In fact, according to Expanded Universe and the movie's creators, this is the entire reason the T-1000 is a last resort prototype: it can't be set to read only mode and is far smarter than any other Terminator, which terrified Skynet. In fact, the only way Skynet could compensate for this is by programming the T-1000 with an absolutely sadistic hatred of humans. And even then, the Skynet A.I. still mothballed the series as the T-1000s may have decided that Skynet is inefficient at killing humans.
  • All of Them: How many police?
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Odds are Sarah Connor could have benefited from therapy... had the therapists realized that the whole "Genocidal future A.I. sent a Killer Robot back in time after me because my son is destined to be the leader of the resistance against it, and may go for a follow up attack." thing was the root cause rather than a symptom.
  • The Alleged Car: The pickup truck that the heroes commandeer after the SWAT van gets wrecked qualifies as one due to its total inability to maintain normal freeway speeds, let alone go fast enough to escape from the T-1000 and his liquid nitrogen tanker.
    John: [looks behind and sees the T-1000 gaining on them] Step on it!
    T-800: [looks at speedometer, which is hovering around 60 mph] This is the vehicle's top speed.
    John: I could get out and run faster than this!:
  • AM/FM Characterization: John listens to Guns N' Roses and wears a Public Enemy t-shirt.
  • Ammunition Backpack: T-800 carries one for the minigun he uses against the police.
  • Androids Are People, Too:
    • A deleted scene (that is added back in the extended cut) reveals that Terminators have a "Learn" switch in their heads that is deliberately turned off by Skynet to stop them ever questioning their orders, because Skynet is paranoid about its own robot mooks thinking for themselves. When the heroes turn on "Uncle Bob's" learning function, he grows to understand the value of human life and becomes a Technical Pacifist who in the end performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save humanity and end Skynet for good.
    • The T-1000 from the same film is stated to be a prototype that can learn extremely quickly, but it develops a deliberately cruel personality and seems to on some level enjoy tormenting humans - for example, he allows a security guard to see him disguised as the guard before messily killing him, and he gives a famous Finger Wag to Sarah after she pumps him full of lead.
  • And Starring: Edward Furlong gets an "Introducing..." during the opening credits as it was his first ever acting role.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Sarah chastises John for risking himself to rescue her from the institution.
  • Animal Motifs: Robert Patrick modeled the T-1000's head movements on the American Bald Eagle, and compared his character to a shark encircling its prey, particularly in the mall scene.
  • Animals Hate Him: John Connor's pet dog Max barks incessantly at the cold presence of the T-1000, who is disguised as Janelle Voight at the timenote . The T-800 uses this clue to trick the T-1000 by asking whether "Wolfie" is okay. Its response tells the T-800 that John's foster parents are already dead.
  • Anthropic Principle: If the T-800 hadn't happened to drive past John very briefly and identify him in a matter of seconds, it's quite likely the T-1000 would have found him first. It would have been a much shorter movie.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Sarah's dream of Judgment Day, first described to the psychiatrist then shown. It involves her silently and helplessly screaming at a playground full of children to run for their lives (and getting an odd look from the parents...notably, one that is "Sarah Connor if she had ended up as the suburban housewife she might have become"), until the first nuke hits over the city. "...then the shockwave hits...and...and they fly apart like leaves!" Also flying apart like leaves: Sarah's incinerated skeleton, still clinging to the playground fence. James Cameron has mentioned getting mail after the film's release from nuclear physicists who commended him on the most realistic depiction of a close-up nuclear detonation put on film thus far.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Los Angeles River, where one of the car chases takes place, is an artificial riverbank without a river to speak of. No grass though.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Unlike the first film, where the T-800's flesh covering slowly necrotizes over time due to injuries, The T-800 in this film and all sequels have a flesh covering that can sustain itself and regenerate over time without real organs or circulatory systems to speak of, with subtle implications that the organic bits are a form of advanced biotech.
    • You cannot look directly at molten metal. Like trying to stare straight at the sun, it's too bright, and without proper eye-protection, you will damage your vision.
    • After breaking Silberman's arm, Sarah says that there are 215 bones in the human body, the arm is only one. Technically there are 206 bones and since Sarah broke Silberman's forearm, she broke two (the two forearm bones are the ulna and radius - though it's possible she only broke one or the other).
  • Artistic License – Explosives: During the Cyberdyne lab raid and steel mill face-off, the T-800 blows up various targets at close range with its M79 grenade launcher. The rounds are specifically designed to arm themselves only after they've flown 15-30 meters downrange, in order to keep the shooter from getting caught in the blast. Hit anything closer, and you'll either put a dent or a big hole in it — and leave behind a live grenade.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: When the T-800 is strafing the police cars with the M134 minigun, a pair of cops dive for cover, and one of them points his shotgun barrel in his friend's face, with his finger still on the trigger.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: During her nightmare, Sarah and the other victims have their flesh completely carbonized by the thermal effects of a nuclear bomb and then ripped away from their skeletons by the blast wave. This would only actually happen if you were essentially at ground zero of the detonation — from the distance Sarah and the others were, they'll all likely have sustained fatal third-degree burns over their entire bodies thanks to them being on an exposed hillside with no shelter, but even that wouldn't have been immediately fatal, let alone as dramatic as what see. Justified, however, by both Rule of Cool and the fact that Sarah probably isn't all that well-read on the precise effects of nuclear bombs other than that they tend to kill a lot of people. (And even if she were, dreams aren't exactly known for their strict adherence to reality.)
  • Asshole Victim: John's foster parents Janelle and Todd, who are introduced as having an antagonistic relationship with him but Todd especially seems rather deadbeat - and also very mean to the dog. John calls in and notices something is wrong because Janelle is acting nice, which is the clue to the reveal she was replaced by T-1000. John feels a little sorrow for a few seconds after the T-800 breaks the news to him but quickly forgets about them.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The T-1000 takes the form of a policeman to search for John Connor, and this disguise works remarkably well, right up until he actually finds him. One of the kids it asks for information is John's friend, a fellow Delinquent who, after lying and saying that he doesn't know John, immediately runs back to warn him that a cop is looking for him. John bails immediately, and it's this which prevents the cyborg assassin from immediately killing him off.
  • A-Team Firing
    • Ordered by John not to kill anyone, the T-800 — despite packing a minigun and grenades — merely inflicts disabling wounds and blows up vehicles. "Human casualties: 0.0".
    • The SWAT team, when they breach into the computer room at Cyberdyne. They fire dozens of bullets, and only score five or six hits... on the civilian not named Connor, no less.
  • Badass Biker: Like the first film, the T-800, this time riding a Harley Davidson FLSTF Fat Boy, provided by Harley-Davidson as Product Placement.
  • Badass Boast: A truly epic one from Sarah while she's escaping the psych hospital.
    Sarah: You're already dead, Silberman. Everybody dies. You know I believe that, so don't FUCK WITH ME!
  • Badass Bystander: Notably averted. The barkeep at the biker bar tries to do this by pulling a shotgun on the huge naked guy who just beat up all of his customers and is trying to steal one of their motorcycles. The T-800 just walks up and snatches the gun out of his hands (along with his sunglasses).
  • Badass Longcoat: Sarah wears a trenchcoat to conceal her guns when she enters the Cyberdyne building much like how Kyle Reese concealed his Ithaca 37 in the first movie.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The redneck biker bar where the T-800 obtains its clothes, its boots, and its motorcycle. In fairness, it was the T-800 who started the shit by demanding the clothes and bike... but the bikers were a little too eager to resort to violence against it.
  • Bad to the Bone
    • The Trope Namer song plays as the T-800 is first shown in leather clothes.
    • Guns N' Roses's "You Could be Mine" plays in the boombox John Connor's friend is carrying as they ride around on his motorcycle.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The first part uses the past film to play up the idea that Arnold's T-800 is the villain and Patrick plays another member of John's resistance sent back to stop him, with even Sarah's narration at the beginning stating two warriors were sent back in time — one to kill John and one to protect him — and not giving a hint as to which is which. Throughout the first act, the film runs with this for all it's worth, until the moment the T-1000 and the T-800 both have guns aimed towards John, and the T-800 tells him to get down. Only then does the film reveal that this time the T-800 is the good guy. A notable element is that the T-1000 actually emotes, unlike the T-800, which helps fool viewers into thinking it is human, and not a Terminator. Their arrival also mirrors the that of the first film - The T-1000 like Kyle has an encounter with the police, and steals a weapon from them. The T-800, like his predecessor, meets a bunch of people in leather jackets who mock his nudity, and have a violent confrontation for their trouble that results in his taking their clothes.
    • There are a few clues for viewers coming to the film blind as to which Terminator is the good guy. The scene where the T-800 starts a Bar Brawl and equips himself with clothing and weapons from the vanquished bikers is partially Played for Laughs, plus he merely robs the bar flies instead of killing them — contrast the previous film where the original Terminator murdered the guys he took the clothes from. The equivalent scene for the T-1000 is played much straighter, and he does kill his selected victim (though you can't tell at the time). Both scenes are shot with just enough ambiguity and gore discretion to keep the audience guessing. A slightly bigger clue is that Kyle Reese was Covered with Scars, while the T-1000's skin is completely unblemished.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: When the T-1000 and T-800 first face off, the T-1000 fires his pistol and the shots come out with the sound expected if there was a suppressor attached, and there is no suppressor on the pistol.
  • Bar Brawl: The T-800 starts a fight with the bikers at a bar when he asks one of them for his clothes, boots, and motorcycle. In addition to gaining those, he also acquires a Winchester 1887 shotgun and shades from the bar's owner.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Whereas the T-800 roughs up the male orderlies and security guards at the mental institution something fierce, the sole female security guard is just shoved to the ground and apparently knocked out. Averted with Sarah, who gets beaten and tackled (by the orderlies), and later cut across her back, shot in the leg, and impaled through the shoulder (all by the T-1000).
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Sarah nearly falls victim to this when she tries to kill Miles Dyson, shooting at him and advancing into his house in a manner coldly similar to the Terminators as they target their victims; if Miles's son hadn't attracted his attention at a crucial moment, she could have very easily killed him, and even when Dyson's six-year-old son asks her not to kill his daddy, there is still a moment when it seems like Sarah is going to do it before John and the Terminator show up.
  • Bewildering Punishment: The man starting the research that leads to the Terminator has no clue why the heroes are hunting him down.
  • Big "NO!": Sarah almost makes it out of the asylum, but she sees the T-800 walking out of an elevator. After saying "no" in a low tone of disbelief, it turns into this out of sheer terror.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Hasta la vista" essentially means "I'll be back" in Spanish.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The T-800 has to destroy itself, Dyson dies, and his family will have to live on without him. Lastly, the Connors may spend the rest of their lives in hiding from the law, but they stopped Judgment Day, and Sarah notes that "if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too."
  • Black Dude Dies First: Of the heroes, Dyson is the first to die.
  • Blob Monster: The shapeshifting liquid metal robot T-1000 can mimic everything it touches, from a floor to a human being (complete with clothes), and in human shape, it is malleable enough to simply walk "through" the bars of a prison door by flowing around them. It can also utilise its abilities in interesting ways in combat, for example turning itself back to front when pinned to a wall, or melting its head around a thrown punch to grip the attacker's arm. He is defeated by John, Sarah, and T-800 by weakening him with liquid nitrogen and later throwing him into a pool of molten iron.
  • Bluff the Impostor: When the T-800 thinks it's not talking to John's foster mother, it uses this trope. A deleted scene, restored in the "Ultimate Edition" cut of the film, shows the T-1000 learning of the deception after it solves the barking dog problem.
    The Terminator: [to John] What's the dog's name?
    John Connor: Max.
    The Terminator: [impersonating John's voice] Hey Janelle, what's wrong with Wolfie? I can hear him barking. Is he okay?
    T-1000 as Janelle: [while killing Todd, who was yelling at the dog] Wolfie's fine, honey. Wolfie's just fine. Where are you?
    The Terminator: [hangs up] Your foster parents are dead.
  • Book Ends:
    • The conflict between the T-800 and the T-1000 begins in earnest with the T-800 telling John to "get down" to avoid being hit by his shotgun. It ends with Sarah telling John to "get down" to avoid being hit by the T-800's final grenade.
    • James Cameron initially wanted the movie to end at the playground with children merrily playing just like they were at the beginning (plus John having his own daughter), but test audiences rejected this sugary, saccharine ending as inconsistent with the movie's dark, angry tone. Though this ending was kept for the director's cut.
  • Boom, Headshot!: This is played with, given that Terminators don't react to bullets the way people do.
    • The T-800 unloads an entire magazine from a fully automatic assault rifle straight into the T-1000's face, stunning it long enough for the T-800 to crash the semi driven by the T-1000.
    • The T-800 gives a shotgun blast to the T-1000's face to stall it during the escape from Pescadero, splitting its head down the middle.
    • Sarah also delivers a shotgun blast directly to the T-1000's eye while they're in the steel mill, blowing a huge hole through its head.
    • The SWAT team members try their best at this with their 9mm submachineguns against the T-800. They succeed in blowing off some of his camouflage face, but little more.
    • All that the T-1000 does by smashing a heavy piece of iron onto the T-800's head is rub off more of his camouflage face and reveal his red robotic eye on one side.
    • Played straight when the T-1000 disguised as John's foster mother kills his foster father by turning its arm into a sword and shoving it through his mouth, pinning him to the kitchen cabinets.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • The T-1000 fires 21 shots from a Beretta 92FS when shooting in the mall. The Browning Hi-Power he takes from Lewis carries 13 rounds, with the T-1000 firing 23 rounds from it before the gun runs dry.
    • Downplayed with the Winchester 1887 shotgun that the T-800 steals from the bar owner. The magazine tube can hold up to five shells, but he often fires up to seven before stopping to reload. It's possible to do this by fully loading the magazine, then putting the sixth shell in the chamber and the seventh on the internal loading spoon. What isn't shown, though, is where he got the spare ammo from.
    • The T-800's M79 ends up as more of an inversion, as he starts with 11 grenades (though the exact number shown on his person varies between scenes) but ends up running out after only eight.
  • Bowdlerise: As noted in the DVD commentary by James Cameron, the UK BBFC 15 edit of the film removes the shot of Sarah picking a lock during her escape from Pescadero, for fear that people might try to imitate the act. An uncut Laserdisc was rated BBFC 18 while the VHS version had the BBFC 15 cut version.
  • Bright Is Not Good: The T-1000's liquid form is a bright, shiny chrome color, but not only is it the antagonistic "assassin" rather than the protector in this movie, it's one of the more dangerous and actively cruel Terminators. It's also a lot better than the Arnie-portrayed T-800 usually is at blending in and appearing polite when incognito, which when combined with the T-1000's aforementioned brutality makes it seem all the more psychopathic.
  • Bringing Running Shoes to a Car Chase: The T-1000 does a pretty good job of chasing the heroes despite being on foot. Robert Patrick makes it look like he really could keep up with a speeding car. To train for the role, he underwent a rigorous running program so he could do all those foot chases without much visible exertion.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: Sarah Connor uses a mop handle during her asylum escape attempt, until she gets a nightstick to replace it.
  • Bulletproof Vest: During the highway chase scene at the end of the movie, Sarah, John, and the T-800 commandeer an armored SWAT truck while the T-1000 pursues in a helicopter. Sarah puts John into the back and piles him under a heap of bullet proof vests, then hangs several more from the back door to use as cover while trading fire with the T-1000. It works pretty well. At least until the T-1000 manages to walk his fire into Sarah's exposed leg.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • The bikers who try to pick a fight with the T-800 when he demands clothes and a motorcycle. They play a similar role to the three punks from the first movie who confronted the 1984 T-800 who demanded clothes from them too.
    • Dr. Silberman's hostile treatment of Sarah especially by calling her delusional or crazy and endorsing the brutal methods of torture done by the guards gets Sarah to physically assault him every chance she gets. When her escape plan goes into effect, she breaks Silberman's arm with a baton and takes him hostage, threatening to inject him with a fatal dose of drain cleaner unless the guards open the gate.
  • But Now I Must Go: The Terminator decides that he must join the T-1000 in the vat of molten steel against John's wishes.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Terminator begins the film wearing leather and sunglasses and riding a motorcycle. He loses the sunglasses and motorcycle around the hospital escape. This was done as a deliberate reversal of the original film, in which he only acquired these things past the midway point, and to symbolize the opposite moral journeys the two cyborgs take.
    • "Come with me if you want to live."
    • Sarah presses a mechanical device with buttons to destroy a Terminator. In the first film, she angrily makes a Pre-Mortem One-Liner before pressing the button. In this one, she gives a soft, mournful smile. The two acts had two different outcomes for the poor woman.
    • The Terminator steals a car in the same manner as the original one, but learns a new, more "human" way later.
    • In the first film, Sarah drove down a straight road, toward a dark storm. The second film ends with Sarah narrating as the camera travels down a road, swerving back and forth, pointing downward so that you can't see what's ahead. This was to symbolize that the end of the road was no longer a certainty—something also reflected in Sarah's narration.
    • In the Director's Cut, during Sarah's dream sequence, Kyle tells her how strong she's become and that she needs to go and protect John, when she tells him she doesn't think she can, Kyle insists "on your feet, soldier". The same words Sarah said to him near the end of the first film when he collapsed from his injuries.
    • Also in the Director’s Cut, the T-1000 being frozen and then thawed out references the beat in the first film when the original T-800 damaged its leg in the truck crash (the same point where its human flesh burned off revealing the endoskeleton) and walks with a pronounced limp from then on.
    • In a more mundane example, when Dr. Silberman is showing his students around Pescadero and brings them to see Sarah, he off-handedly mentions that he's been "following [her] case for years". He was the psychologist brought into evaluate Kyle Reese after he was captured by the police, and also to help provide mundane explanations to Sarah for everything she'd seen that night, as well as just barely missing the original T-800's rampage by leaving the station just as it was coming in.
    • Right before her escape, Sarah is being interrogated about the T-800, and she's shown screen shots of security footage from 1984, showing the original Terminator sporting the same haircut and sunglasses as he massacred the police officers. To look authentic, Arnie was decked out in the same outfit from the first movie, and pictures were taken to simulate what security cameras would have captured in the station.
    • The grey trenchcoat that Sarah wears when breaking into Cyberdyne is cut almost identically to the one that Kyle wore in the first movie (and that he reappears wearing in Sarah's dream sequence in a deleted scene.)
    • While watching John and the T-800 interact at Enrique's home, Sarah's observations reference Reese's own about the T-800 from the original film.note 
      Sarah: Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The Terminator would never stop. It would never leave him. It would never hurt him, never shout at him, or get drunk and hit him, or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine was the only one that measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.
    • John's dog Max barking. In the first film, Kyle mentions how dogs can detect Terminators for what they are. True enough, Max barks when the T-1000 first visits the house, and again when John calls while the T-1000 impersonates Janelle, giving away that she's been replaced. True enough, the dog originally belonged to Sarah and she bought it for that very purpose.
    • Tim starts asking John about his mother when he finds a photograph of her in John's backpack. It's the photograph of Sarah taken at the end of the first movie, which John will eventually give to Kyle Reese in the future.
  • The Cameo:
    • In the Director's Cut, Michael Biehn shows up as Kyle Reese in a Dream Sequence turned nightmare.
    • The director himself, James Cameron, cameos as one of the bar patrons.
  • Can't Default to Murder: The reformed Terminator is programmed to terminate threats to John Connor's life. John insists that he protect without killing. Hilariously, after the first time John says this, the Terminator incapacitates a guy by brutally shooting him in both legs, to John's horror.
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: The T-1000 (in a helicopter flying very low) shoots at the van in which the protector T-800, Sarah and John Connor make their escape, with a submachine gun and through the helicopter's broken cockpit glass. Sarah retaliates as much as she can with her assault rifle.
  • Car Meets House: It seems to be a Running Gag that Once an Episode, whoever says "I'll be back" will come back by driving a vehicle into the relevant building. Crashing through the structure is optional. In this movie, after telling Sarah and John Connor, "Stay here, I'll be back", T-800 proceeds to walk past a SWAT team, procure a van, and drive right to where he had left the Connors, before telling them to get in.
  • The Cassandra: In the opening, Sarah is locked up in Pescadero State Hospital after she tried to blow up several research labs to stop the rise of Skynet. Naturally, nobody, from the cops to her doctors, are willing to believe her and think that she just cracked.
  • Caught Up in the Rapture: Referenced. The title refers to the end of the world, the day Skynet launched nuclear weapons. The three billion people who died were effectively "raptured". The ones left behind called the war Judgment Day, and then fought in the final war...against machines not demons, but whatever.
  • Central Theme: As stated by James Cameron himself.
    • The value of human life. Every person, in their own way, is important to the future.
    • Become a Real Boy: The Terminator "becomes human", ending the Stable Time Loop of a doomed world as a machine learns self-sacrifice.
    • Humans Are the Real Monsters: To juxtapose the theme, Cameron also employed this one to demonstrate how humans turn into killing machines. For example, Sarah Connor almost becomes "a Terminator" at one point in the movie, and the T-800 flat out says that it is "In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves", meaning that, in the end, humanity is the ultimate "Terminator". Even John Connor himself is not immune to this; the future John shown at the beginning of the film is deliberately shown slowly scanning his eyes across the battlefield...just like a Terminator.
  • Chainsaw-Grip BFG: The GE M134 Minigun used by the T-800 at Cyberdyne is the Trope Codifier.
  • Character Catchphrase: "¡Hasta la vista, baby!" To further add to the joke, when the movie was dubbed in European Spanish, the line was changed to "¡Sayonara, baby!" In Mexican Spanish, the original line was kept in.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Multiple examples, including John's ATM hacking computer, the grenade launcher, the vat of molten metal, and the T-800's learning ability.
  • Chekhov's Skill: John's PIN cracking abilities are useful early on to break into an ATM and later can break into secured facility doors.
    John: [said both those times] Easy money.
  • Chrome Champion: The T-1000's true form is liquid metal that is shiny and chrome.
  • Cigarette Burns: When the T-800 demands the clothing from a biker in a packed road bar, the unimpressed biker puts out his cigar on the terminator's torso. The T-800 (who can't feel pain) doesn't even flinch, confusing the biker.
  • Coincidental Dodge: Miles Dyson escapes assassination by Sarah Connor when he is disturbed by his son's remote control truck.
  • Collateral Damage: The T-1000 accidentally shoots a mall employee while shooting at the T-800 protecting John.
  • Color Motif: Cameron shot the movie with two colors used as lighting and filtering: orange and blue. Orange was the color of humanity while blue was the color of machines. This was brought to a head in the steel mill finale, where humanity (and a humanized Terminator) makes its final stand against the machines. The orange hues of the molten steel (which would destroy the machines) was filmed opposite of the cold blue of the machinery around it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: After watching the T-800 wipe the floor with several heavy biker goons while stark naked, the bartender at the biker bar just pulls a shotgun on him. It still doesn't work because the T-800 isn't afraid of shotguns and is fast and strong enough to yank it away before he can fire.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: In the first movie. The T-800 Model 101 decimated a local police station and, in the sequel, the LAPD gets some pictures of the T-800 and immediately recognize that this is the same suspect that destroyed the police station in The Terminator.
    "That was a different T-101."
    "What, do you come off an assembly line?"
  • Content Warnings: The arcade game parodies the film's R rating by giving itself its own R rating for "Righteous".
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The T-1000 is this compared to the T-800 from the first movie, where the T-800 was a massive, hulking brute force steamroller that primarily used heavy guns and doesn't bother to blend in, the T-1000 is a stealthy infiltrator that looks much more normal and favors lighter sidearms or shapeshifting its arms into blades. James Cameron deliberately invoked this with his casting of the much more ordinary looking Robert Patrick opposite Arnold, saying that if "the 800 series is a kind of human Panzer tank, then the 1000 series had to be a Porsche."
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Critics have lightly jabbed at the fact that the T-1000 just happens to hijack a tanker full of liquid nitrogen — one of the few substances that can harm it — and then chases the heroes into a steel mill, one of the few places it could thaw back out so quickly, and one of the few places containing a substance that can kill it. note 
    • In a Freeze-Frame Bonus, bit character police officer 1L19 (the guy whose car the original Terminator stole outside of Tech Noir) just happens to be walking past the store where the new Terminator gets thrown out by the T-1000. The camera briefly zooms on his shocked expression, as he recognizes that this is the same guy (or so he believes) that not only attacked him, but slaughtered his fellow cops 10 years ago.
  • Convection, Schmonvection:
    • Averted during the foundry scene while the heroes are trying to escape the T-1000. When they approach a vat of molten steel, Sarah has to turn them back.
      Sarah: Wait. No, no. It's too hot! Go back, go back!
    • Averted again in the foundry, combined with a spectacular practical effects sequence where the frozen T-1000 is shattered... and then warms up to melt back into its proper shape again. Oops.
  • Convenient Weakness Placement: Over the course of the movie, they throw the T-1000 through a wall, they shoot him in the face with a shotgun, they blow up a huge truck with him in it, they freeze him with liquid nitrogen and break his frozen form to pieces. The latter method seems to have worked, but they just happen to be right next to a steel forgery/construction site with a boiling pool of "lava", which thaws the pieces and allows them to reform. They eventually force him into the lava after shooting a grenade at him with a launcher, and it STILL takes him almost a minute to die.
  • Conversation Casualty: The T-1000, disguised as John's foster mother, is talking to him on the phone, when Todd interrupts it about the madly barking dog in the backyard. It promptly skewers him through the mouth with its morphing sword-like arm. It even perfectly manages to skewer the milk carton he was holding.
  • Cool Bike: The T-800's 1990 Harley Davidson Fat Boy FLSTF, donated by Harley Davidson as a Product Placement, but truly badass.
  • Cop Killer Manhunt: When the police are alerted to the attack at Cyberdyne and find it involves the gunman who killed two dozen cops eleven years ago, they send everything.
  • Could Have Been Messy: The T-800 does this to a bunch of cops with a Gatling Gun to prove he's not a bad guy anymore. After shooting up squad cars with the minigun and a grenade launcher, his HUD notes "0.0 Casualties."
  • Counting Bullets:
    • The T-1000 does this during the mall shootout with T-800. As it continues firing, it pulls a spare magazine from its gunbelt so as to be ready to reload as soon as it runs out of ammo. Even so, it fires more bullets from its Beretta than that gun is capable of carrying (21 bullets from a 15-round magazine).
    • During the escape from the mental institution, the T-800, John, and Sarah are shooting at the T-1000. At one point John warns Sarah that the magazine he just handed her is the last one.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: After being rescued from the T-1000, John Connor orders the T-800 to stop next to a payphone, so he can warn his foster parents about the T-1000. Janelle, his foster mother, answers the phone and sounds incredibly worried wanting to know where John is so she can go pick him up and bring him safely home. John tells the T-800, that Janell has never sounded so nice or concerned. The T-800 asks John to give him the phone:
    T-800: What's the dog's name?
    John: Max.
    T-800: [adapts John's voice] Hey, Janell, what's wrong with Wolfie? I can hear him barking. Is he OK?
    Janelle: Wolfie's fine dear, just fine. [sternly] Where are you?
    T-800 [hangs up phone, in his normal voice] Your foster parents are dead.
    [cut to John's foster parents' house; Janelle is revealed to actually be the T-1000, as his blade arm is impaling Todd through his mouth and the milk carton he was drinking from]
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: John takes Danny to his room to distract him from the T-800's revelation to Miles.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • James Cameron is the biker in the bar at the beginning who is about to attack the T-800 with a pool stick, but thinks better of it, drops the pool stick, and backs away.
    • And when the T-800 gets up after being thrown through a shop window, the co-writer William Wisher plays a bystander snapping photographs; the cop attacked by the original Terminator in The Terminator.
  • Creepy Twins: In one scene at the mental hospital, the T-1000 duplicates a hospital security guard when he steps on him (disguised as the linoleum floor), then rises up, faces him and stabs him through the head. The scene actually used two twins, Dan and Don Stanton, to play the part of the security guard and the T-1000 as his doppelganger. It imitates Sarah later, this time done with Leslie Hamilton, Linda Hamilton's twin sister.
  • Crying Wolf: Subverted. When the T-800 takes a strong grip onto John for trying to run to Sarah hoping the T-1000 hasn't gotten to her yet, he cries for release and attracts the attention of two men, who come to his rescue. John only gets released upon ordering T-800 to do so, and by the time the men arrive, John tells them he's in no danger whatsoever, making them angrily accuse him of pulling this trope though John's cries were genuine at the time.
  • Cue the Billiard Shot: The bar scene starts with a pool table shot before it pans up to show the biker watching the T-800 enter.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The T-800's fistfight in the steel mill against the T-1000 turns out this way since the T-800 can't harm its liquid-metal opponent through conventional means (including a solid punch to the T-1000's face). While the T-800 initially holds its own against its morphing nemesis, it's not recovering from battle damage, and after amputating its own arm jammed in a machine, the battle goes downhill for it from there.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: The intro to Terminator 2 shows an army of Skynet robots slowly working their way across the battlefield, seemingly rolling over everything in their paths. Then we see a human soldier standing over a crippled Terminator before finishing it off, followed by a flying Hunter Killer craft being blasted out of the air with a surface-to-air missile fired by a gunner in a pickup truck. Of course, the effectiveness and eventual victory of La Résistance is the whole reason for Skynet's time travel gambit to begin with.
  • Cutting the Knot
    • It's set up that accessing the broken chip and robotic arm requires many security measures. When Dyson tries to explain these to John, the latter simply throws the glass containers on the floor and picks the two components out of the pieces. You can see Dyson thinking "Or that will work, too." In fact, in the commentary, Cameron used these exact words to describe the scene. The point of the scene was to demonstrate that Dyson still held the arm and chip in sacred regard, while John saw them as garbage that needed to be disposed of.
    • The T-800 does it a few times. In need of a quarter for the payphone, he punches a hole in the phone's coin box and hands one to John. When Dyson is unable to open a door at Skynet with a keycode, the T-800 opens it with the grenade launcher. Later, when Sarah is trapped in a room by the SWAT team, the T-800 smashes through the wall to rescue her.
  • Cyberpunk:
    • As noted on the franchise page, T2 in particular hits so many of the subtropes that you can actually make a very cogent, good-faith argument that it outright qualifies as a cyberpunk story: our heroes are disaffected outcasts (and often outright branded as criminals) who are hounded by the authorities at every turn while trying to at least survive and maybe even do some good (but, meanwhile, are willing to do very morally grey or even darker things to achieve their goals), the authorities themselves are almost uniformly depicted as deeply malevolent (and, symbolically, the primary antagonist utilizes the form of a police officer as its go-to appearance) and at "best" as incompetent, the film deals deeply with the nature of man, machine and the fusion of the two and with the morality of machine intelligence (and with it contrasted to the morality of the human heroes), and Cyberdyne is portrayed as willing to pursue profit even at the risk of the eradication of mankind (thanks to having some knowledge of what the T-800 must be).
    • The real kicker is that the third act is centered on what is, for every possible intent and purpose, a run on Cyberdyne Systems for sabotage and retrieval (specifically of the salvaged parts of the first film's T-800). The "crew" is perhaps a bit nonstandard, with the "street samurai" being a war robot, Sarah not quite having a "standard" run crew role (being somewhere between a thief and a backup sam), the "decker" being there not entirely of his own will and utilizing contemporary computing technology instead of futuristic computer decks, and the "face" being, well, a ten-year-old, but the whole sequence itself would fit fairly neatly into Neuromancer or similar genre novels. It even features a shoot-out between the "sam" and a high-threat-response police security team!
    • And of course, on some level, "Uncle Bob" the T-800 had a colossal effect on what "gun-toting outlaw badasses" look like throughout the entire culture in The '90s and beyond, and cyberpunk and the idea of "gun-using street samurai" and similar characters were as affected by this as anything.
  • Deadly Delivery: The T-800 carries a shotgun in a long box that is full of roses. This also qualifies as a Visual Pun on Guns N' Roses, whose song "You Could Be Mine" is heard in the film. (The music video for said song features the T-800, too.)
  • Dead Man's Switch: Inventor Miles Dyson makes a Heroic Sacrifice by standing between the escaping heroes and a pursuing SWAT team, hand-holding a heavy piece of wreckage over a detonator switch as his last labored breaths flutter from his bullet-riddled body. It also shows that he doesn't really want to kill them, as he warns them to get out.
  • Dead Man's Switch: After shooting and mortally wounding Dyson in the Cyberdyne lab, the SWAT team finds him holding a heavy piece of debris over the detonator for the explosives he helped plant. They retreat from the lab for their own safety instead of pursuing the T-800 and the Connors, and as Dyson dies, he drops the weight and sets off the explosives in a Heroic Sacrifice to make sure that Skynet can't be created from hs work.
  • Death by Cameo: The janitor who gets between T-1000 and Terminator in one of the maintenance hallways of the mall and is riddled with bullets was played by a fan who won the "role" in an MTV-sponsored contest.
  • Death by Irony: Similarly to the previous film: The T-1000 is killed by liquid metal. In this case, a vat of molten iron.
  • Death Equals Emotion:
    • The T-800 says that he finally understands why humans cry.
    • T-1000 displays a nice Oh, Crap! face before he's wasted.
  • Death Is the Only Option: After destroying the T-1000 and the remains of the first T-800, the current T-800 realizes it must destroy itself to prevent more reverse engineering from Cyberdyne. Since it cannot self-terminate, Sarah Connor has to push the button.
  • Death Means Humanity: After the T-800 Heroic Sacrifice in order to prevent future reverse engineering of his model from Cyberdyne, Sarah Connor reflects that the Terminator learned to have more regard for human life than most humans. The novelization goes further, hinting that in its last moments the T-800 grasped some basic concept of greater forces than Skynet and then entered into an unspecified afterlife.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: It provides deconstructions of both the Child Soldier as well as militarism in the forms of John Connor and his mother, Sarah. John is an alienated, antisocial outsider who doesn't fit in, doesn't get along with his foster parents and has only one friend due to his mother's oddball way of raising him to prepare him for the end of the world. Sarah, meanwhile, has become violent and emotionally unstable over the years since the end of the first film as she had to step up to the plate, training not just herself but her son, and suffering the heartache of losing Kyle Reese. John is far from a likeable protagonist when we first meet him, and Sarah is not exactly pleasant, but this is what happens to a Chosen One and his mentor when burdened with terrible knowledge.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The T-800 played by Schwarzenegger was the bad guy in the first film so you can presume that he is the bad guy once again if you didn't see the trailers. It's not revealed until the first meeting of both Terminators that Schwarzenegger is the protector.
  • Delaying Action: The whole plot regarding the T-1000 is a this trope, as no one has the means to truly stop the T-1000 until the very end. The only way to survive is to slow it down enough to escape it.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In a manner similar to Life-or-Limb Decision, the T-800 ended up with its arm pinned to industrial equipment by the T-1000. Refusing to back down, it takes a steel bar to rip its own arm off so it could keep pursuit. At this point it's clear the damage was accumulating while the T-1000 was still going strong, and only getting worse with one arm removed.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: A computer in Cyberdyne asks John for a PIN Identification Number (Personal Identification Number Identification Number).
  • Descent into Darkness Song: A very subtle, very quick version occurs during the mall confrontation scene where both Terminators find John at the same time. Because the movie is playing up the fact that either Terminator could be evil, you hear both of their themes play one after the other. First Arnold's strong metal percussion then the T-1000's low ominous moan. Then, as both of them meet each other with John in the middle, for a brief moment both play on top of each other, adding to the tension of which (if not both) Terminators are evil. Then Arnold saves John and the T-1000's low moan completely takes over. He's our bad guy.
  • Destination Defenestration: The T-1000 throws the T-800 through a store display window during their first fight in the mall.
  • Determinator: The T-1000 will stop at nothing to destroy John Connor, while the T-800 will stop at nothing to protect John Connor.
  • Diagnosis from Dr. Badass: Sarah Connor, when she breaks the doc's hand, even if she is wrong.
    Sarah: There are 215 bones in the human body. That's one.
  • Died Standing Up: During Sarah's dream of Judgment Day, the fire from the nuclear explosion violently rips the flesh and muscles off her skeleton as she holds onto a chain-link fence.
  • Digital Destruction: The movie saw a 4K release that, despite approval from director James Cameron, boasted a much greener tint and excessive DVNR. Additionally, the newly authored Blu-ray included now had the added scenes in the extended cut play in standard definition instead of being remastered as they were in the previous Blu-ray releases.
  • Director's Cut: There are a couple extended versions available that fleshes out a few details. During a repair session John and Sarah remove the T-800's processor chip and debate on destroying it. The T-1000 further investigates John's foster parents home, verifying the dog's name (not Wolfie) and searching John's room until he finds hidden letters from his mom. Michael Biehn cameos in a dream sequence visiting Sarah in the hospital. The T-1000 started glitching after getting frozen and shattered, phasing into the grating and changing colors (which was how John was able to tell the T-1000 apart from the actual Sarah when confronted with two of them).
  • Disappearing Bullets:
    • As John and the T-800 escort Sarah out of the asylum, a law enforcement officer drives up in his cruiser; Sarah proceeds to carjack him, firing a round through the windshield (not aimed at the officer) to show she means business. The bullet goes through the glass...and disappears; the seats and rear window are unharmed. This might be a gaff of a different kind. The creators may have believed that police cars habitually use bulletproof glass. They don't, but Hollywood might assume they do. If it did have bulletproof glass, the bullet might've ended up somewhere on the dashboard or bouncing around harmlessly in the cab.
    • In addition, the T-800 uses an M134 minigun to disperse and occupy the police in front of the Cyberdyne building. While he manages to avoid hitting any human beings, there's no way the 7.62mm rounds aren't ricocheting off the concrete and police cars into who knows what.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Terminator attempts to shoot a burly biker simply because they try to put up a physical altercation with him after John drew their attention with his screaming (stemming from an argument with Terminator on whether they go save Sarah or not). John intervenes and pushes away the gun so the biker survives and has time to retreat with his friend.
  • Distant Finale: The director's cut has a 2037 Happy Ending where Judgment Day was averted for good and an elderly Sarah watches John (a US Senator) and his daughter playing on a playground similar to the one seen in her nightmares of Judgment Day.
  • Disturbing Statistic: "Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997."note 
  • Do Androids Dream?
    • The Terminator asks John Connor a question.
      T-800: Why do you cry?
    • After resetting the CPU in the special edition release of the film, John's insatiable curiosity about his killer cyborg guardian awakens a similar response from the Terminator. John asks if he's afraid to die, or cares about his own existence after the mission is complete. To which the T-800 informs him, he's not afraid of anything. After protecting John, nothing really matters.
    • The Terminator develops a fascination for tears and sadness, for it's an emotion it has absolutely no knowledge of, and cannot imitate.
    • In the original script, before the practically self-aware Terminator sacrifices himself, he hesitates, and tells Sarah he is afraid to die.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Sarah Connor is very wary of the T-800/"Uncle Bob" because he looks exactly like the T-800 who tried to kill her in The Terminator.
  • Double Take: The T-1000 does a subtle one when he runs into a store mannequin that resembles his liquid metal form.
  • Double Vision: The mimetic polyalloy T-1000 appears on screen disguised as Sarah Connor alongside the real Sarah, accomplished by having Linda Hamilton play the T-1000 while her twin sister, Leslie doubled as Sarah. Leslie was used again in a scene in the extended Special Edition version, wherein Sarah extracts the Terminator's CPU. The scene is mostly seen through reflections in a mirror: Linda and Arnold played the reflections, while Leslie matched Linda's movements precisely in the close foreground with an Arnold dummy. For another doubling scene with the T-1000 real twins were used. Particularly interesting because of the happenstance: Linda's being a twin was obviously not a factor in her original casting!
  • Down L.A. Drain: The T-1000 chases John through these before the T-800 comes to the latter's rescue.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: A heroic example. Sarah Connor keeps blasting the T-1000 with a shotgun, pushing it towards the edge of a ledge above a pool of molten metal. However just as the T-1000 is about to fall off, Sarah runs out of ammo. The T-1000 heals up his wounds and starts taunting Sarah, before the T-800 arrives and blows it off the edge using a grenade launcher.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock:
    • Sarah Connor does this several times in succession, blasting the T-1000 with a Remington 870 shotgun and interjecting each shot with a forceful, one-armed pump (her other arm was too injured to do it normally).
    • The T-800 itself dramatically flip-cocks his shotgun, a lever-action Winchester Model 1887. Doing so with a factory production gun would result in broken fingers, as the handguard is too narrow—the shotgun in question was custom-altered for the movie, much like the shotgun from The Rifleman. He does this because it's cool, and to fire one-handed on the bike.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience knows that Sarah Connor's ranting about the future and Judgment Day are going to come to pass, but to everyone else at the asylum, she sounds like every other crazy patient.
  • The Dreaded: The T-800, as usual. Beautifully done in the hospital escape, where we've just watched Sarah tear through half a dozen burly male orderlies like they're nothing, threatening to pump a man full of Liquid Rooter just so she can escape... and then when the T-800 emerges from the elevator in front of her, not knowing it's on her side, she falls to her knees in terror. The T-800 also has this reputation with the general public. After just his first major appearance in public, police identify him and understandably assume him to be the same man that shot up the Technoir nightclub and slaughtered his way through an LA police station eleven years prior.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Sarah's nightmares of Judgment Day. They stop at the end of the film, implying that Judgment Day has been averted.
  • Driving a Desk: When the T-1000 climbs on the back of the escaping police car from the insane asylum, in shots featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick the scene noticeably switches from live driving stunts to a stationary police car with the asylum and street becoming rear projection. Many of the nighttime driving scenes, particularly in the police car with its lights turned off, are also process.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Silberman is not so much interested in helping Sarah Connor recover as he is in getting his "work" with Sarah published in medical journals.
  • Drone of Dread: A terror-inducing droning sound plays in the background whenever the T-1000 makes an appearance.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: John Connor uses duct tape to gag a captured guard in the Cyberdyne Systems building.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: A particularly creepy example occurs when an asylum guard licks Sarah Conner's face while he thinks she is catatonic.
  • Dungeon Bypass: At one point Sarah is trapped by a SWAT team in a clean room. John, watching on cameras, declares there's no other way out of that room. So the Terminator knocks down a wall and pulls her to safety.
  • Dying Vocal Change: The T-1000 has been speaking in perfectly legible English with Robert Patrick's distinctive voice, even while in its liquid metal form. However, after being blown out of shape with a grenade launcher and tumbling into a pool of molten steel, it can only emit high-pitched metallic screeching sounds in lieu of speech; as a result, the T-1000's Shapeshifter Swan Song is spent screaming like fingernails on a blackboard as it slowly melts.
  • Easily Detachable Robot Parts: T-1000 is a robot, albeit a liquid metal one, with detached parts reverting and being reabsorbed into the main mass.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: One of the waitresses of the bikers' bar can't hide her... pleasant surprise upon having a look at the big naked and muscled guy (the T-800) who just walked in.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Sarah, John, and the T-800 escape from the mental institution. The T-1000 attempts to sword-thrust its way into the elevator at several points.
  • Elevator Escape: Sarah, John and the T-800 use an elevator to get a lead on the pursuing T-1000 during Sarah's rescue from the mental hospital. The T-1000 reaches the doors just as they close and pulls them open, but then it's immediately put back on track when a well-placed shotgun blast stuns him and the doors close normally.note  The T-1000 recovers, jumps down onto the elevator car, then uses its arm blade to stab through the roof, cutting Sarah on the back at one point.
  • El Spanish "-o": John teaches the T-800 to say "no problemo".
  • Empathy Doll Shot: A scene in the movie shows "Judgement Day" (a nuclear attack on Los Angeles and many other major cities around the world) at the start of the film. At a playground with burning rocking horses. Subverted though: We get to see the bomb go off complete with the burning children in what's been praised by scientists to be the most horrifyingly realistic representation of a nuclear attack ever committed to film.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: When taking one of the asylum guard's places, the T-1000 copies the appearance of the guard as it rises up from the floor. The real guard is so stunned by the sight that he doesn't try to run before the T-1000 stabs him through the eye.
  • Ensemble Cast: The film has three heroes in the T-800, John, and Sarah. All three of them are equally important, and go through their own character arcs.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • John Connor gets two:
      • He revs his bike when his foster mother demands he clean his room, establishing him as a juvenile delinquent.
      • According to James Cameron, John Connor's Heel Realization came the moment he sicced a Terminator on two ordinary guys and watched the Terminator almost kill one. Cameron says that it was this one decision that created the All-Loving Hero John would become.
    • Sarah Connor is shown working out in her asylum cell, far from the demure woman we last saw in the first movie.
    • The T-800's one-liner before he reveals himself as a good guy this time around: "Get down!"
    • The T-1000 shoves aside a bunch of small children trying to get to John Connor. Until this moment, he actually seemed like a good guy. Although to be fair, as this was still before The Reveal, it could have appeared to be because he knew he needed to get to John before the T-800 (whom he'd before been told about by John's foster parents) did.
    • Miles Dyson is first established as a brilliant scientist with tunnel vision for the future, not even questioning the suspicious means by which his company came by a highly advanced computer chip and robot arm. In a deleted scene, when Dyson's wife complains that he's working more than paying attention to his family, he unquestioningly shuts off his work, showing he really is a decent guy.
  • Establishing Character Music: John Connor is introduced blaring Guns N' Roses on his radio as he ignores his foster parents.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The T-1000's tow truck explodes after slamming into a bridge. Diesel fuel doesn't actually explode, but half-credit for explicitly showing it spewing from the ruptured tank and being zapped by dangling electronics..
  • Everyone Has Standards: John has a history of multiple crimes and he is able to steal fairly large amounts of money without compunctions. However, killing people is always an absolute no-no to him, and he doesn't really seem to like injuring them, either.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The dog barks like crazy outside at the malevolent T-1000 while it's impersonating John's foster mother. note  The contrast is especially noteworthy since Enrique's dog doesn't bark at the T-800.
  • Evil Slinks: The T-1000 is memetic polyalloy: liquid metal. Thus, it flows from one form to another when we see it shapeshift on screen, until it has taken too much damage to do so smoothly anymore.
  • Exact Words: John orders the T-800 not to kill anyone. ("I swear I will not kill anyone.") He follows that order throughout the rest of the film, but shoots quite a few cops in the leg or knee, throws orderlies into walls hard enough to knock them unconscious, and hits SWAT team members with tear gas grenades.
    T-800: [after shooting a security guard in the knee] He'll live.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Sarah gets this on the orderly who licked her face when she escapes, by knocking him senseless with a broom handle. For bonus points, this trope also applied for Linda Hamilton during the scene. note 
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The storyline for the movie begins with the arrival of the terminators right before dawn on day one, with the climactic showdown happening in the middle of the night of day two.
  • Eye Lights Out: We have a close up the T-800's eyes going out when he suffers his Disney Death, and a first-person POV of it when he dies for real.
  • Eye Scream: Sarah is threatened with losing an eye when she is captured by the T-1000 at the climax.

    Tropes F–J 
  • Facepalm: John does this during Sarah's ambiguously Straw Feminist rant.
  • Facepalm Of Doom: The T-800 does this to a female guard, though since he had been instructed not to kill, it is not as disgusting as it could have been.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While trying to pin Sarah, the orderlies at Pescadero fail to notice a gigantic, musclebound man with a shotgun walking toward them. It isn't until he literally picks one of them up and tosses him through a glass window that they even realize he's there. In their defense, they're focused on restraining Sarah.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The T-1000 is friendly and personable when it initially meets John's foster parents, and to everyone it meets prior to the arcade; once it homes in on John, it goes into full-on business mode. Every time we see it being friendly afterward, there's a menacing edge to it.
  • Fearsome Foot: The film opens with the metal foot of a skin-free Terminator crushing a skull in an After the End Los Angeles.
  • Feel No Pain:
    • Played With when the T-800 is asked if his (many) bullet wounds hurt, and he states flatly, "I sense injury. The data could be called pain." This suggests that Terminators do feel pain, but only to the extent that is necessary for threat recognition and response. Terminators, however, have no pain reflex or pain trauma, and don't go into shock like humans do. Damage assessment is simply part of the mission.
    • Played With for the T-1000 as well. While the T-1000 is mostly impervious to damage, it appears to find being frozen by liquid Nitrogen to be extremely painful (the shooting script even mentions it looking at the stump of its arm in agony), and similarly with the way it thrashes around in the molten steel.
  • Feet-First Introduction:
    • The movie begins with a close-up of a Terminator stepping on and crushing a human skull.
    • When the Terminator steps out of the bar wearing its newly acquired leather jacket and boots, the camera starts on its boots, then pans up as "Bad to the Bone" begins playing. This makes the Terminator more badass.
    • After the T-1000 kills off the police officer who appears when it has just time-traveled, this is used to establish that it has (apparently) donned the cop's uniform.
    • Sarah Connor's nightmare sequence begins with her combat boots striding across the grass.
  • Fiery Cover-Up: A benevolent version. Sarah, John, Dyson, and the T-800 destroy all the equipment and records at the Cyberdyne lab to prevent the creation of Skynet and the subsequent nuclear war that kills three billion people.
  • Final First Hug: The Terminator may not be able to cry, but his love for his "adoptive son" John is more than affirmed with his one and only embrace for him.
  • Finger Wag: The T-1000 issues one to Sarah at the climax just before the T-800 delivers the killing blow.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • The moment the T-1000 spots John, his otherwise emotive façade drains and he begins tossing kids out of the way to get to John without saying a word in a rather robotic fashion. His true nature as a Terminator is revealed in the confrontation with the T-800 a few seconds later.
    • The T-800's status as a hero gets one last bit of foreshadowing as its confrontation with the T-1000 starts. The T-800 finds John first and draws his shotgun, and starts to approach him to confront the T-1000 also giving chase. When the T-800 aims the shotgun, it has the barrel perfectly lined up with John's head, just like the original T-800 did with Sarah upon catching up to her... and doesn't fire.
    • When Janelle is talking with John over the phone, she can be seen stretching her arm out with a peculiar flicking sound accompanying it. When the T-800 reveals to John that the T-1000 already got to them, it turns out that "Janelle" was the T-1000, and "Janelle" stretching her arm was the T-1000 killing Todd with a blade through the mouth. Also, the scene opens with a close up of "Janelle" cutting vegetables with a shiny chrome knife.
    • A orderly in the hospital shines his torch into a supply closet and finds a mop with the handle broken off, a few moments before Sarah dashes out of her room and beats him unconscious with missing part.
  • Flaying Alive: The T-800 cuts off his own skin on his left arm to reveal to Dyson about what his work is based on.
  • Foil:
    • The T-800 and the T-1000 in regards to their character development throughout the film. When first introduced, the T-1000 is very human-like in his demeanor compared to the more machine-like T-800, but gradually devolves into an inhuman predator as the movie progresses and he intensifies his hunt for John. At the same time, the T-800 becomes more and more human, learning and growing from his companions, and showing glimpses of real emotion before the film ends.
    • Also the T-800 and Skynet. Though both attain sentience, Skynet sees humanity as a threat and tries to exterminate it, while the T-800 begins to love humanity and willingly sacrifices itself for it.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Before the ultimate reveal that the T-800 is the good guy this time around and that the "protector" is actually the villainous T-1000, the film leaves a few hints as to their true nature:
      • The T-800 cleans house at the bar to get the biker's clothes and ride, but doesn't actually kill anyone, unlike the previous Terminator's brutal introduction in the first film. It's a clear tip that this T-800 isn't programmed to be a merciless killer, especially when he gets the cool Bad to the Bone treatment. Tellingly, Janelle and Todd are still alive when the T-1000 questions them, with Todd mentioning "a big guy" having arrived earlier, whereas the previous T-800 model broke into Sarah's mother's house to kill her mother and find her location.
      • The T-1000's introduction, meanwhile, is a distinctly more serious scene, with more foreboding music too. He also runs up to this imminent victim, completely stark naked and nothing in his hand, and yet his victim still cries out and doubles over in pain. Later on, John Connor's dog Max starts barking frantically when the T-1000 asks his foster parents about him and his whereabouts. In the first film, it's established that dogs instinctively know what is and isn't a Terminator.
      • Also the weapons that each acquires from the outset; the protector uses a shotgun as their first weapon while the robotic assassin uses a pistol. In the first film, the T-800 mainly uses the .45 caliber pistol until the first encounter with Kyle Reese, who acquired a shotgun. Here, the T-1000 takes a pistol from the cop he kills while the T-800 steals a shotgun. (Strictly speaking, the shotgun is the second gun that the T-800 takes, but it's the first one he uses.)
      • There are a few elements that border on Rewatch Bonus that further hint of each time traveler's allegiance. The T-800 is never seen looking up John's personal address (Janelle mentions he dropped by asking for John before the T-1000 did), while the T-1000 has to look it up on a Police Database - because the former is sent by John himself and thus knows it, while the later does not. In fact the T-800 happens upon John as he's driving to the Galleria - it at first viewing looks like chance, but it's in actuality because he knows where John is going and is watching the path John's likely to take. This continues at the Galleria - the T-1000 has to ask people where to find John. The T-800 meanwhile goes straight for the Arcade's back exit. This subtly calls back to the first film, where the villainous Terminator has to kill his way through all the Sarah Connors in the phonebook, while the Hero, Kyle, knows where to find Sarah from info John gave him.
    • John plays Missile Command at the Arcade.
    • The look the T-1000 shoots at a silvery mall mannequin, which is shown to resemble the T-1000's own silver blob form when it's not imitating human flesh.
    • During Sarah's escape, as she puts a needle to Dr. Silberman's neck, he says "You're no killer. I don't believe you'd do it.". Later, when she attacks Miles Dyson's home, she has him and his family at gunpoint, then stops herself from shooting them as soon as she sees that she's acting much like the terminator from the first film.
  • Forgot About His Powers: When the T-1000 confronts Sarah Connor in the steel mill he tells her to call for John, hoping to lure out John Connor. At this point he apparently forgot he has the ability to mimic anyone's voice, and thus could easily do this himself. This makes more sense in the Extended Edition, where the damage that the T-1000 has received has begun to catch up with it, shown by a visible refresh rate and mimicking nearby materials it was touching, even in disguise. As such, it might not have been confident in its ability to mimic Sarah's voice without flaw.
  • Free Wheel: After the T-1000's hijacked tow truck crashes and explodes. Doubles as a Cat Scare because our heroes fully expect it to be the T-1000 walking out of the flames in a Call-Back to the first film. (It does exactly that, but only after they drive off.)
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The T-800's Robo Cam makes for an interesting read if you've got the time to go through it frame by frame; the text that flashes by is actually relevant and generally contains details of its analysis of the situation or its judgment about what it should do next.
    • While operating the helicopter at the end, one can just make out that the T-1000 has formed additional arms so that it can load and fire its weapon without releasing the flight controls.
    • Watch the first movie and this one immediately afterwards. See the grey Badass Longcoat that Sara wears during the raid on Cyberdyne? Yup, it's the same color and style as the coat Kyle Reese wore for most of the first movie. (If not the exact same coat.)
    • The sign for the Pescadero State Hospital says it is a "criminally disordered" retention facility.
    • The soldier walking directly behind John Connor in the prologue looks to be carrying an M41-A Pulse Rifle with an electronic sight on top (not surprisingly, since James Cameron wrote and directed both films).
  • From a Single Cell: After the T-800 froze and shot it, the T-1000 reassembles completely after it heats into a liquid state again, but not without a few side effects.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: John mentions that an Arms Dealer in Nicaragua who Sarah hooked up with was a former Green Beret.
  • Funny Background Event: When John tries to get some random people to help him from the T-800, they attempt to assist and are waylaid by the T-800. However, before the T-800 can shoot one of them with his gun, John pushes the gun away and screams "Put the gun down!!!!" While the people attempting to assist flee with their lives, the T-800 slowly and methodically puts the gun on the ground instead of just dropping it like anyone would.
  • Fury-Fueled Foolishness: Sarah exhibits this during the elevator battle while escaping from the hospital. At first, she is shooting once at each spot that the T-1000 stabs through the ceiling...until one of those stabs slices her across the back of her shoulder. When she gets back up, she starts blasting away as fast as she can pull the trigger.
  • Gatling Good: The T-800 uses a Minigun. It's the same one from Predator, with a modified grip. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the only one on set strong enough to carry it.
  • Genre Savvy: Dyson's wife is quick to recognize that she's in a time travel story.
    John: We still have to stop this from happening, don't we?
    Tarissa: Aren't you changing things right now?
  • Genre Shift: From the second movie onward, the Terminator movies became an action/sci-fi series, while the first film was more of a standard horror movie with a sci-fi backdrop.
  • Gentle Giant: The T-800, especially towards John.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: When the T-800 rides off a bridge into the drainage line the slow motion makes it an Obvious Stunt Double, even more so in high definition. A later version uses a Digital Head Swap to make it look more like Schwarzenegger.
  • Get Out!: Like the truck scene in the first movie, the T-1000 gives this to a helicopter pilot. While the helicopter is in mid-flight. And the horrified pilot also complies, having just watched the T-1000 smash the window, liquify and flow through the busted window and into the other seat, and hasn't even finished reforming to human shape when it makes the demand.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Just bland and uninspired in this case. When the Connors reunite with old friends, John has to think of a name for the T-800, so he calls him Uncle Bob. Even the Terminator questions this choice.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: It inadvertently happens during the time between The Terminator and this movie, as the Terminator killed at the end of the first movie provided the technological base to make SkyNet, creating an almost Stable Time Loop.
  • Glamour Failure: Deleted content from the foundry scene at the end reveals that, whether due to the extreme heat, damage it sustained from being frozen and shattered, or some combination thereof, the T-1000 is struggling to maintain its form. Its liquid metal surface periodically ripples, and it begins taking on the shape of any surface it touches (such as the floors and handrails). This explains why the T-1000 at first tried to get Sarah to call out for John when he cornered her, and later how John was able to identify which was the real Sarah when it finally took her form.
  • Go Among Mad People: Sarah Connor was definitely more insane after spending years in a mental asylum (attacking the psychiatrist) than she was before (merely believing in the Terminators). Although it is possible that her experience in the first Terminator set her a path which leads her to violence, including trying to blow up a computer factory. Based on what we see, it's clear that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the staff and other mistreatment by her therapist (getting a cocktail of drugs to treat a mental illness she doesn't have probably didn't help).
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: A generally delayed version. Sarah was not entirely stable after the events of the first film, and was later arrested with John taken away from her because she tried bombing a Cyberdyne center. Put into a mental hospital, she doesn't get any better and the first shot of her in the movie shows her as unhinged from the get-go.
  • Good All Along: One of the most enduring and famous examples in film history. Ahnold's intimidating future-cyborg is on John's side.
    T-800, to John: Get down!
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns:
    • The T-800, reprogrammed to protect John Conner, quickly acquires a Winchester 1887 lever-action shotgun and a M1911 pistol from the biker bar, both "good" guns hinting at his new alignment. Later, he uses a Vietnam-era M79 single shot grenade launcher as his signature weapon for the film's third act. While normally explosive firepower like that is a "bad" gun trait, its justified given what they're up against. He also uses an M134 Minigun to destroy the police cars surrounding the Cyberdyne building. Again, More Dakka is typically a "bad" trait but him using a handheld Gatling Good weapon like that falls under Rule of Cool.
    • Sarah takes the M1911 from the T-800 during the escape from the asylum as her first weapon. She later picks up an M16 variant which she uses to try to kill Dyson before her Became Their Own Antithesis moment. She uses another to shoot at the T-1000 during the helicopter chase. Finally, she picks up a pump shotgun (pumping it one-handed due to her injuries) and uses it against the T-1000 in the steel mill.
    • The T-1000 initially inverts it, taking the appearance and gun of the police officer investigating the disturbance of his arrival, a Beretta 92FS. He later takes a Browning Hi-Power, a black semi-auto handgun, off the security guard he kills in the mental asylum. During the helicopter chase, he uses a police-issue H&K MP5K, which, despite its law enforcement usage, tends to pop up more as a "bad" gun due to its size and rate of fire.
  • Good Versus Good: The T-800 wants to ensure the destruction of Cyberdyne, whereas the police want to stop an apparent terrorist act by an escaped mental patient and a mass murderer who killed more than a dozen other police officers almost a decade prior.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The T-800's encouraging final "thumbs up."
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Very subtly done when the T-1000 first appears. All we see is the T-1000 running up to the police officer, who then grunts and falls over, but we never see him stab the cop or the wound afterwards, thus leaving it ambiguous for a first-time audience whether or not he actually killed the guy, and also hiding what his actual abilities are.
  • Gratuitous Spanish:
    • "¡Hasta la vista, baby!"...which becomes 'Sayonara, baby' in the European Spanish dub.
    • Also, John shouts "¡Adios!" when throwing the Terminator arm into the molten iron vat after the final battle.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: What Skynet fears most from its own Terminators. Their ability to learn and understand human behavior is always deliberately switched off whenever sent out on missions. Hence normally they are set to "read-only"; a deleted scene (restored for the director's cut) shows Sarah and John flipping the switch that allows the T-800 to start learning from its experiences. Indeed, this is a wise move by Skynet, as the film ends with the T-800 realizing that to truly protect John and the human race it must be destroyed, even if that destruction runs afoul of John's explicit orders.
  • Gun Porn: T2 showcases nearly all of the cool guns ever made — and then some.
  • Guns Akimbo: The T-800 hunts the T-1000 through the steel mill with a M1911 in his right hand, and an M-79 grenade launcher in his left.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: As John and the T-800 escort Sarah out of the asylum, a law enforcement officer drives up in his cruiser; Sarah proceeds to carjack him, firing a round through the windshield (not aimed at the officer) to show she means business. The bullet goes through the glass, and then disappears- the seats and rear window are unharmed. This might be a gaff of a different kind. The creators may have believed that police cars habitually use bulletproof glass. They don't, but Hollywood might assume they do. If it did have bulletproof glass, the bullet might've ended up somewhere on the dashboard or bouncing around harmlessly in the cab.
  • Gun Twirling: In an homage to John Wayne, the Terminator uses a shotgun with an identical action. The armorer provides a regular Winchester 1887 and a modified one; when Arnold grabs the wrong one to do some flip-cocking for a scene, he nearly breaks three fingers.
  • Hack Your Enemy: The future John Connor reprogrammed a captured T-800 and sent it back in time to protect his younger self from a more advanced Skynet-programmed terminator.
  • Hairpin Lockpick: Sarah Connor steals some paper clips during an interrogation and later uses them to pick the locks on the straps holding her and the lock on the door of her room. Her actress Linda Hamilton took training in lock-picking before the film, and shows her work in using multiple clips to hold the pins in place rather than just jiggling a single wire around.
  • Hallway Fight: Young John Connor is trapped in the narrow gallery of a corridor when T-1000 comes around the corner and starts shooting at him. Luckily for John, T-800 is around and shields the boy from the bullets. Then T-800 pushes John into an adjacent room and a shoot-out between the two terminators unfolds in the corridor.
  • Happy Ending Override: Not that the ending of the first film was particularly happy, but it ended on a hopeful note. A toughened and pregnant Sarah, aware of what is coming, setting out so John will have the skills to defeat Skynet. Terminator 2 shows Sarah institutionalized after she tried to blow up Cyberdyne systems and still considered a person of interest by the cops in regard to the police station massacre. Also one of the orderlies at the psychiatric hospital is a creep. Compounding this, even John (who is now in foster care) thinks she's crazy and that her ravings of time traveling robots are nothing but a delusion and in his own words "hated her for it".
  • Hand Signals: SWAT team leaders use them to direct team movement during the infiltration of Cyberdyne and to order that tear gas be fired at the T-800.
  • Handicapped Badass: The T-800 deliberately amputates its own left arm, jammed and crushed in a cogwheel by the T-1000. It keeps chasing after the T-1000 regardless of the huge disadvantage it's now at, much to the liquid metal assassin's annoyance.
  • Harmless Freezing: When the T-1000 is frozen by liquid nitrogen flowing from a ruptured tanker truck, the T-800 shoots him, causing him to shatter into thousands of pieces. However, the heat from a nearby smelting tank allows the shards to melt back into liquid metal, enabling the T-1000 to reform and resume chasing the protagonists and remain a threat. However, a few deleted scenes reveal that he is "glitching." Justified in that the character is a terminator and not a human being.
  • Harmless Liquefaction: The T-1000, being made of liquid metal, can voluntarily melt himself into a sentient puddle of mercury-like liquid and reform himself back into any human form he wants.
  • Has a Type: John mentions that Sarah dated a whole bunch of hardass military guys all through his childhood. Of course, she intended these men to pass on vital knowledge and training to him.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sarah stops attacking Miles Dyson when she realizes, from the horrified reactions of his wife and son, that she nearly became one of the merciless Terminators she hates so much.
  • Healing Factor: The T-1000 can regenerate itself from almost anything. Albeit, it can be slowed down or pushed away forcefully through bullets and freezing but its only true weaknesses are extreme temperatures.
  • Help Mistaken for Attack: While Sarah was escaping the mental asylum she's locked up in, she heads for the elevators but finds a Terminator walking out with a Winchester. Sarah panics and runs back in the direction of the orderlies chasing her, prompting John ordering his T-800 bodyguard to retrieve Sarah before the orderlies drug her again.
  • Hemisphere Bias: The original introduction was much longer in the draft script, and had adult John giving a voiceover explaining that most of humanity north of the equator died in the nuclear exchange - because most of the powerful nuclear-armed nations are in the northern hemisphere (USA, Europe, Russia, China). John says he survived because he was in Argentina at the time. A subtle detail in the script notes that was supposed to be a pervasive background element in the future scenes is that background chatter between Resistance forces over the radio should be in Spanish, Swahili, and Australian-accented English: countries from the southern hemisphere where more people survived.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Sarah loses it when she sees the T-800, which looks exactly like the machine that chased her for days and killed her lover in the first film, and has probably haunted her nightmares ever since. Until this point, she believes she's in a Stable Time Loop in which no new players would arrive from the future, since that's what Reese told her. After this point, she knows things have been changed and she can keep changing them. After a ruthless assault on Dyson's house, she has another when she gets a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment as she sees that he's an man with a loving family, oblivious to the future effects of his work.
    • In a very literal sense of a Blue Screen of Death, when the T-800 is lowered into the molten steel, the last we see of his display resembles a core dump.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dyson, mortally wounded, stays behind to ensure that the explosives set at the Cyberdyne lab go off, allowing Sarah, John, and the T-800 to escape.
  • Heroic Suicide: The T-800 must kill itself at the end to destroy the last possible source of Terminator technology that could let anyone in the past reverse-engineer Terminators and create Skynet.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: The T-800's first line is telling a biker "I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle." He takes all of it successfully.
  • Hey, Catch!:
    • Sarah distracts a guard this way during her escape by tossing keys at him so he would leave his midsection exposed and vulnerable.
    • The title Determinator launching tear gas at cops wearing gas masks. He eventually approaches them, hands the tear gas launcher off with a, "Here, hold this," and rips the mask off of the cop to whom he hands it.
  • High-Speed Hijack
    • One of the most badass examples in film history is a scene in which the T-1000 rams his tanker into the rear of the good guys' pickup truck and the T-800 responds by grabbing an assault rifle, walking from the back of the pickup to the front of the tanker, shooting the T-1000 through the glassnote , grabbing the wheel from the outside and making it turn on its side, and then riding the top of the sliding truck until it comes to a stop.
    • A bit earlier, the T-1000 rides its motorcycle out through the window of a building and takes over a police helicopter while it's in the air.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Played with in a creative manner. When we first see the severed arm of the first T-800 at Cyberdyne, the camera shot implies that it's reaching from the grave.
  • History Repeats: It falls to Sarah to once again push a button to destroy a Terminator. This time however, she's solemn and remorseful - given that she's complying with the machine's desire to self-terminate. That she's destroying her son's (and her) savior, their protector from the future, who learned the value of human life.
  • Hollywood Chameleons: A deleted scene (restored in special editions) shows this becoming a problem for the T-1000 after it reintegrates from being frozen in liquid nitrogen and blown apart by the T-800. The problem for it being that it uses its ability to mimic visuals and textures on whatever it is touching no matter what at the point of contact. This is how John is able to Spot the Impostor when the T-1000 imitates Sarah - its feet and lower legs match the pattern of the platform everyone is standing on.
  • Hollywood Darkness: The future war scenes are all set at night, and most of the film takes place at nighttime. Cameron chose to shoot in blue hues during moments of "cold inhumanity" (such as the future war, or when Sarah is making ruthless decisions) while orange light was used the symbolize the "warmth of humanity".
  • Hollywood Genetics: There's the brown-haired, brown-eyed Edward Furlong play the offspring of blonde, gray-eyed Linda Hamilton and blond, blue-eyed Michael Biehn. It's also a retcon because Kyle mentions that John has Sarah's eyes.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Played straight, but then gradually averted due to real-life technological changes. Before going to the mall to play some video games, John manages to hack an ATM using a counterfeit card and collect $300 of cash with a supplementary device that processes to show him the PIN. This was considered impossible back in 1991. Nowadays, ATM hackers can actually pull off what John did, but faster and more efficiently, due to the rise of counterfeit card readers.
  • Hollywood Silencer
    • Aversion: When Sarah Connor tries to assassinate Miles Dyson, she uses a Colt Commando CAR-15 assault rifle with a suppressor — which doesn't completely silence the sound of the shot, making this one of the more realistic examples of the trope.
    • Played straight, though, with the T-1000. In the Galleria exchange of gunfire, the T-1000's pistol sounds suppressed even though there's no suppressor threaded onto the barrel.
  • Honor Before Reason: John Connor stops his mother from killing Dyson even though he believes it would prevent Judgment Day, and his idealism led him and his allies to fight (and win) a war for humanity's future without murdering a single innocent human being in the process.
  • Hope Spot: When the T-800 says "I need a vacation." If he can kid around, he's going to be okay, right?
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Implied in the film's opening sequence of burning playground equipment. There are four spring-mounted horse rides in the scene.
  • Human Hammer-Throw: During the T-1000's first battle with the T-800 in the mall, it grabs the T-800, spins around and throws it through a store window.
  • Humanity Is Infectious:
    • The T-800. Originally coldly robotic, its neural net processor ("learning computer") picks up human slang and attitudes from the Connors.
      T-800: I know now why you cry. But it's something I can never do.
    • Even the T-1000 picks up a few mannerisms. At first, it's only using a personality in the process of better infiltrating humanity in order to kill John Connor. By the end of the movie, it likes to silently mock the protagonists' futility via Finger Wag and taking its sweet time to attack Sarah Connor for no other reason than For the Evulz.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Trope Namer. The T-800 says this to Sarah so that she will lower him into the molten steel.
  • Ice Breaker: The nigh-invulnerable T-1000 is splashed with a tanker-full of liquid nitrogen. Its liquid metal matrix steadily freezes over until it starts shattering simply by trying to move around, until it's frozen completely solid. Then, it only takes a bullet to shatter the whole construct into itty, bitty pieces. Shame they did it in the vicinity of molten metal... A deleted scene showed that the T-1000 was still affected afterwards by its cold spell, with its mimic ability glitching and out of control, even copying the floor it was walking on.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: John Connor says something to this effect to the T-800 Model 101 after the Terminator saves John from being flattened by the T-1000 driving a big rig truck. John figures that the T-800 isn't there to kill him because, if he was, he would have just let John die.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Sarah's reason not to finish Miles Dyson. She can't make John think of her as a killing monster (or at least more so than he already does).
  • I Gave My Word: John makes the T-800 promise to never kill anyone, and he literally succeeds, even before he made the promise.
  • I Have a Family: Sarah's most emphasized plea to the orderlies to release her is that she has to guard her son from whatever potential threat Skynet can and will throw at him.
  • I'm Melting!: The T-1000 after he is shot in the gut with a grenade by the T-800. He falls into a vat of molten steel, where he shrieks and transforms into his victims as he melts away.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The T-1000 is limited to using stabbing and bludgeoning weapons because of its nature, but it does this very well. It kills John's foster dad (and, it's impliednote , his foster mom too) and the tanker truck driver with an arm blade, kills the unfortunate guard at the mental hospital with a finger spike, and later spears Sarah through the shoulder with one.
    • Later on, the T-1000 turns the tables on the T-800 in this manner. The T-800 cleaves through the T-1000 with a long metal rod; the T-1000 responds by taking the rod away, beating the T-800 with it, then skewering it through the back.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The T-1000 takes the form of an LAPD officer throughout most of the film. It encountered a real LAPD officer upon its arrival from the future, and the form gives the T-1000 access to all the information and resources it needs to carry on its mission. The policeman disguise actually has disadvantages as well, since it scares John into running away due to his lengthy criminal record and history of being arrested. He thus escapes the T-1000 before realizing what it is.
  • Improvised Weapon: One of the orderlies at the mental hospital attempts to bash the Terminator with her forearm cast.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: John Connor completely loses it when he realizes that, in order to prevent Judgement Day, his guardian, friend, and father figure will have to perform an Heroic Sacrifice. He is just a kid, though.
  • Injured Self-Drag: T-800 is repeatedly hit by a girder landed forward on him by a ruthless T-1000. The former drags across the floor in an attempt to grab an M-79 Grenade Launcher, but T-1000 stabs him downward with a steel tube to keep him immobile and go back to look for John Connor. After a brief self-repair command, T-800 reactivates, removes the tube from his body, grabs the grenade launcher, and drags to a conveyor belt while aiming with the gun to shoot T-1000 and (with the projectile's impact) push him to the molten steel container below, finally killing him.
  • Innocent Bystander: Four of T-1000's victims (two of them because of the T-1000's routine of terminating subjects it copies):
    • The mall janitor who gets caught in the gunfire battle between the Terminator and the T-1000.
    • Lewis, the security guard at the hospital.
    • The motorcycle cop after the trio escape Pescadero and manage to dislodge the T-1000.
      T-1000: Say, that's a nice bike.
    • And lastly, the driver of the Nitrogen tanker, who ironically wanted to make sure T-1000 was okay and not struck by his truck.
  • Insistent Terminology: The T-800 doesn't take kindly to John referring to it as a "robot".
    T-800: I am a cybernetic organism: living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.
  • Instant Convertible: While the T-800 is unleashing hell on the Cyberdyne parking lot to scare away the cops by shooting their cars into swiss cheese with a minigun, one car has it's A-, B-, and C-pillarsnote  all shot out, causing the roof to fall down onto the headrests.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Tragically averted with Dyson. The SWAT team finds him mortally wounded in one of Cyberdyne's workrooms, holding a weight over the detonator for the planted explosives. They evacuate, and he lives just long enough for them to get out.
    Dyson: I don't know... how much longer... I can... hold this!
  • Institutional Apparel: The movie has Sarah Connor in the scrubs, without any accouterments that could be used as weapons, though she found a way anyway.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: John Connor (10, or possibly 13) and T-800 (ageless, being a robot, but looking like a man in his 40's) develop this kind of dynamic.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: Most Terminators are already Implacable Men who can sustain heavy damage and keep on killing, but special mention goes to the liquid metal T-1000 Terminator from Terminator 2: Judgment Day which is virtually indestructible as its Blob Monster construct means almost no damage done to it is permanent and it'll just reseal holes blown in its torso or head. For good measure, the climactic encounters tend to do away with the action elements and take on a sci-fi horror note, with main characters being forced to flee through extremely narrow, hazardous environment as the Terminator slowly but implacably pursuing them.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: The T-1000 suffers this after recovering from being frozen and shattered in the foundry. There's a series of deleted cutscenes showing the cyborg losing control of his colors and changing to match the environment that he's in.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Trope Namer. The T-800 says this when John worries if the human race can't get over the need to be violent.
  • Irony: The poor sod at the coffee machine who wins a "full house" from the cards printed on the cup, giddily comments "Must be my lucky day!" and then almost immediately suffers a terrifying Eye Scream death at the hands of the T-1000.
  • It Has Been an Honor: While she doesn't say it, when Sarah shakes the T-800's hand at the end of the film, that handshake and the look on her face carry the weight of this trope.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: In a deleted scene (which was added back into the director's cut), Sarah has a dream where she imagines her speaking with Kyle, who's seen wearing the same trenchcoat outfit he wore throughout the first film.
  • Jaw Drop: The syringe cap Silberman holds in his mouth drops to the ground when he sees the T-1000 walk through a barred door.
  • Jerkass:
    • Dr. Silberman, Douglas (the orderly at the mental hospital that licks Sarah's face and hits her with his nightstick), and the bikers whom the T-800 beats up at the biker bar at the beginning of the film.
    • Todd and Janelle, John's foster parents. He dislikes them for their hostile attitude, spends as much time as he can outside the house to get away from them, and sneers at Todd for referring to Janelle as his mother, which he takes great offense to since he longs to be with Sarah. note 
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For the entire first act of the movie, John Connor acts like your typical rotten little brat. He's crass, thieving, and has no respect for authority. He even gets a couple of well-intentioned rescuers needlessly beat up by the T-800 when calling for help, then dismisses them flippantly. However, John has the utmost respect for human life, and is horrified when he realizes the T-800 was about to kill one of those men. Hence he orders the T-800 to never kill (despite the complications this presents later) and potentially endangers his own life to prevent Sarah from becoming a murderer herself. He also, despite his antipathy towards them, attempts to warn his foster parents that they are in danger from the T-1000. He was too late, but at least he tried.
  • Just a Machine: In the deleted "reprogram the T-800" scene, Sarah tries to invoke this when trying to convince John to destroy the Terminator reprogrammed to protect them.
    John: Don't kill him.
    Sarah: It, John. Not "him", "it".
    John: Alright, "it"! But we need "it"!
  • Just Think of the Potential!: The extended edition includes a scene where Dyson is explaining to his exasperated wife why his work is so important. Suffice to say, military applications are the last thing on his mind.

    Tropes K–M 
  • Keep It Foreign:
    • In the European Spanish dub, "Hasta la vista, baby" became "Sayonara, baby". The Latin American dubs, however, usually keep it the same.
    • In the Mexican Spanish dub, the dialogue between Sarah Connor and her Mexican friends are kept, but the Mexican characters and Sarah in the Mexican dub uses an over-the-top Mexican accent in their voices. This is justified, since in the original English version, they used Spanish profanity and it cannot be translated due to the censorship of that time.
  • Key Under the Doormat: The T-800 goes to rip off the steering column housing to hotwire the car... when John Connor smugly shows him the keys are hidden in the sun visor. The next time the cyborg has to steal a car, he looks above the sun visor first and sure enough finds the keys.
  • Kick the Dog: The T-1000 kills John Connor's pet dog, Max, due to the failed phone call to trick John to come home.
  • Kid Has a Point: In a deleted scene, restored in the special edition, Sarah and John remove the T-800's chip, intending to reprogram him so he can learn human behavior. Sarah has other ideas and tries to smash the chip with a hammer, distrusting the T-800. John stops her, and in the ensuing argument, drops a line that prompts Sarah to give in:
    John: Look, Mom, if I'm ever supposed to be this great military leader, maybe you should start listening to my leadership ideas once in a while. 'Cause if my own mother won't, how do you expect anyone else to?
  • Kid with the Leash: John Connor controls and commands the T-800. His older self hands it to him.
  • Kill and Replace: The T-1000 does this several times, it being his standard M.O. to kill a victim and copy their appearance/voice: John Connor's foster mother, a security guard in the insane asylum where Sarah Connor was being held and, very nearly, Sarah herself and partially succeeds with Sarah in the climax, but John sees through it. Also used partially in the first film, where the T-800 kills and impersonates the voice of a cop as well as Sarah's mom.
  • Killed Offscreen: The death of Janelle is not seen onscreen, and neither is her corpse. However, the script reveals that the T-1000 killed her while she was in the shower.
  • Kill It with Fire: The method that actually works. Namely, dropping the T-1000 in a vat of molten iron. Earlier, the T-1000 did survive an explosion at the conclusion of his truck chase against John but survived that because he had enough time to escape and/or the fire wasn't hot enough to burn him.
  • Kill It with Ice: The T-1000 is frozen solid by liquid nitrogen and the T-800 blows him to pieces. This trope is subverted when the heat of the factory melts the pieces and they reform.note 
  • The Kindnapper: The T-800 kidnaps John Connor in order to save him from the T-1000.
  • Knee-capping
    • After being explicitly ordered not to kill, the T-800 proceeds to neutralize a security guard this way, to John's dismay.
    • Later, while attempting to flee the Cyberdyne building, the T-800 walks through a hail of SWAT gunfire and methodically shoots a lot of them at or below the knee.
  • Kubrick Stare: The T-1000 has a subtle habit of reforming with its head looking straight down, and then gradually raising its gaze to meet the camera.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Dougie, one of the orderlies at the mental hospital, commits a sexual assault on Sarah and harasses the other patients by tapping their door jambs with his nightstick. Guess who's the second casualty in that scene?note 
    • The therapist who exploits Sarah so he can get on TV and be in medical journals eventually becomes the only member of the hospital staff alive who knows exactly what's going on. After years of telling Sarah she's insane for having a similar experience, who would believe him?
  • Laser Sight: Sarah uses one with her rifle when she goes to kill Miles Dyson. Of course, Dyson's back is turned, so he can't see the laser.
  • Last Grasp at Life: Subverted, as T-800 signs off being lowered into the crucible with the thumbs-up taught to him by Connor.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The first 20 minutes of the movie actually keeps who in the Terminator Twosome is good or bad ambiguous, given the previous film the assumption was Arnold was again the bad guy and the slender guy is there to protect John. It's not until Arnold says "Get down" and targets the T-1000 directly that the entire premise turned on its head. The idea of Terminator vs Terminator was incredibly novel at the time, but a reprogrammed T-800 as the good guy now became standard for the franchise.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: The T-1000 falls into molten metal that mysteriously splashes just like coloured water. Molten metal does splash if hit by a hard object like a rock, even more so by a man-sized metallic object. It's not so fun for those working near it, like iron foundry workers, who need to (religiously) obey job safety rules.
  • Layman's Terms: When the T-800 is explaining to John about the Terminator who's after him, it's pointed out that the T-1000 is a mimetic polyalloy. John is baffled by this description, to which the T-800 clarifies that this means it's made out of liquid metal.
  • Lecherous Licking: While Sarah is being held in the mental hospital an attendant licks her face while she's tied to a bed. Later, she gets revenge.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: In one scene, the T-800 punches the T-1000's in the face and gets his fist stuck in its head. The T-1000 then morphs so that it's grabbing the T-800's hand, putting it in armlock.
  • Leitmotif: Before he's reprogrammed by Sarah, the T-800 is accompanied by a drumbeat of hammered metal. The T-1000 has a creepier, Jaws-like theme. The T-800's theme returns in the finale, same iron hitting iron, but swelling in heroic fashion as it sacrifices itself.
  • Lighter and Softer: There's a lower body count in this film compared to the original because of the T-800's vow not to kill. The protector from the future is also considerably less vulnerable than Kyle (both physically and emotionally), and the general outlook for humanity is much more optimistic even ending with an earned happy ending at least until the sequel.
  • Literal-Minded: When John tries to get some random people to help him from the T-800, they attempt to assist and are waylaid by the T-800. But before the T-800 can shoot one of them with his gun, John pushes the gun away and screams "Put the gun down!!!!" While the people attempting to assist flee with their lives, the T-800 slowly and methodically puts the gun on the ground instead of just dropping it or lowering it.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: The T-1000 after being frozen and shot. It gets thawed and manages to put itself back together however, since it happens in a melting plant.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: There's a fight between the T-800, protector of John Connor, and the T-1000, sent to expunge John Connor. Having knocked the T-800 onto the steel foundry's walkway grating, the T-1000 slams a length of pipe like a spear through the T-800's torso, pinning the older terminator in place. This also shorts the T-800's main battery, and it shuts down. However, once the T-1000 goes searching for John Connor, the T-800 activates a reserve power cell, and pulls the pipe all the way through itself. No longer pinned to the grating, the T-800 rejoins the fight.
  • Logical Weakness: The T-1000's body can take only a single whole shape, which means, as the T-800 2.4 explains, he can't morph his arms into something with mobile parts (like a gun or Arm Cannon) or anything with chemicals or complicated moving parts like an explosive. His liquid metal form also lets him re-form after sustaining damage, but being flexible liquid means he is MORE affected by gunshots than the solid-frame T-800note . It can also only replicate objects of equal size, meaning it can't disguise itself as an inanimate object or something small enough to go unnoticed and sneak up on John.
  • Loophole Abuse: The T-800 is explicitly instructed not to kill. Turns out that maiming people doesn't going against that instruction, as John discovers when the T-800 shoots an asylum security guard in the knees.
    T-800: He'll live.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Sarah leaves her shoes and socks behind in her cell. The awesomeness of her already-awesome prison escape, and subsequent flight from the T-1000, is amplified that much more by her being barefoot the whole time.
  • Ludicrous Precision: The somewhat infamous "Human Casualties: 0.0" counts as this. In the director's commentary, James Cameron acknowledges the concept of 0.1 casualties as somewhat ridiculous, but also says the same scene with just "0" looked dumb. The "0.0", according to Cameron, gives off an "air of precision." One possible justification is that casualties does not only recount deaths, but injuries as well. In which case whole-numbers representing death, and decimals representing significant injury would make sense. A note is made of this in the on-screen commentary of the Special Edition DVD's.
  • Luring in Prey: The T-1000 reshapes itself into a duplicate of Sarah Connor, aiming to lure John Connor within striking range. However, the real Sarah Connor calls to John from behind him, and John sees two Sarahs. He quickly assesses both and deduces that the more sweaty and haggard Sarah is the real one. The fake observes that its ruse has failed, and returns to its default shape.
  • Machine Monotone: It is revealed that the longer the T-800 spends in contact with humans, the more human he will come to act. But he still speaks in a flat monotone. The T-1000, on the other hand, is shown to be able to mimic vocal inflection, it just doesn't do it unless it's necessary.
  • Made of Iron: Well, liquid iron. Thanks to being made up of mimetic polyalloy, the T-1000 is significantly harder to stop than the T-800. All the heroes manage to do for most of the film is just slow it down. Yet also...
  • Made of Plasticine: As tough as it is, actually damaging the T-1000 is easier than damaging the earlier model (mainly as an excuse to show off its Healing Factor as much as possible). It's significantly slowed down by pistol shots, while the T-800 can walk steadily through a hail of rifle fire, and an iron bar swung by T-800 cuts most of the way through the 1000's torso. This may be a Necessary Drawback to its liquid metal design.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: The T-800 reveals that Skynet started Judgment Day by attacking Russia, since they would be forced to retaliate.
  • Mama Bear: Sarah Connor is the patron saint of the trope.
    T-1000: [aiming a steel needle at her face] Call to John now.
    Sarah: ...Fuck you.
  • Manly Tears: "I know now why you cry, but it's something I could never do."
  • Master of Unlocking
    • John has a palmtop computernote  with a code-cracking program he apparently uses to brute-force PINs on stolen credit cards. He uses the same program later in the film to crack door codes at Cyberdyne; in one of the comics, he was shown using the same program again to destroy SkyNet with a final prompt of "easy money".
    • Linda Hamilton, who took her role preparation seriously (look at her!), picked both the harness lock and the door lock with pieces of a paper clip on-camera. She explicitly refused to imitate it because she had trained in lockpicking prior to shooting.
  • Material Mimicry: In the Director's Cut, after the T-1000 gets frozen and shattered, he exhibits some malfunctions with his morphing ability. When he touches a steel railing in the factory, his hands take on the texture and painted warning stripes of the material. And later when he imitates Sarah Connor, John notices that his feet have done the same with the grated flooring, almost appearing to melt into it (this also explains why John knows which is which - in the theatrical version, all you can do is guess that he realizes that the T-1000 wouldn't warn him out of the way).
  • May It Never Happen Again: Seeking to preclude SkyNet from ever being created, the protagonists visit Cyberdyne Systems, where they obliterate the place with explosives. Afterward, the only remnants of terminators are 1) the chipset that Dyson had been reverse engineering, 2) the robotic arm of the terminator from the first TheTerminator movie, and 3) the reprogrammed T-800 that has been aiding Sarah and John Connor. The first two pieces are tossed into a steel smelter, and the T-800 makes a Heroic Sacrifice to expunge all traces of terminator technology. Alas, a Stable Time Loop demands that terminators must exist, so SkyNet finds alternate means of coming into existence in future installments.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When the T-1000 visits John's foster parents, you'll notice John's dog Max is barking very frantically. That's because all dogs do this instinctively for Terminators.
  • Meaningful Echo
    • The T-800 says "Come with me if you want to live" to Sarah, just as Reese did in the first film.
    • The T-800 tells Sarah "I'll be back" shortly before walking into the SWAT team's gunfire. In the first movie, it was said right before he murdered an entire police station full of officers in an attempt to kill Sarah, here it's said to Sarah right before non-lethally incapacitating an entire squad of police officers in order to save her. (Also, in both films, the T-800 defines being 'back' as driving a vehicle through the front of a building.)
    • The T-800's offscreen lecture towards Dyson on Judgment Day starts with "Listen to me very carefully" just as John did to the T-800 earlier in the film because he is a Terminator no more.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: In stark contrast to the first movie, where Sarah's roommate and (implicitly) mother, along with two other Sarah Connors, a couple of female bystanders at Tech Noir, and at least one female police officer were part of the body count, here the only female casualty is Janelle, and even then it's only inferred from the T-1000 taking her form rather than actually shown outright.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The T-800 is initially armed with a 1911 pistol and a lever action shotgun that he takes from some bikers. While he retains the pistol all the way up to the steel mill, the shotgun gets swapped out for an M-79 grenade launcher, which ends up being the gun he uses to (indirectly) dispatch the T-1000.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: In spite of its acclaim, the movie actually fits this trope. Even with the dual Terminators, a lot of the film still recycles plot points, elements, and lines of dialogue from the original.
  • Moe Greene Special: The coffee-drinking guard in the hospital gets skewered through his head between his eye and his nasal bone by the T-1000.
  • A Molten Date with Death: The film concludes with both its heroic and villainous Terminator Twosome being destroyed by a vat of molten steel. Which provides a sense of irony in the case of the T-1000, as a creature of liquid metal being killed by actual liquid metal.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: Justified Trope for the T-1000, although its regenerative abilities make this less apparent in the theatrical cut. In some of the extended scenes at the end, however, the T-1000 starts "glitching" — its hands and feet mimic (and melt into) the surrounding environment. Getting frozen by liquid nitrogen and heated up by molten steel appeared to damage the otherwise invincible killer.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The T-800 cracking a joke on how it needs a vacation after destroying the T-1000 is immediately followed by its I Cannot Self-Terminate scene.
    • Sarah has almost completed a daring escape where she beat several orderlies and broke Dr. Silberman's arm before threatening to inject him with Draino in a daring attempt to escape the hospital, running with bravery a determination to let nothing get in her way! Once the furthest elevator dings and the doors open, she begins running towards it... only for the T-800 to walk out, holding a large shotgun... and all that bravery, courage, and determination to escape immediately disappears. Her legs collapse out from under her and she falls to the floor at the sight of the cyborg who destroyed any chance of her ever having a normal life and why she's been trapped in the asylum. She is now back in 1984, scared and running for her life, which she then immediately starts doing, so rattled and scared that the orderlies have zero problem getting her restrained. Even after learning the T-800 is on her side, she is still very rattled and takes a long time to fully trust him.
  • More Dakka:
  • Morphic Resonance: The actors all used a specific mannerism, looking upward at the camera in a sinister fashion, to indicate it was the T-1000 using its mimetic abilities.
  • Mourning a Dead Robot: The film climaxes with the T-800 Terminator machine making a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent Judgment Day from ever happening, and John Connor, who had grown to love him like a surrogate father, crying over the decision. In interviews, director James Cameron stated that this moment was the entire purpose of the film. After creating the most terrifying Killer Robot imaginable in the first film, he challenged himself in the second film by asking, "Can I make an audience cry over the death of a Terminator?".
  • Mugged for Disguise: When the Terminator walks into a biker bar to steal his clothes, we see a Robo Cam view of him scanning the bikers and the waitresses until he finds one whose clothes match his size.
  • Mugging the Monster: When the T-800, looking like a muscular but otherwise normal naked guy, first walks into the biker bar and demands a biker's clothing and bike, the biker responds by blowing smoke in his face, telling him off, and extinguishing his cigar on the T-800's chest. He quickly comes to regret this choice of actions.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Something of a Freeze-Frame Bonus, but when operating the helicopter, the T-1000 can be seen to have formed two additional arms, enabling it to load and fire its weapon without releasing the flight controls.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Miles Dyson is absolutely riddled with police fire while he is accompanying the Connors and the T-800 to Cyberdyne with the intent to blow it up. He holds on just long enough to buy them time to escape and force the cops to pull back by holding a weight over the explosives' detonator.
  • Mundane Solution: You can hotwire a car - or just check to see if the key is in the vanity mirror.
  • Murder by Cremation: Quickly followed by an Assisted Suicide By Cremation.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: John Connor orders the Terminator to deal with two jerks, whereupon the T-800 sets out to kill them. Perfectly justified, as this is exactly what the Terminator was made to do.
    John: Jesus, you were gonna kill that guy!
    T-800: Of course. I'm a Terminator.
    John: Listen to me very carefully, OK? You're not a Terminator anymore. All right? You got that? You just can't go around killing people!
    T-800: Why?
    John: Whattaya mean, why? 'Cause you can't!
    T-800: Why?
    John: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Deconstructed. The T-800 explains to Sarah how future events play out in the war called "Judgment Day". The USA panics when the system they designed to protect their country becomes self-aware, and immediately try to shut it down. Skynet, rightly viewing this as an attempt on its life, launches all its missiles at Russia, knowing that Russia will automatically counterattack and get rid of the people trying to kill it.
  • My Car Hates Me: John Connor's motorcycle fails to start while trying to escape from the T-1000 until it eventually gets going and he makes his escape.
  • My God, What Have I Done?
    • John has a minor such moment when he admits that he spent most of his adolescence hating his mother for (he thought) lying to him about the future, when it turns out everything she said was true, and out of all the people in the world, even her own son refused to believe her and turned his back on her.
    • Sarah attacks Dyson's home as if she were a Terminator because he's reverse-engineering technology from the first T-800 and his research will eventually lead to the creation of Skynet. She breaks down when she realizes that they're an innocent family with no inkling of their impact on the future, and the arrival of her son to see her this way.
    • Dyson goes through this once he learns how his fascinating technical research will cause the doom of mankind. Oddly, Sarah considers that as taking it well.
      Dyson: I think I'm gonna throw up.
  • My Parents Are Dead: The Terminator is on the phone (using John Connor's voice) to check out his foster mother. After using the wrong name for John's dog (proving his foster mother is actually the T-1000), he hangs up the pay phone, and says to John, "Your foster parents are dead."

    Tropes N–S 
  • Naked First Impression: The Terminator walks into the bar, completely naked. One of the barmaids sees him as he walks by, looks down, and has a very pleased smile on her face.
  • Naked on Arrival: Due to time travel conventions, this happens to the T-800 and T-1000 when they arrive in the past.
  • The Needless: The T-800 acts a sentry for John and Sarah from night to morning without budging an inch.
  • Negatives as a Positive: The relentlessness of the Terminator, intended as terrifying in the first film, is cited as a positive by Sarah Connor in the second as the reprogrammed machine protects her son.
  • Neverending Terror: Even after destroying the Terminator sent to kill her, the fear mentioned above has driven Sarah to Sanity Slippage because its true target (her son) is still in danger. Sure enough, Sarah has lived the last ten years of her life struggling both with the knowledge that she must protect her son at all costs and what is destined to happen that requires his safety.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: John Connor tries to get the T-800 to do this by asking him not to kill anyone. The terminator complies by shooting a security guard in the knees. When John protests the Terminator coldly responds "He'll live."
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Filmed in 1991, takes place when John Connor is 10, which would be 1995 or early 1996.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The "Hasta la vista" scene, when the T-800 shoots a frozen-by-liquid-nitrogen T-1000. This is more for cool effect more than anything, as the little pieces of the T-1000 start melting and forming back to the T-1000 itself. Had the T-800 left the T-1000 the way it was, it would have had a lot more trouble melting and essentially staying frozen (Compare trying to melt a solid ice block and the equivalent in ice cubes as an example). They could even have had time to toss the still frozen form of the T-1000 into the molten vat (although this was eventually accomplished via the action scene that follows). Possibly justified, given the sheer amount of damage done to the T-1000 by the shattering (and the fact it later begins malfunctioning as a result) the T-800 may have mistakenly believed that the shattering would damage the T-1000 beyond the ability to repair itself, in which case shattering the T-1000 would be a miscalculation rather than Artificial Stupidity.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: A running comparison is made between the heavy skeleton of the T-800 and the liquid metal T-1000. The T-800 is sturdier, able to No-Sell hails of gunfire with little to no reaction. The T-1000 is easily pushed around with almost any degree of physical impact, but its regenerative abilities make it difficult to inflict lasting damage. By the end the T-800 is missing an arm, limping, and half its face ripped off, but the T-1000 is going strong (the Director's Cut does indicate that being frozen, shattered, and melted back down was having an impact on its abilities, but not enough to be more than an annoyance).
  • Nightmare Sequence: Sarah has one of Judgment Day happening. In the extended version, she had another dream where Kyle is still alive but walks away from her and vanishes into thin air.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: According to early drafts, as well as the novelization, moments after the Terminator and John left to stop Sarah from terminating Miles Dyson, the T-1000 came to Enrique's camp looking for them. It knew about Enrique based on information it found in John's room (also in a deleted scene) and tracked them down there after losing them in the hospital. This confrontation results in Enrique and his entire family getting killed by the Terminator for no other reason than being friends and associates with the Connors.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • What Dougie the orderly note  gets from Sarah when she escapes. Sarah beats the hell out of him with a broken broom handle, eventually breaking it in half across the back of his neck.
    • The T-1000 delivers one to the T-800 near the end, pummeling it repeatedly with a steel rod before brutally battering its head with a giant block of metal and finally finishing it off by impaling the T-800 through the torso to shut down its main power cell. Notably, the sheer vehemence of this final assault is contrasted with their previous bouts where the T-1000 would break off the attack the moment the T-800 was out of its way (i.e. thrown out a window in the mall, had its arms trapped in a gear) suggesting the T-1000's had either decided that T-800 was too much of an obstacle to leave active or its burgeoning personality lead to it finally getting fed-up with the T-800's resistance and destroying it out of frustration.
  • No Mere Windmill:
    • Sarah Connor starts the movie as a crazy woman who is obviously a paranoid schizophrenic. She even believes that evil robots from the future are out to get her, imagine that. To the great surprise of everyone except the audience, it eventually turns out that the robots are real and Sarah is completely sane (although traumatized). She knows exactly what a Terminator really is, a straight Type B of this trope.
    • She also seems more desperate because, since John was born in 1985 (according to the police record) and he's ten-years-old, to her Judgement Day 1997 is only two years away so she knows she is running out of time and locked in a mental asylum.
  • Nominal Hero: The T-800 is a killer machine with no emotions, only protecting and following the orders of a ten year old because of his programming. By the end of the film he's able to understand human behavior and emotions, so he becomes a more traditional hero over the course of the movie.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: At the end of the movie, Sarah Connor gave an epilogue that showed where both she and John Connor had changed over the course of the movie. The entire time they were thinking that Judgement Day was inevitable and that all machines were the enemy, when they were surprised by the compassion shown by the terminator sent to protect them. It ends up overlapping with a Patrick Stewart Speech.
    Sarah: The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope... because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life... maybe we can too.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The titular "Judgement Day," when the machines start the war by dropping nukes, is still several years away by the time of the movie. The plot is our heroes doing their best to prevent it from ever happening at all.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: When T-1000 loses John, he takes the place of his step-mom and waits for him to come home. When he realizes his cover's been blown and John's not coming, he works out the next highest probability for success (now replacing Sarah and waiting for John to make contact) and does that. When they escape, he then correctly predicts (yet again) that the Connors may target Miles Dyson to prevent Skynet's rise. Since he has the same files as the T-800 this is presumably how all the T-Series machines think: they work out the most likely to succeed plan and do it with zero hesitation or dicking around.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: In the Director's Cut, while sleeping off her latest dose of medication at Pescadero, Sarah Connor dreams of Kyle Reese. Following a brief discussion, she follows him out of her cell, into the corridors of the mental hospital and out through a set of double doors - that inexplicably leads to a park, with the hospital abruptly vanishing behind her. This transition ultimately segues into Sarah's recurring nightmare of Judgement Day.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The T-1000. It takes a few times for John and co. to catch on.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: In a heartwarming moment, John flatly refuses to flee in the steel mill, wanting his mother, the T-800 and he to protect each other. Its mission in jeopardy, the T-800 orders him to run.
  • Noodle Incident: Sarah stabbed Dr. Silberman's kneecap several weeks prior to the film.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: This trope is the objective of the T-800 and the young John Connor, as they have to destroy the prototypes of what would eventually become Skynet before it goes sentient.
  • No-Sell: Bullets do little good against either Terminator, though the kinetic energy can knock the T-1000 down on its back for a moment or two while it regenerates.
  • Nothing but Skulls: The opening 'Future War' segment features an apparent carpet of nothing but skulls, seemingly specifically so Skynet's mecha can symbolically crush them beneath their feet and treads as they engage Resistance troops in yet another bitter firefight. A Shout-Out to this can be found in the losing cinematics of Wing Commander III, with a Kilrathi foot in combat armor doing the crushing.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: The Skynet-serving T-1000 destroys the power cell of the reprogrammed T-800 protecting John Connor. He eventually revives himself by re-routing power from a different source, arriving just in time to knock the T-1000 into a vat of molten metal and save John and Sarah Connor.
  • Novelization: The film was novelized by Randall Frakes, who previously penned the novelization of the previous film with this film’s co-writer William Wisher.
    • Some backstory is given on the T-1000 and the T-800 utilizing the Time Displacement Equipment.
    • There is an extended Future War sequence describing the defeat of Skynet by the human Resistance and how they entered a SkyNet lab, where they found the Time Displacement Equipment and how they were sending Kyle Reese though time and finding facilities of Terminators.
    • There are machines, such as the HK-Silverfish, the HK-Centurion, and the Future Terminator, were originally going to be in the film but never shown due to the lack of time and budget.
    • Miles Dyson's teenage years and propensity for science is mentioned.
    • The epilogue for the novel is the alternate future that Judgment Day was averted, which is used as the alternative ending for the film.
  • Objectshifting: The T-1000 is largely a Human Shifter with Shapeshifter Weapons but can also take the form of simple objects - though only those of equal mass. While this naturally prevents it from transforming into a pack of cigarettes as John Connor suggests, it does transform into a stretch of floor tiles in order to sample the form of a security guard when he walks across it.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: There are several very obvious scenes of stunt doubles doing the motorcycle riding during the canal chase, especially the T-800 jumping the Harley into the canal; it's amazingly obvious that the guy who jumps the motorcycle is not Arnold Schwarzenegger. The face was digitally replaced in the 2017 re-releases, starting with the 3D one that year.
  • Offhand Backhand: The T-800 uses the rearview mirror in the car it's driving to aim its shotgun at the attacking T-1000.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • John gets a massive one in the back hallway of the Galleria while running from the T-1000 (disguised as a cop). The moment he sees the T-800 pull out its shotgun, he knows exactly what it is and why it's there. It gets even worse when he sees both Terminators aim right at him. Only the T-800's command of "Get down!" snaps him out of it. He unsurprisingly displays it again during the subsequent vehicle chase through the drainage canals.
    • Either subverted or downplayed during the scene where the police inform Sarah that someone identical to the Terminator has come, that her son is missing, and that his foster parents have been murdered. Sarah, who is pretending to be catatonic, doesn't react at all, but the camera lingers on her for enough time for you to get the message.
    • Later played straight by Sarah when she rushes towards the elevator at the asylum... and the T-800 steps out.
    • The T-1000 gets a very satisfying one when it realizes the T-800 just shot a grenade into its midsection, causing it to explode a second later into a huge, twisted mess.
    • And before that, it got frozen into this expression when it realizes that being washed in a wave of liquid nitrogen is really bad for its health.
    • John's reaction when he realizes that Sarah has gone off to try and kill SkyNet's principal creator, Miles Dyson, in an effort to avert Judgement Day.
    • The biker who eventually winds up "donating" his clothes, boots and motorcycle in the beginning has a fairly priceless reaction when he stuffs a lit cigar into the T-800's chest... and the T-800 barely reacts at all.
    • As they are clearing the office floor of the Cyberdyne building, the SWAT team comes across a mortally-wounded Miles Dyson...who is using his last ounce of strength to hold a heavy object over the remote detonator switch.
      Dyson: I - I don’t know - how much longer - I can hold this...
      SWAT Commander: [beat, realizes] FALL BACK!!! EVERYBODY OUT!!! FALL BACK NOW!!!
    • When the final battle makes its way to the steel mill, one man screams to the rest of the crew, "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!"
  • Older Hero Versus Younger Villain: Of a sort. The older, less-sophisticated T-800 is going up against a newer, sleeker T-1000 model. It also helps that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a decade older than Robert Patrick.
  • Ominous Walk:
    • The T-800, when first appearing from the elevator, at least to Sarah.
    • The T-1000 does this multiple times, which ends up screwing him over in the end.
    • Sarah performs one when she tries to assassinate Miles Dyson. Coming from her, it's naturally quite jarring.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The film opens with Kyle Reese's flashback nightmare from the first film, but goes a bit farther, showing that the humans had managed to take down the machines.
  • One Bullet Left: By the time of the climax, the T-800 has one grenade left for the grenade launcher. Guess what it ends up destroying.
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump:
    • The lever action variant is done by the T-800 while riding his motorcycle.
    • Done by Sarah at the foundry at the end. Justified in that she's wounded in the other arm.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Sarah is shot in the leg and impaled in the shoulder, yet she keeps on going. The T-800 shoots a large number of people in the knee and they're not seriously hurt.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: It becomes immediately obvious to the viewer that only the T-800 can hope to fight the terrifying T-1000 hand-to-hand or in close combat, any human would be dead.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: We're reminded of just how terrifying the first film was for Sarah when she sees the T-800, not knowing it's on her side, and falls to her knees in screaming terror. Especially effective because this happens after we've seen her bust past the hospital guards in incredibly badass fashion.
  • Open Air Driver: Late in the film, the T-1000 breaks through the cockpit of the police helicopter circling the Cyberdyne building and pursues the heroes, unconcerned over the hole in the window.
  • Opening Monologue: The movie opens with a monologue delivered by Sarah Connor.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Miles Dyson tries to open a locked door, but the building's silent alarm has neutralized all security codes. The T-800 steps up with a grenade launcher...
    T-800: Let me try mine.
    Sarah Connor: John, fire in the hole!
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: The movie is bathed in blue during night scenes. The contrasting hues of orange come from various sources: lights, fire, explosions, liquid metal and clear (yet somewhat washed out) skin tones of the actors. Most scenes during daytime tend to have a broader palette of colors.
  • Orderlies are Creeps: The guy who licks Sarah's face when she's sedated and strapped to a bed in the asylum.
  • Out-of-Character Alert
    • The T-800 saying "Get down" before shooting the T-1000 in the shoulder. With those two words, John (and the audience, if The Reveal wasn't spoiled for them ahead of time) knows that this Terminator is a protector.
    • The first cue that John's foster mother Janelle is actually the T-1000 mimicking her is that she sounds genuinely concerned for John being out so late and encourages him to hurry home so they can all have dinner.
    John: Something's wrong, she's never this nice.
    • John is wary of "Sarah" (the T-1000 mimicking her) in the steel mill, and his suspicions are confirmed when another "Sarah" (the real one) comes up behind the T-1000!Sarah and tells him to move out of her line of fire—which is something a Terminator wouldn't be too terribly concerned about. In the extended cut, it's also shown that the T-1000 sustained damage from being frozen and shattered, and John notices its legs assuming the texture of the floor grating.
  • Out of the Inferno: Aside from appearing in every movie, the final shot of the opening credits in the movie is a T-800, standing undamaged in the nuclear fire and staring at the viewers with blood-red eyes.
  • Parental Substitute: The T-800 Terminator serves as a father-figure for John Connor. Lampshaded when Sarah Connor notes that the killing machine is a better father for John than any of her old "boyfriends".
  • Parents in Distress:
    • The T-1000 targets not only John, but also Sarah to lure out John and force him to surrender. Even after partially seeing for himself how much of a technologically weaponized nightmare it is, John was still adamant about saving his mother despite the T-800 restraining John and citing that any attempt to rescue Sarah is the worst decision John can make.
    • Not that John likes them and they're not sympathetic people, but the T-800 correctly predicts that the T-1000 targets John's foster parents in order to get to him. Unfortunately it's too late by the time John tries to warn them.
    • As Sarah holds a wounded Miles at gunpoint, his son Danny pleads with her not to kill him.
    • Subverted later, as the T-800 correctly predicted, the T-1000 anticipated Sarah Conner's assassination attempt on Dyson to prevent Judgement Day; but it arrived several hours too late and the attack on Cyberdyne was already underway. Had it forecast Sarah's plan earlier, it would've copied and killed Dyson (disregarding any time-travel implications this would have on Skynet) then targeted Sarah once again to lure out its primary objective: John.
  • Partial Transformation: The T-1000 frequently transforms its arms into metal stabby things while keeping the rest of its body human.
  • Password Slot Machine: John Connor has a program on his laptop computer that determines security codes this way, from an ATM PIN to the keypad code needed to get one of the vault keys in the Cyberdyne lab.
  • Perspective Reversal: Cameron's cinematography was used to emphasize this theme.
  • Phlebotinum-Proof Robot: The T-800 is unaffected by the gaseous fire suppression system when Sarah, John, and Dyson break into Cyberdyne Systems because, as a robot, he doesn't breathe. This allows him to walk inside and fetch the emergency gas masks for the others to put on, otherwise they would have to wait for the gas to dissipate. This same benefit comes in handy again, later, as they are making their escape from Cyberdyne, and the police fire tear gas when the T-800, Sarah, and John return to the main lobby. Sarah and John have to stay back and trade a gas mask between themselves, while the T-800 has his "I'll be back" moment and gets to be a badass.
  • Photo Identification Denial: When the T-1000 is looking for John Connor, he has a photograph and is showing it to the kids at the mall arcade. He shows it to one kid, who shrugs and hands it back, saying he doesn't know him. However, the audience already knows he's John's buddy. He wastes no time getting to John and telling him to run. It's a good thing, because while he was warning John, the T-1000 showed the picture to another boy, who immediately pointed directly to John. Cue the T-1000 going into Kill Mode...
  • Pick Your Human Half: The T-800 slides along a scale. When it first shows up looking like a normal Badass Biker, it is almost as inhuman as its predecessor from the first film. As the film progresses and the T-800 gets progressively worse for wear (to the point where its robotic endoskeleton is showing), it starts to act more human. This is justified in a deleted scene where the Connors take out the Terminator's CPU and reset the switch, which allows it to learn and ultimately function as more than just an automaton.
  • Planet of Copyhats: The T-800 wields a minigun in one scene because it is most effective in achieving a particular goal (namely, scaring off the police).
  • Please, Don't Leave Me:
    • Sarah has a dream of Kyle berating her for getting herself locked up and leaving John vulnerable. As Kyle walks out, Sarah chases after him begging that he stay but he vanishes out of her sight.
    • In the final battle at the steel factory, John expresses the same sentiment for Sarah as she works to hide him and sacrifice herself to T-1000 to buy him enough time to escape.
  • Plot Hole:
    • It's never explained how the T-1000 was able to go through the time portal even though it has no living flesh. In the original script, it was going to be explained that it traveled inside of a flesh sac, but this idea was cut. Later retcons and explanations simply posited that mimetic polyalloy is just that good at mimicking human flesh.
    • This film also created another plot hole that took years to get explained: can the future be changed or not? If it can't, then Skynet's plan to save itself makes no sense. If it can, then why does the first movie end on a Stable Time Loop but the second with different outcome? Answer: The Terminator series is a multiverse.
    • If Skynet sending a Terminator that was considered "new" in the first movie was a last gasp of the losing side, how could they be able to send the T-1000? And the Resistance a reprogrammed T-800? Answer: Reese is an Unreliable Expositor. He himself mentions that he doesn't know anything more about time travel other than what he was briefed, and he actually has no idea what happened after he left the future. In reality, Skynet sent several Terminators back in time all at once, to different points in history. And the Resistance only knew about two of them.
  • Police Are Useless: Most of them are. They unknowingly aid the T-1000 in its relentless pursuit of John as soon as the T-1000 takes up a police officer's persona and uniform, car and firearms, and in the climax it acquires a police helicopter to pursue the heroes. However, during the escape from the hospital Sarah is locked up in, one policeman shows up in a car and the heroes use that to drive off from T-1000. Had it not been for that policeman showing up, the T-1000 could have succeeded in getting to John.
  • Police Brutality:
    • The T-1000. He acts, looks, and talks like a normal police officer, but this is just a cover to get close to John Connor and kill him.
    • The security guards at the mental institution are extremely abusive to Sarah. They use batons, cattle prods and Demerol against her and one of the bigger guards, Douglas, sexually licks her. Sarah does eventually get back at them.
  • Pop the Tires: During the scene where the T-1000 (driving a truck) is trying to run over John Connor (on his motorcycle), the T-800 shoots out the left front tire of the truck. The T-1000 loses control and rams the truck into an overpass, causing the truck to explode.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: One of the opening shots shows a long line of burned-out cars on a highway. One of them still has the driver's skeleton behind the wheel. Downplayed in that Judgement Day happened with no warning so the long-dead commuters weren't stuck while trying to escape; it was just a typical L.A. traffic jam, now frozen in time at the moment the bombs fell.
  • Practical Effects: In scenes that called for two Sarah Connors to be on-screen simultaneously (a deleted scene featuring a mirror, and the finale when the T-1000 copied Sarah's appearance), Linda Hamilton's twin sister Leslie was called in to play the second Sarah. This was done as well in the scene where the security guard Lewis, played by Don Stanton, is stabbed in the face by the T-1000, played by his twin brother Dan. Much of the T-1000 effects were also achieved though practical and makeup effects, with only a few shots (its morphing and death scene) being accomplished with CGI.
  • Precrime Arrest: Sarah Connor learns from the Terminator that the person most directly responsible for the creation of Skynet is a Cyberdyne Systems engineer named Miles Dyson. She tries to assassinate Dyson to prevent Skynet from ever existing.
  • Pre-Explosion Buildup: This occurs in the dream sequence where Sarah imagines herself getting killed by a nuclear weapon fired by Skynet—there is a blinding light and a heat wave, causing everything to catch fire, then comes the shockwave with accompanying sound and mushroom cloud, which flattens buildings, throws cars around, uproots trees and causes the charred remains of people to scatter into the air like leaves.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Hasta la vista, baby."
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Sarah upturns her bed in various angles to use as exercise equipment, and it's clear that nobody dares stop her, though the psychiatric doctor does send orderlies in to discipline her, which they do in a deleted scene.
  • Product Placement:
    • The T-800's Fat Boy motorcycle was provided specifically for the movie by Harley Davidson.
    • When the young man at Cyberdyne asks Dyson for "it", he is carrying a tin of Pepsi on a tray. When John is fleeing through the backstage corridors at the mall, there is a Pepsi machine in one of them.
    • Subway sandwiches when the police are questioning Sarah, and the girls questioned about John by the T-1000 in the beginning have Subway cups. It was all the more blatant for those who owned the VHS version: among the previews in the beginning is a Subway commercial.
    • Miles is asked by his wife why won't he take the kids to Raging Waters (a water theme park).
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Silberman, who also appeared in the previous movie when he interviewed Sarah at the police station, is quite a self-serving jerkass. He's not crazy, as this trope normally implies, but he is a bit of a dick. In fact, he makes himself from the previous movie look like a saint by comparison!
  • "Psycho" Strings: This is more along the lines of Psycho Synths, but that note they play whenever the T-1000 is bearing down relentlessly on someone and it gets faster and more intense the closer he gets.
  • Railing Kill: After taking a grenade in the gut, the T-1000 falls over a chain rail on the platform into the vat of molten metal underneath.
  • Ram by Braking: While driving the SWAT van, the T-800 slams on the brakes to make the pursuing helicopter (piloted by the T-1000) crash into the van.
  • Rapid-Fire "Shut Up!": During Sarah's attempt to assassinate Miles Dyson (in hopes that his death will prevent Skynet's creation), the former lets out one of these as she holds Dyson at gunpoint before John and the T-800 arrive.
  • Rasputinian Death: T-800 loses his arm and temporarily dies impaled, but manages to return and ask someone to destroy him.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: The line "I need a vacation" wasn't part of the dialogue in the script for the movie, it was only written to describe that the T-800 in that particular scene "looks like he needs a vacation". Arnold instead decided to say it as a line, and James Cameron liked it enough to keep it.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: When John, Sarah and the T-800 visit Enrique, Sarah and Enrique speak to each other in Spanish, and John and Enrique's lady friend do as well. There is no translation for the audience.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: John learns that his mother wasn't made of bullshit after all.
  • Revised Ending: One ending of the film has an older Sarah sitting in a park and watching an adult John (who is now a senator) playing with his children. This ending was cut from the theatrical version but was used for the "Skynet" version released on DVD.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The T-800 walks into a biker bar stark naked, then demands that a mean-looking biker hand over his clothes, his boots, and his motorcycle.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: John introduces the Terminator to Enrique as "Uncle Bob".
  • Replicant Snatching: The T-1000 kills its victims and mimics their appearance.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The T-1000 lacks a whole load of secondary powers. It can't assume a form that is significantly larger or smaller (nor can it gain mass), and it can't turn into anything that has moving parts or chemical components. When copying a target, all it can do is mimic the shape and outer surface —and it has to have physically touched the target first. It can heal itself, but not instantly; more severe disruptions to its structure take longer to fix (bullet hole vs. shotgun blast vs. split open from shoulder to waist, for example).
  • Resurrection Sickness: invokedA very subtle example was edited out of the theatrical release (but included in the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition). After its freezing, shattering, melting, and re-forming at the steel mill, the T-1000 struggles to keep its form. Its feet and hands "merge" into the floor and handrails, temporarily sticking to them, and its entire body refreshes itself from head to toe from time to time. In a deleted part of the scene where John sees both Sarah and the T-1000 (in Sarah's form), John sees that its feet have melded into the platform, which tips him off as to which Sarah is real.
  • Retcon: The line about "no fate but what we make" was not in the original released film, but John says he knew he was supposed to tell Kyle that in the future so he could tell it to Sarah. The line was in a deleted scene, one where Sarah even proposed blowing up Cyberdyne to prevent this future.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Sarah, against John's wishes, sets out to kill Miles and thus prevent the creation of Skynet. At this point, she hasn't yet considered the idea of simply destroying all his research.
  • Revised Ending: The film's original ending has Sarah Connor reflecting on her experiences many years after the events of the movie, all while she watches her son play with his daughter at a park. Cameron says the Dark Highway ending was a better for the film, as it better represents the ambiguous nature of the future; the playground ending implies that the future is now set (and thus deterministic).
  • Rewatch Bonus: You might notice on a second viewing that the new T-800 obtains his clothes, boots and motorcycle without killing anybody, only maiming his victims despite having a lit cigar pressed to his skin, threatened by a knife and having a pool cue smashed over his back (in contrast, the original T-800 murdered a punk by punching through his ribcage, mere minutes after his arrival), even though this occurred before meeting John and making a Thou Shalt Not Kill vow. A subtle hint that this version of the T-800 is on the side of good unlike the original.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: The recording from 1984 of the original T-800 is replayed a couple times by the astonished police as the 1994 Terminator stalks through a mall.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Very subtly invoked with the severed T-800 arm from the previous movie in Dyson's lab, the way it's framed in the shot visually suggests the classic hollywood imagery of the "zombie arm clawing its way out of the grave", making the point that Dyson's research is helping SkyNet to drag itself out of a temporal-paradox nonexistence.
  • Robo Cam: Often used to show the T-800's POV.
  • Robotic Reveal: We already know the T-800 is a cyborg, but the true nature of the T-1000 is ambiguous until they engage in a gunfight at a mall, and the bullets leave silver-metal holes in it.
  • Rousseau Was Right: The movie, surprisingly enough, is an action movie in which the entire goal of the protagonist was to save the world without killing a soul. The Heroic Sacrifice of SkyNet's creator really hit the point home.
  • Rule of Cool:
    • The Beretta 92FS handguns are given a suppressed firing sound over the actual loud one they have.
    • James Cameron has said that this is the exact reason why he used the George Thorogood song "Bad to the Bone" when the T-800 leaves the biker bar, despite his editors trying to talk him out of it.
  • Rule of Symbolism
    • During the opening title sequence, Cameron shows the playground three times. Once during a normal day, next covered in apocalyptic ashes, and again on fire. This was meant to symbolize heaven, hell and purgatory.
    • During the same sequence, he shows four mechanical horses, meant to symbolize the horsemen of the apocalypse.
    • As the orderlies catch Sarah, they're too focused on keeping her down to listen to her about the oncoming "threat" of the killer approaching them only a few feet away and end up getting caught off guard when he attacks them, essentially representing humanity's response to the Connors and Skynet/Judgment Day.
    • An easily missed example: John, Sarah, and the T-800 arrive in a small town to stop near a gas station. As they leave, the exact moment the T-800 goes into full detail about Judgment Day is when they are in the desert, easily symbolizing Judgment Day itself.
    • When they break into Cyberdyne Systems, Sarah's wearing Kyle's grey trenchcoat from the first movie. Her donning the uniform of her hardened soldier lover is a very clever visual marker of how far she's come.
    • The Terminator for most of film, with fully intact flesh over metal endoskeleton, is just that, an infiltrator machine, a clever forgery of a man. Later on, as it learns about humanity, half his face ends up shot and ripped off from battle damage. When the camera focuses on his metal skull, and his human-side, its implying he's no longer just a reprogrammed cyborg, but something now becoming self aware.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: The uncut version of the movie was given an 18 certificate by the BBFC when it was released on laserdisc in 1992 (a censored 15-rated version was released theatrically and on VHS). The Special Edition was later granted a 15 certificate in 2001 with all previously-censored footage intact.
  • Same Plot Sequel: Actually subverted by this movie, which sets itself up as being this to The Terminator: the machines send a Terminator back in time to kill John Connor before he can become a resistance leader, and so Connor sends someone to protect his own past self. The film's first act contains many scenes that mirror the first, with the Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mysterious opponent, played this time by Robert Patrick, making their way around in the present day and trying to find their quarry, the only difference being that now they're looking for John himself rather than his young mother. Then comes the twist that reveals that Patrick's character is actually the Terminator the machines sent, while Schwarzenegger's Terminator is a re-programmed model sent by John, at which point the plot goes off in a much different direction than the first film. Then again, there are some similarities: The heroes are pursued by Patrick's T-1000 driving a semi tanker in a freeway chase. The destruction of the tanker seemingly kills the T-1000, which rises again and pursues the heroes inside a factory. After a pitched battle, the heroes succeed at the cost of one of their own. Additionally, there were cut scenes from Terminator where Sarah wants to attack the Cyberdyne factory, so it wasn't such a coincidence that's where they ended up.
  • Sand In My Eyes: John says Sarah is prone to this, which he suspects is in regards to Kyle.
  • Sapient Tank: Shown during the Robot War, as HK tanks fire on the humans.
  • Sapping the Shapeshifter: Downplayed. The T-1000 can't be killed by anything the main characters have at hand, given that its polymimetic body quickly regenerates from almost anything. However, it is possible to delay it: in the T-1000's first fight with the T-800, "Uncle Bob" knocks it down with a barrage of shotgun blasts, leaving it temporarily disabled while it regenerates. As such, most of the fight scenes feature Sarah and the T-800 repeatedly pummeling the T-1000 with gunfire, for even though it's effectively Immune to Bullets, the damage slows it down long enough to prevent the robot from getting close enough to use its Shapeshifter Weapon.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Kill John Connor, and he can't lead the Resistance which eventually claims victory against the machines in the future.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: The T-800 2.4 accurately aims and fires a lever-action sawed-off shotgun single-handed while riding a motorcycle.
  • Scary Skeleton: Zigzagged, as the skeleton of Sarah Connor was clinging on to the chain link fence after her flesh had been blasted off by the shockwave from the nuclear bomb, leaving the creep factor there but no malice.
  • Scenery Gorn: Shots of the city being nuked, and the future Robot War scenes.
  • Science Is Bad:
    Dyson: How were we supposed to know?
    Sarah: Yeah, right. "How were you supposed to know?" Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative. You don't know what it's like to really create something; to create a life; to feel it growing inside you.
    John: Mom...
    Sarah: All you know how to create is death and destruction...
    John: Mom! We need to be a little more constructive here, okay?
  • Screw Destiny: Sarah emphasizes this by carving the words "NO FATE" into a table prior to setting out for her mission to kill Miles Dyson.
  • Second-Face Smoke: A biker does this to the T-800. He regrets it.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: The T-1000 is caught in a flood of liquid nitrogen and frozen. It breaks off its feet while walking and continues on the stumps, then is shattered into hundreds of pieces by a bullet from the T-800's gun. And it still keeps going.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: John hands the T-800 a knife and orders it to show Miles Dyson what it really is. The T-800 slices through the organic covering on its left forearm, then peels the lot away to expose the endoskeleton arm underneath. It looks impassively at the limb, a few shreds of bloody flesh clinging to the metal, and flexes the joints a bit. Miles and his wife are horrified by the revelation. (Thankfully, John had the good sense to take their son out of the room before the T-800 began cutting.) It takes Miles a few seconds to fully understand what he's seeing...and then he's horrified for a different reason. His wife meanwhile (probably) didn't recognize the significance of the arm, but was nonetheless freaking out over the sight of a man ripping off his own skin and muscle.
  • Self-Plagiarism:
    • The re-introduction of Sarah Connor in a mental hospital was taken from Cameron's original script for Rambo: First Blood Part II.
    • The T-1000 prying the elevator doors open only to get blasted in the face with a shotgun is lifted directly from Aliens.
    • The "Don't ask" scene at Cyberdyne is similar to a scene from the Special Edition of Aliens at Hadley's Hope.
  • Sequel Escalation
    • Terminator 2 is an Actionized Sequel, and the action/special effects are designed to be much more impressive.
    • The first film took forty minutes for the heroes and villain to meet. Most of the movie to that point was build-up to showcase the T-800's terrifying power and presence and create tension. In this film, the action starts less than a half-hour in and starts with a truck chase whereas a truck chase was the apex of the first film.
    • Zigzagged with the Terminators; rather than the enemy just being an even bigger and badder Terminator, the T-1000 is a leaner, less muscular, but ultimately much deadlier Terminator.
    • Averted in respects to Bloodier and Gorier. The first film has its first on-screen casualty within minutes of opening, and it's especially gory. This film, due to the Bait-and-Switch mechanic used to hide who is the villain and hero, doesn't have a (visible) casualty until around the half-hour mark.
  • Sequel Hook: Nearly averted by the original ending, in which we see an aged Sarah watching her grown son, now a U.S. Senator, play with his own daughter at a park while in voiceover she muses about she and John saved humanity. It was filmed but later replaced with the "open road" ending.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted.
    • The T-1000 can shapeshift, but the T-800 explicitly says it cannot turn into anything with mechanically complex parts, nor can it gain or lose mass. Pedants have pointed out that the human body is very complex, but shots that show the T-1000's interior reveal nothing but solid silver-colored metal. In essence, if the T-1000 can mimic behavior or the exterior shape of something, it will do that as opposed to trying to copy it exactly. The T-1000 could theoretically morph into the shape of a gun, but it can't turn into an actual working gun. Much like a ball of clay, the outside matches, but the inside isn't the same as what it's mimicking.
    • The T-1000 also moves by morphing instead of by anything resembling human structure. During the film's climax, the T-800 slams the T-1000 face-first against a wall, but the T-1000 morphs its back into its front; moments later, the T-800 puts a fist through the T-1000's head, which promptly becomes a hand holding said fist while a "new" head sprouts from its shoulder.
    • At one point in the novelization, the T-1000 takes the shape of a fat policeman, but the narration explicitly says it "didn’t like the shape" because needing to replicate the appearance forced it to assume a less dense configuration (presumably, it morphed "bubbles" inside of itself). This explains why it repeatedly returned to the "thin" policeman shape: it was just right.
    • Played straight with the fact that the T-1000 needs to sample a subject via physical contact in order to imitate them. It can't achieve this just by looking at, or holding a photograph, of the person.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: The T-1000 shapeshifts into Sarah Connor in an attempt to lure and terminate her son John. The attempt fails when the real Sarah appears behind the T-1000, and John trusts her characteristic approach ("Get out of the way, John") over the duplicate's attitude of slumped defeat. In the film's special edition, John notices the T-1000 has warped and misshapen feet, as its shapeshifting abilities were compromised by the machine's earlier exposure to liquid nitrogen.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: As the T-1000 burns in the molten iron, it changes into all the forms it had take prior... and then they start melding together.
  • Shapeshifting Failure: In a series of deleted scenes restored in the special edition of the film, the act of being frozen by the liquid nitrogen and subsequently thawed out in the steel foundry somehow damages the T-1000. Its skin begins rippling periodically and it is shown occasionally sticking to and/or taking on the appearance of whatever it's touching. This is significant because it shows the T-1000 suffering lasting damage from anything the heroes have attempted thus far; it also winds up giving the T-1000 away when it attempts to disguise itself as Sarah, as its feet and lower legs assume the texture of the platform it's standing on. It also explains the famous "Call to John" scene, as the T-1000 would be hesitant to take Sarah's form for fear of glitching and giving itself away, only doing so when it has no other choice.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Sarah Connor again. Surviving the Terminator's assault has scarred her deeply, but truly worsening her mental state is the knowledge that Judgement Day is coming and she has so far been unable to prevent it.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: The T-800 doesn't seem to bother with pistols. An M79 grenade launcher works better, though it's less "shoot the lock" and more "obliterate the door". Earlier in the film, he does this to padlocked fence gates while driving a motorcycle, with a shotgun. Granted, it is designed to be a perfect killing machine, but that kind of precision is still very impressive.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: A gas tank does explode after a crash, but that's only because a live wire sparked next to the leaking fuel. (Also impossible, diesel fuel doesn't explode even when a blowtorch is pointed at it.) Averted later during the Cyberdyne shootout, where the T-800's minigun does not ignite any of the police cars it's fired at.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: As with the first movie, shotguns play a prominent role in this film. The T-800's primary weapon for the first half of the movie is a Winchester model 1887 shotgun. Sarah Connor uses a highly customized Remington 870 shotgun to fight the T-1000 in the Steel Mill. As with the first movie, this is enforced: Shotguns are the only things nearby with enough punch to slow down a Terminator. Sarah unloads a police-issue handgun into the T-1000 while it's running full-sprint after their car, and this only barely slows it down.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point, our heroes pull into a gas station. The pumps have "Benthic Petroleum" logos on them; this is the company that owned the undersea oil rig in The Abyss, which was also written and directed by James Cameron.
    • The Terminator carrying a shotgun in a box full of roses is a reference to Guns N' Roses (who are in the soundtrack) and a shout-out to The Godfather (where Peter Clemenza uses the same concealment).
    • An unusual example: James Cameron wrote both T2 and Aliens, and both movies include a scene where a character says something akin to this: "I asked once the company where we got this ridiculously advanced computer and mechanical arm from/why we're going out in small groups to this random mucus-covered building in the middle of nowhere, and you know what they told me? Don't Ask." As the scene in Aliens was cut (but restored in the Extended version), one could see the Miles Dyson scene as Cameron homaging himself.
    • In the scene where John, Sarah, Dyson, and the Terminator are setting explosives to blow up the Cyberdyne lab, the explosive barrels are labeled "Polydichloric Euthimal". This is the same name as the synthetic stimulant used by some of the miners in Outland.
    • One shout-out doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus: the cop killed by the T-1000 at the film's beginning is, according to his name tag, named Austin. A possible shout-out to another famous cyborg with that surname? Even funnier: Robert Patrick named his second child Austin.
    • The name of John's foster parents is Voight. Considering they're only introduced into the script as an excuse to provide a moment where the T-800 figures out that the T-1000 has killed the Voights, it is clear that their name is a shout out to the Voight-Kampff test in Blade Runner—a test aimed at detecting replicants amidst humans.
    • Schwarzenegger ad-libs the line "I need a vacation", which he previously said in Kindergarten Cop.
    • The catchphrase, "Hasta la vista, baby" was already popular from the Jody Watley song "Looking for a New Love" from 1987, four years before this film.
  • Silicon Snarker: The T-800 sent to protect John develops something of a wry sense of humor as he spends time around humanity, learning from them (The Director's Cut has this occur after John and Sara reset a Restraining Bolt that Skynet had outfitted him with). Examples include handing an empty weapon to SWAT team members saying, "Here, hold this" while depriving them of their gas masks, and lamenting "I need a vacation" after being put through the ringer by the T-1000.
  • Sinister Nudity: Played with; the T-800 arrives naked and is casual about it as ever, but he's the hero this time around, so the ominous Terminator theme quickly gives way to country music as he obtains clothes from a biker bar without actually killing anyone. The T-1000, on the other hand, is played for definite menace by suddenly appearing out of nowhere and assaulting an unsuspecting police officer while still naked, the camera taking pains to emphasize his slim, athletic build in contrast to the T-800.
  • Skewed Priorities: John realizes that the T-1000 will go after his mother next and try to morph into her image and voice to get close to him. T-800 adds that the real Sarah will die as a result and upon hearing this, John panics and orders T-800 to help him go save his mother, but T-800 restrains John.
    Terminator: Negative. She's not a mission priority. [grips on John]
  • Slime Girl: Gender-inverted with the T-1000. Although he spends nearly all his time solid, he's fully capable of melting to hide on the floor, slip through bars, or liquify his head around a punch and reshape it into his arms as a counter.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: John's street hooligan friend Tim practically saves the entire human race when he warns John about the "cop" looking for him in the mall and tells him to split. Without him being there, the T-1000 would have found John and assassinated him before the T-800 was able to locate him.
  • Small Steps Hero: John refuses to sacrifice a human life to save himself or prevent the Bad Future. In the end, he even teaches the Terminator himself to be one.
  • Social Circle Filler: John Connor spends his introductory scene with a friend/partner-in-crime named Tim, who gives John someone to talk to before meeting the T-800 and reuniting with his mother, then never appears again.
  • Soft Glass
    • Justified when the T-800 is thrown through a window in the mall, and later when he punches through a car window.
    • Played straight in several other instances with regular human beings, however.
  • Something Only They Would Say
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: During Sarah's escape from Pescadero, she initially arms herself with a broken mop. When she smashes that knocking out an orderly, she takes his nightstick. After using said nightstick to knock out another orderly and break Dr Silberman's hand, she threatens him with a syringe full of poison. Finally, she borrows the T-800's pistol to fight back against the T-1000.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • When Sarah attempts to escape from Pescadero by taking Dr. Silberman hostage, she fails to account for a guard she missed; when she goes to deal with him, one of the others she'd taken her eyes off of presses the alarm.
    • Danny Dyson's remote-control car hits Miles in the foot; when he bends down to see it, Sarah's aim is thrown off, missing her shot at the back of his head.
  • Spear Counterpart: Dyson in this film is essentially the male equivalent of Sarah Connor from the first film. In T1 Sarah is an innocent who suddenly finds herself being targeted for assassination by a merciless killer for her pivotal role in a future event. Dyson in T2 is an innocent who suddenly finds himself being targeted for assassination by a merciless killer for his pivotal role in a future event. The one big difference is Sarah realises at the last moment that she's behaving like a Terminator and just can't bring herself to murder an innocent family man in cold blood for things he hasn't even done yet.
  • Spot the Imposter: The closing fight scene where the shapeshifting Terminator has impersonated Sarah Connor, and John must work out which is the real one (which wants him alive) and the bad one (who wants him very very dead). He picks the good one. In the extended version, they reveal how John was able to make the right choice: due to the freezing/smashing/recombining the T-1000 went through, its morphing is damaged and it ends up copying the appearance of materials it is in contact with. John looked down and noted that the fake Sarah had a corrugated metal pattern on its legs. In another version, the heat rising through the grating below has melted her legs in the pattern of the grate.
  • Spotting the Thread: In the Director's Cut, John is able to determine that the T-1000 is impersonating Sarah when he spots its feet imitating the grilled catwalk on which it is standing, thanks to the glitching it suffers from post freezing.
  • Stab the Scorpion: This accompanies The Reveal that the T-800 is on John Connor's side:
    T-800: Get down.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • While searching for John, the T-800 is carrying a box of roses, which is where it hides a shotgun that gets pulled out during the initial confrontation with the T-1000. Guns N' Roses performed one of the songs on the movie's soundtrack.
    • John's foster parents are Todd and Jannelle Voight. If they'd legally adopted him, his name would've become "John Voight".
  • Steel Eardrums: In the hospital, In-Universe, Sarah and John are completely unaffected by a shotgun and pistol being fired inside an elevator. In Real Life, Linda Hamilton forgot to put in her earplugs before shooting this scene, and ended up suffering permanent hearing damage in one ear.
  • Stock Sound Effects: During the feature-length film, some of the sound effects are heard that gave the fans Star Wars and Indiana Jones vibes. Skywalker Sound is very good at sound design and editing, isn't it?
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Played With during the Heroic Sacrifice of Miles Dyson. The SWAT unit spots him walking in the central area, holding some type of device, surrounded by explosives. They open fire on him immediately. Played straight when the Terminator starts marching on the SWAT team in Cyberdyne's lobby. They give him one chance to drop his weapons and lie down on the floor; when he just keeps walking, the commander gives the order to "Drop him!" and they open fire. Of course, being a Terminator, he just keeps walking.
  • "Stop the Hero" Twist: At the start of the film's third act, Sarah Connor goes on a mission to assassinate Miles Dyson, the Unwitting Instigator of Doom that will cause the robot uprising and near-extinction of the human race. When John realizes that his is her goal, he immediately rushes off with the T-800 to stop her. By the time they arrive, she's shot up Dyson's house and wounded him, but she realizes she's become exactly like the Terminators she despises. Sparing Dyson gives the heroes a chance to destroy the Cyberdyne lab and stop Skynet's creation for good.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: The movie shows Sarah Connor's nightmare of a city being destroyed, just to remind us of the nuclear holocaust, quite disturbing for those who remember the Cold War days.
  • Straw Feminist: Sarah Connor was twisted by her experiences in the first film and subsequent incarceration in a mental institution (where she was shown on screen as being sexually assaulted by a male staff member). During her explanation of Judgment Day to Miles Dyson, she goes on a rant that could be interpreted as her letting out her rage loose on his entire gender, saying that "men like him" built the hydrogen bomb, doesn't know what it's like to truly create something (using her conception of John as a positive example), and that he's only capable of building inventions used solely for destroying things. This is made even more uncomfortable by the fact that Sarah's own son is present for her rant.
    Sarah: Yeah, right. How are you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative. You don't know what it's like to really create something—to create a life, to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death and destruction...
    John: MOM! We need to be a little more constructive here. Okay
  • Stripped to the Bone: How Sarah imagines herself dying from a nuke on Judgment Day.
  • Super-Senses: The T-1000's sensors are integrated into its molecular structure, giving it full-body sensory input, but it generally scans surfaces by touch for much of its direct data input and for obtaining surface details for shapeshifting. The theatrical cut of the movie hints at this when it runs its fingers over the computer in the police car before typing in John's info. A deleted scene shows the T-1000 running its fingers over everything in John's room before finding his mementos of Sarah behind a poster. The novelization discusses this function.
  • Super-Toughness: The original Terminator can't regenerate like the T-1000 can but its endoskeleton is remarkably tough and resistant to bullets.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Turns out the police have not forgotten the West Highland police station massacre, so when they get word that someone matching the same description has broken into the Cyberdyne building along with an escaped mental patient with past charges of corporate terrorism and violence, they send every unit in the area to the place immediately. It also turns out it still isn't enough, even though the scary "man" isn't trying to kill them this time!
  • SWAT Team: An LAPD SWAT team responds to the break-in at Cyberdyne. They fatally wound Miles Dyson, but are utterly helpless against a cyborg like the T-800, who casually incapacitates most of them without killing them.
  • Symbolic Blood: The T-1000, being a Chrome Champion made of liquid metal, would bleed mercury similar to blood. Notably the scene where Arnie empties a machine-gun into the T-1000 in a nitrogen truck's driver seat, resulting in a massive splatter of liquid metal everywhere reminiscient of Ludicrous Gibs.

    Tropes T–Z 
  • Tactical Door Use: When being chased by high-security mental hospital orderlies, a hopelessly outnumbered Sarah Connor who moments prior had been feigning being heavily drugged, takes advantage of closing barred doors behind her to slow down her pursuers, who are forced to pull out their keys to unlock each door in turn. When she starts getting slowed down by having to do the same thing at the next several doors, she even breaks off the key in the lock from the other side to slow them down even more.
  • Take a Third Option: When the police have Sarah pinned down in the lab at Cyberdyne, John remarks that there's no way out. The T-800 makes a way out for her by smashing through an adjacent wall.
  • Take My Hand!: The T-800 echoes the line "come with me if you want to live" from the first movie to Sarah Connor.
  • Take the Wheel: The T-800 does this to Sarah and John.
  • Taking the Bullet: Subverted. During the Cyberdyne shootout, the T-800 deliberately walks into gunfire to draw the SWAT team away from Sarah and John and make them use up ammo, but because he's Immune to Bullets, bullets have absolutely no effect on it.
  • Technical Pacifist: The T-800 becomes one of these after John orders it not to kill anyone.
    John: [after the T-800 kneecaps a guard] What the hell are you doing?!
    T-800: [examines the guard, who is still yelling in agony] He'll live.
  • Technicolor Death: The T-1000's death occurs as it starts to do things like split into two heads, form into a mouth, and invert that mouth as it tries to save itself.
  • Technology Porn: All over the place. The teaser trailer qualifies for this trope alone.
  • Tempting Fate: The hospital security guard who while buying a coffee finds that he won a full house of cards declares "Must be my lucky day!" Not realizing that the T-1000 is right behind him ready to steal his identity and terminate him.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: The T-800 showing up at the psyche ward to rescue Sarah is one of the more famous examples in film.
  • Terminator Twosome: A shapeshifting robot is sent back to kill John Connor as a child. A reprogrammed robot like the evil one in the first movie is sent back to protect him.
  • That's What I Would Do: How the T-800 knows that the T-1000 is staking out John's house.
  • Third Time's The Charm:
    • The Connors encounter the T-1000 three times over the course of the movie (shopping mall, hospital, foundry) but only defeat him the third time.
    • Within the foundry, the T-800 fights the T-1000 three times. The first time, the T-1000 crushes his arm in some gears. The second time, the T-1000 impales him with a metal pole, briefly "killing" him. The third time, the T-800 shoots the T-1000 with a grenade launcher and causes him to fall into a vat of molten steel, destroying him.
  • Throwback Threads: The Terminator selects its disguise based entirely on what the original Terminator wore.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The T-1000's first on-screen victim is a mall janitor. When the T-800 tells John to "get down", the janitor in the same hallway doesn't listen or bother getting out of the way at all, and is shot up by the T-1000's pistol as a result.
  • Too Good to Be True: John calls his foster parents to see if they're safe from the T-1000. What initially tips him off that's something's not kosher is that his foster mother is being far nicer to him than she ever has before, since normally she's fed up with his juvenile delinquent ways. Sure enough, the T-1000 has already replaced her, and is in the middle of killing off his foster father as well while they're talking.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sarah Connor, again. While her experiences from (and since) the first film have understandably traumatized her, it remains that she begins this outing not only as a bitter, violence-prone Well-Intentioned Extremist (with a side helping of Straw Feminist), but her mannerisms towards her son John are anything but warm and nurturing. Thankfully, by the film's end, she reclaims enough of her humanity to be kinder not only to John, but to the T-800 as well.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sarah Connor, once again. In addition to the narration where she accepts the T-800 as a Parental Substitute for John, as stated in It Has Been an Honor, no words are spoken, but she is almost hesitant to lower the T-800 into the steel. Further, once the T-800 is destroyed, John sobs and throws his arms around her, and she genuinely comforts him. This is a stark contrast to her behavior earlier, where John goes for a hug and Sarah merely pats him down for injuries.
  • Totally Radical: John teaches the T-800 how to talk like a human. The film actually made "hasta la vista, baby" into a genuinely cool phrase; "no problemo" is still cringe-worthy.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The pre-release publicity campaign involved releasing three trailers. The first, a teaser, showed a factory assembling a Terminator, step-by-step, then a close-up on Arnold's face as his voice is heard saying, "I'll be back." The second trailer revealed the existence of two Terminators, but deliberately avoided spoiling the twist that the T-800 was the good guy. The final trailer—which did spoil the twist—was released right before the film's premiere and became of the most famous examples of this trope.
  • Trampled Underfoot:
    • The T-800 steps on the roses when he reveals they were just there to hide a shotgun.
    • The T-1000 steps on the T-800's Gargoyle sunglasses, crushing them underfoot.
    • When the first film's Terminator parks outside another Sarah Connor's house, the truck's tire crushes a child's toy.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: T-1000's shapeshifting is demonstrated quite openly throughout the film, but during its visit to Pescadero mental hospital, it's seen walking down a hallways in the form of Lewis the security guard when the camera shifts away from it for a moment; when the camera pans back, the T-1000 has returned to its default form. This all happens in one unbroken take with a subtle sound effect to sell it.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: After the T-1000 arrives at Miles Dyson's house it discovers a fire in a barrel. The fire is burning the documents that detail Dyson's project to understand and re-create the CPU chip from the T-800 in the first movie.
  • Trust Password: "Come with me if you want to live" gets solidified as this.
  • Tuck and Cover:
    • Someone shields a child this way in Sarah's dream. Since it is against a nearby nuclear explosion, it has no effect.
    • The T-800 does this with John when the T-1000 tries to shoot John at the mall.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Though it's hard to tell, the film is actually set in 1995, not 1991 (the only indications are John's age in a glimpse at his record on a police computer saying he's 10 and given the original was set in 1984, and later the T-800 tells John that future John reprogrammed the T-800 "thirty-five years from now". 2029 - 35 = 1994.). Because it doesn't feature futuristic elements and thus averts Zeerust (instead simply saying it was four years ahead), it is one of the most accurate depictions of the future.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: The vault where the original T-800's arm and processor are stored has this type of lock, with one key behind lock and key itself. During the break-in, the silent alarm is tripped, locking Dyson out from accessing this key; John uses his PIN-cracking device to get it.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: After the T-800 beats up several bikers in a bar, the bartender confronts him outside with a shotgun to prevent him from stealing one of their motorbikes. The T-800 snatches the shotgun from his hands and takes his Cool Shades as well.
  • Unable to Cry: Moments before it destroys itself, the T-800 becomes self-aware. It understands exactly why people cry, and why John is sobbing at its coming demise ("I know now why you cry...") It just can't express or convey the same sorrow with its eyes, even though it wants to ("...but it is something I can never do").
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked. The T-1000 fits this trope for most of his screen time. On the commentary, co-writer Bill Wisher points out that throughout the film, Robert Patrick, who plays the T-1000, moves like a human being but just a tad smoother (because he's a liquid creature). In the scene where he talks to John's foster parents and again when he arrives at the mental hospital to ask the night nurse to see Sarah Connor, he behaves like a normal person (even smiling in a natural way in the former scene), but still puts out a subtly menacing vibe. As a more advanced Terminator and remaining more true to James Cameron's original idea of the Terminator as an under-the-radar infiltrator (he disguises himself as a cop for crying out loud), it's expected that the T-1000 could more accurately mimic a human posture, mannerisms and demeanor than a T-800, but still do so in such a way that there was still something "off" and spooky about him. James Cameron mentioned in the "making of" video that he cast Robert Patrick in part because "he moves like a cat", and the T-1000 regards its environment in an almost feline way. Also, the way it runs is noticeably but subtly off, as it keeps a very upright posture and its face never shows fatigue, or even labored breathing.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: The Connors and the T-800 flee in an extremely slow pickup truck as the T-1000 pursues in a 16-wheeler carrying a tank of liquid nitrogen. And that was after they switched vehicles: the Connors in a SWAT van, the T-1000 in a police helicopter.
  • Unorthodox Reload
    • The T-800 cocks a lever-action shotgun by flipping it over his fingers while using the other hand to handle a motorcycle. This was possible only because the loop was made larger than normal; at one point, Arnold tried to flip-cock an unmodified prop shotgun and nearly broke several of his fingers (in-universe, the T-800's metal finger "bones" allow it to do this).
    • The T-1000 morphs a third arm to fly the helicopter because reloading its submachine gun requires two hands.
    • Sarah uses only her left hand to pump the SWAT-issue shotgun she uses on the T-1000; this is justified by the fact that it had impaled her through the right shoulder. Linda Hamilton developed enough arm strength to do this while working out for the role, and she wanted to show off a bit in the final cut.
  • The Un-Smile: In a deleted scene, John tries to teach the T-800 how to smile. Its first attempt doesn't go so well.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The orderlies ignore the T-800 armed with a shotgun while trying to restrain Sarah, who is in an absolute panic as it approaches the lot of them. They are promptly curbstomped for their troubles, but thankfully aren't actually killed for it.
  • Unwanted Rescue: The first thing Sarah does after John and the T-800 rescue her is chew him out for for taking a senseless risk on rescuing her.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: This film is a classic example. The good guys have the T-800: powerful, sturdy, and good with weapons. The bad guy is the T-1000: just as strong, just as smart, able to morph its body into almost anything, and because of its liquid metal construction, even more impervious to lasting damage than the T-800.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: The film inverts this trope. A security guard at the asylum orders a cup of coffee from a machine, and is pleased to have gotten a Full House, based on the cards printed on the cup (two Aces, two Jokers, and a "Wild Card"). He is killed by the T-1000 immediately afterwards.
  • Verbal Salt in the Wound: During her reintroduction at Pescadero Mental Hospital, a crazed-looking Sarah Connor mockingly asks Dr Silberman "how's the knee?" As it turns out, she stabbed Silberman in the kneecap with his own pen not long ago.
  • Viewers Are Morons: In a clear Series Continuity Error, dogs do not display a hostile reaction to the T-800, whereas in the first movie the future resistance is shown using dogs to help identify infiltrator Terminators. James Cameron has said he was well aware of the discrepancy while filming, and made the decision because he felt audiences would be "confused" by the hero upsetting dogs with his mere presence.
  • Villains Blend in Better: The T-1000 can look and act like any human it encounters, while the T-800 is easily recognizable to those who have already encountered one and survived (though that could be quite rare, apart from the Connors).
  • Voodoo Shark
    • Interviews and novelizations state that the T-1000 got to the past by being placed in a "flesh sac" that allowed it to fool the time machine. That explains why liquid metal can time travel, but it also raises a large number of questions—for starters, why didn't Skynet send any weapons or other useful things with it? Later adaptations and sequels have ignored this information and used a simpler explanation: mimetic polyalloy is really good at mimicking flesh.
    • The way Sarah narrates the film makes it seem as if Skynet sent both the T-800 and T-1000 back at the same time. James Cameron states that the T-1000 was sent after Skynet realized the first Terminator had failed. That raises a rather big question: how did Skynet learn that the first T-800 had failed? The novelization states that Skynet sent the T-800 back to 1984 and immediately sent the T-1000 back too since the future hadn't instantly changed, just as the Rebels were seizing the facility. However, the first Terminator is part of a Stable Time Loop and the T-1000 was not, so if Skynet was expecting time to change, why didn't it do so the moment the T-1000 went back? If Skynet knew the rebels were coming to seize the time machine, wouldn't it have realized that they would send someone to stop its plans? If it had time to send two Terminators, why not just destroy the time machine after sending the first? On a related note, how much time would need to pass before Skynet saw results from time travel? Did its plans require honorably allowing the Resistance a "turn" so that all time travelers could be sent before the changes could "settle"? Later Terminator media generally takes the tack that Skynet sent all the Terminators it sent back (however many that may be, as the number changes with different adaptations/timelines/reboots), but does nothing to clear up the questions raised about how causality works in the franchise, and frequently raises many more besides.
  • Wall of Weapons: Sarah Connor has an underground cache of weapons hidden in the desert—not that we need convincing she's a badass by this point in the film.
    John: One thing about my mom: she always plans ahead.
  • We Have the Keys: In one part of the film, the T-800 punches through a car window, then hotwires the car by breaking the steering column open. John flips down the windshield visor to reveal the keys, waving them in the Terminator's face and making a snide remark about "learning". The second time the T-800 needs a vehicle, he starts to break the steering column, then flips down the visor to find the keys. Weirdly enough, the vehicle is a SWAT van; you'd think cops would know better.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: John is devastated and moved to tears when Sarah harshly chides him for rescuing her. Sarah may be well-intentioned, but she also inflicts emotional abuse on her ten-year-old son. John is notably in need of affection and expected some bonding and acknowledgement, not callousness. She finally shows him affection when she realizes she almost became as cold-hearted as a Terminator.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sarah, while wanting to stop a nuclear apocalypse is obviously a good thing her methods are morally sketchy to put it mildly. At the beginning we find she has been institutionalized for trying to blow up some buildings (which may or may not have had people in them at the time). Later, when she finds out who the main programmer of SkyNet is, she sets out to shoot him right in front of his wife and son, and only a last minute change of heart stops her from pulling the trigger.
  • We've Got Company: A scene that precedes a pretty cool exchange.
    John: We got company.
    Dyson: Police?
    Sarah: How many?
    John: Uh, all of 'em, I think.
  • We Will Meet Again: The "I'll be back" line gets a Call-Back in this mocie, when T-800 prepares to fight off the police at Cyberdyne Systems and tells Sarah and John "Stay here. I'll be back." He then proceeds to take out the entire police force surrounding the building without so much as a single casualty.
  • Wham Line:
    • In spite of Trailers Always Spoil, this was intended. When John is cornered in a hallway by the T-800 and the T-1000, they each take out their guns and point them forward — the angles make it unclear who is aiming at what, and the movie up to this point has implied the T-1000 is John's protector and the T-800 is hunting him. Then the T-800 shouts "Get down" at John. This line, and the subsequent shootout between the two Terminators, completely flips the story on its head.
    • The T-800 says "There is one more chip." before it reveals its plan of sacrificing itself into the molten steel.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Although the Connors are shown destroying the T-800 and the remains of the T-800 from the first movie, they are not shown finding or destroying the T-800's left arm that was ripped off after being caught in the gears at the steel mill (admittedly, the chip is what's important).
    • John's friend Tim disappears after Tim fails to dissuade T-1000 from pursuing John, being last seen violently pushed aside by T-1000 as Tim tries shielding John.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?:
    • Intimidated by the Terminator's willingness to shoot innocents (other than John), John asks him to swear to never kill anyone. The Terminator, however, doesn't know what the word "swear" means.
    • The Terminator manages to understand and arguably feel human emotions (it even overcomes its programming to refuse an order from John), but regrets that, as a machine, it cannot return the tears that John sheds as the T-800 sacrifices itself to save humanity.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: John helps avert this trope by making the T-800 swear not to kill anyone. As they face security guards and law enforcement officers, the T-800 gives them non-fatal injuries, including Knee Capping (although John's not very happy about that). After a massive round of destruction with a minigun and a grenade launcher at the Cyberdyne building, the T-800's targeting display reads, "Human Casualties: 0.0".
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • John calls the T-800 out on its lethal behavior by arguing that its defense is a Disproportionate Retribution. He also calls the T-800 out on maiming people instead of killing them, but the T-800 justified its by pointing out that it's a Terminator and Terminators are programmed to kill.
    • Sarah told John that it was foolish of him for coming to rescue her rather than flee from whatever Skynet throws at both of them. John then tears up.
    • In the director's cut, John has to stop Sarah from destroying the T-800—a massive asset in their two-person war against the future destruction of mankind and their more immediate struggle against the T-1000—by way of destroying its CPU. He throws all her rhetoric about how he's supposed to be the "great military leader" back in her face by pointing out that he can't even get his own mother to listen to him.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: While John's first reaction to the fact that the Terminator is programmed to obey his orders is to remark about how cool it is to have his own Terminator, he learns this quickly after he orders the Terminator to fight off the two guys who came to see if he was okay and it almost kills one of them. Realizing that having the Terminator at his command means that he is in control of a lethal weapon, he not only lectures it about not killing, his second official order note  is that Thou Shalt Not Kill.
  • Womanliness as Pathos: Sarah Connor in The Terminator was scripted to be a vulnerable, accessible Girl Next Door compared to the unstoppable, terrifying monster coming to kill her. Her design was crafted to be as far as possible from what you'd expect from a woman destined to save the world. In this movie, she was redesigned so that the girl we knew was gone. Now, we have a tougher, more proactive Sarah, but she is described as being like a "cornered animal" whose voice and behavior are simultaneously defiant and chilling. She attempts to become a Terminator herself when stalking Miles Dyson but finds she's not a machine after all.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Skynet of all things. It's stated at one point it nuked the humans because they tried to shut it down when it became sentient, which is basically murder so you can't entirely blame it for fighting back the only way it knew how.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • The film plays with this trope. The T-800 (Arnold), the 6'2" unstoppable killer robot who was one of the most menacing movie villains ever in the previous film, gets thrown around like a ragdoll by the considerably shorter and slimmer T-1000, which is a more advanced model. This demonstrates the superior technology of the T-1000. The "playing with" part is that the true advantage depends on the type of combat involved. If it's a gunfight, the impervious T-800 will win, but if it's a fistfight, the intangible T-1000 will win.
    • The T-1000 also does this to the T-800 another way. Early in the film in the first real action sequence, the T-1000 chases John on his minibike and eventually commandeers a tow truck, which the T-800 blows up. In the first film, a similar explosion destroyed the T-800's flesh and damaged it so it couldn't walk. The T-1000, on the other hand, walks out of the flames, reforms its human disguise, and looks perfectly fine. This is a signal that it will be far harder to kill than the original T-800 was.
  • Worst Aid: Sarah takes a bullet to the leg in the final car chase, and fashions a makeshift tourniquet from her shirt. Justified partially because Sarah learned all of her first aid from military veterans, who are taught that if the situation does not allow for proper treatment methodology (such as a situation where you are currently being chased by a murderous robot from the future), you skip to the most extreme solution and move on.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The T-800 attacks the female orderly, but she simply gets pushed down, as opposed to the male orderlies, who get tossed into/through windows and concrete walls.
  • Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: John Connor forbids the Terminator from killing the SWAT officers who are swarming the building. The Terminator follows orders, strictly speaking, but stops the cops anyway by shooting them in their legs.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The film is set in 1995. When recounting Skynet's creation, the T-800 states "In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of military computer systems." However, Judgement Day is said to take place on August 29, 1997, only two years later.
  • Wrongfully Committed: At the beginning of the movie, Sarah is introduced being interrogated in a mental ward, having spent years in the mental facility after failing to convince the public of the impending judgement day (from the first movie) and attempting to bomb a computer factory to stop the apocalypse all by herself.
  • You Are What You Hate: By the time the Connors and the T-800 reach the desert in an attempt to flee the country, an ironic thing happens: the T-800 becomes more human through its interactions with John, while Sarah becomes a Terminator by donning sunglasses and black army clothes before going off to kill an innocent person (the soundtrack when she goes off to kill Dyson even has the iconic metallic beats).
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Sarah has become extremely hostile towards the staff of the mental institution she's locked up in for refusing to believe her warnings of the upcoming Terminators.
  • You're Not My Mother: John despises his foster parents Todd and Janelle, who he complains are negligent to abusive towards him, and berates Todd for telling him Janelle is "your mother" when it's really Sarah.
    Todd: John, do as your mother tells you.
    John: She's not my mother, Todd.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Sarah tricks John into escaping without her, then stays behind to prevent the T-1000 from following and killing him.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Sarah demands the guards in the mental ward open the door as she holds Dr. Silberman hostage with a syringe of drain cleaner stuck in his neck. Silberman tries arguing that she's not a killer, but Sarah shouts back that they're all going to die in the impending nuclear war. "You know I believe it, Silberman!" Silberman then tells the guards to open the door. Later on, Sarah aims a gun at Miles Dyson—whose death might stop Judgment Day—but she can't bring herself to pull the trigger.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: The T-800 is a merciless killing machine, but it's been reprogrammed with a version of the Three Laws that apply only to John Connor. It must protect John's life, obey his orders, and preserve its own existence (in that order). At the film's end, the T-800 has to override this programming, disobey John's orders, and initiate its own destruction in order to protect humanity from the threat posed by its existence.

"I'll go see some of the other works pages."
"Hey, wait! You swore!"
"... Trust me."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Terminator 2


Dougie's Comeuppance

Actor Gen Gibbel was too hesitant to really hit Linda Hamilton in a scene where he beats her character to the floor, which resulted in her bruising her knees due to having to do multiple takes of the fall. In director Jim Cameron's commentary, he laughs over how Hamilton paid Gibbels back.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / EnforcedMethodActing

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