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Fridge / Terminator

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Works in this series with their own Fridge pages:

Fridge Brilliance

  • What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Skynet keeps sending terminators back in time to try and keep from losing the war and it keeps failing. Skynet believes humans are irrational and insane but has become very much like them, having clearly lost all grip on logic.
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  • The original fridge brilliance occurs in the first Terminator film when Sarah, after being told that a killer robot is after her, protests, "Look, I'm not stupid! They can't build those kinds of machines yet!" With one word, James Cameron deftly shows Sarah's intelligence and adaptability, making her the kind of mother who could raise a future leader like John Connor.
  • In T2, a Terminator, a nearly unstoppable robot assassin, is able to abide by John's request not to kill anyone mainly BECAUSE he's a Terminator.
    • When the T-1000 gets one of its hooks blown off, you'd expect the bit left behind to become liquid, right? But current theory about nanomachines is that they behave like e-ink; that is, they require power to shift and will simply lock into place if deprived of it. It changes back when T-1000 gets close, implying that he has a certain range of broadcast power.
      • Also, the scene with the liquid nitrogen truck provides a Call-Back to the first film. In that one, the Terminator walks out of the heat; in this one, it walks out of the cold.
  • The first half hour of T4 made many think that the franchise had been ruined because it begins in 2018 with John Connor being just an officer in a Resistance, whose headquarters is a submarine. The war was apparently almost over because the Resistance had discovered a signal to shut down the machines. It looked as if Connor would never get to lead like he did in the futures shown in T1 - T3. Then we get to the endgame, where the signal turns out to a trap by SkyNet, the submarine gets destroyed as a result of it and Connor becomes the new leader with all the others being dead.
    • Not even considering the diverging timelines in T3, T4 and the TV show and just going by any of the three timelines, the time travel stuff gets very confusing. When did Sarah Connor die? What is the date of Judgement Day? How old was John Connor at the time? It might look like the writers didn't care, but remember, John Connor has the resources and brains for Tricked Out Time. In no continuity do we ever see a future John Connor at the point in the war when he controls terminators or time machines, and he's the only character who ever does (except for Skynet, and we don't see it at that stage of the war either). For all we know, by the time he first sent someone back in time he was playing Xanatos Speed Chess with himself.
  • At first it seems like just another reference when John uses "You Could Be Mine" to lure the motorbike, but think about it. Guns N' Roses were the band he listened to at 10 years old, that's the kind of music that will stay with you forever at that age. During the war, he doubtless got no chance to listen to music for fear it would draw in the terminators. So when after years of war, he's on his own and has to play some music, he indulges himself by allowing himself to listen to his favorite band after all these years, even if it is just for a few minutes.
  • In T2, the T-800 won't let John go home. It seems like plot convenience, but the T-800 says that the T-1000 will be there, because the T-800 would go to his house if he had to kill John. Now, where did the original T-800 go to try and kill Sarah Connor? (Hint: it was her house.)
    • That's practically canon. "I would"
  • For a robot that gets compared to a Swiss Army Knife, the T-X wears just the right color. It is probably unintentional, though.
  • During Reese's explanation of the Terminator's human appearance, he mentions that everything is grown human: skin, eyes, teeth, hair, everything. During the film's climax, the Terminator is a gleaming Chrome Champion, its apparent organic components burned away without even tarnish remaining... except the teeth, the remaining component that doesn't shine at all.
  • One of the opening shots of T2 is a huge field of human skulls, followed by one being smashed by a Terminator. The camera pans up to the top of that Terminator and of course what do we see? A skull, but now mechanical and highly advanced. It's a shot meant to portray that the machines are not just going to be our exterminators, they're going to be our replacements.
  • There's a deleted scene in Terminator 2 where the T-800 tries to smile at John Connor, and fails badly. Why did it fail badly? Because the T-800 tried to copy the smile of some guy, but all he scanned was the guy's mouth. Had he scanned the guy's whole face, or at least his eyes, he probably could have done better.
  • The director of Terminator Salvation actually did a pretty good job of how things would work in a Military Chain of Command after a nuclear war, some guy claiming to be the messiah and having the answers to all their problems wouldn't be taken very seriously but rather told to get in line. This aptly explains why John Conner had to start out as a grunt in the Human Resistance and earn his reputation as a worthy commander, things realistically wouldn't start out easy for John.
  • The appearance of the T-RIP in Salvation fell into the Uncanny Valley. Well, thing is, it's a prototype and perhaps the full human appearance has still to be perfected.
    • This is confirmed by the very first movie. Kyle Reese mentions to Sarah that the original models had synthesized flesh and were very easy to spot.
  • Why is the T-1000 Naked on Arrival when its clothes are part of its form? Because it couldn't mimic clothing until it touched someone who was dressed (it didn't acquire the cop's uniform until it killed the cop).
  • Why didn't the police pursue the Connors in Terminator 2 after the shootout at the Cyberdyne building, even though none of them were killed? Because the Terminator destroyed all of their vehicles.
  • Take a look at how the T-800 operates in its opening scene in T2. It more or less had disabled a few bikers without killing them. This is great foreshadowing that the T2 T-800 is a good guy.
  • How much more dangerous is a Terminator than a human? In the first film, one successfully robs a gun store. You know, a place where the proprietor and the customers are likely armed. (Granted, it appears that the Terminator is the only customer at this one and the owner makes a literally lethal mistake, but still...)
  • In real life, bullets cannot knock someone down. They are designed to pierce their way through flesh, not send the target flying across the room. Yet bullets are repeatedly shown to knock Terminators to the ground. At first this seems to be run-of-the-mill action-movie schlock, but think about it: first, the bullets which knock them over are coming from shotguns — aka very large bullets. Second, the bullets are knocking them down specifically because they aren't piercing the terminators — instead of ripping effortlessly through flesh, they're bouncing off hard metal. The force of the bullet is being transferred to a hard surface with enough strength to knock the target backwards.
  • It's revealed in T2 that terminators cannot "self-terminate". If they could, it would only be a matter of time before humans worked out how to order Terminators to kill themselves with the push of a button.

Fridge Horror

  • In the first film, the scene where Sarah thinks she's talking to her mother on the phone and then it turns out to be the T-800 imitating the mother's voice after having broken into her cabin. We never hear anything of Sarah's mother but it seems a safe assumption that the Terminator murdered her.
    • There's a bit of implied Fridge Brilliance there too: early on, Reese mentions that Skynet knew almost nothing of John Connor's mother outside of where she lived. Other than her roommate Ginger, Sarah's mother was a likely candidate for knowing all there was to know about her.
  • Not sure if anyone's mentioned this...In the first movie, Reese says that John rose up and showed them "how to smash those metal motherfuckers into junk." This implies that the original John hates metal. By the time the series rolls along, he's making metal friends and allies all over the place. Why the change? There's a certain logic brought up in the third movie, that the T-8(whatever) was able to kill him because of his attachment to the Terminator in the second movie. Does that mean the machines will win?
    • Its not so much that the machines win as that, eventually, there will be peace. The reprogrammed machines that work with the humans are helping to destroy Skynet's troops, and the first movie states that, in the end, Skynet loses. It is probable that the surviving machines will help rebuild the world along with humans. John's love for the T-800 has helped to save both human and machine from extinction.
    • John's unique relationship with Terminators gives him insights into how they operate, what can and can't be used to harm them, and understanding of their abilities. Thus, he is able to teach the other members of the Resistance how to combat them effectively i.e. what traps they will and won't fall for, how to detect an infiltrator, and other things that will give humanity a much-needed edge in the war.
  • Another example of Fridge Horror minor blink and you miss moment. One of the Sarah Connors that T-800 did kill was a mother of 2 children. Since it's his primary mission to kill John Connor odds are he killed her kids too.
    • Not that likely. The events of the movie take place in May, and most schools are still in session. There's no mention of a school shooting during the movie. (In addition, we don't know if either of the children is a boy.) Also, John Connor has a known birthdate; the Terminator would ignore the children because neither of them could be him.
      • Who says they have to be old enough to attend school? Who says the child is often a boy? Even Skynet is smart enough to not discriminate one human with another.
      • The Terminator could ask the child what their name is as well. If it isn't 'John Connor', they may live. Besides, the Terminator probably has John's birthdate.
      • Isn't the point that the T-800 is sent back to kill Sarah Connor so that she never gives birth to John? The T-800 may well kill the kids anyway, but Sarah is only a target because of her relation to John.
  • In the first movie, it's established that the Terminator was sent back in time as a last resort by Skynet, whose headquarters had been stormed by John Connor and his resistance. By Terminator 3, somehow the war has continued to the point that John Connor has now been assassinated and Skynet seems better than ever, sending back their most advanced model yet. At the end of Terminator 3, John Connor discovers that Skynet does not have a central location, and cannot be defeated that easily. In other words, by pushing back Judgment Day, the Connors actually made Skynet worse, because it was allowed to integrate newer technology such as the internet, that thoroughly changed its nature and vulnerability.
    • All 3 Terminators are part of the last ditch effort Skynet tried. It even makes more sense, and it's what Dark Horse went with for their comics. Skynet didn't send one Terminator, and waited for it to fail and then sent another; Skynet sent a number of Terminators all at the same time, and John Connor knows of all the times they almost killed him or his mother and knows he has to send Kyle Reese to father him. The first Terminator sent will always be the one from the latest movie, as Skynet would want to insure Connor's murder with the best option it has; and sends prototypes or older models further back in time, where it is more complicated and dangerous for it to guarantee success; thus, the T-model sent to kill Sarah Connor, before she conceived John, is one of the older T-800 models. It wouldn't make sense for Skynet to send a better equipped T-unit for a time frame when they didn't have the certainty of finding Sarah Connor; unlike the first and second time (T3 and T2) where it had abundant evidence: Sarah was locked in a sanitarium, and Kate Brewster's father was helming the Skynet project. John Connor and Kate Brewster however, are forced to use Arnie models, since that's what they remember arriving; but know for sure that will succeed. It makes it more tragic to know that Connor also knows he has to let the T850 kill him to catch it, and is a show of friendship that he will allow it to fulfill its purpose and then give it a new one posthumously.
  • In The Book Of The Movie, the Terminator grabbing the phone book and his assassination of the first Sarah Connor are both told from the perspective of minor characters, the man in the booth and the child playing in the yard, respectively. The man sees a dent in the phone book under the listings for the Sarahs Connor, and briefly considers calling each to warn them that some psycho is looking for them. He doesn't, and commits suicide shortly after hearing what happened. The child wanders into the dead Mrs. Connor's home, and realizes that she is like his toy truck the Terminator ran over: broken forever.
    • Additionally, in the same book, the Terminator cuts open the left thigh of each Sarah Connor, looking for a surgical pin found in her medical records. A remnant of this subplot remains in the movie, as shrapnel from the Terminator's body imbeds itself in her left thigh. The Fridge Horror comes in when realizing that if the Terminator had succeeded in killing Sarah, it wouldn't have realized it, as the pin wasn't there yet. It would have kept killing everyone named Sarah Connor.
  • During Kyle's dream/flashback sequence in the first film, he's in the midst of a destroyed city trying to bring down a machine. He's accompanied by a woman who helps to destroy it, but she loses her own life in the process. Kyle's reaction to watching her get blown to bits is to simply avert his gaze, with an expression that's less "WHAT DID I JUST SEE'' and more "Not again...." In other words, he's seen enough of his friends die that this has become routine for him. Just how much of a Broken Bird has this man become?
  • Stephen Hawking wrote that "The advent of super-capable AI would be humanity's greatest achievement or worst problem." He also stressed that "The most important safeguard is for Wisdom to outweigh Technology." The fact that one of the most brilliant minds in history is concerned that an AI Takeover might actually happen in real-life is definitely a good reason for worry.

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