So there’s a new Terminator film released today, here in the UK anyway, my U.S. cousins will have to wait until the 1st of November to see it… and I personally couldn’t be less interested. For me, the franchise was terminated a long time ago. I’ll watch it eventually I’m sure, but I’m in no hurry to get to the cinema to see the return of Arnie, Linda and Edward (who I guess will be killed off in the opening). The prospect of James Cameron back as producer hardly gets me excited, nor does the fact the new flick is a direct sequel to Terminator 2 that ignores the other films. Even the high praise the film is currently getting does not excite me. But a new Terminator film does give me an excuse to write an article.
Regular readers may know I enjoy looking at and attempting to cover film plot holes. I’ve done Die Hard as well as the whole Back to the Future trilogy of films. So I thought I’d do the same with T2. Now before I get into this, I need to quickly cover the rules, yes I have rules…
- So when looking at plot holes, I can only use the rules established in the universe in which the film(s) exist. I can’t make up my own rules/excuses to explain anything away.
- Novels, comic book adaptions and original shooting scripts are also out. Only what is seen on screen can be used for explanations.
- Deleted scenes can be a wildcard depending on why they were deleted. If a scene was removed against the director’s wishes due to producer interference (as an example), then I can consider using them. If a scene was removed for something as mundane as ‘time constraints’ then I can’t use them because if a director thinks a scene which explains plot points/character motivation is less important than time, why should I care about it? If a scene was in the original script, but not filmed… see rule 2 above.
- Fan theories are definitely a huge no. I’m a fan, I like to come up with my own interpretations of films as much as the next person… but I’m not involved in the making of the film.
Basically, if it’s not in the film(s), it can’t be used.
So those are the rules… and to be honest, they’ve put me in a rather tricky spot. See, when I do these plot hole articles and using my rules. The whole point is to cover the plot holes and explain why they are not plot holes… which I have done in the past. But what happens when the writing of a film is so bad, so full of errors that go against established rules that I just can’t cover them? Well, you get Terminator 2: Plot Hole Day…
The TDE Problem
Nothing dead can use the Time Displacement Equipment (TDE). This is a rule explained and shown to be true in the first film, this is why both the T-800 and Kyle are sent back naked and why no future weapons can be sent either. The T-1000 in Terminator 2 is nothing but dead material, it can not use the TDE, it can not be sent to the past. None of the events of Terminator 2 can happen given established in-universe rules.
Now some people claim that the T-1000 can mimic human flesh and that is why it can use the TDE, except it can’t. We know it can’t mimic human flesh as we are told it can’t mimic anything complex and human flesh is pretty damn complex. Plus when you see the T-1000 get shot in the film, there is no human tissue there (like the T-800) it’s pure liquid metal. So within the opening minutes of this film already contradicts the rules established in the first film. And before people jump in with the comments of a flesh sack, etc… re-read the rules.
Why is there another Arnie cyborg in the film? Yes they are mass produced in a factory (as the teaser trailer shows)… but why would Skynet even build more T-800 (the robot) Model 101 (the skin) terminators when the reason provided in the first film for the creation of the new T-800 is due to the fact the previous machine, the T-600 had rubber skin and was, as Kyle explained “easy to spot”? Surely if Skynet is aware its T-600 units are “easy to spot” leading to Skynet creating the more advanced T-800 with living tissue, bad breath, everything. It would not make multiples of that same unit that look identical as it would be “easy to spot”, in fact easier to spot than the T-600 the T-800 was built to replace, making the existence of the T-800 redundant.
Especially when you take into account the machines are used as infiltration units. Kyle’s nightmare/flashback/forward (it’s complex) in the first film shows what these things do, they get into the human bases by passing themselves off as humans and murder everyone in sight. They infiltrate. So their effectiveness is pretty pointless if they all look like Arnie. Even if Skynet sent multiple Arnie T-800s to various parts of the battlefield, even if there was only a 0.01% chance that these Arine looking machines would be spotted, why would Skynet take the chance when it could create different looking T-800s instead?
Put Some Clothes On
Why is the T-1000 naked when being sent through the TDE (which it can’t do anyway)? We know why the T-800 and Kyle had to be sent through naked as nothing dead will go, so they can’t wear clothing. But the T-1000 can mimic clothing as the film shows us. Skynet is aware clothing is important as the first thing the T-800 does in the first film when it gets sent back is acquire clothing, that is also what it does in Terminator 2. So clearly clothing is something programmed into the machines and obviously important. So why is the T-1000 naked?
‘Default appearance’ is often the excuse, but let’s look at my next point…
He’s In The Nip!
The T-1000 is supposed to be an infiltration unit. Designed and programmed to blend in with humans. It can only mimic what it touches. So if being naked is it’s default appearance… would that not stand out when it was trying to infiltrate? Picture the scene, war ravaged world where humans fight for survival against its AI oppressors. People are dying all around and through the smoke walks a completely naked male figure that is designed to blend in. Does not work does it? Why would a naked form even be part of the T-1000s programming anyway when it’s designed and programmed to kill, in case it ever had to infiltrate a porn film?
Skynet has detailed files about humans, so much so that it can recreate nipples… but not clothing? But as already covered, Skynet is obviously aware of clothing and it’s importance because the T-800 is programmed to find some as a priority.
Lets just go back to the first film and a spot of exposition for a second. As Kyle said: “Its defence grid was smashed, Skynet had already lost” and “Its just him (T-800) and me, nothing else comes through.”. Nuff said. So why is there a sequel and why are more terminators being sent if we have already been told this can not happen?
Perhaps the terminators from T2 were sent back before the one in the first film… maybe? But this makes no sense when you think about it… something I’m covering in a couple more points.
Killer Cyborg That Doesn’t Kill?
Why doesn’t the T-800 kill any of the bikers in the opening bar scene? We know it’s still programmed to kill as the scene with the two guys that come to help John shows later in the film…
John: “You we’re gonna kill that guy.”
T-800: “Of course, I’m a terminator.”
See, it’s programmed to kill, but only roughs up the people in the bar? Now remember that bar scene? The T-800 is attacked, it’s very mission is being hindered, it gets stabbed! That very same make and model terminator killed for much less in the first film, remember the clerk in the gun store? He was killed just for telling the terminator it couldn’t load the gun in the shop. But in Terminator 2, the same make and model kills no one despite being stabbed with a knife, attacked with a pool cue and more?
So within Terminator 2 itself, if that same machine was willing to kill the guy coming the help John later in the film, why not kill anyone in the bar that were getting into the way of it’s mission? The terminator would have left a trail that could’ve been traced if it killed people in the bar… maybe. But wouldn’t roughing people up in front of dozens of witnesses, stealing clothing, a motorbike and even guns also leave a traceable trail?
Skynet Is Stupid In T2
Skynet is supposed to be this amazing, militaristic thinking piece of highly advanced AI. So why would Skynet send the more advanced T-1000 through over the lesser (by then) T-800? Why not just send multiple T-1000s. And seeing as Skynet can send multiple units through as proven in the sequel(s), which contradicts info given in the first film, why send them to different times in the past instead of just sending ALL of it’s machines to 1984 to kill the then unaware Sarah? Skynet’s very existence is at stake here, so why not throw everything it had at the problem? Just imagine Kyle having to fight off numerous T-800s, T-1000s… hell even the lesser T-600s (can’t cos they have rubber skin so cant use the TDE… like the T-1000?), throw in some HKs too, it could send an army. Kyle and Sarah wouldn’t stand a chance and Skynet would win. Terminator 2 makes no sense!
T-1000 The Cop
Why doesn’t the T-1000 fully mimic the cop in the opening? We know it can fully mimic people as the film itself shows us. But instead of fully mimicking the cop, it just mimics the uniform (more on this issue next). Wouldn’t a person walking around in a police uniform that is numbered while also driving a police car that is also numbered not be a little bit suspicious? What if a fellow cop that knew the original cop recognised the uniform/cop car number and realised the person using them was not the cop they knew?
So instead of the T-1000 just mimicking the cop and passing itself off as him, we now have a missing cop and a strange man wearing his uniform and using his car. The T-1000 is supposed to be an infiltration unit remember.
It does the same thing with the motorcycle cop later in the film too.
Equal Size My Arse!
The T-1000 can only mimic things of equal size is the rule established in the film. The cop uniform is not equal size, so it should’ve mimicked the cop fully and not just the uniform. John’s foster mother is also not equal size, nor is the guard at the hospital as you see the size difference as the T-1000 morphs between them. Speaking of the hospital, it mimics the hospital floor and you can bet your arse that is most definitely not equal size. So it can mimic things not of equal size then despite the film telling us it can’t?
John asks the T-800 to swear not to kill, but why? The machine has no concept of human rules and I can prove it.
John: “You can’t just go around killing anyone.”
John: “You just can’t.”
John: “You just can’t OK?”
See, the T-800 does not understand human rules to the point it doesn’t understand why it can’t kill… so why would asking it swear not to kill mean anything to the machine? John never explains what swearing means or its importance/meaning to humans, it’s learning nothing. All the T-800 does is parrot John by holding up his hand and swearing not to kill, it’s programming remains the same and it is still programmed to kill remember. So given what we have learned through the exposition of the film, there is no reason for the T-800 not to kill from that point onward or even before it (bar scene).
But just to add to the pointlessness of the ‘swearing’ scene. Just minutes earlier we, the audience and John learn that the T-800 has to follow his orders, so why didn’t John just order the machine not to kill?
John: “I order you not to kill anyone.”
See, I just wrote T2 better than James Cameron did.
On the subject of John’s orders having to be followed by the T-800. Let’s skip to the end of the film and when the T-800 is lowered into the molten steel. What is it that John says again? Ahhhhh yes…
John: “I order you not to go, I order you not to go.”
Well there you have it, the T-800 can’t ‘die’ as John just ordered it not to go. Not once, but twice But wait, what does the T-800 reply with?
T-800: “I’m sorry John, I can’t do that.”
Wait, what? So now it doesn’t have to follow John’s orders, since when can it do that? If it can choose to not follow his orders then why did it break mission parameters by taking John into direct danger earlier in the film risking the mission just because John orders it to? What danger am I taking about? Next point…
The Stupid Plan
Why would the more mature and future resistance leader, John who knows the entire existence of the human race is on his shoulders allow the T-800 to follow his younger, immature self’s orders? What if that immature version of himself orders the T-800 to rescue his mother, who we are told is not a mission priority and therefore breaking mission parameters and take John into direct danger putting huge risk onto the mission? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the T-800 to be programmed to follow the more knowledgeable and prepared Sarah’s orders?
Another thing about the ending that makes no sense. The T-1000 stabs Sarah in her shoulder and asks her (quite eloquently too) to “call to John”. Why would it do this when we and it knows it can mimic people? Even more so we are told in the film that the T-1000 typically kills whoever it mimics. So why didn’t the T-1000 just kill and mimic Sarah, get close to John and then kill him? Mission complete.
“It glitches, that’s why it can’t mimic Sarah” is the usual response. Yes the T-1000 does glitch… in the extended cut, but not so much the theatrical cut and the one most familiar to everyone. But even if we go the glitch route excuse. The T-1000 still manages to mimic Sarah as the film proves later anyway. So the whole “call to John” bit is inane. Just kill and mimic Sarah, you know that thing the T-1000 had been doing since it’s first scene in the film.
Good Scene, Bad Writing
About that extended cut. There is a scene included where the T-800 has it’s chip removed so it can learn. From a filming perspective, its a great scene that features a mirror image with two T-800s, two Sarahs and two Johns. The amazing thing about this scene is the fact no mirror was used nor were any special effects either. Its a great shot done so using a very simple magic trick. Brilliantly filmed… but from a plot and character perspective is makes no sense.
So the T-800 allows its chip to be removed and therefore is taken offline, meaning it’s no longer capable of doing it’s mission. Why would the T-800 let the happen? What if the T-1000 turned up while it’s chip was removed? Plus it’s chip is removed so a physical switch can be flicked to allow it to learn. So Skynet built a machine with a switch that has to be manipulated physically for it to learn, meaning if Skynet ever sent one of these units out not to learn but then changed it mind later and wanted it to learn. It would have to recall that unit to manually remove the chip and change the switch? But maybe there are two ways to change the switch, one manual and one remotely. Maybe there is, but if the switch can be changed remotely then why would Skynet even bother with a manual switch to begin with? Then if this particular T-800 switch is not set to learn (hence the need to remove the chip)… then how had it been learning anything up to this point in the film. Like swearing not to kill for example? It should still be killing!
The Terminator actually fails it’s mission in the end. Remember it is programmed to protect John. By the end if the film, the T-1000 is destroyed but John is still in danger and in need of protection. He and Sarah are still being hunted by the police for example.
Edit: Or the opening of Dark Fate…
So effectively, the T-800 abandons it’s mission at the end as John was still in danger. Mission failed.
Well there you have it. As much as I tried, I just can’t explain these plot holes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This is not meant as a dig at the film either, I enjoy the flick as much as anyone… but it’s badly written and just seems to ignore established rules not only with the first film but also within itself.
Well, however Terminator: Dark Fate turns out. I hope it’s better written and respects the original film more than T2 did.