The Terminator

New this week Question: In the hotel room scene when the landlord/manager knocks on the door and asks if he has a dead cat in the room, why is the Terminator sitting down on the bed, especially turned away from the door? If the Terminator is an indefatigable machine only resembling a human on the outside, why would it ever be seen in a relaxed pose at all, and ignoring the sole point of entry to the room it's in?

New this week Answer: The T-800 is designed to blend in with the human race. As such it will act as a human does with the aim of maintaining its cover. Another example is why do they find clothes? Sure a naked man walking round is going to attract attention of police but they are capable of dealing with such situations.

Ssiscool Premium member

New this week That is true when the Terminator is among humans but in this scene it is alone in the room. The question remains why it sits, looking away from the door, if there is no-one else there.

New this week The answer provided still works, based on how the Terminators are portrayed in the sequels. They will gradually learn more and more human behaviors and adapt them to their programming. In this case, sitting down when idle. Another example is the T-1000 giving a very human-like puzzled expression when he notices the silver mannequin. Also, the T-X in Terminator 3 smirks at numerous points throughout that movie when things go her way. None of these behaviors are done for the benefit of "blending in" and appear to simply be learned behaviors.

BaconIsMyBFF

New this month Question: Towards the end of the movie when Kyle Reese dies, what will happen to him, considering he's from the future and there is no way he could be identified?

oobs

New this month Answer: He would likely be considered as a "John Doe," with some identifying number, then buried in a modern-day equivalent of a "Potter's Field," where unknown persons are buried. Sarah Conner could have supplied Kyle's name, though this could not be verified and he'd still be considered as an unknown.

raywest Premium member

New this month Answer: Also, in the sequel when the T-1000 looks up John Connor's info on the police car's computer, John's father is listed as "unknown', so any info Sarah had given the police was apparently disregarded.

zendaddy621

New this month Answer: He'd be treated like any other John Doe corpse.

Question: I know it's not important because the movie would be very short and boring, but there's something I've always wondered. What would have happened to the Terminator had he actually managed to kill Sarah Conner?

The_Iceman

New this week Answer: According to the official novelization, the Terminator looked for a specific injury that the Sarah Connor in question had, in order to insure that she was indeed the Sarah Connor that would give birth to John Connor. If any of the Sarah Connors that he killed didn't have that injury, then he knew that none of them were the Sarah Connor that he was looking for, and would move on to the next one. At the end of the novelization, it is revealed that Sarah Connor got the injury during her final battle with the Terminator, meaning that previous time travel loops had already happened that we didn't see or read about (alternatively the events in the first Terminator film are a causal loop that always happened). Since the Terminator wasn't aware that Sarah didn't have the injury at this point in time, this would mean that he would continue to search the world for other Sarah Connors after killing her. It's a piece of horror that unfortunately was cut from the film.

Chosen answer: Since terminators cannot self-terminate, only one very likely possibility comes to mind: it would have hidden itself away somewhere known to have remained undisturbed in the years between the termination of Sarah Connor and the start of the war, at which point it would rejoin the war effort.

Phixius Premium member

Answer: Skynet knew nothing about Sarah Connor besides what city she was in in 1984 and that she had a pre war leg injury which they could use as a form of identification. However this injury only occurred in the factory at the end of the movie which would mean the terminator would have no way of identifying the real sarah connor before that time. The terminator therefore could've never completed its mission with 100% certainty because it had no idea what she actually looked like, therefore it may have just carried on hunting out Sarah Connors to increase the chances of getting the right one if it was still in good enough condition to move around unnoticed.

Question: How exactly do both the Terminator and Kyle find addresses? We are led to believe that is the reason for the phone books, but none of the addresses in the phone books match up to the addresses where either the first Sarah is killed, nor the apartment of our Sarah.

Answer: The phone books are the reason for finding Sarah Conner. The Terminator didn't know what Sarah looked like or where she lived so he looked in there and when he saw three Sarah Conners listed, he was in Kyle's own words, "being systematic." In other words, going to each of the addresses listed for Sarah Conner and killing the women whose name were a match for his primary target. Kyle already knew what Sarah looked like as he was given a photo of her by Johnn Conner but, just like the Terminator, didn't know where she lived so he used a phone book to locate and protect her.

Question: If the Terminator had succeeded in killing Sarah and effectively wiping out John Conner, then that would mean the machines would win and even kill off mankind. So after Skynet's mission was complete and all humans are dead, what would the machines do now that with no more humans left to kill?

Answer: It's really impossible to answer definitively, considering the film-makers have never addressed this. The films never specify any purpose Skynet has outside of wanting to wipe out humanity. Skynet simply wants to "live", to exist as a sentient consciousness but views all of humanity as a threat to its existence. Since artificial intelligence is thus far only a fictional concept, we can't even really speculate based on information outside of the Terminator series. We can perhaps imagine a scenario wherein Skynet is successful and lives in peace as the only intelligence on Earth. The machines themselves do not have individuality and only exist for the purposes of killing humans so there doesn't seem to be a logical reason why they would exists if Skynet wins. However, there doesn't seem to be any reasonable way Skynet could ever be sure they have killed every single human on the planet so I can also imagine a scenario where the machines endlessly patrol the planet, making sure humanity never rises again. Also, and this is food for thought, the time travel scenario present in these films is a grandfather paradox. Skynet leads to it's own creation by sending back a Terminator to kill Sarah Connor. Similarly John Connor is conceived because a Terminator was sent back in time, which is the paradox. Skynet winning would create another paradox wherein Skynet could not exist because John Connor was never born so they had no enemy to fight, etc. This sort of stuff can make your head explode.

BaconIsMyBFF

Just to be clear, the first movie doesn't say that Skynet created itself by sending a terminator back, that's the second movie. Also John Connor never being born doesn't remove their enemy, humanity is their enemy, it would stop the resistance and prevent the humans from winning, presumably. It does create a paradox though, like all time travel movies do.

lionhead

The first movie deleted specific scenes which referenced the defeated Terminator being used to create Skynet. This of course was fully formed in the sequel. Technically since they are deleted scenes they may not belong in a discussion about the first movie but I was speaking generally with regards to the series as a whole. It's really only relevant to my point about the paradox which doesn't really have anything to do with the original question. Also, John Connor is specifically Skynet's enemy. Without him humanity would have been easily defeated. Technically, yes they want to wipe out all humanity but without John Connor they would have succeeded and there would be no need to send a terminator back in time, which of course is the entire point of the series. Both the humans and Skynet believe this to be true.

BaconIsMyBFF

John Connor is the key to the paradox, true. Since John was created by Skynet's own attempt to stop him it's impossible for them to win the war. All movies tell us (except the horrible, terrible last one called Genisys) that skynet can not win the war by time travel. I had a whole essay written down but I decided not to post it, since talking about paradoxes is a paradox and they are highly interactive. Catch my drift?

lionhead

Thinking about paradoxes in movies like these can drive you insane.

BaconIsMyBFF

Yeah, but it's so much fun.

lionhead

Agreed. I actually really love the paradox in the first Terminator. The idea that John gave Kyle a picture of his mother and Kyle fell in love with her because of that picture, and he always wondered what she was thinking about when the picture was taken, and it turns out she was thinking about how much she loved Kyle. Brilliant.

BaconIsMyBFF

Yeah, you know now I think about it, the first movie doesn't have a grandfather paradox at all, it's the exact opposite. They actually created a loop, the time travel made the resistance exist and skynet always will try to use time travel to destroy the resistance. The paradox, is the sequel, where they make us believe the time travel also made skynet, which is impossible and an actual grandfather paradox because skynet invented time travel (since in the second movie the time travelling terminator from the first movie became the "grandfather" of skynet basically). Maybe we should move this to the Forum though.

lionhead

Question: I've always wondered, what's the significance of the kid pointing a wooden gun and making 'pew pew' noises at Reese when he enters the human hideout? Is it meant to be purely a bit of comical play between the two, or a subtle inference that mankind will never be able to abolish its inherent desire to destroy itself, even in the face of total extinction?

Answer: Its simply a child being a child and playing, but more than anything, showing the innocence of the children that inspite of the near death of the human race all around them, there's still time to play and be... human.

GalahadFairlight

Question: When Vukovic and Traxler are watching Silberman question Reese, Vukovic mentions a guy they brought in who apparently burned something and did something else I couldn't quite hear. What's he actually talking about?

Answer: The quote: "He had this guy in here last week who set his Afghan [a breed of dog] on fire. Screwed it first, then set it on..." [and here Traxler interrupts him].

Phil C.

Question: Why is the Terminator able to talk when he looks like a human but doesn't talk when he doesn't have the living tissue on?

EmilBlonsky

Chosen answer: It's not that he could not talk, but perhaps he just had nothing to say. Once his skin burns off, he was still in pursuit mode to terminate his target. Before the skin burned off and he was chasing them in that scene, he wasn't saying anything either. And it's also logical to say that the wreck and gas tanker exploding, which caused his skin to burn off, likely could have damages internal components of the terminator by impact force as well as the extreme heat. So him not talking was either he didn't have anything to say, his voice generator was broken, or both.

Quantom X Premium member

Answer: Think about what produces sound coming from human mouth: air directed through the tissues of the neck and mouth, moving vocal cords in waves. After being burned, there is no tissue which can create the waves when being moved.

Question: What was Kyle Reese using to saw off the butt of his shotgun?

Josh West

Answer: He uses a hacksaw blade that he most likely picked up from somewhere off screen.

Ssiscool Premium member

Question: Towards the end of the movie, after Sarah has smashed the Terminator onto the guardrail, she rolls over with her pickup. The Terminator is then subsequently hit by a truck. At this point Sarah is stuck in the pickup only a few hundred yards away. Why doesn't he simply run there and kill her but feels the need to hijack the truck and hit the pickup with the truck instead?

Konitzlee

Answer: The Terminator's leg is injured after either the motorcycle crash or the truck hits him and he can't run anymore. He limps rather slowly for the duration of the film.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: When the Terminator shoots up the police station, there is a part where it cuts to him walking down a hallway after reloading his gun and there is a fire behind him. What caused that fire?

Answer: The Terminator rips the main electrical cable out of the junction box and then overloads the other cables, which cuts power to the station and starts the fire.

Sierra1 Premium member

Question: Why would a gun store have ammo on display? Would it make more sense to have it behind the counter or a hidden place so customers can't take some when the clerk's not looking?

Answer: Things that are sold are on dispay or people wouldn't know you got it for sale now would they? The clerk is alert for shoplifters, its his risk. No difference from a gas station.

lionhead

New this week I think the question is referring to why would they have the ammo on the counter and not on a shelf behind the counter or in a display counter? Having live ammunition on the counter is, as you say the clerks risk. But it does seem rather foolish.

Ssiscool Premium member

New this week I think inexpensive things are common to be put on counters to sell. Like cigarette lighters, candy and lottery tickets. Bullets seem a bit dubious as this scene shows someone can load their gun on the spot, but I don't think in reality anyone would do that.

lionhead

New this week Agreed, non-expensive items are generally kept on counters. But slightly stupid and dangerous to do it with ammo.

Ssiscool Premium member

Question: Kyle Reese finds Sarah before the Terminator - why does he need to wait hours, until the Terminator has his laser sighting on Sarah, before approaching her?

Answer: Kyle didn't know what the Terminator looked like so he waited for him to make a move on Sarah so he could identify him in future.

Answer: By saving her life he shows that he means no harm. The terminator on the other hand is out to kill her. By saving her, he's given her a reason to trust him.

Ssiscool Premium member

Question: Can anyone explain the dates in the first movie? I am very confused. The Terminator arrives on Thursday May 12 at 1:52 AM. The first killing is on Friday (although there is no indication that more than a full day has passed. Lastly, Sarah's timecard says it is 5/19. This would also be a Thursday (although we know it is a Friday). Has a week really passed? Makes no sense.

Answer: It takes the terminator time to gather weapons and find each victim so yes, time has passed. Easily several days.

Jason Hoffman

Question: I've always wondered this even as a kid. I never read any of the novels associated with the movies so it might have been addressed there. If a computer system became self aware and a computer system is what launched all the nukes, then what created the first Terminator? I get how they're all made on an assembly line but someone or something had to make the machines and equipment that makes the Terminators.

Robert Waner

Chosen answer: Skynet being an artificial intelligence, it could take control of existing machines to repurpose them. It doesn't become self aware until 1997, by which point robotic technology would be much more advanced than in 1984 (and it had already been somewhat self-reliant before that point, so presumably a degree of military fabrication was already set up to be controlled automatically). With its vastly accelerated rate of development and intelligence, it could use existing factories to create basic machines, use those to retool and create more complicated machines, etc. From what Kyle says the ultra-realistic Terminator model we see here is a relatively new development (he comes from 2029) so Skynet has had about 30 years to set up a series of self-improving machines and its own murderous infrastructure.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Question: When John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother, Reese then becomes Connor's father, how could John Connor be the same person he is if a different man's sperm produced him?

dan coakley..

Chosen answer: The whole thing's a paradox, which, as time travel doesn't exist, we have no way to determine how it would work out in reality, and thus any movie dealing with time travel can make up its own rules. Effectively an infinite loop has been set up - Sarah gives birth to John, John grows up, meets Kyle, sends Kyle back to meet Sarah, they make love, Sarah gives birth to John and so on and so on. There may have been an original father to John at the beginning, but he was supplanted in the loop by Kyle and thus, in the timeline the film presents, the John who sent Kyle back is the one fathered by Kyle himself. Alternatively, maybe John Connor wasn't the original resistance leader, that some other leader sent Kyle back the first time, leading to the birth of John Connor, who then became the resistance leader instead; thus Kyle has always been John's father. This is the nature of a paradox, that there are things about the situation that don't necessarily seem to fit together, but they somehow come about anyway. The detail can be debated ad infinitum, but no concrete conclusion can be drawn, because that's just how this works.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Who was John Connor's father before he sent Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother?

dan coakley..

Chosen answer: Kyle was. It's a paradox, an infinite loop; Kyle goes back, fathers a son who later meets the younger Kyle and sends him back to father a son who later meets the younger Kyle... etc. etc. There are no hard and fast rules governing this sort of thing, so there doesn't necessarily have to have been an original father who kicked the whole thing off before being supplanted by Kyle. Or maybe there was. Or maybe there was originally a different resistance leader who sent Kyle back, leading to the birth of John who became resistance leader instead. This sort of thing can be debated until the cows come home, but ultimately the only answer is "it's a paradox".

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Some people think Ginger is Sarah's sister, but I have always thought she was just her close friend and roommate. Who's right?

Gavin Jackson

New this month Answer: Ginger is Sarah's roommate and best friend.

Chosen answer: No mention is made of her being Sarah's sister. If she was, at some point in the other films, it would have been mentioned.

Captain Defenestrator Premium member

Question: How did the Terminator manage to find a hotel room already equipped with surgical tools and bandages? Doesn't seem like he set it up with supplies earlier since the first we see is him breaking in via the fire escape.

Answer: He isn't breaking in via the fire escape, hes just using it as a means of coming and going without being seen by the hotel staff, so at any point during the movie, he could have equipped himself with those tools. It is not necessary for a movie to show every intervening action onscreen.

GalahadFairlight

Question: If Skynet is so worried about its Terminators "doing too much thinking" then why not remove from them the 'read-and-write' learning capabilities and simply set them to 'read-only' at all times?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: Because the gathering of new information is still a key part to what they do. There has to be a write setting, even a restricted one, in order for the Terminators to assimilate new information that can assist them in their missions - possible target locations, voiceprints, even new mission parameters could not be uploaded without the ability to write to their CPU. Skynet can (and does) set restrictions on the Terminators' learning abilities, but, without those abilities, their effectiveness would be compromised.

Tailkinker Premium member

Audio problem: When the Terminator breaks into the police station, he has an auto-shotgun in his left hand, and a machine gun in his right. Before he kills the power in the building, he comes to the end of a hall, points his shotgun through a doorway, and shoots. A machine gun sound is used for the blast, instead of a shotgun sound. (01:00:28)

More mistakes in The Terminator

Kyle Reese: Listen! And understand. That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with, can't be reasoned with! It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. EVER! Until you are dead!

More quotes from The Terminator

Trivia: Arnie only has 16 lines.

More trivia for The Terminator

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.