My problem(s) with Terminator…

8 Sep

And why the third movie is canon for me.

The movies, the TV show–Sarah’s mission to prevent the war from happening makes no sense. Well, it makes perfect sense if you’re trying to stop a war. But if you’re trying to build a better future for your son John Connor? It makes no sense at all. If there’s no war, there’s no reason for Kyle Reese to go back in time (and no opportunity), and John will never exist.

They bit the bullet and started the war in the third movie. I respect that.

ETA:
I’m kind of disappointed that they didn’t keep Cameron malfunctioning. That would have made an excellent seasonal arc, having to fight an enemy who knows *everything* about you. It was a real cheat that she seems to get fixed without any effort on their part. I hope there’s some reason for that little plot diversion.

Also annoying? That the head of this company developing the A.I. is a killer terminator from the future. I was really hoping she’d be an ambitious contemporary human, which is part of the point of the Terminator series: that we brought this on ourselves.

17 Responses to “My problem(s) with Terminator…”

  1. etrangere September 9, 2008 at 2:12 am #

    I love your appreciation for internal plot (and time!) coherence, yet do not share it 🙂

  2. spiletta42 September 9, 2008 at 2:32 am #

    You are correct in that it makes no sense, from a purely logical perspective. However, people often try desperately to do the impossible, because they think it’s the right move. Human motivation is often seriously flawed, so it makes sense to me that people would be trying to do this.

  3. dlgood September 9, 2008 at 2:45 am #

    Anytime I watch a show that involves time travel, I try to avoid thinking too much about paradox, because it makes my head hurt.

  4. ponygirl2000 September 9, 2008 at 2:58 am #

    Heh! Think of it as an illustration of Angel’s, “if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.” Destiny may screw us in the end but we’ve got to act like we have free will in the mean time.
    Also time travel is messed up, yo.

  5. cornerofmadness September 9, 2008 at 3:55 am #

    you know i never thought about it, but you’re right.

  6. atpo_onm September 9, 2008 at 4:44 am #

    You’re presuming that the end goal of this TV series is to prevent the third film’s events from occurring. That may not be the case.
    I think the point of this series is to have Future John create a machine with free will, and Cameron is the prototype. If he succeeds, then in the future world, there may be a chance to spread this new improved version of artificial intelligence around, and get the machines to see that it could be possible to co-exist with humans, that they aren’t a threat and only a threat.
    Anyway, I don’t think Cameron is “all better yet”, so I expect that for a least a fair portion of the next bunch of episodes we’ll see her go back and forth between wanting to save John and wanting– not to. This would be important if what I’ve theorized above is true– the A.I. program needs to be regularly reinforced by continually re-making the same decision to spare John.

  7. neaux September 9, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    well I should have known that Shirley Manson would be a Terminator (I was suckered into that reveal) but I loved it anyway. I enjoyed that they had her sing the song at the beginning of the episode, but i hated the slow motion effects.
    If I think too hard about the Terminator mythology and time travel stuff, my head hurts, so I shut all that off.
    I thought it would have been cool if they really didn’t fix Cameron and she was somehow smart enough to override her terminate function for the time being (but that doesnt explain her request to Sarah Connor to never let that happen again). So I guess that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  8. neshaffer September 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    Yeah, I was actually impressed at first they were going to keep this show edgy and dark, but maybe not. Here’s hoping.

  9. neshaffer September 9, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    I’m rather cynical of television at this point–especially network television–going in the darker directions. And the Terminator mythology is so convoluted at this point, it’s easy for them to embrace the fluffy stuff even though it would result in contradictions because those contradictions aren’t necessarily obvious.
    I still like this series, though (movies+tv show), and I’m interested to see where they go with it.

  10. neshaffer September 9, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    I’m waiting for the episode of SCC where she succeeds in stopping the war and John fades away before her eyes.
    You saved the world, Mom!

  11. shadowkat67 September 10, 2008 at 12:42 am #

    I’ve pretty much taken the attitude that the TV series and the Film series are two completely different stories or canons. Sort of the same attitude I’m taking towards the Buffy comics and Buffy series, or the Star Wars books and Star Wars films. I don’t think they can be the same – too many differences.
    So I enjoy T:SC as a sort of AU fanfic in its’ own right. If that makes sense. It’s less confusing to do it that way. I did the same thing with the Dresden Files and well, the Harry Potter films, by the way.

  12. neshaffer September 10, 2008 at 1:24 am #

    Good attitude, but I guess it depends on if the producers/writers see it that way or not.

  13. atpo_onm September 10, 2008 at 3:26 am #

    Oh, I like it way much, even with its faults. The acting is all very good, the stories are at least decently written, and best of all there is a lot of potential if they’re willing and able to rise to it.
    Interestingly, the time travel paradoxes and such bother me far less than seeing a character do something that’s not only cliched but technically stupid. For example, my least favorite moment last night was our boy starting the truck by cutting the ignition wires and hot-wiring the starter. They always have the actor do this by briefly tapping the wires together, and the engine starts (usually after a few tries).
    What you would really do in practice is hold the wires together so the engine cranks until it starts– which would be at least several seconds, just like if you turned the key in any older vehicle.
    Now if I wrote that scene, I’d have him rooting around for the knife or whatever, and find the ignition key hidden under one of the floor mats. He’d be so shocked at how “easy” this suddenly got, he’d exclaim something aloud, like “You’re kidding me!”, then get an Oh Shit look as he realizes he just spoke aloud. We smash-cut to Cameron zooming in on his voice.
    Also– could Cameron have really survived a firely explosion like that with so little damage to her skin? I so think not.
    But hey, it was still more than cool enough besides, so I let it go.

  14. markeyisapunk September 10, 2008 at 3:51 am #

    I hadn’t thought of that at all–but it makes perfect sense. still, I’m enjoying the tv show a lot, so I guess I’ll be doing that suspension of disbelief thing 🙂

  15. neshaffer September 10, 2008 at 4:46 am #

    I’m trying not to take the show too seriously, or take it as establishing any kind of canon for the movies. But this is one aspect of Sarah Connor’s character that is common to both, and worth puzzling over.

  16. markeyisapunk September 10, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    I’m trying not to take the show too seriously I hear that. I think shows like buffy inspire the fanatic over-interpretation because they give a lot of text AND subtext for viewers to read into. terminator: SC is more along the lines of interesting, let’s see where it goes.

  17. anomster September 12, 2008 at 5:23 am #

    Hey, I’ve never even tried to hotwire a car, but I was thinking, shouldn’t he just be holding the wires together? John looked like he was trying to strike a spark w/a flint & steel. And I agree about Cameron’s condition after the explosion. I was expecting her to be mostly steel w/a few shreds of skin left, & that the main problem would be keeping her out of sight while she regrew it. But what I had the hardest time buying was that her damaged chip would spontaneously be fixed, just because…yeah, why, now? I agree w/Masq that it seems like a cheat.
    As for your theory, I dunno…but if that’s it, it could be linked w/the end of that episode where Cameron is dancing alone in her room.
    And for Masq, hmm. If John could exist in the future to send Kyle back to a time before he was born–or wasn’t born–& father him, then I’m not sure preventing the war so Kyle never needs to be sent back would change what’s now the past so John is never conceived. He already does exist, & I don’t know if changing the future would change the present. In other words, it’s no more of a contradiction than the one the whole show & the movies are based on.

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