Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The John Connor paradox

Deep breathe here people, we're going down the rabbit hole....

Before we go any further, let me try to clarify some things. Terminator, and the entire universe that has since been built up, is a favourite of mine. The original film blew me away, even if some of the effects are somewhat shonky by today's standards.

terminator eye surgery arnold schwarznegger

As a film in its own right 'the Terminator' made sense and everything worked. Reese was sent back in time, to save Sarah Connor, by her son John. Reese wanted to do it as he was rocking a chubby for Sarah since John gave him a picture. I'd imagine scud mags are hard to come by in the war torn post apocalyptic world, so it make sense that a soft focus 80's photo would flick his switch. Anyway, the point is that it all encompassed one timeline, and the problems with time travel aside, all made sense.

Then James Cameron went back for a second bite of the cherry and created 'the John Conner paradox'.

What we learn from T2 is that John Connor was conceived by Sarah and Reese in T1, uh-oh. Here's where the paradox occurs- how can John send Reese back knowing that if he doesn't he won't exist. John Connor can't exist without Reese, which means Reese needs to go back. This means that in the Terminator universe, everything up to Reese going back HAS to happen. This goes against the idea peddled in T2 that the future isn't written, as it has to be for John Connor to even exist. If they actually managed to stop judgement day at the end of T2, John Connor would cease to exist.

So to believe the time theory in the Terminator universe you have to believe that fate has already been written and that what we are watching, is in fact history. This goes for all four Terminator films. The only time we'll see events that haven't been fated to happen will be at the point when Reese goes back in time.

All of this means that really all of the events in the Terminator series are John Connor's fault. If he hadn't of been born, Reese wouldn't have gone back, and neither would the original Terminator, therefore stopping Skynets original inception (remember the arm and the chip). Ironically if the terminator in any of the films to date had succeeded in it's mission to kill Connor, it would have also destroyed itself and skynet.

I must point out that at the end of T3 they mention that Skynet was in software, and never a machine. Poor old Miles Dyson died for squat in T2, it does however alleviate some blame from Connor. Him and his mothers ineffectual bumbling counted for dick in the end.

Welcome to Hotel Headfuck.

Well there you go. I've included a time line highlighting the key circular points. Hopefully the next instalment, and there will be one, will not muddy the water further.

Who'd time travel eh?


  1. Greatest sex scene on film is from terminator 1, The hand shot is a seminal part of modern film.

    I miss our discussions on these subjects.

  2. Wrong. The first John Connor couldn't have been fathered by Kyle Reese because he has to exist to be able to send him back. He can't know that if he doesn't send back Kyle he won't exist because he wouldn't have existed. The only explanation is that the first John Connor has a different father. It's the same with the other paradox. Cyberdyne had to make the procesor and the hand some other way the first time because those things wouldn't have existed if the terminator wasn't sent back in time.


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