It’s the big one, the apex: the all-time, stone-cold classic Time Travel Saga that set the bar for all other time travel sagas. Before the MCU became a time travel story, before we even knew the MCU could be a thing, back when conventional wisdom was that most sequels sucked, James Cameron’s two Terminator films Terminator (1984) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) blew us out of the water. These two films brought us Linda Hamilton as all-time Hollywood badass momma bear Sarah Connor, Michael Biehn as battle-scarred hero (and maybe something more) Kyle Reese, young Edward Furlong as wily, teen-aged, ATM-hacking, voice-cracking John Connor, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger in the most iconic role of an iconic career, first as a time traveling killer robot from the future, hunting a future war hero’s mom, and then as a time traveling killer robot from the future, protecting a future war hero as a (mostly) innocent kid. Dystopian futures, technopunk visuals, industry-changing special effects, and some of the best staged action scenes ever put to film: these movies have it all! This episode is an analysis of the first two Terminator films, but at the same time, a celebration of just how good time travel stories can be.
While we wish we could go back and watch them again for the first time, that’s impossible, so instead we’ve watched them over and over, and plot out how the timelines might have worked out, charting the ways we could have gotten from the first invention of time travel, to the set of events actually portrayed on screen in these films.
In this episode:
Fan mail! Jim from da Jerz sends in high praise for Rydia Kim’s plastic surgery episode, (listen here), and recommends some interesting Asian-American podcasts.
Outta Time: How did the T-800 find its way back to 1984? How did John Connor become the leader of the human resistance? What are the elements of the first two Terminator films that don’t make sense unless we piece together previous timelines setting those elements in place? This time, Eugene takes the long way around, the better to piece together the Terminator timelines.
Hang on after the timeline forensics for a discussion of logic gaps, best parts, a “Who ya got? T1 or T2?” mini-debate, and a gushing discussion of the awesomeness and impact the Terminator films had on the time travel genre, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s burgeoning icon status, and Hollywood action movies overall.
*Special note: in the discussion of the history of killer robots in stories, Rob at one point says “Robot is actually the Polish word for robot”… in reality, robot is the Czech word for “worker.”
Also, the “Dune” books were written by Frank Herbert, not Frank Dune. Jeez, Rob.