The T-1000 arrives in the past in the middle of the night, sometime around 4 AM. After killing a cop, it steals his car and uses the cop's computer screen to identify John Connor's foster parents and their address. We then cut to ... the middle of the next day!?

I can accept that it may have lacked GPS, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have picked up a A-to-Z street-map when the shops opened in the morning.

Why did it take the T-1000 eight (or more) hours to drive to John's house?

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    Wouldn't it depend on where he arrived? Remember from the first film that Skynet doesn't have precise records. It may only have known what state he was in, and California is fairly large. Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 22:45
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    Also, have you seen the traffic in some parts of California? Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 22:47
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    Maybe the T-1000 had some amok to run before hand? Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 22:52
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    @JohnSensebe - I thought of that. He arrived on Sixth Street, Los Angeles and needed to travel to South Almond Avenue, Reseda, Los Angeles. google.com/maps/dir/Reseda,+Los+Angeles,+CA/… - Journey time; approx 1 hr.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 22:54
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    So, next best guess: he was attempting to locate Sarah. He somehow knew where she was later in the movie. Perhaps he checked it out, and discovering she was locked away, decided she would not be an obstacle. He would probably also monitor the police radio to see if any other time travelers might have arrived, so there'd be no surprises. This is a different kind of Terminator. He's personable, even charming, when he wants to be. He doesn't just barge into places with a rifle and start shooting people like the first one did. Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 23:10

2 Answers 2


The question "Why does it take so long for the terminators to arrive at John's house?" is discussed in the linked FAQ site in the www.jamescamerononline.com fan site. The following explanations are given:

"Since most of the records were lost in the war, they didn't have knowledge of the pre-war Los Angeles. Both arrived in the middle of the night and there aren't many people at that time who can know and/or point the way and give directions to the specific address. Note that the T-1000 didn't know where the Reseda Mall is either and had to ask for directions. In the omitted scene, the girls are laughing at T-1000 for not knowing where such huge and well known mall is..."


"The novelization also explains that time is of no importance for the T-1000. He is in no rush at all: The target's escape meant nothing to it. The delay could only be a measurement of time. Although terminators had internal chronometers, the T-1000 did not. It was part of Skynet's new design. Knowledge of time had its uses, but in most cases of pursuit, it was an unnecessary element."

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    That's ridiculous. If the good guys were going to "set us up the bomb" to go off at X PM and kill Skynet's main base, the defending T-1000 was just going to stroll around taking its sweet time with no concept that it had a deadline to keep? Pfft. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 11:43
  • I agree that it's ridiculous. The T-1000 would have needed to know how much time he had before Judgement Day, since it would have been important to complete its mission before then. Yes, that would have given him 2-3 years, but if John and Sarah when into hiding, who's to say that it wouldn't take that long for it to find them? Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 15:11
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    Judgment Day might not be when the T-1000 expects, though. However, this doesn't answer the question. The T-1000 takes a really outrageous amount of time to get to John Connor's house, even if he had to ask for directions. That implies he did other things first. Also, the first Terminator didn't seem to have any trouble finding his way around. He just needed the addresses of all the Sarah Connors. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:34

All Out of Universe:

Why did it also take Arnold so long to find John? - I highly doubt that the Leader of the Resistance forgot to include his childhood address when he reprogrammed 'it' to be his protector.

Again, as I mentioned in a comment, this is so that we can introduce the "bad guys" at night and the "good guys" in the daytime, leading up to the spot for the final transition into night, 2/3rds of the way into the movie, just like every other movie ever.

This also mirrors the introductions in the first movie: "Guard it for me, Big Buns." Except this time, the music was better.

Offscreen InertiaTV-Tropes
As long as a character is offscreen, it's assumed that they continue doing whatever it was we last saw them doing.

Obviously, the computer in the car must have had a TV-trope link; how else do you lose 8 hours of your life?

According to Google, the commute from where the T-1000 appeared to Reseda is about an hour. At 4am, traffic would be negligible and had it gone directly to John's house, the movie would have been over rather quickly.

I'm sure there's another trope that addresses playing merry havoc with day and night. You're free to spend you entire life looking for it ;)

Ultimately : Why? - Because cinematographic plot device character development, that's why. See also, The Script.

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