In T2 after the liquid metal terminator crashes into the metal foundry he is frozen by the liquid nitrogen payload from the truck.

As a single mass (well apart from the shattered feet) the T1000 has far less surface area than the hundreds (thousands?) of shattered pieces. Less surface area usually means less thermal transfer, so shattering him would have rapidly accelerated the return to a functional state.

So, huge mistake or Hollywood going for the dramatic exploding robot scene?

  • 2
    Either it was a mistake to do so or he missed a great opportunity to separate the pieces and keep him from being able to achieve enough functionality to be effective. But shattering him and then running away was probably not the best solution.
    – Chad
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 13:37
  • 6
    @Chad, how about fighting off an army of terminator rats all coming after you?
    – Sam
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 14:19
  • 1
    My buddy Sean’s been saying this for 20 years. Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 20:28
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    I don't think this is answer-worthy, but it did delay the T-1000 for a few seconds while it reassembled. Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 8:03
  • I've protected this to stop the constant stream of worthless answers about how he should have picked up the T-1000 and thrown it into the furnace.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 23:31

7 Answers 7


If you consider the deleted scenes showing the T-1000 "glitching" (which appear in the special edition), then it certainly wasn't a mistake. The act of freezing then shattering the T-1000 caused some damage to its control over its morphing ability.

It was actually this "glitch" that helped John Connor tell the difference between his real mother and the T-1000 in disguise. Here's a still image from the scene, showing the feet of the T-1000 involuntarily morphing into the grating below:

enter image description here

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    I thought the glitching was caused by high temperatures, not the shattering. Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 14:44

I think that, whether or not it was effective, it was not a mistake.

My impression of what happened is that there was no known methodology for destroying a T-1000 using 20th century technology. Considering the time pressures under which Skynet was operating, it is entirely possible that no knowledge of how to destroy a T-1000 existed anywhere.

Since the T-800 had no knowledge of how to effectively fight or destroy the T-1000, it was forced to experiment. While failed experiments can be dangerous, the knowledge gained is nevertheless valuable in and of itself.

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    +1 Agreed, they were looking for a way, any way, to stop the T-1000 and in the absence of firm knowledge trying things out is as good a methodology as any other. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:25
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    "there was no known methodology for destroying a T-1000 using 20th century technology." Umm.. vat of molten steel? Not very high-tech, but quite effective. Carrying the frozen form to any of the existing containers of molten steel and dropping it in would have been far more effective at destroying it than shooting it to pieces. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 10:29
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    @AndrewThompson how would we know if that worked if it wasn't tried first?
    – oɔɯǝɹ
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 23:45
  • How could Arny "gain knowledge" if he doesn't have the ability to learn? Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 19:40

I don't think it's a huge mistake. Despite unfreezing quicker, being separated from his constituent parts may have had some negative effect on the T-1000.

For instance, the T-1000 is made of mimetic poly-alloy, and likely (ok, so were entering speculation town, population: Me) relies on magnetic effects for some conduction effects. It may use gigantic magnetoresistance which relies on a soft magnet's spin being easily flipped at room temperature. Being a part for such a long time, without contact to the other pieces may have slowed it down somewhat.

Along with that as a poly-alloy it may not have had a completely metalic structure and relied on polymer aspects. If these aspects were semiconducting as some polymers are, that would have had a similar jarring effect. Not to mention it would have maybe damaged some of them on a molecular level

In summary, yes it'd likely that it was for that 'Hollywood Effect', but it's not impossible that smashing the T-1000 had it's own benefits for Arney.

  • 5
    I like speculation town.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 13:06
  • hmmm... I alway thought the poly was more in the sense of polycarbonate (ie. many atoms or groups of a particular kind in the molecules of the metal) - not the synthetic organic polymer kind.
    – Craig
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 14:23
  • @cp21yos I think you're putting more thought into it than the screenwriter did at that point :)
    – Tacroy
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 19:01
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    @cppl: The meaning of poly in polycarbonate and organic polymer is exactly the same. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarbonate Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 23:08

I feel it was definitely a huge mistake, he should have picked it up (as many pieces as he could gather) and thrown it into the molten metal into which it is eventually thrown.

  • 2
    I wonder if, after that, the remaining pieces would come together in a mini-T1000 - then they'd be fighting something that could hide easily, shimmy up a pole, then drop down on top of them and puncture and cut before anyone sees it.
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 15:50
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    Well they could actually unite , but as it would loose a major portion of its body , it would maybe loose its objective and probably end up having drinks with Connor. Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 7:39
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    @Tango: "I shall call him ... mini-T." Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 20:30

After Arnie shoots the frozen T-1000, and the pieces start to reform, there is a shot of Arnie noticing the fragments coming together. What I get from this is that he didn't expect this to happen. Possibly explained by the fact that he is an older model, and the poly-alloy is something he has no information on. Maybe it's cutting edge technology, even in the future. So I think it was a poor judgement, rather than a mistakeI'm pretty sure the "glitching" is caused by high temperatures.


Speaking on a purely speculative basis, I have always thought that the smart move after the T-1000 was frozen would have been for the T-800 to pick it up and throw it into the molten steel. The only reason I can see for not doing so is that it would have made for a less exciting ending to the movie.

  • Wad, want to make this superlong, pics, etc?
    – Adamant
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 5:17

I've read book "Terminator" and yes; the act of freezing then shattering the T-1000 caused some damage to its ability to control its morphing capabilities.

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    Can you cite the relevant passage in the book? This would improve your answer.
    – Null
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:15
  • This doesn't answer the question of whether the Terminator erred by shooting the frozen T-1000
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:31
  • @Richard - it does answer IMHO, albiet not perfectly Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 20:15
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    This question needs a citation from the book to back it up, and some editing for content. It's not 'wrong', but it's very low quality right now.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 20:39

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