In The Terminator Kyle Reese states that humans won the war, and they are in control of time traveling machine. Skynet was able to send only one T-800 before humans captured the machine. Why did John Connor only semd his father, Kyle Reese to protect his mother, as they are controlling time traveling machine and clearly he can send more troops to protect her?

Why did he blow it after he sent Kyle to the past?

  • He didn't. He also sent a reprogrammed Terminator to a slightly later date.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:07
  • And in the comics and Sarah Connor Chronicles he sent a whole bunch to protect her and her son
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:08
  • @Valorum in the first movie he blowed time machine after he sends Kyle. Kyle states that no one else except of him and T-800 is coming to the past.
    – MrSnowMan
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:30
  • All he knows is what John told him would happen afterwards.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:45
  • @Valorum ok, but why John didn’t send a squad of soldiers to protect his mother?
    – MrSnowMan
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


In early drafts, Kyle Reese was sent back with a second person, who he finds having transported inside a fire escape and died. He calls his companion "Sumner" when discussing the future with Dr Silberman (due to the strange nature of the timelines in the Terminator franchise, it's unclear if this is the same Sumner who actually appeared in The Sarah Connor Chronicles)

Reese: The Terminator had already gone through. Connor sent two of us, then zeroed the whole place. Sumner didn't make it.

In the released film, it's worth noting that John doesn't "send" Reese back (At least, Reese doesn't think of it that way). Reese specifically comes back to meet Sarah Connor:

Sarah: So, was it John that sent you here?

Reese: I volunteered.

Sarah: Why?

Reese: It was a chance to meet the legend, Sarah Connor...

Reese: John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn't know why at the time. It was very old. Torn. Faded. You were young, like you are now. You seemed just... a little sad.

I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment.

I memorized every line, every curve.

I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you. I always have.

Note that in the second quote, John Connor gives Reese a picture of his mum as a young woman. (A little creepy if you ask me) The implication of this is that Connor already knows that Reese is his father, and is specifically sending him back because he knows that it works.

When we see the time travel scene on screen in Terminator Genisys, it plays out the same way, and Connor is clearly preparing Reese to meet a woman who might not live up to his expectations. Also note that that film shows what might happen if they don't destroy the time machine quickly enough: the machines in the future can send back more terminators to an earlier point.

  • You might want to mention that in the earlier treatment it also addresses why they destroyed the time machine; "At this point the experimental equipment was destroyed to prevent recapture. There will be no further help, interference or contact from the future."
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 20:10
  • Sumner? Col. Sumner from Stargate Atlantis? He had to die because we was also played by Robert Patrick. Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 19:05

John only needs to send one soldier in order to defeat the Terminator because he's already been told (by his mother, via Kyle) that he only needs to send one soldier in order to defeat the Terminator.

Doing something different, like sending an entire squad, would have endangered that future.

John asked, “They briefed you?”

“Yes, sir. I know what to do, but I’m not sure why.” John said, “You know what you need to accomplish the mission.”

Kyle stiffened. “Yes, sir.”

Then John did something that surprised Fuentes with its familiarity. He reached out, grabbing Kyle’s shoulders in a firm, comradely grip. Kyle was all but overwhelmed.

John added, “And you will succeed.” It was said with such a terrible certainty. John seemed to collect himself and continued in a more dutiful tone. “Provided you do not let your guard down one single moment.”

“I won’t, sir.”

“Did you memorize what I told you to tell her?” By the subtle shift in his commander’s voice, Kyle understood this was very personal, and extremely important. He took a breath, and answered. “Every word, sir.”

T2: Judgement Day - A Novel


“Now what happens to Sergeant Reese, sir? I mean, what did happen?”

John’s gaze seemed far away from this time and place.

“He accomplishes his mission and ... dies.” Fuentes nodded. “He is a good soldier.” There was a dark, despairing expression in his eyes as John solemnly added, “And my father.”

As to why he blew up the facility, it's because it's filled to the brim with Terminators and HKs, many of which are still walking around independently. Destroying the TDE (Time Displacement Equipment) prevents it from ever being used again, for good or ill.

  • So John is in the Infinite time loop, that he creates himself? He send Kyle back, he kills Terminator, but at the same time, cyberdyne systems obtains chip which allows to create Skynet in the future. So why would John didn’t want to break out of the loop? Like whole series is about that we are in charge of our fates, but main character is doing the same mistake again and again.
    – MrSnowMan
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 10:09
  • @Gravemind - Older John has secured victory. Doing something different risks that and that is, apparently, a risk he's unwilling to take. Younger John is, however, more idealistic and goes for the hail-mary of trying to snuff out Skynet in its infancy (note that he fails).
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 10:13
  • So why would Skynet kill John in the past, as without him sending his father back in the past, it would be impossible for Skynet to exist?
    – MrSnowMan
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 10:14
  • @Gravemind - Once the Terminator's chip has been sent into the past, Skynet's existence is secured. Killing John is just the icing on the cake.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 10:16
  • 1
    I just realised that whole plot of Terminator is not that deep. It’s just fun movie about bad robot killing good people.
    – MrSnowMan
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 10:18

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