In Terminator movies 1 to 3 Skynet sends one Terminator at a time and The Resistance sends one defender at a time. This can be easily explained with time travel being resource consuming.

Here's what happens in Terminator 4.

Skynet stages a complex scenario to fool John Connor and make him go into one of Skynet facilities. That facility among other functions produces Terminators - we see recognizable parts on the conveyors. So in fact John Connor gets into a territory that is fully controlled by Skynet and is likely stuffed with Terminator parts and fully assembled Terminators. Yet when Skynet wants to kill John Connor it sends a single naked Terminator without any weapons again and that Terminator wounds John Connor with some metal rod.

Is there any reason for this except to have drama and action in the movie?

  • Without going back and watching the scenes, I think it is just a drama/action decision.
    – Sydenam
    Jul 4, 2011 at 8:37
  • 1
    The reason is that Skynet wasn't actually that smart. If you examine the scrolling assembler code in the original Terminator movie, where Arnie was cutting out his damaged eye in the hotel room, you'll see he was using a 6502 CPU (yes, the one from the venerable Apple ][, amongst others). So really, while the body hardware was impressive, the computers running the show weren't.
    – user2353
    Jul 5, 2011 at 3:41
  • @paxdiablo: Okay, mobile Terminators could use rather slow processors, but Skynet could run on a huge network.
    – sharptooth
    Jul 5, 2011 at 6:21
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    @paxdiablo: Unfortunately that's just movie magic - the implication that a 6502 could realistically run an OS for a system as complex as a Terminator (or probably even one Terminator eye) is ludicrous. Jul 5, 2011 at 21:21
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    That's just because the chip was optimized for running an intelligent humanity destroying robot from the start. Running simple 8 bit video games was just a sideline.
    – Oldcat
    Apr 16, 2015 at 23:27

1 Answer 1


I had several thoughts on Skynet's incompetence regarding John Connor:

Skynet seems to constantly underestimate humans and their will to survive.

Skynet probably had a multiple-objective mission when luring John Connor to the base - for instance, testing how effective the new hybrid Terminator (Marcus Wright) would be at infiltration.

We don't see other T-800s, and a T-600 is sent to kill Kyle Reese. Maybe this T-800 was the first one off the line.

While Skynet seems aware of the potential danger in John Connor, he is still just a minor commander in the grand scheme of the resistance (during the movie).

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