T-1000 could morph into anyone's body. Then, what was the point of using the police officer's body all the time when the T-1000 was chasing our heroes? What was the point of notifying them that this is me? Couldn't he simply walk near John Connor as a homeless beggar and finish his task?

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    What was the point of changing? Arnie could identify him on sight. Plus being a cop gave him all the benefits of being a cop. – Daft Mar 31 '15 at 15:35
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    @Daft Yes, being a cop can give him benefits, but couldn't he change into different cop? BTW, if you have canon backup to prove that Arnie could identify him irrespective of his look, then it can be an answer. – user931 Mar 31 '15 at 15:38
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    Uh.. he does change into different people through the movie. He changes into at least two cops, the step-mother, and sarah. – phantom42 Mar 31 '15 at 15:42
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    @phantom42 Yeah he changes multiple times while he's tracking John Conor, but once he encounters Arnie, he just seems to default to that cop. There's probably some in-universe reason like the cops symmetrical face inspired respect in humans, or something to that effect. – Daft Mar 31 '15 at 15:44
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    related, possible dupe:Why doesn't the T-1000 retain the shape of the slain security guard?. Richard's answer explains that the robert patrick form is more energy efficient and that its mass is similar to his own base size. – phantom42 Mar 31 '15 at 15:47

John and Sarah, after the initial meeting in the mall when Arnie shows up, actually never interact with any strangers. They only speak to people that they know/ recognize, or that the people they know can vouch for. The T-1000 would not get the opportunity to get close to them in another form, they would never trust anyone because they know that any stranger could be the T-1000.

Plus, if the T-1000 was close enough to fool them with a disguise, he would be close enough to just run up and kill them with a gun.

The T-1000 probably knows this, so its entire strategy is to chase them relentlessly and kill them as soon as it gets close enough. He only changes form to fool other strangers, or to try to lure them into a trap (as is the case with John's foster mother).

  • My recollections are that the three of them (John, Sarah, and Arnie) meet for the first time in the prison, while Sarah is escaping. John and the two terminators show up more or less simultaneously at exactly the same time as Sarah is trying to escape. I haven't watched the film recently, but I remember it quite well. So, I'm confused by the "after the initial meeting in the mall when Arnie shows up". – Faheem Mitha Apr 1 '15 at 9:22
  • @FaheemMitha Sorry, I didn't phrase it very well. What I mean is after the initial meeting between John and the T-1000 in the Mall, once Arnie has showed up John does not interact with any strangers. They then go to save his mother, who also does not interact with strangers after this point. – Mike.C.Ford Apr 1 '15 at 9:32
  • Ah, Ok. Thanks for the clarification. It is a minor point, granted. – Faheem Mitha Apr 1 '15 at 9:48
  • @Mike.C.Ford Bill Paxton in the Parking lot? After Conner and Arnie Meet. There is also the unseen part where they get some sort of fast food "Want some of my fries". Not that either of these things could have been predicted. – DickieBoy Apr 1 '15 at 16:31

Technically he didn't. He used the form of the security guard in the ward Sarah was held in. He also imitated Johns foster mom, and Sarah Connor herself near the end of the movie.

One can only guess he didn't use many more forms than that because:

  1. The forms he took were essential to infiltrating or gathering information about his targets

  2. To prevent confusion amongst viewers. If we spent the entire movie going "i bet thats him!" it would take away from the drama.

  • "If we spent the entire movie going "i bet thats him!" it would take away from the drama." On the other hand, they could have gone for a more horror/thriller aspect with that. – JAB Dec 11 '17 at 16:48

This referred to (at least tangentially) in the Frakes novelisation.

  • The "Officer Austin" form is described as being "energy efficient". It's certainly possible that once T-1000 has assumed a base form, this is the most efficient form it can use:

The T-1000 walked forward. Because of the man’s obesity, it had been stressing its ability to expand molecularly by remaining in the Lewis form, so it had defaulted back to the more energy-efficient Officer Austin. It reached the bars. But it did not stop.

  • The policeman disguise prevents him from being attacked by humans.

One of the cops who pushed back the crowd had a handsome young face and cold eyes. There are always cops at disasters and scenes of violence. The mercury man’s choice of protective mimicry was, of course, perfect. Perfect because it was here to protect and to serve.

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    I think in context the 'energy-efficient' just means 'less volume', as it says at the start of that sentence. Presumably any person of the same volume takes the same energy to mimic. – user1027 Mar 31 '15 at 19:05
  • @Keen - That's very true. But it does also explain why he chooses to revert to Austin after attacking the arguably smaller Janelle. There really is no other good reason for it since he's alone at the time. – Valorum Mar 31 '15 at 19:07
  • While keeping the same energy-efficient body, he could always change dress and face.. – user931 Apr 1 '15 at 2:39
  • @ss - my assumption is that doing so requires more energy than its resting "Austin" state. – Valorum Apr 1 '15 at 5:34
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    There is no evidence that it can freely change clothes and face. Since it’s being said that it can only mimic persons after having physical contact (whatever the in-universe explanation for that should be), we have to preclude that it can change clothes and faces at will as that would imply the possibility to mimic someone without contact (just by imitating his/her clothes and face). – Holger Apr 1 '15 at 10:43

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