In order to get Miles Dyson to fully comprehend the 'Sarah just tried to murder you' situation and the reasons for doing so, John hands the Terminator a switchblade and instructs him to "Show 'em". The Terminator proceeds to cut off the skin/tissue coating of its arm & hand in order to reveal the endoskeleton underneath.

Now it would make sense from a longevity point-of-view to try and maintain the skin cover for as long as possible.* We know The Terminator's long-game plan was to skip town with John and avoid further confrontation with the T-1000: numerous times it warns John (and later, Sarah) that the actions they planned to take would be anticipated by the T-1000.

I seem to recall after revealing its hand, the Terminator was wearing gloves after this scene, but we also know that Terminator tissue heals quickly:

John: You're healing quickly.
Cameron: Faster than you.
- (Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles).

Is there any evidence that the Terminator replaced the skin after the reveal?

* They certainly didn't know at the time that the Terminator would be dead that night anyway.

  • Unless this is addressed specifically in the official novelization of the movie, I don't think you're going to find a canonical answer. That being said, I'm very tempted to re-watch the last quarter of the movie, after the "Show him" scene, looking carefully at the movement of the left sleeve of Arnie's jacket to see if it seems to show that it's bulked out with flesh or if the leather is moving more loosely as it would around a bare robot arm. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 5:24
  • @dodgethesteamroller - That's kinda what I'm hoping - that it's been addressed, either in the novelisation or the movie itself.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 6:35
  • Actually come to think of it... which hand did Arnie lose in the final fight? was it the same hand?
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 6:36
  • 1
    Good call. It was the same hand, and stills online suggest that the forearm and hand were still fleshless at the time they were crunched in the machine in the steel mill. I'll make this an answer. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


In the "Show 'em" scene, the T-800 holds John's knife in its right hand and cuts the skin and flesh from its left, revealing its robotic "hand" and forearm: enter image description here

After the T-800 is temporarily disabled by the T-1000 in the first face-to-face confrontation between the two in the steel mill, its arm is partly crushed and torn off. The extent of the damage seems to vary from shot to shot, but it's undoubtedly the left arm: enter image description here

In the following shot the flesh of the left arm seems to be neatly removed in a circumferential cut just below the elbow, which is more or less where the T-800 made the initial cut with John's knife earlier: enter image description here

If any of the flesh had grown back between the "Show 'em" scene and the climax in the steel mill, presumably the exposed edge of the skin would not look so neat (in part because any flesh newly attached to the endoskeleton would probably have been torn away by the machine that crushes the T-800's hand). I think we can safely conclude that the T-800 didn't grow back the flesh of its left hand and forearm between leaving the Dyson family's house and the showdown with the T-1000 in the steel mill.

I speculate that the T-800 would have been able to regrow the lost organic tissue given enough time, but either the few hours (at most) that elapse in-universe between the two scenes was not long enough for any appreciable regeneration to occur; or the T-800 was, by design, able to manipulate its "metabolism" and deliberately suppress the healing process in order to maximize the energy available to fulfill its primary mission objective--saving John Connor from the T-1000.

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