The untold truth about Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Aside from the literal threat of nuclear war, there is another nuclear element that T2 touches a bit on: the nuclear family. Of course, Arnold’s T-800 isn’t exactly John’s father, but he inadvertently takes on that role throughout the film. As Sarah says, watching the Terminator with her son, “Of all the potential fathers that have come and gone over the years, this thing, this car, was the only one that fit. In a crazy world, she was the smartest. choice.” 30 years later, James Cameron would further emphasize this point by saying, “The heart of the film is the relationship” (via Ringer).

While the film certainly defies traditional gender roles, it often admits that the T-800, Sarah and John make up their makeshift “family unit”. The T-800 enters the male ideal as a strong and powerful force of nature, especially when protecting its “family”. He is even willing to sacrifice himself at the end of the film to save John, which a good father would do. But the Terminator also admits that he can’t cry. Sarah, on the other hand, has no problem showing her emotions at the moment, although she remains closed off to John for most of the film. That is, until the very end, when she learns to become more of a mother to John than just a robot sergeant.

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