Terminator 2: A Funny Detail (500 words)
As I was trying to write a follow up to my article about the metaphor for incest in Terminator (1984), I spotted a funny detail that I’m now going to share on its own because I don’t think I’ll write the article about Terminator 2, I simply do not understand the subtext of the movie concerning Sarah’s evolution, the T-101 and Miles Dyson’s roles as father figures, the identity-less T-1000 and its relationship to John, the dynamics behind all this remain very vague to me as of now.
So, here’s the funny element:
During the final chase, Sarah, T-101 and John all climb in a pick-up truck and try to outrun the T-1000 who is driving a giant truck and its trailer. Unfortunately, their car is incredibly slow, it doesn’t seem to be able to go faster than 61 miles/h. T-101 comments: “We’re at max speed.”
I tried to check whether a pick-up truck that cannot go faster than 65 mph existed in the 90s but I only found lists of slow ones that took nearly 10 seconds to reach 60mph and which necessarily could run a lot faster. Nothing about max speed.
I’ll just say that it seems very unlikely and even less likely that poor John, T-101 and Sarah just took the slowest vehicle that was on the motorway at that specific time.
Earlier in the movie (1h05min) when our three heroes travel through the Mexican desert, T-101 overtakes a bus and Sarah tells him to keep it under 65Mphs in order to avoid attracting any attention. “We don’t wanna be pulled-over” she says.
Could it be possible that during this final terrifying chase the T-101 is still abiding by Sarah’s earlier command not to drive faster than 65 Mphs ? Just before, he was driving faster than that but it was in a different vehicle: A cop van with the flashing lights on.
So, it’s quite conceivable that truly the “Max speed” that the T-101 refers to is not the one of their vehicle but the one imposed by Sarah.
This would be quite an interesting element from several points of view.
First, robots are necessarily limited “intellectually” and T-101 and T-1000 are unrealistically smart. Introducing an absurd behaviour such as that one makes the T-101 more believable.
However, what’s far more interesting is that it means that Sarah’s words are more important than John’s (John has just ordered the T-101 to go faster). If the T-101 is answering John that they cannot go faster because Sarah said so, then Sarah’s commands are more important than John’s that which would be very strange as Sarah wasn’t supposed to be part of the journey in the first place.
Worse and weirder, the impossibility to go faster directly endangers John’s life as the T-1000 catches up to them and crashes into them at high speed with a huge truck. Again, if “Max speed” refers to Sarah’s commands, then the T-101 was programmed to listen to Sarah even if it was to cost John his life. And I’m sure there are stuff like that going on in the movie.