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Future Kyle Reese! Derek Reese! Andy Goode! Cameron! Raise your hand if your head is still spinning from last night’s time-travelling, flash-forwarding, paradox laden installment of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES?

Yes, I realize I’m supposed to love this show with every fiber of my being considering high octane, action packed TV seems to be losing the war to this TV Addict’s sworn nemesis reality television. But even so, last night’s installment, while still enjoyable, simply offered up one too many head-scratching paradoxes.

Can someone with a Ph.D. in everything TERMINATOR please take a moment to explain the following things:

1. How is it that Kyle Reese was carrying around a photo of Sarah Connor (kudos to the creative team for ensuring it was complete with classic 80’s style Linda Hamilton hair by the way) when he has presumably yet to be sent back into the past to meet her?

2. Why is Andy Goode alive when we’ve already seen him killed in the past (present?). Shouldn’t being killed in the past somewhat change your ability to ‘live’ in the future?

3. If John Connor is conceived when Kyle Reese travels to the past and, for lack of a better word, gets it on with Sarah Connor. How is it that John Connor is alive in the future to send Kyle back? Shouldn’t he not exist until the moment Reese and Connor conceive him?

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  • shanna

    1. John gave him the picture because in the future he knows that Kyle is his dad. That’s why he sends him back. He knows he has to send Kyle back to exist.Time travel is a weird thing. I think you have to think of it as a loop.

    2. Derek’s memories are from before he got sent back (and presumably before Sarah and John jumped forward in time to 2007) so before he got sent back and killed Andy, Andy was still alive and could have lived until 2027.

    3. This goes back to first one. If you think of it as a loop, than Kyle has to go back for John to exist and John has to exist for Kyle to go back. The question is: if John and Sarah sufficently change the future (they haven’t which is why all this stuff can still exist) will John ever exist? Unfortunately, for John to exist, the machines have to take over and the time travel has to be invented.

    So by saving the world is John ensuring that he’ll never live?

  • ktyler

    Adding to what Shanna said:
    1. Right, in the last episode, Derek tells Sarah that his brother (Kyle) carried a picture around of her that John had given him. So, that picture that Kyle had was the one that John had given him for good luck. This is, of course, before he went back in time and met her.

    2. Those were Derek’s memories… not the future as it exists now. Now, things should be different because he changed the future by killing Andy.

    3. A causality loop. A causes B which causes C which causes A. It’d be easier with a diagram

  • shanna

    I answered your questions and forgot my 2 questions:

    1. I want to know what happened to Derek in the basement of that house

    2. I want to know if the John that Derek saw in the future was the same 15-year old John or if he just got confused in his dreams. I think it’s possible that John jumped into the future again, maybe with Cameron.

  • Shanna,

    As per questions two. I think it’s just how Derek sees John. Because there was no way TERMINATOR was going to cast a new John Connor. That would interfere with the most pressing timeline of all. The new Movie Franchise!

  • The others have explained it pretty well.

    Question #3 is one problem I’ve always had since the very beginning of the Terminator franchise. For Kyle to father John it’s as if the past has to “know” what the future is going to “do,” so to speak. Perhaps there was an original timeline before the loop in which someone else sent Kyle back, and once Kyle fathered John (the first time around), John continued to ensure that Kyle would always go back, thus preserving the loop.

    Unless you go with my a-first-time-before-the-loop theory, then items #2 & #3 are in conflict. If an A -> B -> C -> A causality loop is possible in the case of Kyle & John, then the same should be true of Derek & Andy Goode. If Derek kills Andy in the past, and the past “knows” that future Derek will be sent back to do it, then there never should have been a future Andy at all. Since there was, that means there’s a distinction between an initial “default” timeline and the subsequent loop.

    Both paradox problems almost require my first-time-before-a-loop theory to be correct. If so, who could have sent Kyle back the first time, and is he/she still around to help John further?

    Here’s another question… If Derek killed Andy Goode in the past, and Andy built Skynet, then shouldn’t that alone have a dramatic effect on the future, or are there too many people who could easily take Andy’s place?

    It’s a good thing the Terminator franchise works well as a drama and action-adventure story, because as sci-fi goes, they butcher time travel almost as much as Star Trek does.

  • Kimerz

    I’d like to know how John Connor can have AB blood (to give Derek Reese) if his mother, Sarah Connor, is O negative. ???

  • Linda B.

    All I know is that after reading these responses, my head hurts!

  • shanna

    lol @ Linda. Me too

    Tom – I agree that if there is no outside force (other than John) to ensure that Kyle fathers John then, it goes back to my original theory. Dramatically, and finally changing the future means that John will cease to exist. (Which is why I don’t like to discount the 3rd movie, which essentially says that Judgement Day is inevitable and the fight for the future will have to be fought in the future)

    Now, the Andy Goode question. I think Derek killing Andy hasn’t changed the future because the computer was stolen before Andy died. That means Skynet is still out there. Which once again goes back to: Judgement Day is inevitable. Everyone is trying to change the future and change the past but I think it’s only inevitable that artifical intelligence will continue to be developed.

  • Raijin

    1.Actually I think that one existed since T1. John Connor gave him that picture in the future. It is how Kyle Reese is able to recognize Sarah when he travels back in T1.

    2. It is the future the way Derek knew it before he traveled back and changed it.

    “Iā€™d like to know how John Connor can have AB blood (to give Derek Reese) if his mother, Sarah Connor, is O negative. ???”

    It is very rare but not impossible. Read the link:

  • Kimerz

    Thanks for the link. Maybe a mutation occurred during all the time travel. =)

  • Tim

    All the show does is make me want to buy the blu rays of the first two movies so I can generally know what the hell they are talking about. It’s been years since I watched them.

  • CC

    Seriously, this show is turning into Lost where I feel like a complete idiot because I don’t know whats going on lol

  • Paradox is impossible to avoid with time travel, so NO time travel fiction is without flaw, unless you’re talking about alternate paths, which would mean that anything they change now creates a new timeline, which means the future is impossible to return to and also no longer affects the now.

    In other words, there is no loop, but rather branches. Again, need a diagram. šŸ™‚

    But I figure, based on what I heard about next year’s movie, there’s no way they’ll stop judgment day. Which makes me sad.