The Terminator

So my girlfriend just pointed something out that I can’t wrap my head around. So in the original Terminator movie, Kyle Reese is sent back in time by John Connor to protect his mother. In the process, she and Kyle have sex, which leads to John being born nine months down the road. Now, in the original timeline, they wouldn’t have had sex and John wouldn’t have been born (because Kyle Reese, in the original timeline, at the time of the movie, would not be born yet (he looks ~25-30 and the opening scene is late 2020s)).

So… how does John Connor send Kyle Reese back to protect his mother? My girlfriend says it’s a problem of circularity, but I’m no philosophically-minded person.

There are three simple words that can explain this whole thing adequately.

“I hate timetravel.”

There are lots of ways to argue it, it could be as simple as we are watching the second iteration of the events. Say for example that in the first pass, Sarah Connor just got knocked up by some guy making John Connor. The war happens and we pick up the movie after Skynet sends the terminator back. Although, time travel is always going to have holes and loops and paradoxes and it’s really better to say fuck it, it’s a movie.

Weilla sums up my feelings on it. Goddamn time travel.

Predestination Paradox. Hell, there’s even an article about it on wikipedia.

Timetravel is a clusterfuck of stuff waiting to happen…so yeah.

I find it to be one of those things that can’t really exist in itself or the world would be incredibly fucked up to hell. (Time paradoxes, ya know?) Somehow, I’d see the whole time/space continuum rip itself a new one due to that. Good thing it’s not something we can use.

That BS aside, I’ve tried to emulate it in a story or two, but I had it more of a loop action. Example: Person goes into the past to attempt to kill the major bad guy, changes a few things in the process, and fails to kill the guy, and it ends up these things that were changed were supposed to happen as a result of all that happened. Doesn’t accomplish much storywise, but sheds light on situations that were unknown to everyone else.

Besides they kinda stated in the first movie that the humans won by the time the Terminator got sent back to 1984 and that the whole time travel thing was Skynet’s last ditch effort to save itself.

Of course like all good movie series from the 80’s Terminator also followed the ‘Damn the Plot Continuum! Full Sequel Ahead!’ group (another example would be Highlander).

Of course I’m also willing to accept the possibility of Solid Snake creating a TIME PARADOX!!! (a possibility that could easily be proven to exist if only someone less lazy than I could find something that connects Kyle Reese to Solid Snake somehow).

It’s all very simple. You are an ordinary girl. One day a guy comes and tries to beat Arnold off with a stick. This is good and you have sex. Your son grows up, fights the robots and remembering what his mama told him about Arnold trying to kill him, sends that protector guy back in time. Connor knows the mission is successful as he’s alive, so he has a pizza, destroys the robots and has to use carrying sticks instead of U-hauls when he decides to move to Arizona. Lose-Lose, apart from having had pizza.

The only time travel stories I can think of that don’t have any plot holes at all are Chrono Trigger and Back to the Future.

The series has already answered this question. John Connor, in the future, knows Kyle Reese is his father because his mother had already told him as a child. John shows, and gives, Kyle a picture (taken at the end of the movie when Sarah is pregnant) of Sarah and talks to him about her endlessly. The picture and conversation is instrumental in imbuing feelings for Sarah in Kyle.

My point here is though, that it is the original time line.

Sorc, the only hole in that theory is who was the original father. Kyle Reese couldn’t have been, unless Sarah was some kind of pedophile or he went back in time of his own accord and started the loop with Sarah, thus making for the enti-

…I hate time travel. -_- So many plot holes, it makes the story look like swiss cheese. X_X

As has been mentioned, it’s a “closed loop”. It happens because it’s already happened and hence has always happened.

Smoke more weed and it will all make sense

But Cid, how did it happen in the first place? It had to come from somewhere.

That is the Predestination Paradox.

Here is my attempt at understanding the situation:

Timeline Before Time Travel: Sarah marries some random guy and gives birth to original John.

Timeline After Time Travel: John sends Kyle back in time to protect his mother. Kyle and John’s mother have sex and give birth to new John. This John is different from original one, but still sends Kyle back in time. Perhaps John’s mother warns John that Kyle has to go back in time or everything will be ruined.

What Happened to Original John?: Remember in Back to the Future how George McFly (Marty’s dad) changed from a nerdy adult into a cool one because of Marty’s time traveling and he wasn’t the wiser. That is what happened to John (except in this case it was his genes that changed). The main difference between Back to the Future and Terminator is that in Terminator even the time traveler’s knowledge is affected by the changes he made in the past. Unlike Marty, Kyle doesn’t know how John used to be.

On another note, as anyone played Shadow of Destiny? It is a really good time travel mystery video game.

Your problem is that you’re inventing different timelines and trying to organize them chronologically, as if each sequence of events took place in a certain order, when really there’s only one sequence and it only happened once. You’re trying to add another dimension to time that just isn’t there. Instead of a timeLINE, you’re trying to imagine some kind of… timeSQUARE, as if there are multiple timelines all happening at once but in a specific order of time in another direction. And it just doesn’t work.

The first (and only) time John was conceived was by Kyle. Like Cid said, it’s a closed loop. I don’t know how else I can explain it.

It could also be that John Connor had an infinite number of fathers until he had a single, definite father, collapsing the many parallel universes into one.

I guess it can be explained off with the Multiverse Theory.

In that theory, there are infinite universes, each one slightly different and at a slightly different time. Each universe would represent every single choice or anything made in any universe, thus allowing for the possibility of one universe having John Connor as Kyle Reese’s child, and another having him be some random dude’s child. This would then explain off the “closed loop” piece because the Kyle Reese John Connor would be able to send Kyle Reese “back in time”(really to a parallel universe that is technically having events that happen 20 years before the other universe) and thus impregnate Sarah Connor with John Connor.

Confusing, but it’s the best I gots…