Skynet is an all-powerful artificial intelligence with a huge boner for genocide. Across five Terminator movies, it has unsuccessfully attempted to thwart human resistance to this genocide, which was probably 99 percent successful otherwise. But Skynet will not be happy until everyone is dead, and, like me frustrated with that godawful speeder level in Battletoads, it tries to cheat rather than win the old-fashioned way, because fuck this game.
The problem with Skynet's strategy in each and every movie is that Skynet is completely idiotic. Thanks to Terminator Genisysysisyys, we're treated to the full scope of just how dumb Skynet is. And just how dumb is Skynet? Here are the first seven ways I could think of that it could have succeeded insanely easily in destroying John and/or Sarah Connor. Watch out for spoilers!
#7. Kill Kyle Reese At The Time Machine
In Genisys, we're treated to future badass John Connor with his pocky face that may have run afoul of one too many forks, leading his forces against Skynet's most secret weapon yet -- the time-travel device! Oh my god! It's madness!
Naturally, a young, CG Schwarzenegger is sent back in time, and then the humans have to decide who gets to go back. Michael Biehn is too old and awesome; let's send vaguely pretty Jai Courtney. Sounds good. So they do. And just as he's on his way back in time, he sees a crazy new Terminator snatch up John Connor! Oh no!
Or maybe it was an Arnold RealDoll?
Then the rest of the movie happens, but here's the thing -- why? If Skynet had a kickass new super awesome Terminator that actually houses the Skynet program itself, and it was right in the goddamn room the whole time, and it was part of their team that stormed the base, why didn't it take any of the million and one opportunities it had available to reach over and literally jam a finger into Kyle's brain? If killing Sarah Connor kills John Connor, won't killing his dad, Kyle Reese, do the same thing? It seems like Skynet waited until Reese went back, which could only have been done to ensure John Connor was born, so that it would be able to take over Connor and use him for the plan that unfolds in Genisys, which is like turning down a sure thing to play a gamble on the exact same outcome. This may be the most pointlessly convoluted plan in the history of pointlessly convoluted time-travel plans.
#6. Wire The Time Machine To Explode After One Use
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Since we're still at the time machine, why not actually use it properly. Skynet obviously knows the human resistance is going to send someone back in time; why even entertain the option? Why not wire the machine to just explode after the T-101 goes back? Then no one goes back to help anyone, and Sarah Connor is dead.
We're five movies into this franchise now, and every single damn instance where something goes back in time, something else follows it. This is really predictable. Someone needs to close the window so the flies stop getting in. Even Skynet should be able to figure that one out.
All that fancy tech, and no basic pattern recognition.
Making the time machine a single-use endeavor may be a waste of tech, but if Skynet cares about technology or man-hours involved in building something, then it's a bigger idiot than I first imagined. If it succeeds in its mission, it can finally relax and, you know, do literally nothing for the rest of eternity, which seems to be its goal. Retire to a robo-body in Florida or whatever, who knows. Point is, it really needs to stop letting the humans piss on its parade so easily.
#5. Send The John Connor Bot To 1984
We discover in 2017, which is when the new Judgment Day happens because reasons, that John Connor is alive but not well. He's been replaced on a cellular level with shitty robo-dust and is now a robot made of nuggets and evil and whatnot. That sucks for him. And his parents, because they were really happy to see him for a second there.
So, anyway, John Connor is now a super-duper advanced Terminator. Skynet, naturally, sends him to what must be the third-least-relevant time period imaginable right after the Victorian era and the Mesozoic. He goes to 2017 to ensure Skynet comes online. For fuck's sake. And the humans didn't know about it this time, this one time in all the times that it sent a Terminator back, this was the one they didn't know about -- so why not send him back to 1984? Why not this one? What is wrong with you, asshole computer program? Are you programmed to fail? Do you hate yourself?
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This Terminator could have gone, unhindered, to any time, any place. Send it to 1983! There is no way to stop this one; it's really, really powerful. It so would have worked if it had gone literally any other time in the life of the Connors and actually had a mission to kill instead of half-build a shitty time machine that serves only to destroy it. It went back in time to build the machine that ends up destroying it. Good fuckin' job, ya brain bot. Skynet must have been designed by Electronic Arts.
#4. Send Numerous Terminators
Tri Star Pictures
The thing about time travel is it's a leisurely affair. In the moment it seems like it's a big deal; we have to hurry and get back and whatever. But really, the time you're going back to is always going to be there, so you could wait years if you wanted to; it wouldn't really make much of a difference. And with that in mind, why the hell does Skynet scramble to send back that T-101? Or, once it sends it back, why is it there alone? Remember, this is five movies in. It clearly can keep rebuilding these machines. So why not use all of them, at all times, to send back all the Terminators to the same time period? Wouldn't Schwarzenegger have been that much more hilarious telling Bill Paxton he needs his clothes if he did it with 17 identical twins?
We know Skynet was able to send back a T-101, a T-1000, a T-X, and what we can assume was the T-Bag model John Connor in the newest movie. It just opted to keep sending them to random time farts across the greater scheme of the universe. Because variety is the spice of life? God only knows.
It's like if someone sent every new iPhone back in time to kill you.
Genisys proves that Skynet has at least one free and clear time machine to use without human interference. So maybe all it needed to do was build up a nice, gigantic army of Terminators, a nice cornucopia of them. What's a T-900? I don't know; let's find out. Is there anything between a T-1000 and a T-X? I want to see that too. Remember when the T-X made her boobs bigger? I want to see like a dozen redheads do that. And I really mean that, even beyond the scope of this hypothetical movie situation. In my real life I want that.