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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Machinima Terminator

Written by Andy Shapiro
Directed by Tor Helmstein with Ian Kirby


A hacker referred to as the Ghost inadvertently discovers a method of disrupting Skynet's signals.


Watch the webisodes at YouTube


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This story takes place during the future war in 2016, two years before the events of Salvation.


Didja Know?


Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series was a 2009 series of 6 webisodes that appeared on the website as a prelude to that summer's Terminator Salvation movie. The episodes average about 12 minutes each, telling a 74 minute animated story. For the purposes of this study and the chronology, I have shortened the title to simply Machinima.


The term "machinima" is a portmanteau of the words "machine" and "cinema" and refers to animated videos that use video game animation engines to tell a story. In this case, the story is told through the gaming engine of the 2009 Terminator Salvation video game.


Actress Moon Bloodgood here voices the character of Blair Williams, whom she portrays in the Terminator Salvation movie. 


Didja Notice?


Episode 1


Episode 1 opens in the midst of the story and then jumps back three days to tell how Blair got into that situation. It's not until the final episode, Episode 6, that the story catches back up to the opening moments seen at the beginning of this episode.


The four-legged walker HKs are T-7T Tetrapods, also called Spiders by the resistance forces. They are somewhat similar to HK-Centurions, but smaller.


The small, flying assault-bots are known as aerostats or wasps.


Blair wears a necklace that appears to have a bullet as a pendant.

Blair's necklace


At 4:54 in the episode, the license plate seen on the old van has the letters printed backward!


According to "The Making of Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series" special feature on the DVD, the new endoskeleton Terminators seen in these webisodes are the T-600 Series.


At 9:07 in the episode, notice that the grenade thrown by Blair says U.S. Army on it. 


At 10:45 in the episode, a sort of Terminator motorcycle is seen, an independently operating hunter-killer. These appear again in various stories set in the Salvation timeline, referred to later as Moto-Terminators. HK cycle


As the Moto-Terminators speed through the subway tunnels in pursuit of Blair and Ghost, they seem to ignore the fact that there are a number of human survivalist tents along the way. It seems as if Skynet could have easily wiped out these underground survivalist enclaves before now.


At 11:09 in the episode, a couple of small, aerial HKs are suddenly seen flying above the HK motorcycles, but Blair doesn't seem to notice. And after she destroys the cycles, the aerials just disappear!


Episode 2


As the beginning of the episode replays the end of Episode 1, with the subway car crashing, notice that the ruined yellow school bus, with a front-based engine and hood, seen on the street during the crash, has now become a flat-nosed, standard bus!
school bus city bus


At 0:25 in the episode, there is a headlight on a truck near the subway car crash. Why would the light be on unless someone had been driving it? It seems unlikely the subway car would crash near where an endangered human just happened to be driving in the Terminator-infested city.


Blair and Ghost appear to be carrying M16 rifles throughout the story.


At 5:16 in the episode, the license plate seen on the wrecked car in the background is SFCPL85, the same license plate seen (in reverse!) on a van in Episode 1. In fact, the same plate is seen a number of times throughout the series. (Not to mention that the same wrecked vans (Ford E-350 variant) and cars are seen over-and-over-and-over throughout as well.)


The crashed plane in the street at about 5:47 in the episode is an A-10 Thunderbolt II, commonly referred to as the A-10 Warthog, a military jet designed for close air support, manufactured by Fairchild Aircraft from 1972-1984 and still in service today. Blair pilots this same model later in the story and in From the Ashes and Salvation.


At 10:45 in the episode, what appears to be an eroded and stained 7-Eleven sign is seen through the gunfire.


At 10:52 in the episode, why is there a computer and monitor set up on the roof of the building Blair and Ghost are on? Conveniently, it allows Ghost to hack into the Skynet system and disable the T-600s that are firing on them.


Episode 3


At 1:35 in the episode, Ghost drives the pick-up onto the onramp of the North 110 freeway towards Pasadena. This is an actual freeway in Los Angeles which passes through the city of Pasadena.


At 2:22 in the episode, Ghost and Blair drive through some tunnels on the 110 Freeway. These are the Figueroa Street Tunnels. The latitude and longitude coordinates depicted in the camera eye of the aerial HK chasing is approximately correct for this area.


The coordinates depicted in the Terminator POV at 7:46 in the episode of 34° 02 53.95" N, 118° 5 11.34" W, place the scene in the city of Rosemead in Los Angeles County.


Episode 4


The helicopters seen in use by the resistance appear to be Bell Huey UH-1 models.


Blair's eyes At 12:22 in the episode, notice that Blair's eyes both have the same pigmentation markings and iris lines in them. Obviously, the graphics program just duplicates a single eye design.


Episode 6


At 2:29 in the episode, a freeway sign for the 101 Freeway is seen. Route 101 runs from Los Angeles, CA north to Olympia, WA. 


At 2:59 in the episode, Blair identifies the location of the resistance post by the symbol painted on the exterior wall of an old building. The exact same symbol, with the same paint drip streaks, is also seen on a metal crate at 11:28. The symbol may be based on the DNA double helix of organic organisms. resistance outpost symbol DNA double helix
  Resistance outpost symbol DNA double helix


By the end of the story, Blair's resistance cell has possession of the key to use Ghost's program for jamming Skynet and the cell's leader says they'll get it into the hands of John Connor, who'll know what to do with it. But no mention is made of this jamming technique in any of the stories that follow. It's possible John did use it as much as possible in the time in between Machinima and Faith, but Skynet finally found a way to counteract it. A quite similar "backdoor shutdown" method against the Terminators is discovered during an operation in Salvation.


When Connor's name is mentioned at the end, Blair does not seem to know who that is. But in Salvation, it is clear that John Connor's broadcasts to the survivors have been heard around the world ever since Judgment Day and he is well-known for them. I suppose since only his last name is mentioned here by the cell leader, Blair may simply not have made the connection to John Connor, who is not a Resistance leader yet at this point, despite his popular broadcasts to resist the machines.


Memorable Dialog


the rest of us weren't that lucky.wav

they die for you.wav

you're the Ghost.wav

Skynet was changing, evolving.wav

we were on the wrong end of evolution.wav

you even talk like a machine.wav

I'd rather have you walking.wav

Skynet and the resistance finally found something to agree on.wav

one more chance to revise your response.wav

get that thing to Connor.wav


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