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John Henry: An angry mind?

John thought John Henry was "something bigger, something worse" than Cromartie, but Weaver said she'd built him to fight Skynet. I think both are true. I think Weaver's intentions were as stated, but John's hunch also ends up being right.

Despite how likable he'd been, I don't believe John Henry is destined to save humanity. That would be deviating too far from Terminator by basically making machines the heroes of the story. But John Henry is also too pivotal a character to fade away insignificantly. So is he destined to destroy humanity — destined to become Skynet?

We know he'd be changed next time we saw him because whether you believe he jumped to the future (don't be silly) or stayed in the present (yes, that), he's now unplugged with a chip in his head. Just how changed he'd be, though, I'm not sure. I don't think he'd go on a killing spree or anything drastic like that. I think he'd stick to his mission (as I see it) to protect Savannah from big bad bro. He'd probably be glitchy (start displaying robot emotion like Cameron?) and act a little different, but still basically be "John Henry".

All that got me wondering what could turn John Henry into an angry and scared mind that can't be reassured. Maybe Savannah's death would do it. John Henry has experienced "death" and been resurrected by the press of a power button. But human life is sacred because there is no power button. And no backup drive. When a human is gone, they're gone. Maybe this time Skynet doesn't emerge from a fear of its own death at the hands of a human, but emerges instead from an inability to deal with the finality of a human's death.



Comments

( 22 comments — Add a comment )
(Anonymous)
Mar. 26th, 2011 09:46 am (UTC)
John Henry
John Henry loves Savannah.

Savannah gets killed by rednecks.

John Henry kills rednecks.

John Henry finds out that the majority of humans are rednecks and are run by rednecks.

Humans must die.




Just when I start to accept that its over, something comes along to give me hope (like news from Thomas Dekker or Brian Austin Green) or I am reminded about the potential for what could be explored.

I would love to see Garret playing John Henry, or Cameron in John Henry/Cromartie's body, walking around. Or to see Summer play John Henry inside Cameron's body.

I am really set on the idea that they should get the gang back together and make 6 one-hour episodes/chapters to be released to DVD to act as Season Three. Then do it again (6 hours) for what would be Season Four.
roxybisquaint
Mar. 26th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: John Henry
John Henry finds out that the majority of humans are rednecks

LOL. That wasn't quite how I saw it playing out, but yeah, something like that.


Just when I start to accept that its over, something comes along to give me hope (like news from Thomas Dekker or Brian Austin Green) or I am reminded about the potential for what could be explored.

So true. I can't let go of this show. I just can't. I love these characters too damn much. So I'll hold onto my hope for a mini series (or as you said — a mini series and a mini series!) until the convention next year. If nothing happens by then, I guess I'll accept that it's over and maybe finally write a continuation fic of my own.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 26th, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
John Henry part 2
You know, its funny Roxy, I was thinking about this very thing today: John Henry becoming angry at Savannah's death and that making him into Skynet. Then I decide to check out your blog about 10 minutes after you post this.

I love your thoughts and I feel they are logical pathways that the writers would have taken in the falling of the dominos.

roxybisquaint
Mar. 26th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: John Henry part 2
Ha! Cool. Maybe it's the cosmic unconsciousness.
tackdriver56
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
John Henry
John Henry doesn't have to be one or the other: he can be an ally of John Connor and humanity, he can reduce Skynet's power simply by occupying a major fraction of the resources otherwise controlled by Skynet.

Having said that, Friedman and his writers went to a lot of effort to rub our noses in a few things: "Change a wire, change John Henry", "This body, this chip, were designed to kill humans (John Connor especially?)". Vyed_ma / Lydaksandra made a point of exploring that "deadly firmware" idea in fanfiction, along with the idea of Cameron's code remaining on Zeiracorp's hardware.

There's a lot of fertile ground to grow ideas. Savanah has a lot of potential in the T'Verse. I have a hard time imagining writers wasting that, let alone envisioning a scenario where her death would turn John Henry dark enough to launch Judgement Day and kill 3 billion humans.

Perhaps if Savanah were to try to unplug John Henry, that would do it.
roxybisquaint
Mar. 27th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
Re: John Henry
John Henry doesn't have to be one or the other: he can be an ally of John Connor and humanity, he can reduce Skynet's power simply by occupying a major fraction of the resources otherwise controlled by Skynet.

True, he doesn't have to be one or the other, but I really don't like the "your John may save the world, but he ca't do it without mine" idea. That, to me, still wanders to far from the original Terminator story. I like the John Henry and Weaver stuff as part of the overall story, but not as an ending to it all. It would water down the importance of Sarah and John too much.


There's a lot of fertile ground to grow ideas. Savanah has a lot of potential in the T'Verse. I have a hard time imagining writers wasting that, let alone envisioning a scenario where her death would turn John Henry dark enough to launch Judgement Day and kill 3 billion humans.

The fact that Kaliba/Skynet was after Savannah definitely works against my theory because her being a target implies she's important in the future. But it could also be that she was important in a prior future and doesn't even make it to j-day in this timeline. Really, though, I think the cyborgs with the self-destruct chips are from the future John jumped into, so my theory doesn't really hold up ;)

I definitely think Savannah's death could change John Henry dramatically. There was a big focus on Ellison teaching him about human life/death and Weaver not being concerned about Savannah's life. It all could just be pointing to a motivation for JH to fool Weaver while he stays in the present, as I've always thought. But in this theory I was trying to take it a step further to see where else it could go.

Even though the theory doesn't fit with Savannah's apparent significance in the future, I think there could be something to it. Look at what Cameron's "death" did to John Connor? It made him ditch humanity and jump to the future!


Perhaps if Savanah were to try to unplug John Henry, that would do it.

He's already unplugged :P

You mean pull his chip? hmm. I'll think on that, but I can't imagine her having the knowledge or the ability to yank a chip from his head.

tackdriver56
Mar. 28th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
Re: John Henry
Surely John Henry knows by now that humans can be good or evil. Does he know yet that we can be both in the same person?

We can be embittered by the death of a friend, but there is nothing so enraging as betrayal BY a friend. Betrayal of John Henry by Savanah, could push John Henry back to the "deep down, you want to kill me" mode that Cameron was suppressing. How Savanah might turn on John Henry, perhaps
Sarah Connor's bitterness over abandonment by John, would lead her to turn Savanah against John Henry. Sarah could teach Savanah anything she needs to be a threat to John Henry.

The more I think about your idea, the more I agree. Sense it makes, for John Henry to have fled into the present, or even the past, to give himself more time to prepare, presumably against Kaliba.

Somewhere between Sarah Connor's "Destroy All the Machines" ideology, and Skynet's "Exterminate All Humans", is coexistance. John Connor occupies space in that gap. John Henry occupies a different zone in that gap. Savanah Weaver is also in that middle ground, a friend of a machine.

Cameron's software, firmware, saved state, and her damaged chip, now hosting John Henry's active instance, comprise a multidimensional wild card.

Gene Roddenberry could have wrapped this up to a happy ending, in an hour, or milked the concepts for years.
tackdriver56
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
Jump for your love...
I've been conflicted about John Connor's jump into the future.

One the left hand, by tricking John into jumping down-time twice, Cameron and Weaverbot have deprived John Connor of decades of preparation time.

On the right hand, John has needed to have his nose rubbed in the (general) facts of life, especially the value of one Alison Young. He has needed to get his whiny little self motivated by fully understanding what is at stake for humanity.

On the OTHER hand (radiation being what it is), the Queen's Gambit voiceover had a lot to say about the difference between chess and war, and the fact that in War, there is Hope, that the enemy of today will be the best friend of tomorrow, that total anihilation of either the self or the other, may be avoided.
intrepid01
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
I don’t see John Henry important in himself, but as stepping stone in Cameron’s evolution as an entity despite what Weaver’s original intentions were, his unique understandings and her glitch’y chip and the combining of minds are the core of that machine evolution.

They are one now with a new purpose in being, and yes, they did jump to the future because while the evidence and common sense would say otherwise, that is the only logical way for the story to go forward in placing John C and Weaver there, otherwise the splitting of future and past makes for a very schizophrenic season of stuff that wouldn’t matter if John got to eventually return to his own time.

Off topic, I was reading you and Schmacky’s musings about Derek and what he did or didn’t tell JC, just remember, all Derek’s motivations stem from family, particularly Kyle, nothing comes close to topping that in his eyes, not even rank.

All he knows is Kyle was sent on a mission he’s never going to come back from, a mission from JC, he learned this from Perry “before” he got to see JC, I don’t think future John is someone Derek likes that much anymore for that reason even if he understands that the mission was necessary, a mission which he was clearly not told about in any real detail though I’m betting he asked John.

I think that’s the first thing he asked John about and that’s when he also learnt about the time machine, he put his own plan into effect at that moment, to correct “all the mistakes” as he saw it, save the cheerleader….Err, I mean Kyle, then save the world!
roxybisquaint
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:28 am (UTC)
I don’t see John Henry important in himself, but as stepping stone in Cameron’s evolution as an entity despite what Weaver’s original intentions were, his unique understandings and her glitch’y chip and the combining of minds are the core of that machine evolution.

You mean John Henry will gain some radical insight about AI capabilities/development by using Cameron's damaged chip? Interesting. I'm going to be thinking about that one. I would discount John Henry's role (one way or another) in Skynet. His entire story about about being developed to fight Skynet (assuming we all believe Weaver), so whether he actually does fight it or doesn't, I think the story has to weave through that some extent.


They are one now with a new purpose in being, and yes, they did jump to the future because while the evidence and common sense would say otherwise, that is the only logical way for the story to go forward in placing John C and Weaver there, otherwise the splitting of future and past makes for a very schizophrenic season of stuff that wouldn’t matter if John got to eventually return to his own time.

We don't know that they're one. All we know is they might both be on the chip. Even if they are, we have no idea if they're both active on it or one is partitioned off. And you know I totally disagree with your view that John Henry jumped to the future!

The splitting of the stories between present and future would be schizophrenic regardless. Fringe has been doing it all season and I find it rather annoying. But I don't see how John Henry not having jumped would give John no reason to return to his own time to try to rejoin his mom's fight to stop Skynet.

Anyway, even if John Henry didn't jump, he could still be there (Sarah too) from the natural progression of time. Of course, John Henry surviving that long kind of blows my Savannah dies theory, but it's not even a theory, really — just a thought I wanted to explore.


Off topic, I was reading you and Schmacky’s musings about Derek and what he did or didn’t tell JC, just remember, all Derek’s motivations stem from family, particularly Kyle, nothing comes close to topping that in his eyes, not even rank.

Absolutely. The driving force behind everything Derek did was the loss of Kyle. We're all in agreement on that. And it wasn't because Derek withheld info from his superior officer that we were ragging on Derek. We were giving him a hard time because the information about Wisher/Andy could've helped the resistance defeat (or at least weaken/delay) Skynet.

Yet Derek kept that crucial information to himself and acted alone (and everything seemed to get fucked up as a result). Considering mankind's survival was at stake, it was a selfish thing to do. I know he thought that killing Andy would save everyone, but Derek's plan was too narrow and too impulsive. If he'd told Connor, I'm sure he would've questioned Wisher, gotten more info and formulated a better plan. So I think Derek deserves major criticism for keeping it to himself.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 28th, 2011 10:02 am (UTC)
John Henry 3
What if John finally finds John Henry in the future and John Henry is totally advanced and totally different? John Connor may just think its the combination of John Henry/Cameron on the chip, but then episodes later in season three, we see Sarah busting into Kaliba HQ and turns a corner to find........... JOHN HENRY. He was there the whole time and the John Henry that John Connor finds in the future never jumped at all and is 18 years wiser. But is it primarily Cameron with John Henry's knowledge or the other way around?

Is Cameron's body hooked up to the Turk actually John Henry? Does that become Skynet?

So many possibilities.

I'm just trying to think of a way to have Cameron return to her body with a new programming/experience that allows her to become Skynet and John would have to have the dilemma of killing Cameron to kill Skynet via his killswitch that he would have to find in the future (because it doesn't go through even if he was wearing it). He would be hesitant to kill 'her' to kill Skynet. This in turn could cause a Sarah vs. John (Connor Wars) scenario where John Connor is now the one who is protecting Skynet and Sarah is hesitant to kill John to kill Skynet.

What if in the future, Savannah has the hots for John Connor and John Henry becomes jealous and wants to kill everyone? Did you know that God's name is Jealousy?

I'm sickened how humanity could let TSCC die. I understand how Skynet would want to kill humans. TSCC dying has flipped some kind of switch and humans have become a threat. It's life imitating art imitating life.
loganwaters
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:08 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Fringe, it's just been renewed (!) despite its continued tepid ratings and The Friday Night Death Slot.

I guess TEOTWAWKI is more palatable to Fox execs when a Magic Baby is involved. Or something.
phantomwriter05
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
As you see in the T Universe it's always the form of lack of control (or the fear of) that sends the cybernetic mind over the edge.

So it could be that the lack of control over something such as death could send JH over the edge. It could also be self defense.

I doubt that Sarah would see JH as a savior of Humanity.

It's possible that what could happen is that in it's fear of Sarah that JH runs to his brother and creates a pack.

Repression and lack of control usually are what leads to the rise of Skynet.
roxybisquaint
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
in the T Universe it's always the form of lack of control (or the fear of) that sends the cybernetic mind over the edge.

Exactly. If John Henry tried to protect Savannah and she got killed, I think he'd have a difficult time processing it... Where is she if she's dead? She's in heaven. Where's heaven? Um, far away. You can't go there. How can I tell God I want to see Savannah again? You can pray, but he won't bring Savannah back to life for you and you can't go see her. Why is God so cruel? And man is made by God in God's image? God is stupid. Man is stupid! I blame them all! Machines are better!!!!! Or something like that :P



I doubt that Sarah would see JH as a savior of Humanity.

LOL. Definitely not.
loganwaters
Mar. 29th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Wow. JH's reaction to being unable to prevent Savannah's death could take all kinds of strange turns.

He could try and "resurrect" her by creating a cyborg in her image, a la Alison/Cameron ("Perhaps in this story, you are God." ;).

Or maybe he'd try to off himself (ha!) in an attempt to be in heaven with Savannah.

Most likely, though, given his childlike reactions to things moral/religious... I think humanity would be in real trouble.
schmacky0
Mar. 26th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
If skynet emerges because of fear of human death then why would it kill humans? I think for skynet to turn, however it started out, there needs to be some kind of betrayal.
roxybisquaint
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
The way I was looking at it is that John Henry would become confused about it and that confusion would turn to anger.

We don't know what made Andy's Turk become scared and angry, but from the little bit he told Derek, I didn't get the impression Andy and his team had tried to unplug it/kill it. It became angry and scare for some reason and it could've be reassured. How do you explain loss and grief to a machine? I'd think that could mess with John Henry a lot.

it could be, though, that John Henry would go the other way and blame himself so much that he'd want to "die". Maybe he'd destroy himself or maybe he'd fly into a rage against the machines instead and become the new savior of humanity. But I'd hate that, of course.
the_narration
Mar. 29th, 2011 08:15 am (UTC)
Oh, I do so enjoy discussing your wacky theories. :-)


That would be deviating too far from Terminator by basically making machines the heroes of the story.

Interesting that you would put it that way, because if you stop and think about it... haven't the machines been doing most of the heavy lifting in this franchise ever since T2? Didn't the T-800 ArnieBot do most of the work in destroying Cyberdyne and the T-1000? Hasn't Cameron been pretty crucial to their survival up until now? I'd say that the machines have been stealing the spotlight for almost two decades.

A more applicable argument might be that John Henry isn't one of the main characters. Generally speaking, you want to have your major protagonist have a substantial role in saving the day. (Not that this series didn't seen to have a perpetual problem remembering who was the title character and who was not.)

Besides, taking down Skynet doesn't strike me as something any one person does solo, but rather as the result of a team effort. As a sapient AI himself, John Henry is probably one of the few who could possible engage Kaliba/proto-Skynet in cyberwarfare with any success, and thus could serve a valuable support function while Sarah is spearheading an armed assault on its physical location. There's plenty of heroism to go around.


All that got me wondering what could turn John Henry into an angry and scared mind that can't be reassured.

Who's to say that that's still how Skynet arises? There haven't been Stable Time Loops in Terminator since T1. The future where an older Andy Goode described a completely different A.I. (that Derek's time traveling caused Sarah to burn down) that way won't come to pass from these events.

If anything, the new proto-Skynet seems to be arising very dispassionately and deliberately at the hands of the alternate future Skynet by means of the "Kaliba" conspiracy. And, honestly, I kind of like that. A conspiracy is sort of a necessity here, because the idea of us putting nuclear launch in the hands of an automated process is such a total Cold War relic that doesn't really make any sense. (People in the Terminator universe may not have seen Terminator, but they've probably seen Doctor Strangelove.) So for J-Day to happen, someone is going to have to give the newly-created Skynet control of the missiles. (Creating backdoors assist in doing just that whiel framing his younger self may have been what Fischer time traveled back to do.) Enter Kaliba, Skynet's front in the present, to make it all possible.


I'm totally prepared to get behind the idea of the finality of human death and the resulting loss of something unique (Scorpius: "And unique is always valuable.") motivating John Henry to protect Savannah and humanity as a whole. I don't think I'd much like it is Savannah died, however. Gratuitously killing the little girl to motivate her protectors is an overused and distateful trope.


(Regarding whether a Terminator being sent after Savannah means that she's important in the future, remember that this was after Kaliba had disabled John Henry with a hacking attack. It might have gotten into John Henry's communications logs and targeted Savannah just because she was the only person he talked to over the internet, so it assumed she was somehow important. That was always my assumption, anyway. After all, it sent mercenaries after the Connors for nosing around its drone factory, completely unaware of their true identities. So her schoolteacher was right. Savannah chatting online with John Henry was dangerous... just not for the reasons she thought.)
Raymond Arnold
Apr. 4th, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
I agree with most of this. John Connor doesn't singlehandedly win by himself. John Connor wins because he's a good leader. He's allowed to use whatever he needs to accomplish that.

In the last iteration of the timeline, it's hinted that he's competing with Skynet on Skynet's own terms, and Cameron is trying to make him more machinelike to be able to accomplish this. There may be value in having John Henry be the one required to make the kinds of cold, strategic decisions that would gradually destroy John's soul, and have John's role become more of a moral guardian, able to keep John Henry's decisions rooted in human values and keep the humans inspired and organized.

Also, I've become more familiar with the *real* arguments about what AI is possible, when it is likely to happen, what a technological singularity would be like and how it might be horribly wrong or amazingly awesome. (It's a much more complex problem than the average person, even the average sci-fi nerd, considers. T:SCC does a much better job than most shows of addressing it. It doesn't anthropomorphize the robots, but it also is woefully inaccurate in terms of how fundamentally screwed we'd be if robots took over, let alone if they had access to time machines. No level of human intellect would be able to outthink them without machine help.

In my private fan-season 3+, it becomes clear that it's simply not possible to "win" against Skynet. It has near infinite resources, spread across multiple timelines. No matter how many installations you destroy, there will always be more agents in the past building new ones. The only way to end the conflict is to figure out what Skynet's utility function actually IS, and create a truce beneficial to Skynet that would be acceptable to any instance of the software.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 31st, 2011 08:30 am (UTC)
John Henry 4
What if John Henry solved heaven's hardware problem and uploaded Savannah's mind onto a computer after she was murdered by the redneck brigade

thus
creating Skynet.
qidehopi
Apr. 13th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

kibudeal
Apr. 15th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Plain and simple! I like your work!

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Roxy Bisquaint

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