Judgment Day
Miles Dyson and robot hand.

Intro

Judgment Day is absolutely the worst of the three stories with regards to dates and times. This is one of our big complaints about this story. However, we will attempt to sort it all out, but we will have to discard a lot of information that is given to us.

 

Events

T-800 in bar."I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle." When the T-800 arrives it is dark and the bar is still open.
T-1000 stealing uniform for officer.Why doesn't he take on the appearance of the cop? When the T-1000 arrives it is dark.
Close-up of police computer showing John's birthdate.Police computer John was born in 1985 and is 10 years old.
"She's not my mother, Todd!" When John leaves his foster parents for the mall his watch states 9:30.
Doug talking to Sarah."Now you know you got to be good..." After Silberman, on rounds, leaves Sarah, Doug tells her that she has a review "this afternoon"
T-1000 talking to John's foster parents."Big guy on a bike." When the T-1000 visits John's foster parents their clock reads 1:10 and they say the T‑800 was there "this morning"
T-1000 showing John's photograph to girls.Looking for John. When the T‑1000 confronts John at the mall it is daytime.
John noticing bullet holes in T-800's jacket."You are a Terminator, right?" When John and the T-800 talk in the alley his watch reads 5:20.
John and T-800 in phone booth."You got a quarter?" When John calls his foster parents to warn them his watch reads 7:00 and it is dark.
Security guard at Pescadero."Hey, I got a full house!" When the T-1000 arrives at Pescadero it is 11:50 pm.
Sarah, John and T-800 leaving gas station."Head south." John, Sarah and the T‑800 leave the gas station around dawn, about 6:00 am.
Stop at gas station.Pit stop on the way to Enrique's. When they stop for gas on the way to Enrique's the station's clock says 10:40.
Enrique talking to Sarah."You're pretty jumpy, Connor." When the arrive there are no shadows, therefore it is around noon.
Tarissa Dyson talking to Myles."You promised to take the kids to Raging Waters today." Tarissa Dyson says "It's Sunday"
Sarah at picnic table at Enriques carving No Fate into wood.No fate They leave Enrique's around sunset, that is, about 6:00 pm.
Sarah and John hugging at Dyson's."I couldn't do it" While at Dyson's, John's watch reads 9:35.
Long shot of Cyberdyne on fire."We got a war zone down here!" When they blow up Cyberdyne it is nighttime.

Notes

From this information we can conclude that the first day had the Terminators arriving, on the second day John goes to the Mall, meets the T-800, drives out to rescue Sarah, that the third day they go to Enrique's, then Dyson's and finally blow up Cyberdyne. Given Tarissa Dyson's statement we also can conclude that the three days were Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday The T‑1000 and T‑800 arrive late evening.
Saturday Confrontation at the mall, rescuing Sarah.
Sunday Visit to Enrique, blowing up Cyberdyne.

Now, as to when this all took place, we are going to radically depart from the standard and make a claim that the events shown in Judgment Day took place in 1994 and that John was 9 years old at the time.

It is true that the police computer shows that John was born in February 1985 and that he is 10 years old. According to that, events would have to occur between March 1995 and February 1996. However, the police computer also shows an arrest record for John dating back to 1991.

Close-up of police computer showing John's birthdate. Close-up of police computer showing John's arrest record.

We have strong objections to any of this information being correct.

First, in Rise of the Machines, John says that he and Sarah were living in Baja when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She lived for three years and her death occurred in 1997. This tells us that prior to that three year period John was not living in Los Angeles. Sarah returns to blow up Cyberdyne and prevent Judgment Day, she fails and is incarcerated and John in put in regular school. In talking about what his life had been like prior to that, it would seem that he had never been in regular school, that he and Sarah spent their time living in various places including Nicaragua, learning that art of war.

This would all seem to point towards John and Sarah being underground for most or all of John's life until they return to Los Angeles to blow up Cyberdyne. Therefore, it is very unlikely that John has an arrest record dating back to 1991 in Los Angeles . Additionally, we can have no doubt that John was born in early 1985 as Sarah got pregnant in May of 1984. This would mean that he would have been six when he was first arrested. We don't believe it. Even if we accept later arguments that he was 13 at the time of Judgment Day he would have been 10 or 11 at the time of his first arrest, we find even these unlikely.

Therefore, although we have no difficulty in accepting the February 28th, 1985 date for his birth, we cannot accept any of the other information on the police computer, including that John was 10 years old.

Now, there are many problems with him being 9 at the time of Judgment Day. Kate says that John disappeared "in the middle of 8th grade". 9-year-olds are not often found in the eighth grade, 13 being a more appropriate age. Also, he apparently made out with Kate (who would have been 13 or so) in Kripke's basement. Again, not the usual behavior for a 9 year old.

Finally, John says, in Rise of the Machines, that he was 13 at the time of these events. However, as we have no reason to doubt that John was born in 1985, he would have been 13 in 1998 which is obviously totally incompatible with the story.

So we have four sets of mutually incompatible "facts".

First, we accept that Terminator took place in May of 1984. We therefore also accept that John was born in February of 1985. Next, we accept the T‑800's statements that 3 years and some months was August 1997 and we accept its statement that 35 years in the future was 2029. (Note: as we will see when we reach the Chronologies, we believe that the T‑800 was provided with false information as to when events take place. However, there is no way the T‑800 could lie about 2029 being 35 years in the future, it would be too obviously false if the current year were not 1994.)

These all indicate that Judgment Day took place in 1994. We can now accept that fact that John says in 2004 that he met Kate 10 years ago, and we can accept his statement that he blew up Cyberdyne 10 years ago. These also show that Judgment Day took place in 1994. This would make John 9 at the time, or possibly 8 if events occurred between January 1 and February 27, and now makes more sense of Sarah's referring to him as a child.

In order to accept these we have to reject the police computer's information: John is not 10 years old and John did not have a police record dating back to 1991.

The last set of facts to deal with are John's statement that he was 13, Kate's statement that he was in eighth grade and the joint statement that they made out in Kripke's basement.

Our theory is that, when Sarah was incarcerated, John assumed the false age of 13. Once Sarah was arrested and he was put in foster care he convinced the authorities that he was 13 years old. John was a very sophisticated kid given the way in which he had been raised. We can believe that he would have been able to present himself as much older than he actually was. Additionally, many 13-year-old boys are still pre-pubescent and not that different than much younger boys. Also, having been underground for his entire life, there would be no contradictory records for the police to use to challenge his claimed age.

More difficult to explain is that John was able to convince his "peers" that he was 13. However, he knew a lot of cool stuff, like how to steal money from ATM's, and, according to Kate, he played the "bad boy" role. We are willing to believe that a nine-year-old John Connor would have been able to pull all of this off.

So, his cover at the time of Judgment Day was that of a 13-year-old 8th grader. His statement in Terminator 3 is simply confirming his alias at the time.

Now, what can we surmise about when in 1994 these events took place? First we have Kate's statement that John was "in the middle of 8th grade" when he disappeared. We think that "middle" would have to be between October and April of the school year. Any earlier would have been at the beginning, any later would have been at the end, of 8th grade.

Given the T-800's statement that "in a few months" Miles Dyson develops the chip and "in three years time" we are at August 1997, we would have to lean towards the first few months of 1994, that is, January, February or March. However, this does raise another problem. Sarah had been incarcerated after attempting to blow up Cyberdyne and, at the time of these events, had been in Pescadero for at least six months. We know this because in her interview with Silbermann she refers to his promise that if her attitude improved, in six months she could get visitors. As she is hoping that he grants that wish at the review it has obviously been at least six months since she was incarcerated. Also we know that she was diagnosed in Baja and hung on for three years, dying in 1997, indicating that she was diagnosed in 1994.

Again we would seem to have inconsistent facts. If Judgment Day took place in early 1994, Sarah would have to have been incarcerated in late 1993, months before she was diagnosed in Baja and this does not make sense. However, we have to remember exactly what John said.

We were living in Baja when she was diagnosed.
They gave her six months. She hung on for three years, long enough to make sure.

Make sure the world didn't end. Sarah's crypt clearly shows she died in 1997. We believe that Sarah was diagnosed around September 1993, she and John returned to Los Angeles, she attempted to blow up Cyberdyne and was incarcerated sometime in late September and John was placed in school.

John is told at this time that his mother was insane and he believed it until he helps Sarah escape and they blow up Cyberdyne. We can imagine Sarah at that time, early 1994, saying she wanted to hang on for three more years just to make sure Judgment Day didn't happen in August 1997. This would be John's memory. Not three years from her diagnosis, but three years from destroying Cyberdyne.

Therefore, in August or September of 1993 Sarah and John are living in Baja and she is diagnosed. They return to Los Angeles, she attempts to blow up Cyberdyne, is shot and arrested and John is placed with foster parents and enrolled in school. Sarah is incarcerated in Pescadero. In early 1994, John rescues her, they blow up Cyberdyne and she hangs on for three more years until late 1997.

Given that John's chat with the T-800 in the alley took place at 5:20 pm and it was light, and John's phone call to Janelle was at 7:00 pm and it was dark, we believe that March is the correct month. Sunset on Saturday, March 26, 1994 was at 6:08 pm in Los Angeles which fits nicely. Therefore, Judgment Day took place on:

Friday March 25th, 1994
Saturday March 26th, 1994
Sunday March 27th, 1994

Determining which events occured on which days, we need to look closely at travel times.

Pescadero, presumably the location of Pescadero State Hospital, is a seven hour drive from Los Angeles and this effects the possible sequence of events.

John and the T-800 are traveling when they stop and John calls his foster parents - his watch reads 7:00 pm. At this point, John orders the T-800 to help him rescue Sarah. They then drive to Pescadero and arrive around the same time as the T-1000 - around midnight. So John and the Terminator were only 5 hours away from Pescadero and must have already been driving north from the mall for the hour and forty minutes between the chat in the alley and the call to the foster parents.

When they arrive the police had just left, after telling Sarah about the events at the mall that afternoon, and Dr. Silberman is on duty. This makes sense if we realize that it would probably take hours for the police to connect the events at the mall with the shooting back in 1984 and connect that to Sarah, visit the foster parent's home finding them murdered, and send someone out to talk to her. So their arrival at approximately 10:30 pm is not a problem (the nurse on duty tells the T‑1000 that "his friends" have been there for over an hour when he arrives at 11:50 pm). Also, it makes sense that they would have had Dr. Silberman paged which explains his presence at that late hour.

They escape and leave Pescadero around 12:30 am and travel to the gas station where they spend the night. In the gas station they do first aid, reprogram the T‑800 and then get some sleep. When they leave the gas station it is dawn, which would be around 6:00 am.

They then drive to Enrique's. In the script it is stated that Enrique lives in Calexico. When they stop along the way to get gas and food it is 10:40 am, both by the shadows and by a clock at the gas station. When they arrive at Enrique's there are no shadows, therefore it is around noon.

So, Enrique lives about 6 hours from the gas station where they spent the night. Also, he lives about 2 hours from the pit stop gas station. As the pit stop gas station is not on an interstate, we can surmise that it is located on 247 just south of Yucca Valley about 2 hours from Calexico. This means that the overnight gas station is almost 5 hours north of Yucca Valley, or on I-5 north of Coalinga. That is 3 hours from Pescadero.

That means that they escaped the hospital just after midnight, drove for 3 hours to the first gas station. They left 3 hours later at 6:00 in the morning, so they could only have gotten 2 hours sleep. (This might explain why Sarah naps later that afternoon.) They then travelled south and just under 5 hours later they stop for gas and food south of Yucca Valley. They then drive the remaining two hours to get to Enrique's place near Calexico.

Sarah leaves Enrique's at sunset, or around 6:00 pm. When John arrives at Dyson's his watch reads 9:35. This works out as it is about 3 hours from Calexico to Los Angeles.

We have to acknowledge that John's watch does indeed read 9:35 but only in some camera angles. In the same scene, but from other angles, it reads 10:00 or 10:35 or 11:00.

John and Sarah hugging at Dyson's. Here it's 10:00

All these would work with the timeline but the 9:35 time seems best.

Timeline

Friday, March 25th 1994
Night Terminators arrive

 

Saturday, March 26th 1994
9:30 am John leaves foster parent's for mall
10:00 am Silberman on rounds.
Morning T-800 visits foster parents
Early afternoon Sarah's evaluation, Dyson gets chip.
1:10 pm T‑1000 visits foster parents.
3:00 pm Terminators at the Mall.
5:20 pm John and T-800 talk.
7:00 pm John calls foster parents, decides to rescue Sarah.
10:30 pm Police visit Sarah.
11:50 pm T-1000 arrives.

 

Sunday, March 27th, 1994
Midnight T-800 and John arrive, Sarah escapes.
3:00 am They stop at gas station, fix wounds, John reprograms T‑800.
6:00 am They leave the gas station.
10:40 am They stop for gas and food.
Noon They arrive at Enrique's, weapon up, fix the truck.
6:00 pm Sarah leaves for Dyson's, John and T-800 follow.
9:30 pm Sarah arrives at Dyson's.
11:00 pm They arrive at Cyberdyne
11:15 pm Police arrive, Cyberdyne blown up
11:30 pm Chase to foundry, end of Terminators.