2222: Terminator: Dark Fate

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 18:30, 12 November 2019 by 172.68.54.34 (talk) (Explanation: Tiny grammar -- I changed "had went" to "had gone")
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Terminator: Dark Fate
I was sent here to stop the robot that was sent here to protect the human who was sent here to protect the human who was sent here to destroy the robot that was sent here to vacuum the floor.
Title text: I was sent here to stop the robot that was sent here to protect the human who was sent here to protect the human who was sent here to destroy the robot that was sent here to vacuum the floor.

Explanation

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Cueball is on his way to see the new Terminator movie; Terminator: Dark Fate, when Cueball's future self comes back to stop him, trying to convince him that, as always, he will be disappointed by sequels. (This was, for instance, the main joke in the last part of 566: Matrix Revisited).

Future Cueball, Cueball-2, almost succeeds in spite of good reviews and the fact that the original star Linda Hamilton is back after several movies without her. Terminator: Dark Fate actually negates any movie that came after the first two (The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day). That is what time travel can do and also what the rest of the comic's joke is about. Because then more future Cueballs arrive, from the different timelines created by the first, Cueball-2, traveling back (and then later time travelers create new timelines as they come along). The next, Cueball-3, complains that in his timeline he still wished he had gone to see it, making Cueball exclaim that they should all go see it together.

But from then on it explodes, as two Cueballs come at once, presumably a 'new' future version of the base Cueball along with a 'newer' version of Cueball-3 who has now travelled back in time twice... And finally five more come from the future, making a total of 10 Cueballs, only one from the present. The last five have more and more silly reasons to come back, with the final one just coming back to buy a ticket for the movie, before all the time travelers join each other and buy them all.

It is a common trope in science fiction to go into the past to stop events from ever happening as explored in the Terminator series. This comic plays this trope to the extreme.

The Terminator film series is famous for this time travel trope. The initial 3 films feature a time traveling robot sent from the dystopian future to kill a particular human, with the future resistance in turn sending a protector to ensure the human's survival. However, the series has never been consistent on even the most broad rules of how time travel affects the timeline, with each movie exploring different possibilities. This is another point of spoof for the comic, featuring multiple recursive time loops until it becomes a jumbled mess. And the new movie only refers to the first two, ignoring any later movies.

The final pane also invokes the "killing Hitler" trope. Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany during World War II, and it has been a common trope to "go back in time to kill Hitler" such as in 1063: Kill Hitler. However, this Cueball is over 70 years too late to kill Hitler, as Hitler himself committed suicide in 1945, shortly before the end of WWII.

The title text is what is said by the next Cueball-11 (the 10th time-traveler), with each link in the chain relating to the Terminator movies. Except at the end where the initial "dangerous robot" turns out to being a robot send to vacuum the floor. Robotic vacuums, such as the Roomba, are a recurring theme on xkcd.

The title text split up:

  1. A robot was sent to clean the floor.
  2. A human was sent to destroy the robot (this happens in The Terminator)
  3. A human was sent to protect the previous human (in The Terminator a human was sent back to protect another human, though the protectee was not a time traveler)
  4. A robot was sent to protect the previous human (this happens in Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
  5. Cueball-11 was sent to stop the previous robot

Thus Cueball-11 tries to stop the person that needs to destroy the Roomba by stopping his protector's protector.

This was the second time travel comic in less than a week, as the one two comics before this one, 2220: Imagine Going Back in Time, also had Cueball travel back to visit his past self.

Transcript

[Cueball is walking to the right. Another Cueball, Cueball-2, appears behind him in a bubble of energy that appears with a loud sound. The bubble floats in the air behind the walking Cueball, with Cueball-2 inside holding his arms out to the side and having his legs bend.]
Zap!
[Cueball-2 from the sphere is standing to the left of Cueball, pointing at him. Cueball has stopped and is looking back over his shoulder]
Cueball-2: I've traveled back in time to stop you from seeing Terminator: Dark Fate!
[Cueball-2 is looking at Cueball who has turned around and holds his arm a bit out to the sides.]
Cueball: But it looks so good! Reviews are actually decent! Mackenzie Davis! Linda Hamilton is back!
[Cueball-2 is holding both arms up, hands held down as Cueball stands normally.]
Cueball-2: I know, but you always think this, and you're always disappointed.
Cueball: I guess...
[Zoom out as another Cueball, Cueball-3, appears to the left in a similar bubble of energy and noise as in the first panel, his arms are out to the sides and his legs are bent. Cueball-2 is holding a hand in front of his mouth, while Cueball throws his arms out to the side.]
Zap!
Cueball-3: Hi, I'm from the future where you didn't watch it and I realize I still kind of want to see it.
Cueball: Let's go together!
[Another bubble appears from the right of the three Cueballs, the one in the middle (Cueball-2) holding his arms out. This new bubble contains two Cueballs. The first, Cueball-4, throws up his arms over his head, while Cueball-5 has one arm out in front of him. Both have their legs bent.]
Cueball-4: No! We're both of you from the future! We're here to stop you!
[In a large panel five more individually energy bubbles with five Cueballs appear. Two of the bubbles float over the now five Cueballs on the ground. The other three are a bit lower and in a line to the right. Cueball-6 to 10 are in different poses, all with their legs bent, all the way to sitting on the knees in one case and most of them throw their arms out to the side. All look down at the five regardless of their bubble's position. Their text is alternating between being up and down, so the text goes over or below the other text, making it hard to decide which comes first. This may be intentional. But here they are in the order of Cueballs as they come from left to right:]
Cueball-6: I'm here to stop you!
Cueball-7: I'm here to stop the robot sent to stop you!
Cueball-8: I'm here to protect you from...you? I lost track.
Cueball-9: I'm here to kill Hitler. Did I get the right year?
Cueball-10: I'm here to get tickets because in like 20 minutes you people buy them all.


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Discussion

Has anyone read Branches on the Tree of Time? This reminded me of that story. 172.68.86.100 22:12, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Can someone add a category for The Terminator series? There is this comic along with 1046: Skynet, 104: Find You, 652: More Accurate, 1978: Congressional Testimony, 534: Genetic Algorithms, and probably others. 172.68.46.125 22:25, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Done: Category:Terminator; apart from this and your five others I found 11 more... Good call. --Kynde (talk) 15:45, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Although not explicitlt mentioned, the idea of going back in time to warn yourself to do or not do something is also reminiscent of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Barmar (talk) 01:04, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Could there be a meta-joke here with having the same cueballs in a bunch, this comic being number 2222 ? 172.68.226.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Not enough to put it in the explanation. But now it will be mentioned here... :-) --Kynde (talk) 15:00, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Awfully similar to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_to_the_Pilot 162.158.118.20 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

But... they're all NAKED! Cueball doesn't have enough sets of clothes for them all. 198.41.238.10 08:29, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

I don't think any of them besides the second are actually guaranteed to be Cueball. They could be other people sent back, who cared strongly about Cueball watching the film for some reason. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 11:22, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

They are of course all Cueball that is the joke. Also the two coming together even states that they are both you... --Kynde (talk) 15:00, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

You guys are missing the whole point: does this mean I should or SHOULD NOT go see the movie? Right now I'm doing both because I'm stuck in a box with a cat and a radioactive decay trigger... -- Cellocgw (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I just want to link to the deja vu family guy episode Youtube - Brian and Stewie go Time Travelin --141.101.104.59 22:23, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

AS SOON as I saw this comic, I knew I had to read the comments to make sure somebody essentially said "Family Guy Did It First!" (which comment is in itself a South Park reference). :) Jeez, this comic is essentially a copy of that scene in that episode! :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:35, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

I came here to comment that this strip seemed awfully similar to this sketch video but it turns out that general hilarity caused by people time traveling and then talking to themselves is just a common comedic topic. Oh well. 108.162.249.220 10:01, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

Maybe it is worthwhile to simply append a list of other takes on the comedic topic. My contribution is "What do the Teenage Boys do" Episode 4 172.69.134.63 06:09, 4 November 2019 (UTC)