(The T-1000, having just busted its way onto a helicopter)
In Terminator 2, Skynet decides that, having failed to kill Sarah Connor, it needs to try and kill John Connor as a boy. Since Sarah and John were off the grid for extended periods, Skynet doesn’t know precisely when to send their next assassin back to, until Sarah is arrested and John is taken into the adoption system. The end result is that Skynet sends a new, advanced prototype Terminator – the T-1000 – back to 1995, when John is just a ten year-old boy.
The T-1000 is the ultimate master of disguise – made of liquid metal, it can shift its form to mimic that of things of comparable size and mass, which means it can easily mimic different people. This gives it tremendous power to infiltrate pretty much anywhere. Not only this, but the T-1000 was also able to walk through solid metal bars, and even spread itself out across the floor, completely hiding itself.
Although the T-1000 doesn’t look imposing, it is at least as strong as a T-800. In their first fight, the T-1000 demonstrates this, even throwing the T-800 around with ease. We also see the T-1000 surviving a fiery truck crash, and being repeatedly shot at with shotguns, rifles and pistols.
Such weapons are nearly useless against a T-1000, since its liquid metal nature means it simply absorbs the blasts. It is stated in the booklet that accompanies the Special Edition Terminator 2 release that the repeated shots were gradually damaging the T-1000, but given the sheer rate at which it was absorbing fire, it would appear to be very gradual indeed.
Because of the T-1000’s very nature, physical attacks are again, nearly useless. The T-800 tries to fight the T-1000 in hand-to-hand combat but the T-1000 sustains no damage from this.
The T-1000 suffers serious damage when it is frozen, shattered, and then thaws out and reforms. In the Special Edition of Terminator 2, it can be seen glitching, being unable to stop itself mimicking the surfaces it touches. This does not happen all the time, but it is nevertheless a persistent problem.
It’s unknown as to whether this problem was going to get worse. Perhaps it was a sign of a growing failure of the T-1000’s systems. It would certainly compromise the T-1000’s ability to blend in.
Right at the end of the film, the T-1000 gets hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. It gets wedged inside the T-1000 and explodes. It’s unclear as to whether it would have recovered from this, as just after this, it falls into a vat of molten metal. The exposure to intense, consistent heat, combined with the T-1000’s liquid metal form, proves beyond the T-1000’s ability to withstand, and it ends up melting away.
What powers the T-1000 isn’t mentioned. This remains a mystery.
How to kill it
The T-1000 is a hard mutha to destroy. Enough accumulative small-arms fire will kill it, but bringing that to bear is the problem. The T-1000 can be momentarily stopped by enough gunfire (shotgun and automatic rifle fire forces it to ‘reset’ for a few seconds when it reforms), but doesn’t kill it. Exposure to intense heat for a prolonged period of time will destroy it, and it’s feasible that incendiary devices, in bulk, could damage or destroy it. Stuff like napalm probably wouldn’t do it any good either. Still, like the T-800, concentration of firepower is what’s required – a single T-1000 is going to need a fairly significant deployment of force to stop it.