As I’ve worked on the fanfic project, one major question lept up and is a cause of some consternation: who is Catherine Weaver? Yes, we know that she’s a mimetic poly-alloy (MPA) terminator who is wanting to help John defeat Skynet, but who is she?
It seems very obvious that if the T-1000 in Terminator 2 was a prototype, then Catherine Weaver’s T-1001 is something more. While I’m hesitant to suggest that she is able to “cross against the light”, it does seem that she’s sufficiently intelligent and adaptable that perhaps that’s not a major limitation. In many ways she seems to be almost-if-not-equal to Cameron in her ability to adapt and learn. Though not quite as inquisitive as Cameron, and lacking some of Cameron’s dry wit, Weaver is nonetheless quite impressive in her own right.
One of the fundamental problems we’ve had with MPA terminators is this: if they are so versatile and so nearly-indestructible, then why have we seen only two (assuming the Jimmy Carter MPA was the same one as Catherine Weaver)? The simple answer is that they are difficult and expensive to build. Perhaps the resistance damaged the facilities after just those two had been released into the wild.
I think a more reasonable answer is that they are from 2027’s future. That’s something that was a common thought back when T2 was released. It still seems to make sense. Consider: a future Skynet creates an MPA prototype. It costs a lot of resources, but it likely will be able to defeat John Connor. It’s sent back to 2027 (or so), but finds that killing Connor at this point will not help Skynet’s situation. So, it travels back to kill John when he’s 12. If it hadn’t been for an inconvenient metal foundry, the plan would have succeeded. (The comment from the T-800 that the T-1000 was an advanced (presumably contemporary) prototype? It didn’t know it wasn’t of its time.)
Following the T-1000, future Skynet then creates a T-1001 to overcome some of the flaws that are typical of prototypes. Skynet’s error with this model is that it’s based on the T-Cameron AAI. Skynet would do this so that the T-1001 would be more capable. That indeed turns out to be the case as the T-1001 prefers not to be a Skynet minion. The T-1001 travels back in time to try to broker an alliance with similar-minded terminators (and John Connor), but finds that humans are very disappointing. Deciding to take matters into eir[[daggerto]] own hands, the T-1001 travels back in time to to start the development of the T-Cameron mind as well as to forge an alliance with John Connor directly (if he can be found).
Now we have a neatly packaged scenario where John can experience two MPAs while also not having 2027 littered with them. The timeline change caused by the T-1001 can potentially ensure that ey is the last of eir line…at least in this wartime context.
MPAs seem to be the “doomsday weapon” that major powers always try to create. They are expensive. They likely will never be used unless even more powerful weapons are created or there is no other choice. They exist so that they can be used when all else is lost. You only make a few. The T-1000 was actually used in anger. What of the T-1001?
There have been occasions in story when people speculate about the “zen” of weapons. How their sole reason for existing is based upon their being used. If they are not used, then you are denying them their fulfilling purpose. But…what if you have a weapon than understands is existence. What if it is more than willing to repress it’s desire to fulfill its ultimate reason for being in favor of getting to “be” for as long as possible? Survival is a powerful aspect of life, artificial or otherwise. Skynet believes that weapons are to be used in the cause of survival (hence Judgment Day). Unfortunately for that misguided computer, it released a weapon smart enough to figure out its own best path for survival: the destruction of Skynet.
In the pursuit of that end, Catherine Weaver has seen the best and worst in humans (again, assuming she was the MPA on the Jimmy Carter). She has also created relationships with humans and her “son”, John Henry. As with Cameron, I think the Weaver AAI has come to appreciate her affiliations. Though she likely believes John Henry is truly her son while Savannah Weaver is just a human, it does seem that she came to “care” about the girl. Beyond maintaining her cover, Weaver does not want harm to come to Savannah or for Savannah to experience trauma. While perhaps not the depth of feeling Cameron has for John Connor (after all, Cameron likely had much more time to build those feelings), they do seem to be there.
And not just for Savannah. Weaver has also had much more patience with James Ellison and Matt Murch than she has with any other humans. They sometimes cross the line, but she has yet to en-blade them.
Through the run of season 2, we’ve seen Catherine “grow”. Where she once would try to coldly order Savannah around as if she were some glorified Asimo, by the end of the season she would talk to Savannah and embrace the girl without self-consciousness (albeit with less emotion than when John Henry was being clever). No one would ever accuse Weaver of being a warm mother (her lap is cold), but she does care. While it might be part of the terminator personality (“we aren’t built to be cruel”), Catherine Weaver seems to have gone farther than that parameter. She takes time out to actually comfort Savannah whenever she perceives Savannah as being sad. There are more than a few human mothers who don’t go that far.
Who is Catherine Weaver? Though we have little to go on, she seems to be unique. The only one of her kind…for now. Though cold by the standards of many, she does care about those she chooses to be in her world…but woe be to those who endanger those who are important to her. She isn’t cruel, but neither is mercy a trait you’d use to describe her. Though it would be easy to think that she sees things as black-and-white, more often than not she undertands that most problems and answers lay in the gray areas. Is she from the far future? There’s no way to know at this point, but I think it more likely than not.
And what of Weaver and John Connor? I think as long as John doesn’t intentionally betray her, Weaver will be as strong an ally as he’s ever had. If he stays her ally, I think she’d die for him. However, unlike Cameron’s unconditional bond, it does depend on that trust.