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In the fight scene with the T-800 at the Galleria Mall, there is a scene where the T-1000 looks at a bronze-like statue. What does the slight grin on the T-1000's face mean? Machines don't have feelings, so this seems a bit strange to me.

Both samples points to the same scene.

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  • I interpret the T-1000's expression as confusion, as though he's thinking "WTF???" It could just be a moment of humor. However, I've seen the movie a dozen times and that moment is confusing to me, too. Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 20:52
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    I never thought it meant anything. I thought the T-1000 just noticed something that looked like him in this liquid metal form
    – Alchemist
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 0:11
  • D....daddy? Probably not that Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 11:19

4 Answers 4

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This is simply a scene of irony.

The liquid terminator sees an effigy of itself made by human (the mannequin), while its there with the mission to kill all humans. (Ofc indirectly via time travel magics) This is meant for the viewer, not the terminator.

There is certainly no smirk in that photo. Though maybe there is an internal one.

photo

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Possible explanations:

  1. T-1000 was looking at it in order to check if it was another T-1000 which could help in catching John Connor.

  2. T-1000 was scanning it so it could transform into the bronze statue in the future if it needed it.

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  • I love that first suggestion! The second one wouldn't fit into the director's cut of the movie, which shows that the T-1000 has to touch something physically in order to sample or mimic it. Just seeing it isn't enough. (That isn't a requirement in the theatrical release, though.) Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 20:50
  • @BrettFromLA Well, T-1000 could touch it while looking at it, because we can't see its hand in this scene )
    – Ver Nick
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 7:41
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There's nothing in the script to show why the T-1000 glanced at the at the mannequin.

THIRD LEVEL CONCOURSE:
A plate glass window EXPLODES and Terminator crashes through to the tile floor like a sack of cement amid the screaming crowd.

T-1000 turns without a word and heads back through the store after John, accelerating slowly into a loping, predatory run.

In the official novelisation, based on an earlier version of the script, 'Officer Austen' got himself entangled with one of the store's mannequins and "swatted it aside". This scene may be a reference to that.

When he glanced up again, a man crashed through the third floor metal-and-glass railing and arced out in an ungraceful back-flip, as if he had been flung like a ragdoll. He hit like a sack of wet cement amid the screaming crowd.

Officer Austin appeared at the railing, swatting aside a store mannequin that had gotten entangled around his leg, and glanced down. The security guard lowered the gun, uncertain, as he saw the cop abruptly turn and walk out of sight.

Out-of-universe it's a bit of foreshadowing (for first-time viewers) and a nice reward for audiences who're watching the film a second time.

James Cameron: I love that moment [when the T-1000 looks at the mannqeuin] but it only works if you've already seen the film already [laughs].

T2: Director's Audio Commentary

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Curiosity. Unlike most Terminators T1000 has ability to convey emotional outputs far greater than T800 series.

It smiles, converses, lies, displays humor. Even torments targets.

The T1000 doesn't have conventional sensors so data acquisition is based on contact assessment. The mannequin caught it off guard until he realized it's simply nothing and not a threat.

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    What possible evidence do you have for these claims?
    – iandotkelly
    Commented May 14 at 17:28

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