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The Matrix Revolutions: FAQ
Q: The number 101 appears several times in the movie. What does it mean? [UPDATED]
A: 101 actually appears a number of times in all three films, and though no one knows exactly what it means (if anything), the popular explanation is this: 101 is binary for 5 (which to a computer is the sixth number because computers count from 0), and the events of the three films take place in the 6th interation of the Matrix. Neo is the sixth One, this is the sixth time the machines have destroyed Zion, etc. We learn that this is the sixth iteration from The Architect's conversation.
Another popular explanation for its prominence: 101 is a direct reference to George Orwell's 1984. Room 101 is the place in which a persons greatest fear of all is enclosed. Thanks to Daniel Bryan-Curnow for the Orwell reference!
Q: I can't keep all the hovercrafts and crewmembers straight. Help!
A: It does get confusing. With a lot of assistance from Arnold Costales, Brice & Animaniac24, here's the rundown:
Q: Where is Neo at the beginning of the movie?
A: Neo is in the train station, a strange construct stuck between the Matrix, the machine mainframe, and the real world. It's a way station used to ferry programs between The Matrix and the machine mainframes. Specifically, Neo's on Mobil Ave, Mobil being an anagram for Limbo. Effectively, he's stuck in limbo.
Q: How did he get there?
A: As the Oracle explains it, he touched the Source and separated his mind from his body. His body's on the hovercraft, Hammer, and his mind is stuck in limbo.
Q: Who controls the train station?
A: The Trainman runs the trains that ferry programs through the station, but he's in the employ of The Merovingian - so, effectively, the Merovingian controls who can and can't move through the station.
Q: What are Maggie and Roland talking about when they speak briefly of VDTs? What does VDT stand for?
A: VDTs are likely a "virtual" form of the DTs (Delirium Tremens - symptoms include tremors, delusions, hallucinations, nausea, as well as rare seizures). VDTs are probably a similar condition brought on by jacking in.
Q: What's with the family Neo meets in the train station?
A: This is a fairly involved subplot that has major impact on the outcome of the movie, and the future of Zion and the Matrix. Rama-Kandra, the father, created a program with his wife. The program is Sati, their daughter. Because Sati was created without purpose, they're trying to smuggle her into the Matrix before she is deleted by the system. For more, see Meaning.
Q: Why does the Oracle look different?
A: Rama-Kandra made a deal with the Merovingian to smuggle Sati into the Matrix before she could be deleted. The consequence of this deal is the termination of the Oracle's original shell, though she believes it is worth it due to Sati's importance to both worlds. We don't know exactly what that importance is, or will be. We learn this from Enter The Matrix. For more, see Connections.
Q: How does Neo get out of the train station?
A: Trinity, Morpheus, and Seraph confront the Merovingian in Club Hel. He wants to make a deal for Neo's freedom, but Trinity forces him to free Neo without any deals being made.
Q: When Smith confronts The Oracle in her kitchen, he calls her "Mom". Why?
A: Smith's "Mom" comment refers back to the Architect's conversation with Neo in Reloaded. Early in the conversation, the Architect tells Neo the following: "...the answer was stumbled upon by another - an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the Matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother." For more, see The Architect's conversation. For more on the Oracle's role in the trilogy, see The Oracle's Gamble.
Q: Why does the Oracle allow Smith to take her over?
A: The Oracle has had a plan all along, and it hinged on her remaining free just long enough to give Neo the direction he needed (hence her protecter, Seraph being sent away this time). Once she's had her last discussion with Neo, she knows it's time to let go. Much like Neo will have to later. For more on The Oracle's plan, see Meaning.
Q: Why does Smith laugh maniacally after taking over The Oracle?
A: He has her sight now, and he sees the end of his fight with Neo. He sees himself standing over Neo. He sees him beating Neo and winning the final confrontation. He's also a little nuts (for a program).
Q: What leads Neo to believe he needs to go to the Machine City?
A: Several things combine to help him draw this conclusion. He knows now that his fight is not with the machines, it's with Smith. Smith is the greater threat to Zion, humanity, and the Matrix. He's also seen visions of the real world leading him to the city. He's also beginning to believe peace can be brokered, as opposed to won through force. He has to go to the Source (where the path of the One ends) and try to make a deal for peace.
Q: Why does Niobe pilot the Hammer back to Zion?
A: She's the best there is, and the hovercraft dock has been sealed due to the coming attack of the sentinels. Niobe can pilot the Hammer through tunnels never meant for hovercraft travel, something none of the other pilots can do.
Q: Morpheus doesn't seem himself in Revolutions - he's just not kicking butt with the confidence of the previous movies. What's happened?
A: Morpheus has just learned from Neo that the prophecy is a lie. It's another system of control engineered by the machines. While he's likely not completely convinced of this yet, the simple fact is that this man has based his entire existence on finding the "One of Prophecy" to stop the war and free his people. Now, today, he's been told his life's work is a sham. This has a debilitating effect on Morpheus. He cannot lead any longer because he doesn't know where to go next. It's up to Neo, and Morpheus still believes in Neo, so he does what he has to do to support Neo. If that means co-piloting the Hammer with Niobe, he'll do it. If it means being the first human to lay down his weapon when faced with hesitating Sentinels after the battle of Zion, he'll do it. His role is not diminished, nor is his importance, but the path he's following has changed. We learn the prophecy is a lie from The Architect's conversation in Reloaded.
Q: Why is Neo blinded on his way to the Machine City?
A: Possibly to allow his powers to develop even further. He cannot rely on the outward senses, so he must look inside to find the path. At this point, relying on outward sight may distract him from the information he needs to seek, which can be found within.
Q: What's going on when Neo and a sentinel appear to merge?
A: This one's fun. Just like Neo's ability to stop the sentinels at the end of Reloaded, he again manifests power over machines. Neo appears to be able to merge with and absorb information from this sentinel as it passes through him. Immediately after this, Neo knows they have to fly above the clouds where the sentinels can't follow to get past them. These abilities in the real world add fuel to the "Neo's gotta be part machine" fire.
Q: Does anyone really have much impact in the battle with the sentinels in Zion?
A: While it's true that Zion's forces are completely overwhelmed by the attacking sentinels, several people have a critical role in delaying the inevitable long enough for Neo to broker peace. Zee (with her partner) is instrumental both in disabling the first digger (before it can dig into the next level where Zion's civilians are hiding in the temple) and in ensuring The Kid can open the hanger door for the return of the Hammer. The Kid, in addition to reloading Mifune, manages to get the hanger doors open using Mifune's APU. Niobe's skillful piloting of the Hammer gets it into the dock in time to fire the EMP and completely disable the first wave of sentinels. All of the these key contributions delay the sentinels long enough for Neo to do his part before the second wave washes over Zion. As the Oracle says in Enter The Matrix, "The path of the One is made by the many".
Q: Why does Deus Ex Machina (the floating head thing) agree to Neo's deal?
A: While the machines probably realize what a threat Smith is, and that they're not currently capable of stopping him, Deus Ex Machina reacts with arrogance initially, borne of hundreds of years of machines being dominant. But let's face it: they're computers. They can calculate the odds in a fraction of a second, and they know the odds aren't good. On the one hand, if the Matrix crashes, they lose all those minds, and the Sentinels destroy Zion, leaving no humans/batteries left. On the other, if Neo beats Smith, the Matrix persists, and they lose some minds as the rejections are freed into Zion.
Q: Is the fight between Neo and Smith cool or what?
A: Oh yeah.
Q: When did Smith learn to fly?
A: He probably got the idea from Neo in Reloaded. Or he took lessons while Neo was stuck in the train station. Or maybe The Oracle or Seraph or Sati could always fly, and once he took them over, he had the ability.
Q: Why does Neo keep fighting?
A: Neo and Smith are opposite sides of the same equation, and neither would probably win unless the other chose to lose. Neo chooses to keep fighting, something Smith can't understand, and he knows when to stop, something Smith thinks he understands, but ultimately doesn't.
Q: Why does Neo stop fighting?
A: Neo realizes neither one of them can win this fight. Fighting won't resolve anything. It never has, and it never will. When Smith believes he's about to win, The Oracle plays her final card: Smith repeats her quote about everything having an end, giving Neo the final push he needs. He accepts his end, which unbalances the equation and gives control of a purposeless Smith to the machines.
A: Smith has taken over Neo, fulfilling his only purpose, and unbalancing the equation. He's also directly connected to the machine mainframe through Neo's body. The machines can now delete him and revert/delete all his copies. Neo's body is carted away by the machines to assimilate his code into the mainframe. There is now a fragile peace between humans and machines. The machines, through the Architect, agree that minds that want to be freed will be. Zion will persist, with all their memories of what has happened. Humanity will begin to rebuild, freeing minds from the Matrix in manageable numbers. For more, see Meaning. For another perspective on this question, see Contributions: Revolutions Reader Theories.
Q: What comes next?
A: The story will continue in other forms: games, comics, animes, and who knows what. To find out for yourself how the story continues (and play a part in determining the future of the Matrix), see The Matrix Online...
Did You Know?
Agent Smith's license plate in Reloaded is IS 5416, a reference to Isaiah 54:16: 'Behold, I have created the smith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the spoiler to destroy.'