The systemic anomaly of the one has now been revealed, a paradox found in an otherwise perfect system, the parallels between Agent Smith and Neo clash to form both beginning and end. Neo remains in a state of apparent coma. [continuation from previous review] His brain patterns read as one who is still connected to the Matrix, despite not appearing within its coding. He is connected to a peripheral system outside the Matrix, a limbo proxy system between the matrix and the machines – or as the Oracle puts it “…he is trapped in a place between this world and the machine world. ”
On a slight tangent, what the hell is the significance of the bulls head symbol in the Matrix Revolutions opening title digital rain sequence? – Would like to know more.
Back to the anomaly then. Once Neo finds his way back to the Matrix it becomes apparent that he no longer reads as one connected to the system, his presence in the Matrix code becomes unrecognisable, similar to the way Agent Smith is encoded.
And then we come to it, perhaps the most pivotal point in the entire Matrix franchise, the purpose of The One, Neo’s path. The revelation kindled between Neo’s last meeting with The Oracle, and the narration for one of the best film trailers and to my knowledge first end-credit teasers of all time. Neo learns that the power of the one extends beyond the Matrix and that there is a greater threat than that of system (Matrix). And in this revelation the true purpose of Agent Smith unplugged, the other anomaly, is revealed. Neo and Smith are opposites, two half’s of the equation trying to balance itself out (as foretold by The Oracle who is revealed as the ghost in the machine – the chaos and imperfection of the system).
“ Everything that has a beginning has an end. I see the end coming, I see the darkness spanning, I see death….” – The Oracle.
Agent Smith proceeds to infect the entire Matrix executing his viral anomaly, spreading to all connected humans and all system programs and entities including The Oracle herself. The effects of the infection on the system can be seen in the code itself (as viewed from the Osiris. [ Agent Smith is initialising his very undoing, he is simply progressing towards the singularity of inevitability the same way Neo is heading to his. ] The anomaly then spreads beyond the Matrix to the side of the Machine world through the neural connections of Bane.
Matrix Revolutions then proceeds to raise another interesting concept, one I have spoken of in other AI related posts: the question of reality, how do we know what is real? This is mentioned on Bane’s awakening when he describes the cuts on his arms as being self-inflicted. “…but why would I do that to myself, unless I wasn’t myself, but if I am not me then who am I?” This refers to Bane’s self-awareness as both himself and his neural patterns (as Agent Smith). – To a machine everything is virtual. (Also highlighted in The Animatrix: Kid’s Story and The Animatrix: Matriculated.)
Agent Smith is Control and Neo is Freedom, Simulacra and Simulation, Good and Bad, Strength and Weakness (in all applications).
Smith’s integration outside the Matrix becomes ever more virulent as Bane displays further distorted projections of his inherent hardwired behaviour. Evident through inherited memory recollection of pursuits within the Matrix – mentioned in the first encounter between Bane and Trinity aboard the Logos.
The blind Messiah: Neo was almost killed during the fight with Bane. Losing his sight in the real world strengthens the power of the one, making his control over the Machines and subsequently the connection with the Matrix itself stronger. Revealed when Neo is able to see Bane’s neural patterns as Smith (Smith’s code). [the paradox here is how would Neo visually recognise the code outside of the system if the rendering (interpreters) work for the Matrix – this would only be possible if the real world was itself another system of the Machines]
As the film enters its second hour the Machines begin their major assault on Zion to destroy the free humans and so preventing them from unplugging which is ultimately destroying their source of free energy. The machines remain unable to recognised or stop the true threat, the system anomaly of Smith.
And so the inevitable ending where the anomaly becomes both beginning and end. There is no life without death. Agent Smith infects Neo and by doing so crashes the Matrix forcing an unhandled exception in the system, a paradox that destroys Agent Smith and the Matrix. Neo fulfils his purpose and the prophecy comes true – in exchange for defeating Smith, the only entity the Machines cannot control, and one that ultimately threatens their survival, the Machines grant the humans peace and so ends the war. However whether this results in the freeing of those still connected to the Matrix is unclear (and artistically so). As further emphasised during the final scene where The Oracle and the Architect can be seen talking. Is this a new Matrix, or is this another system? And if so are there any human slaves to the system?
The finale is orchestrated by perhaps the most recognised end fight scenes of all time – Neo and Agent Smith in the Super Burley Brawl. Which brings me finally to the music score, a perfect successor to the original 1999 Matrix Score – with particular reference to the final fight scene music.
Speculation and theory:
The Matrix Reloaded concludes with the revelation that Neo is able to feel the machines, later (beginning of Revolutions) his physical self becomes disconnected from the Matrix but paradoxically his mental self remains within the Matrix. On this basis when merging with Agent Smith during the final fight Neo (or more accurately Mr Anderson) finally dies, his project mental avatar becomes erased, and in the process destroys Smith. However – Neo’s physical self appears lifeless as it is carried away by the machines, but his mind, in theory, should simply be in a state of temporary coma. Will he wake up and if he does will he be reintegrated into another incarnation of the Matrix?
Neo was the sixth iteration of the One, are we to conclude his system lifecycle is now complete?
— Related Links —
The Animatrix review / discussion (coming soon)