“…Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed, and the Anomaly revealed as both beginning… and end.” — The Architect
The Matrix Resurrections hits theaters and HBO Max today, and the unorthodox sequel is a heck of a ride, expanding beyond a conclusion that most of us thought was the end, and into a new beginning.
Spoilers beyond this point!
Throughout the film, it’s established that this resurrected Neo is no longer the same super-powered being that we knew from the Trilogy. He’s confused, plagued by doubts of his sanity and the nature of reality.
In many ways the film works in parallel to the first film, repeating similar events in new contexts.
Even when the veil is removed and he remembers who he is and the nature of the Matrix in the context of known reality, that doesn’t unlock his mind or latent abilities — it’s demonstrated that he can no longer fly, as an example.
To recap the film’s resolution, as Neo and Trinity make their escape from agents of The Matrix, Trinity sees a repeated motif in the pattern of motion of a flock of birds, triggering an epiphany: in an instant, she sees the design, beyond the Matrix’s veil to see the flittering of code.
The moment is short-lived as the chase resumes, and Neo and Trinity leap from the top of the building, calling back to both the jump test that Neo originally failed in the first film, as well as his “suicide attempt”, actually a test against reality, referenced earlier in the film.
As the pair falls, it’s not Neo, but Trinity, who conquers the limitations of the Matrix and defies gravity, saving them.
Is Trinity “The One”? Are they both? Is the concept of a chosen one, surely an overused trope, simply being challenged?
Perhaps this is a gender swap intentionally reflective of a more recent understanding of the films as a metaphor for the trans experience, something obviously of personal importance to Lana and Lilly, who both transitioned in the years since completing the original trilogy as “The Wachowski Brothers”.
At this point it’s left to viewer interpretation, and it remains to be seen whether this is, in franchise terms, the conclusion or a new beginning (given the franchise’s footprint, the latter seems a safe bet).
But I have thoughts.
Referring back to The Matrix Reloaded, a major revelation of the original trilogy was that “The One” was a programmed construct. As The Architect tells it, Neo was the sixth of his kind, and The Matrix had been rebooted before, upgraded and retooled with each new iteration. It would seem that the current version of The Matrix is the latest in this cycle.
What seems clear to me is that the connection between Neo and Trinity is the key factor of their success. Neo prevailed where five other “The Ones” had failed, because he had Trinity by his side.
Love was the key factor when Trinity first cast her lot with Neo, despite resistance to the Oracle’s revelation to her that she would fall in love with The One.
Love was the key factor identified by The Architect as the anomaly that differentiated Neo from those that came before him.
“Your five predecessors were, by design, based on a similar predication: a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the One. While the others experienced this in a general way, your experience is far more specific. Vis-à-vis: love.”
Love was the key factor when Neo saved Trinity, predestined to die. The Architect gives Neo the choice to either try and fail to save Trinity, or to facilitate his destiny and save humanity.
“The door to your right leads to the Source and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her… and to the end of your species.”
Neo seems to make his choice by saving Trinity, but in truth he rejects the premise of the choice. It’s true that he cannot save her, but he brings her back from death instead. More than any other act, it’s this impossible feat of resurrection which signals a turning point and victory over the plans of the Machines.
Neo and Trinity are two sides of the same coin. Their love was the reason they succeeded, and the reason they will again.
Love is a word.
What matters is the connection the word implies.