Clarification about annihilation in Tenet

Clarification about annihilation in Tenet - Close-Up Shot of Keyboard Buttons

This is about the concept of annihilation in Tenet.

The concept of inverting oneself is introduced. When an individual is inverted, this person will experience the flow of time in the reverse direction. In one of the scenes, the Protagonist is about to get the "Plutonium" from Sator, and a female scientist warns him that he should not contact his forward self. Otherwise, he will be annihilated.

Further on in the movie, the Protagonist travels back to Freeport to un-invert himself where he gets into a scuffle with his forward self. Did this not count as a contact? Why was the Protagonist not annihilated?

Best Answer

When the cavalry Niel called shows up in Tallinn and secures the turnstile after the Protagonist has completed the forward half of the chase, the commander—Ives—tells his deputy—Wheeler—to give the Protagonist the run down on inversion.

In addition to needing his own air supply and bad handling when driving a car, if the Protagonist touches the forward version of himself they could be annihilated. Wheeler tries to hand the Protagonist a full, black body suit to prevent contact but the Protagonist says there isn't time. (Since he had just seen an inverted version of himself driving the car, he knew he shouldn't put on a suit.)

At the turnstile in the freeport in Oslo, the inverted Protagonist wears that full black body suit when he fights himself and that prevents the annihilation.

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Can you explain Tenet to me?

Tenet is the name of the organization that the Protagonist himself created\u2014more on that in a bit\u2014to keep the earth's timeline flowing correctly. It's also an interlocking hand gesture that indicates the flowing of time backward and forward, and a palindrome that's spelled the same way in either direction.

What is the theory behind Tenet?

In Tenet, inversion is achieved through a turnstile. When characters enter this turnstile, they become inverted and are automatically placed on the path traveling backwards in time, while everything around them moves forward. Essentially, they are moving in reverse, though it seems normal in their eyes.

What does entropy mean in Tenet?

Entropy out of the way, Tenet also deals with a concept of 'inversion', which an Empire article explains as: \u201cInversion is a process whereby an object (or person) has its entropy reversed, essentially flipping its chronology so that from that point on it travels backwards in time instead of forwards.\u201d

Does Tenet make sense backwards?

HOLLYWOOD \u2013 Playing Tenet backwards causes logic to work. Professor Archi Newton today revealed that playing Tenet backwards makes more sense than the conventional way of screening the film.

Tenet Explained: The Biggest WTF Questions Answered

Sources: Stack Exchange - This article follows the attribution requirements of Stack Exchange and is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Images: Miguel Á. Padriñán, Ron Lach, Olya Kobruseva, Ketut Subiyanto