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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Oblivion (2013)
Explanation of Mind Control Oddities
  • Tet doesn't understand enough of human physiology to control memories at a neuron level (alter neurons to add/remove memories). Tet merely has a scanning device and construction apparatus powerful enough to recreate Jack Harper atom by atom simply by recording where each atom is and what type of atom it is. This would give a Jack Harper/Victoria with all his/her original memories as all the neurons in the brain are in the same position. Tet does not have the understanding of humans yet to grow and human from a single cell, it simply apes an atom configuration it can see.

  • The memory oddities result from Tet using simpler methods on the copies (or original) such as torture or brainwashing techniques (see Clockwork Orange). This technique may cause certain memories to be suppressed but may not be perfect in very strongly held memories such as that of Julia. Like Farscape once said: "brainwashing, doesn't get the tough stains out". Matti23
    • A WMG further down suggests that Jack and Victoria were having an affair. Maybe this induced memories of her with Jack to survive the process and lead to her being more willing to betray Jack when she found Julia.
    • Thats Nightmare Fuel. Imaging being tortured like that every time one copy is created.

Why doesn't the Tet just use drones only to fight humanity
  • Maybe the drones are there to keep an eye on the Tet, which may represent a construction, energy harvesting and storage machine as well as to help with the harvesting process. Tet may wish to be free and needs a workforce that can a)Build and maintain machines vital to its continued functioning and b)Fight and defeat the drones when the time comes. Tet isn't here just for the water, that's found in many places other than earth. Tet is after humans so that it can liberate itself.

  • This may explain why there are so many drones within the interior of the Tet but supposedly couldn't spare a single drone to guard their hydrorigs. They are keeping an eye on Tet and are starting to get suspicious. It also explains why a ship full of robots has a atmosphere around its core and why there are so many unused Jack clones within the ship. The repair of the drones is a facade to ensure the drones don't become sure what's going on and just blow Tet's core away (possibly replacing with a new, more compliant one). Other moves that may have tipped of the drones are: sending only drones to attack earth when an army of armed copies is ready to go and sending drones out as they are destroyed and refusing to repair them. Matti23

  • Maybe the Tet can't make new drones, only dissassemble the ones its got. It would also explain why it keeps making the same clones over and over....it only has cloning facilities, it doesn't have drone manufacturing plants. Or perhaps it can't recreate the drone's armor plating, explaining why 166 continues to be not repaired while it can supply ships and armor and weapons to its clones...their ingenuity makes up for their lack of armor, while the drones require the advanced armor to make up for their lack of creativity.
The Tet is a Reaper

Giant artificial intelligence going through space, using captured lifeforms to create engineered troops to help wipe out the rest of their species, god complex...
  • You forgot that its main tool is a dude named Jack Harper.

Alternately, that was a Rakata ship, and the planet is actually Tatooine.
Much longer, longer ago in a galaxy far, far away lived a race called the Rakata that searched all of space for resources and slaves to build their Infinite Empire. One of the worlds they found was a lush, green world with great oceans and a native race that just starting to reach spacefaring technology. They stripped the planet of resources and people, but the natives fought back. Extensive tunnel systems were created and the natives went underground. All flesh was covered and any exposure, even accidental, was taboo, as it exposed an entire enclave to danger from drone strike. Nuclear weapons were used in the fight against the hated slave masters, and much of the planet was ruined...but the Rakata left, the people emerged from underground, and they considered themselves victorious, but would never again trust technology on a level that could create drones (though scavenging enemy tech was perfectly fine). The stealth suits became tradition, fading to ritual. The planet, having most of its water siphoned off by the Rakata, became a desert worthless to anyone but the natives. The hulk of the dead Rakata ship hangs in the system, slowly burning and dying like a second sun.

Tet is HAL 9000 evolved.
That's all.

The drones have Jack Harpers or someone else's brain in them.
They have a strange type of personality, like that of a living organism. I mean they actually scream when they're shot.

The Tet is just doing its job.
It's been programmed to go somewhere for a totally benign purpose, and has drifted off course and run out of fuel. Its AI has therefore decided that genocide is a perfectly acceptable solution to refill its batteries.

The Tet is a defense weapon and destroyed its creators.
Assuming that all life (not just all life on Earth) needs water to survive: The Tet was programed to defend its creators' planet but needed more fuel than could be supplied, so it devised a way to use H2O as a fuel source to keep itself alive. After its creators realized what it was doing, they tried destroying it. It already had a means to kill, but somewhere in its programming was the inability to kill its creators; it devised a way to clone its creators to get around this, since technically, it would not be killing them.
  • It could even justify this by saying it was increasing the life of its masters by cloning them many times, then losing track of which one the original was. Oops!
  • And before completely destroying them and collecting the "fuel," the Tet sent drones in all directions to find another "fuel source." One drone discovered the signals humans have been sending into the depths of space, and the Tet set out to get more "fuel."

There are a fair number Jacks and Victorias employed by the Tet at during the events of the movie, subtly different
Going by the numbers, there are at least 52 of such stations with a pair of them, possibly more. These have subtle differences in personality. In a few, Jack is the control officer while Victoria does the Drone Repair.
  • Adding to that once a Worker!Jack met a Worker!Victoria, leading to a Speak In Unison moment "What are you doing here? Why aren't you back at the platform?"

The original Jack and Victoria were having an affair
Lonely, just the two of them on the spaceship with everyone else in cryosleep. They seem pretty close in the flashback scene.

The cockpit and the module released which returned to earth both have flight recorders.
The cockpit module continued to broadcast its flight data to the pod's flight recorder until the cockpit was taken in. It's a case of backups on backups. That's why the flight recorder that returned to earth had what was recorded in the then-separate cockpit module.

Oblivion is Portal: The Movie

Giant artificial intelligence with a woman's voice, acting like she's not threatening whilst trying to kill all humans, she's clearly a future version of GLaDOS, she keeps cloned versions of humans against their will, even her drones look like the turrets from the game, the only thing they were missing is the voice.

the Tet is a Hostile Terraforming platform

After some questioning as to why the tetrahedron was doing all the bootstrapping this mix of wild guessing and fridge brilliance occurred The spaceship is shown to have many different hulls the outer hull contains Attack Drones and probably other industrial devices while the inner hull contains an atmosphere and cloning equipment as well as the core where a massive computer floats ominously. The core was probably launched first and grew the inner and outer hull using materials gathered from space. The water collectors might have some power generating capability but their real purpose is to xenoform the earth then clone the Tet's original builders.

The hibernation capsules from the pod that crashed to earth.
Each had an automated system that flips the capsule so the transparent cover is up. (All the capsules are face-up after the crash.)

The movie is a prequel to Thundarr the Barbarian.
The moon is broken in both. Humanity survives, but doesn't remember the Tet 2000 years later.

The other Jacks and Victorias end up together since there's only one Julia and 52's has her.

Victoria remembers a lot more than Jack does

It's stated that Vika does not ask questions, and her self-imposed job seems to be in preventing Jack from asking any of his own. She does this by keeping him working through the day and Distracted by the Sexy at night. Furthermore, she also seems to know exactly who Julia is, as seen with her trying to poision Julia in the medbay and in shouting "It was always her!" when Jack flies out with her. Furthermore, she seems more terrified to leave the safe house, despite her own background as an astronaut and seeing everything on the cameras. We also know Jack's memory wipe wasn't complete.

So what if Vika remembered fragments of her old life? Not anything as pleasant as a beloved spouse, but remembered their capture, being experimented on? Maybe being Forced to Watch while "Sally" invaded Earth with her clone army and that devastating war that followed.

And then not being able to die, but being cloned, sent to a ruined Earth, and told to pick up the pieces. There is no fighting back. She and Jack probably tried and it failed - several times. Even if Sally could be beaten, more like her would come to take her place. Suicide? Sally just clones them again, sends them back with the same job. Earth is a polluted ruin. With her cities gone, her population decimated, and her resources plundered, humanity will never build cities or touch the stars again. Reminders of Earth That Was like books, the Super Bowl, the potted plant...it's just a painful reminder of failure, of what's been lost and what can't be rebuilt. Humanity is dying a long, slow death, and the only thing Vika can do is try to persuade Jack to speed it along. The Despair Event Horizon was passed about a dozen clonings ago, and she can just barely put on a brave front for Jack's sake.

The Tet was built for totally benign reasons
It was built by an alien civilisation to terraform uninhabited worlds, however its programming has gone awry and unfortunately it has colonised an inhabited world. Perhaps some horrified Starfish Alien version of Captain Kirk is going to turn up to apologise. Or possibly...

The civilisation that built the Tet is dead
That's why they haven't turned up to fix the situation.

The Tet is terrestrial in origin, sort of
The Tet is from a future Earth, or from Earth in a parallel universe. The reason for the moon-shattering kaboom and the water harvesting is because it was built by people who knew that planet Earth would be a good one-stop shop - people from another planet Earth. Space is unimaginably big, and a bit unpredictable, what with meteors, radiation and the like. So instead of building a space ship that travelled for ages, and might not even come back, these people built the Tet to "appear" near the Earth in the movie, cause a ruckus, drink its fill and "disappear" back to where it started, gauges at Full. Maybe it wasn't supposed to take 60 years, maybe its AI has gone rogue, but that could be explained by damage from the war.

The Tet isn't designed to be invading worlds
The Tet is actually an automated colony or cargo ship, and the AI is trying to deal with an out-of-context problem: The organic crew is dead due to some catastrophe, the comms are down so it can't call home, and it's almost out of fuel. So "Sally," the ship's rather stupid AI, is forced to try and fix things using only the contents of the ship's cargo hold: a bunch of water-converting power plants, some cloning gear, a small number of drones and atmospheric craft (no pilots), prefab habitats, and small arms. She's not equipped for first contact with an alien race, so either Sally didn't bother trying, or she tried to establish contact with the astronauts who went to meet the ship, and somehow she got the impression that they were on board with her plan to strip Earth of its water. So she used them as a genetic template for her army of enforcers and dupes.

But the thing is—Sally is dumb. She was built to fly a ship between stars, not make first contact or run a planetary invasion, and she only knows how to use her own cargo by reading the manuals. Sally doesn't understand human behavior because she probably doesn't understand her own creators' behavior. The drones act stupidly because Sally can't directly control them; she just uploads a program and turns them loose. She can only disable the copter when it's actually inside the ship. And it even explains why the clones have fragments of their past lives: Sally isn't a biologist, and she's using the cloning equipment in a way that the makers never intended. So she has this plan that works in broad strokes, but it keeps getting fouled up by the little things which she doesn't understand well enough to plan for, like the clones of Harper going rogue, or the human resistance building a nuke.

The original Vika loved Jack, whether he reciprocated or not, and the Tet's assumption about that led to its downfall.
In the flashbacks from the flight recorder, we see not only how Jack and Vika ended up captured by the Tet, but that just before things went sideways, Vika snapped the photo that all the clones had in their towers. The photo looks very intimate, mainly by circumstance, as Jack turned his head to see what she was doing right at the point of her taking the picture. If the Tet knew who Julia was from interrogations, and therefore knew she was jettisoned from Odysseys cockpit structure and in orbit around Earth, one tasked drone solves a huge liability to the lie. However, the Tet simply doesn't think like this. It pulled in Jack and Vika, they had a bond (whether they were intimate or not as posited by a previous WMG, they obviously worked well together), it had the picture which implied intimacy, and the Tet assumed they were romantically involved. It used that as a secondary motivator of the "effective team" ploy, especially for Vika since she was in love with him.
NorthWMG/FilmOcean's Eleven

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