Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Face/Off

Go To

The film:

  • Castor Troy is shown to only kill Walsh, Miller and Tito in the fire, so why didn't the other doctors who helped perform the surgery say anything to defend the real Archer?
    • Perhaps Castor arranged for everyone else to all have unfortunate accidents that don't tip off the police.
    • It's possible the other doctors weren't informed who their patient or the donor really was, as a security protocol and/or to ensure they'd have plausible deniability. Even if there's never a formal inquiry into what went down so they wouldn't get called to testify about a morally-dubious counterterrorism op, cutting off an unconscious prisoner's face with neither medical necessity nor consent is hardly in compliance with the Hippocratic Oath.
    • Advertisement:
    • Even if the other surgeons knew the details on the surgery, all they knew about was that Archer was given Castor's face. Dr. Walsh was the only one at the hospital who knew about Castor being given Archer's.
  • How did Troy even get Archer's face? He's one guy. As I remember it, he wakes up, the medical and police team has an Oh, Crap! moment and next thing we know he's got Archer's face. He's one guy. They would have had to sedate him to put the other face on. Castor has no resources there, and he's just a regular human, why didn't anyone just strap him down again while he was sedated?
    • He wasn't one man. He'd called in his friends. They're the ones that actually haul Dr. Walsh in. You're misremembering how the movie went.
    • The real question is how could the surgery possibly be performed in a single night by a single doctor, when originally it required an entire team and much more time?
    • The hard part may have been removing the two faces in such a fashion that neither the face nor the various underlying structures would be damaged, not the attachment process. If so, the team already did that part; Walsh just went through the procedure they'd already laid the groundwork for, having intended to perform it on Archer himself to reverse the surgery once his mission was over.
  • This continuously bugs me: after the switch is made, Castor goes home to the "lonely wife," Eve Archer. It is implied through foreplay and dialogue that the two did sleep together physically in the same bed and have sex. Wouldn't Eve known something was immediately wrong by reasoning that Archer did not..."feel" the same way as she would expect?
    • Perhaps she would, but it's not like one night of different sex would make her immediately suspect her "husband" is Castor Troy wearing her real husband's face. Plus, notice that Castor looks in Eve's diary and reads that they haven't been getting it on much recently (as in not in the last two months, to which Castor quips "What a loser"), so she may just chalk it up to remembering poorly.
      • I expected there to be a Chekhov's Gun about his lack of scar being how she identified him either before or during said lovemaking.
      • Castor may have explained the lack of scar simply by saying that he got plastic surgery while he was away, which is, twistedly enough, the truth.
      • In the script, before driving to Michael's grave, it's suggested that Eve is suspicious, as in the script she states, "Last night, I thought — this isn't my husband. Then I woke up in the middle of the night — and found you passed out in the study."

  • How the hell does Castor get away with shooting Agent Loomis when Pollux gets killed? I know the ballistics might have taken a while to do, but Castor uses his FBI duty pistol to headshot Loomis, which should have been easy to trace. And I can't even remember if Pollux had a gun on him at that point.
    • Pollux did have a pistol. You can see him raise it as Archer swings over on the rope and he is about to shoot when Archer slams into him and knocks him into the skylight, and he falls to his death.
    • He would also have had the advantage that it's unlikely anyone would have thought to test the bullet in Loomis against 'Archer's' gun; with so many criminals firing shots that night, determining exactly who fired which bullet wouldn't particularly matter, especially when Loomis would have died so soon after the rest of the agents on the raid that nobody would be able to confirm he actually died after the main fight was over. Hell the cops might think he caught an unlucky headshot or that Castor was startled.
  • So if Castor is a terrorist for hire... who exactly hired him to plant the bomb? By all rights that would be the real Big Bad (at least of the first act).
    • Perhaps once Archer defeated Castor for good and had his face restored, the first task he did upon being declared fit to return to duty was track down Castor's employer.

  • What's the point of Erehwon Prison? It seems that it's a secret prison where criminals are held without trial. Why? If they're criminals who were captured on American soil, why wouldn't they be tried in the courts and then sentenced? Or if they're really dangerous, just hold them there pending trial. There doesn't seem to be any legal or practical reason for that prison to exist.
    • No less a luminary than Michael J. Nelson also pointed out just how absurdly expensive the prison must be to operate, especially with the electromagnetic lockdown grid and special boots all prisoners have to wear. And why the need for such exorbitantly expensive technology when your prison is in the middle of an ocean and any escapees would be ludicrously easy to recapture? Sure, Archer got away, but that was only because the guys in charge of Erehwon were too stupid to search for him. Also, "The Geneva Convention does not apply here"? No shit, dude, it doesn't apply to anyone who's not a P.O.W. Come to think of it, "the guys in charge of Erehwon were too stupid" just might be the best answer to all our questions.

  • Why did the doctor even give Castor the surgery? Even if they killed him for not doing it, it still means that Castor is without a face, so there's at least the possibly he won't be able to succeed. Or did he just think Castor would let him live afterwards?
    • Castor threatened to torture him and slaughter his family.
    • Earlier versions of the script suggested that Castor and/or his two lackeys used torture to coerce Dr. Walsh into performing the surgery. That, or they did use the "we have men waiting to kill your family if you don't cooperate" approach.
      • The family threat seems to be the only effective one since it would be rather easy for Dr. Walsh to kill Castor and/or himself during the surgery.

  • Did no one investigate the fire at the institution? Shouldn't someone have discovered that the three victims whose lives it claimed were all tied up, or that it had been set deliberately with gasoline?
    • Perhaps the LAPD investigated, but since there were no records of Archer or Castor ever being at the Institute (this thing was done entirely off the bookies), they probably were able to prove that yes, someone deliberately tied up Dr. Walsh, Miller and Tito, then burned down the building. Without any evidence to tie Castor to the Institute, he won't be considered a suspect. The LAPD is able to prove that Tito and Miller were there, but since the plastic surgery was off-the-books, that's all they can prove, and to them, it may seem like they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • Except that Miller and Tito were federal agents, so the FBI —which would naturally include whoever else signed off on the surgery to begin with, because NO administrative officials EVER act alone in a federal bureaucracy— would absolutely be involved in the investigation.
    • As was said before, the police investigation would undoubtedly prove arson, and the bodies were identified. However, Archer's surgery was done off-the-books, meaning that only a few people truly knew that Archer was impersonating Castor, and thanks to the arson, all of them are dead save for Archer and Castor. As far as anyone not in on the job sees it, Castor had just been shipped off to Erewhon Prison while Archer was away on an unknown assignment. As for Tito, Feds might believe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hell, it might even be believed that the Walsh Institute fire was started by a third party trying to cover up an unrelated incident.
    • What about the remaining surgeons? Did Castor also kill them? But how would he even find them? Or were all of them so afraid for their lives (even though nothing pointed to them, so they were most likely safe) that not a single one went to the police?
  • Why didn't Archer's wife tell anyone about the facial transplant before the shootout at the funeral?
    • Without anyone else except Archer himself to back up her claim, it might take a while to convince them.
  • Why don't they just torture Pollux for the bomb's location?
    • Archer's boss makes a big deal about how they don't have any concrete proof that there is a bomb. I don't think it's legal to torture someone over something they don't know for sure is a real thing. (I don't even think it's legal for them to torture even if they knew the bomb was real, but they might be able to utilize more extreme measures if they had proof.)
    • Simple: Torture is completely useless for getting genuine information.
  • Sasha tells Archer that she brought her son to stay with relatives or friends before the confrontation at the funeral...If that's the case, how did Archer find him in order to adopt him, and how was he able to take him from the last people his mother had left him with? I know Sasha had told Sean to look after the boy before she died, but that was because she still thought he was Castor.

The Reality Show:

  • What on earth was up with the beginning of season 4's "Alien Apocalypse"? Eric has unexplained family issues and thus doesn't get to go to the set of the show for inspiration. Since the show at the time hadn't even aired yet, this is a huge setback. Obviously since this isn't remotely his fault, the proper thing to do is to let him go first picking out his species. So why did they also decide he should go dead last? Also, slightly off topic, why did the Defiance guest judge complain that Eric's job was "patchwork" instead of "hybrid"? Hybrid between a living organic creature and a machine? Are 99ers machines capable of organically breeding? And if so, how on earth was Eric supposed to know that?
    • It's not really called out (though it's more visible in later seasons when they show more of the workflow), but everyone in all seasons and challenges are given tablets and reference material.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: