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Headscratchers / Finding Dory

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  • Wait a minute! If Dory had such a hard time remembering to count to 10 even when she was little, how was she able to count to 30 to find the sea turtles back in the first movie?
    • Maybe she wasn't. She wasn't actually counting, she was just mumbling, and maybe just remembered the last numbers.
    • Maybe she forgot that she had forgotten how to count?
    • She's really little. Maybe she simply forgot how to count all the way to 10 the same way any little kid would.
    • Also keep in mind that the films never take the Memento or 50 First Dates approach of acting as if an exact time period passes before Dory loses her short-term memory. What she forgets and when is entirely random, which experts say is the most accurate depiction of memory loss ever committed to film. It's entirely in-character and realistic for her to keep her focus all the way to 30 on some occasions but to lose track at 4 on others.
      • Just nitpicking to point out that Memento didn't take the "exact time period" approach either, and in fact it was itself praised by the scientific community for "one of the most realistic and accurate depictions of anterograde amnesia in the history of motion pictures."
  • In The Stinger, we see the Tank Gang from the previous film, still trapped in plastic bags like before. A year has passed since the events of the first film. How did they survive all that time with no food (except maybe Jacques)?
    • Maybe that took place before the events of the film.
      • Then how come none of the main characters never saw any of them? I mean, you'd think with all their travels through the center that they'd come across them.
      • Probably because the rescue center's staff have had a whole year to rehabilitate them and ship them back to the Great Barrier Reef for release.
    • Cartoon logic. If real world rules aren't essential to a joke or a plot, then they're conveniently shoved aside. Hence how small fish take a year to get to America from Sydney in plastic bags and never starve or kill themselves in the process.
    • I like to think the bags they were in weren't the same as from the first film. Maybe the Tank Gang actually got out of their original bags sometime before this film and were later placed in other bags by someone else. That would certainly explain how they managed to survive the whole time. Although the fact that the bags are covered in algae does suggest that they must have been inside for quite some time.
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    • It could also be possible that The Stinger in the first film actually takes place several months after the rest of the film.
  • Why hasn't Hank's arm grown back by now?
    • Because he keeps making the same mistake with the in-sink disposal switch?
    • He could have lost it just recently. It takes a few weeks for octopus tentacles to regenerate, he may have just lost it a few days or so before he met Dory.
    • Given where he is, plus his fear of returning to the ocean, it seems likely he lost it (traumatically) in the wild and was rescued by the MLI. Once his arm regrows he'll be considered rehabilitated and be released (hence his desperation to get sent to the Cleveland aquarium before that happens).
  • Sea urchins have poisonous spines that can cause paralysis. So what are they doing in the Touch Pool?
    • All those damn kids day after day screaming at high pitched what if a couple of them just casually stop screaming for a bit?
    • There are places that have sting rays with their stingers removed so that kids can touch them. Maybe the aquarium people did the same to the sea urchins and...filed their spines down or something?
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    • Only some species of sea urchins are venomous. There are plenty of harmless ones, and the ones commonly used in aquarium touch pools not only are not venomous, but have blunt-ish spines that won't pierce anyone's skin from a casual touch. (Just don't step on them barefoot.)
  • Whale Sharks aren't even remotely related to actual whales, so how could Dory have learned to speak "whale" by talking to Destiny?
    • Maybe Destiny picked it up from her neighbor, and then passed it on to Dory as pipe pals.
    • They may only be remotely related, but whales and whale sharks do share the same ecological niche (giant filter feeders that travel the open ocean). So maybe the "whale language" is common among giant filter feeders?
    • Wait, why do we think whale sharks "speak whale" in the first place? Neither Destiny nor her neighbor talk that way. Could be that little Dory just thought "Oh, it's a kind of whale", and tried to "speak whale" as she did in the first movie, and that's what Destiny remembered.
      • Destiny spoke whale to Dory completely unprompted before she recognized her, suggesting that she does use it at least sometimes.
  • Why did Marlin let Nemo come along on this adventure in the first place?
    • Well, Nemo did manage to survive one journey across the ocean before (albeit through being kidnapped). Maybe Marlin figured that if Nemo could handle the trip once, he could do it again.
    • One would think Marlin didn't expect to go through half the shenanigans they did.
    • Also, remember that he wanted to supervise Dory so he probably figured bringing Nemo along would let him keep track of both of them. Probably no sitter fish.
    • Nemo may have proved himself capable of more than Marlin ever suspected in the first film, but he's still a child. Marlin can't just leave him behind, and he knows his son well enough to realize Nemo will just rush off to help Dory anyway if he forbids him to go.
  • How does Marlin know what California is and that it's on the other side of the ocean, yet spent the entire first movie trying to figure out where Sydney, Australia is despite living in the Great Barrier Reef?
    • They knew, generally, what Sydney was. They just didn't know, specifically, how to get there from where they were. And the same thing is true here. They knew what California was, but they had to rely on Crush and the turtles to show them the way.
    • Plenty of their neighbors, including Nemo's schoolteacher, are migratory and would know something about far-off places because they've been there. They probably talk to other migratory species from even farther afield, so would know something about every corner of the Pacific. As for Marlin's ignorance in the first film, clownfish aren't travelers at the best of times, and he'd pretty much turned into a hermit even by his stay-at-home species' standards after his mate died. Once he'd gone traveling the first time, he got curious and started asking the migratory-types about the wider ocean.
  • How can Hank survive, seemingly comfortably, out of water for so long?
    • Cartoon logic.
    • In real life, some octopuses crawl out of the water to hunt during low tides. Additionally, octopuses are notorious escape artists. There are many accounts of captive octopuses waiting for humans to leave the room, then sneaking out of their tank, eating crabs in another tank, and then crawling back into their own tank.
    • There are aquaria all over the place at the facility. Hank probably stopped off to moisturize himself at a lot of them while sneaking around; they just didn't show him doing so on-camera.
  • Dory's tag is tiny, how was Hank supposed to wear it or otherwise pass it off as his?
    • Octopus don't have bones and can compress their bodies to the point where they can fit through a hole the size of a quarter (the smallest space the only hard part of their anatomy, the beak, can fit). He could theoretically wear the tag.
    • Or he'd intended to mimic one of the larger fish that were being shipped there, complete with tag. He could've just warped a tentacle-tip into the shape of a tag, but couldn't have faked the actual code numbers that would get him loaded on the truck.
      • That seems logical, as he did that exact thing in the blue tang tank.
  • When Dory, Marlin, and Nemo make it back to Quarantine, they end up at one point inside a mop bucket. Not only would that bucket probably not be filled with salt water, but wouldn't it also likely have a lot of toxic cleaning solutions mixed in, too?
    • Maybe the janitor uses hippie-type organic solutions, and maybe salt from the tanks got in there.
    • Or maybe it was just a slop bucket into which the custodian had been squeezing out salt water he'd mopped off the floor. All those tanks are bound to cause occasional drips or spills, after all.
    • Really, this series (and especially this movie, even more than the first) takes a very loose approach to the whole water thing. As long as the fish are in water, they're good. It doesn't matter what kind of water it is or what it's likely to contain. Water is water.
    • After all, the previous film had the main duo surviving in whale saliva, and the mostly-saltwater Tank Gang having once lived with a freshwater goldfish.
  • This movie introduces us to Bailey, a beluga whale who can still communicate with the main characters, and Destiny also seems to be treated as a whale even though she's a shark, and she can still talk to them, too - she only uses slower-sounding speech to represent "whale-speak". So why couldn't Tank, the whale in the first movie, talk like Marlin and Dory? (And he clearly wasn't just talking more slowly than them, either - those were actual whale vocalizations, or at least sounded like them.)
    • Whales' voice boxes and throats are so massive, they may not be physically capable of speaking at a speed and pitch that's normal for dinky little critters like tangs and clownfish, any more than a human can speak ultrasonically.
    • Another possible explanation: the first whale looks like a hermit wandering around the ocean, it looks like he doesn't like socializing, so he never learned fish language. Bailey and Destiny grew up around other fish, so they possibly learnt from their neighbors the way Dory learnt to speak whale from Destiny.
  • Why does Dory think everybody can squirt ink when she obviously cannot?
    • She wasn't exactly implying that ink happens to everybody who's scared, only that something does.
      • Firstly, eww implying those two substances are the same. Secondly, that's not true either.
  • Why was Hank scared of going into the ocean, and just what happened to him to turn him so bitter? I know he lost a tentacle, but that can't be it, he lost it in a mishap with the garbage disposal right when he met Dory.
    • No, he says he doesn't want to lose another tentacle to Dory, which doesn't necessarily imply that's how he lost the first one. (I can't imagine him being that calm literally moments after losing a limb!) He's being kept in quarantine, presumably because he lost it in the wild, and was rescued by the MLI. He's there waiting while it regrows, when the MLI will release him (unless he can sneak out to Cleveland first!)
    • It could've been that he was just a cynic who doesn't like the ocean - as he says, there's all sorts of predators who could potentially hurt him, and he seemed to view family and friends only as things that would weigh him down.
  • Isn't the whole moral of "Even the mentally impaired can still contribute in their own way" undermined a bit by the fact that Dory seemed to have spent all the time apart from her parents looking for them, living alone on the fringes of society, and unable to remember what she was even looking for? Even in the first movie, she was pretty lost without being able to rely on Marlin to remember things.
    • Sounds more like a moral of the first movie, as that's where Dory is instrumental in reuniting Marlin and Nemo, which follows the time she spent "apart from her parents looking for them, living alone on the fringes of society, and unable to remember what she was even looking for" — in spite of all that, she was still able to help others. The moral of this film seems to be "No matter how dark things get, no matter how alone and powerless and helpless you feel, don't give up hope."
    • That seems like it might be a moral for both films, actually. In any case, I felt that the moral about the mentally handicapped was enforced by the scene that showed Dory's mother crying and worrying over how Dory would survive if she were ever released from the Institute, as well as how so many characters throughout the film resort to asking themselves "What would Dory do?"
  • Was anyone else bothered by the semi-forced resolution of Hank's character arc, and how Dory just comes out and insists that he come back to the ocean with her? If she'd done it because she was afraid she would miss him or something, that's fine, and I know Hank actually wanted to go anyway, but her reasoning seems to be that he's a grump, and that being transferred to live in a place where he's protected, safe, and with no one else to worry about, is a bad thing for him to want. If someone wants to live a very simple and safe life, without having to concern themselves with family or friends, it just means that they're not a sociable person. Why does this movie imply that there's something wrong with that?
    • Unfortunately it is just Loners Are Freaks Aesop again, but if it's any consolation, we are shown at the end that Hank isn't living like the others or with everybody else. He probably can live a quiet life now, just interacting with everyone else whenever he teaches.
    • It's not that it's a bad thing for him to want, but that he wants it for bad reasons and it's not going to help him. He doesn't just want a safe, simple life; he wants to be cut off from everyone, forever, because he's so traumatized and cynical that he has trouble bonding with others and is scared of anything less secure than a tank. Feeding his avoidant behaviour isn't going to make him happier or healthier.
    • I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't see it as "wrong" for him to want that kind of life, even if nurturing his relationship with Dory and the others could lead to him being just as happy as he might've been somewhere on land. There's nothing wrong with being a loner, and at the very least, Dory's speech should've come off more as her trying to coax him into coming with her rather than just demanding that he do so like she did in the film. (Also, Hank seemed pretty personable, if a bit pushy, when Dory first met him - he really only started getting cranky when she started dragging him along on her "adventure" to find her parents - and that's not exactly too unreasonable a reaction for anyone to have, under those circumstances.)
  • How does Dory know where babies come from? She was a fry herself when she got lost. Rule of Funny but any in universe explanation?
    • Organisms reproduce by instinct; She would've figured it out on her own at some point.
      • But then why did she try to teach the class about it?
      • Maybe she didn't learn by instinct. We don't know what she saw during the years she was by herself. And even if fish eventually learn by instinct, why would that preclude teaching them about it prior to that? Humans eventually figure out sex if you give them long enough, but we still strive to inform them about it.
  • How did Dory get out into the Ocean anyway? I doubt any of those pipes that connect to the exhibits also connect to ocean. Plus we see Dory as an adult is able to fit through the pipe grate, why didn't her parents follow her immediately?
    • She's so small, it's possible she made it to quarantine and then fell into the ocean like she did in the movie. As to why her parents didn't follow her immediately, by the time they got to the filter, Dory had already been whisked away out of sight. It might've taken a bit for them to find a bottom feeder to give them directions and by then Dory was gone.
      • Okay, good point about her size and how she could've gotten out. But we see her being taken away in the movie and they show 1.) That an adult fish can fit through the pipes with the undertow without losing control 2.) That they are also big enough even in the open ocean tank that an adult blue tang can go through them and finally 3.) they could see what direction she went in and it looks like they can barely see her when she is going through the pipes.
      • Speaking of pipes, why are the bars on the pipes wide enough for fish to fit through? You'd think that the MLI wouldn't want fish escaping their tanks and potentially ending up in unsuitable habitats without a food source or encountering predators.
  • What's with all the Carnivore Confusion in this movie? In the first one, it had an explanation; pelicans eat fish but not ones they know, and the sharks were struggling to quit. In this one though, we have three sea lions, an octopus, a loon, and a Beluga whale with no apparent desire to eat fish.
    • They are likely well fed, so wouldn't think about eating at that moment. As for the Loon, I'm not sure she's aware enough to realise she could eat them, plus Marlin imprinted on her.
  • Why in the world would Mr. Ray have any incentive to devoting his time to teaching other fish at school?
    • Maybe he just likes teaching?
  • If Destiny and Bailey do stay together so Bailey can be Destiny's eyes, one of them is going to be very uncomfortable. Whale sharks are warm-water animals with a range bracketing the equator, while Beluga whales are a deeply Arctic species, with a range barely extending South of the Aleutian islands.
    • Well, it's a world where sharks can overcome their fish-eating instincts, so I guess they could be fine.
    • Possibly they could find a spot where the water is warm at the surface but frigid lower down. Bailey could take a quick look-around for Destiny each time he surfaces to breathe, then dive down to where he's comfortable.
      • Then he'd have to deal with the additional water pressure that deep down.
    • Wasn't one of the reasons Destiny decided to leave her enclosure that there aren't any walls for her to worry about bumping into in the ocean? Would she still need a seeing-eye beluga now that she's free?
  • Destiny thinks she's a whale, but she's actually a whale shark. Exactly what caused her to think she's a whale or even learn to speak their language? Was she raised by whales? Did her life next to Bailey cause her to assume she was a whale as well? Wouldn't she suspect something considering she can breathe underwater, has gills, and lacks a blowhole?
    • Possibly baleen whales consider whale and basking sharks to be "honorary whales" due to similarity in diet, and are friendly enough to them that the sharks bring their offspring up to be bilingual.
  • We see characters from previous films in cameo appearances including Crush, Squirt, Mr. Ray, the seagulls, and The Tank Gang. But, not once do the shark trio (Bruce, Chum, and Anchor) ever appear. Sure, we know they're still alive at the end of Finding Nemo. And, they are briefly mentioned when Marlin recaps his adventures. But, they don't show up. What gives? Were the actors not available to reprise their roles? Did the makers think Destiny would be better off as the only shark in the film?
    • Their absence is a bit shocking as well. There is a missed funny opportunity to have Bruce and co. at the end of the film lecture Destiny and Bailey on the perks of vegetarianism once everyone is in the ocean. Real life whale sharks and belugas eat fish when given the chance. The movie even acknowledges this when Dory sneaks into Destiny's tank through the bucket of dead fish. Unless the idea is that Destiny and Bailey still eat fish once in the ocean, just not Dory and her friends ...
    • It could be as simple as the shark-trio having left the area. Many sharks are migratory, like Mr. Ray.
    • While it's not terribly odd that they don't reappear, the way they're referred to raises a few questions. Marlin tries to claim that there were four of them... but the end of the first film showed that Dory attends their weekly meetings. Does that not go on anymore? And why would Marlin try to make the situation sound scarier than it was when Nemo must know that the sharks turned out to be friendly? Later in the film, during Marlin's tender moment with Dory, he mentions that without her he'd never know he could outsmart sharks. Outsmart? That doesn't sound like what happened. It's as if this film forgot that the sharks were actually benevolent.
      • They "outsmarted" Bruce when he was in his blood-drunk fugue, deploying the torpedo from the submarine into his mouth to wedge his jaws apart so that they could escape. Also remember that it was Dory's idea to do that, however impulsively, so Marlin's words still hold true. As for Marlin exaggerating the details of his encounter with the sharks to Nemo, maybe it's his version of a "big fish" story?
  • Okay, how did that truck's back door open at the end?
    • If you look closely while the truck is falling backwards off the cliff, there's one shot where you can see the back door's locks open. They unlock because of the gravity pull from being flung forward in that upside down position.
      • They're in free-fall. Gravity would have no effect.
  • When Dory, Marlin, and Nemo reach the Quarantine area, they come through the "Seawater Supply" pipe. You can hear the water gushing through the pipe as they swim along. When they reach the right spot, they drop down from the supply line through a downward-facing feeder pipe and into the tank. How? If the feeder pipe is open, water should be gushing out of it from above. What's causing the water to defy gravity and flow along in the pipe without draining through the feeder pipe? If there's hidden a valve keeping it closed, how do Dory, Marlin and Nemo get through the valve? Even if we imagine they found a miraculous way to quickly open the valve, get through, and shut it again before pouring down into the quarantine area, how is that no water got through the valve? Just Dory, Marlin and Nemo, and air.
  • Why is Nemo still a child in this film? This film takes place a year later, yet Nemo appears not to have aged much since then. Shouldn't he be full grown (or at least an adolescent) by now? (In that case, it would actually make sense for Alexander Gould to reprise the role.) Or do clownfish really age that slowly?

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