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Headscratchers / Men in Black 3

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    What about the Arknet? 
  • Was the Arknet specific to Boglodite ships? Shouldn't it have taken care of that meteor at the end of the movie?
    • For that matter, shouldn't it have taken care of that Arquillian battle cruiser in the first film?
    • It may be that the Arknet exclusively focuses its energies on driving off the Boglodites; a good analogy might be in Stargate Universe, where the shields on Destiny could be figured to specifically resist the energy of a certain weapon at the cost of being vulnerable to anything else.

    K really gets around 
  • Each film reveals that Kay had a different Love Interest, all of them from his past. Is it just me or does it seem like he's uncharacteristically...loose?
    • Could be another explanation for why he's so stoic and strict now. Also it may depict Kay as having to try and get over "losing" his wife after recruiting with MiB.
    • Considering K's age, I don't think being with three different women would classify him as "loose." There's his first girlfriend, whom he had to leave once he became an MIB agent. He's shown to have never really gotten over her, and that's understandable considering that he simply had to give her up and watch her live her life without any memory of him. Then there's Agent O, to whom he was obviously attracted but their relationship never really went anywhere. It seems to me more of a case of continuous attraction due to being in each other's presence all the time. As for the alien, K seemed to really love her, but that was a doomed relationship from the beginning. If K has a woman problem, it's that he keeps falling in love with women he can't have, and can't seem to ever get over any of them, not that he's a player. The pain of all these broken relationships would only add to his stoicism, which IS very in character.

    Is MIB a government organization or not? 
  • In Men In Black I, K says that MIB is not part of the government as they ask too many questions. In the third movie, J says that MIB is a government organization.
    • K never says that MIB isn't part of the government. He just says that they don't answer to any other branches of the government or government departments. Big difference.
    • Every time someone refers to MIB as a "secret government organization" they're explaining it to the uninitiated (and half the time someone they're planning on neuralizing shortly anyway). They probably say it that way because it flows better and is easier to understand than "a secret formerly government and currently underground organization".

    Why are the Boglodites still alive? 
  • Griff says the Boglodites died out in the main timeline because the ArcNet prevented them from eating Earth, and they starved to death. In the timeline where K dies, the ArcNet never goes up, but he somehow drives off the Boglodites anyway, preventing them from eating Earth. So why are they still alive?
    • Perhaps the Boglodites were convinced to change their invasion timing by Boris, because Boris wasn't certain as to whether it was safe to assault Earth at that time.
    • Based on how the Boglodites are described as travelling across the universe and ravaging planets in a certain order, it may be that they died out in the original timeline because making Earth unavailable meant that they had to move on to find another planet and would have died out by this point in time even if the Mi B haven't explicitly seen it.

    Getting the Arc Net into space 
  • When Griffin says that the ArcNet has to be sent outside the atmosphere, why does young K seem like he has no idea how to do that? If there are aliens on Earth in the '60s, then MIB should have access to plenty of ships that could easily get outside the atmosphere.
    • MiB is set up as a refuge spot on Earth for all of those other visiting aliens. It's probably strongly frowned upon by policy to get them involved in the politics of MiB and other races.
    • You'd think that said involvement being meant to protect said refuge spot from total annihilation would've upturned that frown, no?
    • K was helping J behind his superiors' backs. He probably wouldn't have had the clearance to use an alien ship, but the jetpacks weren't monitored.

  • Near the end J&K have to get a macguffin into space in order to save the Earth. The headscratcher comes from the fact that they had to use 1969 moon launch to get it up there. Seriously? You're telling me that out of the dozens of perfectly docile aliens that we see in the movie and the probably countless others on the planet there's not a single one anywhere that has a spaceship they could have used instead?!?
    • Because Earth is not a transportation hub, it's the universe's equivalent to a refugee camp. The majority of the trips there were probably one way, and the MIB itself is an earthbound organization, so they have little reason for leaving the planet.
    • Still, it's hard to believe that there isn't a functional spaceship anywhere within easy reach, either from the Alien refugees, confiscated from hostile aliens, or built one THEMSELVES. In fact, the first MIB movie gives us the world fair flying saucers too, which were there prior to 1969.
    • Because it would arouse too much suspicion. Anyone who saw the saucers flying would have to be neuralyzed, and tracking down each witness would be a huge hassle. Using a rocket that everyone knows is going up into space is the better choice.
    • It could be one of the actions they had to take in order to succeed. Remember when Griffin told J and K that the only way they would get to the rocket was to tell the truth? Maybe if they used some other method it wouldn't work.
    • This is a glaring issue that they should have at least alluded to and explained in the film, but didn't. You can WMG at possibilities, but they didn't stop and explain it. It probably can be explained away by that the timeline has to somewhat follow the way it actually happened - so if they used a spaceship they would have to launch said spacecraft from Cape Canaveral at the same time, with all they eyes of the world on them. HOWEVER this really should have been brought up in dialogue if it was the case.
    • Another, very simple explanation, that was probably cut in editing to trim the fat, is that MiB can't drum up a spacecraft in under 6 hours.
      • What about those saucers in Queens? The bug got one working pretty fast.
      • From J's perspective he has to leave those alone to minimise damage to history, and from the perspective of the rest of the organisation the saucers may be considered too public to use safely without risk of mass neutralisation.

    Boris' girlfriend 
  • Why was Boris' girlfriend even allowed to have knowledge of him, let alone write him letters and travel to the moon?
    • Possibly some sort of galactic regulation that prisoners be allowed to have access to mail, no matter what they're convicted of. Plus Boris' imprisonment is not a secret, he's just insanely dangerous.
    • Why wouldn't it be a secret? He's an alien. Aren't all aliens supposed to be a secret to the Earth public?
    • Maybe she wasn't human? It's been established that several types of aliens can pass for human, and if she was another alien, they wouldn't need to neuralize her. Alternately, the MIB has not been shown to have power outside the U.S.A., IIRC. Maybe she's from a country with less-strict laws?
  • Boris was apparently pen-pals with the woman who helped him escape from prison. How did he write to her if one of his arms was blown off and the other was permanently encased in that device?
    • He dictated them to a guard who either drew the short straw or pissed the bosses off. This also meant they knew what was in those letters.
  • What's the deal with Boris' unnamed girlfriend? Past!Boris is never seen with her, and though it's mentioned the two have been sending each other letters, how does that relationship get to the point where she had his name tattooed on her back?
    • Perhaps she just came across stories of his crimes and became obsessed with him. It wouldn't be the first time convicted killers picked up fans and copycats after their arrest.
    • Richard Ramirez is a pretty famous American serial killer that actually married one of his "fans" after he had been convicted of murdering multiple victims and given the death penalty, so it's not ridiculous to assume that Boris's girlfriend got his name tattooed on her back purely because she fell in love with his crimes. The real question is how she got into contact with him to begin with.

    Cape Canaveral 
  • So what happened at Cape Canaveral in the original timeline? I expected something traumatic, something, well, worse than having to neuralyze a kid you'd end up working with later (talk about a retcon), especially since the one change seems to be not arresting Boris. Future!Boris and J's presences canceled each other out as far as interfering with the Boris-K fight went, so, what was it that happened to K (and O) that it's so classified?
    • I think only J was locked out of the information, it was not really classified for other MiB agents. The whole "it's above your paygrade" excuse seemed far-fetched, and J himself gave a very good counter-argument to it. So, K probably asked for the agency to explicitly keep J from getting information about what happened that day, to avoid having him know the conditions in which his father had died.
    • It's actually not so far fetched, because K would consider the Colonel's death to be his fault. He shut himself off emotionally so he wouldn't have to suffer through that pain again.

    Shutting down giant neuralyzer 
  • Also, why did "When you meet the guy you're after tomorrow, kill him, don't arrest him?" prompt K to shut down the giant neuralyzer?
    • Theory: J is banking on K's suspicion and intuition from describing an event that J has knowledge of, yet K doesn't. J, of course, correctly predicted that K would be too curious and spare J from the neuralyzer.

    Temporal device and fighting Boris 
  • How did J know that the temporal device could be switched to Mental Time Travel and why didn't it leave Boris just as prescient as J himself?
    • Presumably it was quick thinking on J's part, something he's known for.
    • The device may only send one person - the one who presses the button - back, regardless of who else is with them.
    • Remember, it was some sort of DNA laser, so yeah, it would make sense it only sends back the person who pushes it.
    • Yeah, but why did all the wounds disappear?

    Alien Fish 
  • Maybe this is Bizarre Alien Biology with a smidge of Rule of Funny, but J deals with the giant alien fish by pulling its heart out. It collapses, quite obviously out of commission if not outright dead. A scene or so later, the fish is seen strapped to a truck, flopping around vigorously. Wha happa? Did its heart grow back? Did an agent put its heart back? Did it have a spare kick in after the original was removed?

    Lunar-Max Guards 
  • Why are the guards at Lunar-Max so Too Dumb to Live? Among their many idiocies:
    • Their scanners are as specific as "ceramic confectionery", but not more than "organic matter"...which encompasses everything from poisons to viruses, both of which would be invaluable in a prison escape.
    • They have weapons that can breach the wall of an airtight space an airtight space station.
    • When they have an item that they have reason to believe contains harmful substances, they...stick their finger in it.
    • Seriously, MIB. The bad guys are the ones who are supposed to need the Evil Overlord List, not the good guys.
    • Basically, bad writing. The writers clearly wanted to do a "stupid hick Southern prison guards" series of jokes so they had MIB be incompetent for the sake of their "hilarious" gags and a lazy way to kick off the plot.
      • Could be justified as forty years without an incident making them sloppy.

    The Colonel 
  • The colonel is one giant example of a headscratcher. Why, on the day of the launch of the lunar mission, did he bring his son along in the family car and park on the beach near a lift-off site, which, as we see, is vulnerable to being hit by the blast from lift-off. Granted, the blast is non-lethal, but why where they there in the first place? To watch the lift off from a dangerous spot where they could be injured? Now, it's possible that he had to drive out there to see the intruders for some reason, but why bring along his son? Furthermore, while he saw how important it was to help K and J accomplish their mission, the Colonel could have asked one of the guards to drive his son to safety. As it's presented, the idea that young J was patiently waiting inside the car the entire time during the final fight, liftoff, and his father's death seems downright silly.
    • Or perhaps the vision Griffin showed him told him to leave things that way.

    Time Travel Logbook 
  • After Boris goes to the past and defeats K, why is his visit still listed in Jeffrey Price's logbook? Why would he ask to time-travel to 1969 in a timeline where he had already won?
    • Since Jeffrey apparently still retains his memories of the previous timeline, perhaps his store is somehow shielded from timeline fractures. Plus, this obviously was not the first time he let others use the time travel devices.

  • The ending of third film involves a pretty big unspoken Temporal Paradox because K kills past!Boris in the past. Since Boris is dead in the present he can't travel to the past to kill K and give J a reason to go to the past. But since that logically means J would never tell K to kill him Boris would have survived in that timeline. This means he would have gone back in time to kill K but then J would have... My brain hurts.
    • Past!Boris killing the colonel, past!Boris's death, past!K's acknowledgment of past!J as a child and events that follow on create a Timeline C (the "Good Guys Win, Someone's Dad Dies" timeline) that erases Timeline A (the original starting from 1969) and Timeline B (the "Boris Wins" timeline). So the paradox mentioned above is erased, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
    • It was established at the beginning of the film that J's memory is protected from the timeline change because he was present for the event that changed; specifically, Cape Canaveral, when he was a boy. This sets a precedent for J's memory to be preserved; he traveled back in time because the timeline was different when he traveled, he returned to the fixed present, and then he went about his business.

    Disappearing from the timeline 
  • Since Agent K disappeared from the modern timeline, he would thus have never recruited Agent J in the first place. The timeline should have reset to have Agent J be in the NYPD or some other non-MIB employment. J should not still be an MIB agent if K doesn't even make it to the 1990's. That does not preclude another MIB agent to recruit Agent J, but that affects other events as well. It's possible that the other agent would be J's partner and not Agent K. There is also the possibility that J would be recruited by someone else and then assigned to K, but that contradicts the loose recruiting and trainer/mentor model that MIB uses.
    • Timey-Wimey Ball. Seriously that is really the only answer you need.
    • There's a lot of Timey-Wimey Ball in the movie, but it isn't necessary for that. K had nothing to do with the Bug's plan in MiB, so in either timeline, J runs down a Cephalapod on foot as an NYPD officer, and an Agent gets assigned to investigate. J is legitimately Men In Black material, so it's no stretch to assume that whoever was assigned to his case decided to give him a shot, and he aces the test on his own.
    • If K doesn't exist now, why wasn't Earth destroyed in MIB 2?
    • Simple answer here: MiB 2 has the Light of Zartha arrive on Earth in '78. Most likely, D, O, or Zed handled the situation; remember Zed says, "I gave it to my best agent" - not just, "I gave it to K." In fact, it's more likely that the Light left Earth in '78 without an agent getting emotionally compromised.

    J's birthdate 
  • In the first film, K was about to assume that J "wasn't even alive in 1968" before the Bug nearly eats them both. But the third film shows that K clearly knew J was born before 1968. Did the writers just forget this little detail?
    • Yes. Because it was a throwaway line, possibly one improvised by Tommy Lee Jones.
    • Or he's playing dumb to cover his own ass.
    • OR K just didn't recognize J at this point. There's no indication that he kept a particularly close eye on J personally, and "James Edwards" isn't a particularly unusual name.
    • Or this happened back in the original unaltered timeline, and the one where K meets young J didn't exist yet.


    Time reverse 
  • Speaking of time warps, when Boris travels back in time there are two Borises; J travels back in time a few seconds so he can avoid Boris's projectiles. So why aren't there three Js - present J, his 1969 self we see shortly afterwards, and the time-traveling J?
    • Maybe the time warp device has a time reverse function?
    • Or maybe the device only sends one person back?
    • Might be a locational thing. If you try to go back to a moment when you were already standing on or near the point that you'll land on, you replace yourself; J in that instance traveled back to when he was on the same girder, whereas when Boris traveled back, he was across town.
    • It could also be that the duplication (or whatever) happens only if you aren't currently time jumping yourself. You're essentially 'displaced' and not actually a part of the timeline just interacting with it.

    Frank photo 
  • Why does J have a giant photo of Frank (or at least Frank's disguise, depending on if thats what he really looks like or not) over his bed?
    • His first mark.
    • It was a way to get Frank into the film. If you want an in-universe explanation, maybe Frank gave it to J as a present... and had MIB requisitions go in and install it while J was out. J probably just hasn't waded through the paperwork to have it removed.

    Ripple Effect Proof Memory 
  • If there are only two recently-invented time machines in existence, and they're so classified that not even senior agents know about them, how do they have the samples or researchers to know that Ripple Effect-Proof Memory gives you headaches and a craving for chocolatized dairy products?
    • Take a look at the logbook when J's finding out what time Boris traveled to. There are a ton of entries in it, suggesting that this particular time machine has had plenty of customers.

    Noticing on Apollo 11 
  • It doesn't matter how far away the Apollo 11 launch assembly is in the long shots, someone would have surely noticed the four beings fighting on the gantries, and falling off.
    • Neuralize 'em.
    • The launch was broadcast live throughout a large portion of the world. That's a lot of people to neuralize.
    • 1960s TVs were not known for picture quality. And besides, not all broadcasts would give a clear view of the agents and the Borises.
    • All the people watching would've seen was four people fighting on the gantry, and two of them falling (presumably to their deaths). Nothing there that proves the existence of aliens.
    • And yet that would've been enough to scrub the launch.

    Personal Prison 
  • Why did Boris get his own moon prison? Sure, as the lead-up to an alien invasion, he is a massive threat. However, after that invasion, he was just a guy who could learn to throw spikes. Sure, he was a good shot, but that's not exactly a global threat that requires billions of dollars to contain.
    • He is part of a race of Planet Looters, that's a danger to the universe even if they're supposedly extinct. Besides, more people might be on Lunar MAX.
    • There are other prisoners in LunarMax. We see a wide shot of a hallway full of cells, and we know that Jeffrey's father (forgot his name) is there.

    Griffin's ability 
  • Just how does Griffin's ability work? Also, how did his race (its name escapes me right now) ever manage to be almost driven to extinction if they have such an ability? As it's described, his race has the ability to see all possible timelines at once. How then, is Griffin able to predict anything? From what we see, he asks about or looks at random objects and uses that to figure out what timeline he's actually in, for instance he asks for J to show him his watch, and by that he's able to figure out that he'll be kidnapped by Boris in a few seconds, but that doesn't make sense. The reason is there is an infinite number of possibilities at any given time, there would be a timeline where J would have the watch, and have everything else Griffin can see around him be exactly the same, but Griffin would not be kidnapped as soon, or earlier, even by mere seconds, or even not be kidnapped at all. Similarly, if Griffin's race is ever in danger, they'd be able to see timelines where Griffin's race avoids the danger somehow, and thus would be able to act the same as in whatever timeline they chose to follow to avoid that danger, thus there shouldn't be any reason they'd EVER be in actual danger as a result.
    • It obviously doesn't work very well, or else they wouldn't all be dead. Maybe Griffin was just abnormally skilled. Presumably, they see everything, but can't absorb it all, so they only focus on the most likely top million or so, in which case Griffin's skill would be being able to assimilate data from a higher number of probability-states.
    • Griffin pretty much states that he has to be paying attention to a certain future in order to dodge danger, from the way he was kidnapped by Boris at the ballpark. So it's possible that the Arcanians, not suspecting the destruction of their world, weren't paying attention. It is also possible that the Boglodites simply had far superior technology, and thus there was literally nothing the Arcanians could've done, and were destroyed in every possible future. In that case, the Arcnet would've been designed in reaction to the Boglodite attack, and they never got the chance to deploy it.
    • And being able to predict the future doesn't mean that you are capable of doing anything about it. Griffin is, physically speaking, not very capable. He might be an outlier, or it might be that his whole species are just terribly lazy and incapable on a physical level because—being able to see every timeline and avoid danger—they've never needed to be.

    Reason for memory 
  • Is there ever a reason given for J's Ripple Effect-Proof Memory?
    • Yeah, he was there (as a child) at the timeline divergence point in 1969 at the launch, which apparently grants immunity to any timeline changes from that particular divergence according to MIB time travel rules.
    • Then why was the guy in the shop who owned the time travel device also not affected?
    • The guy MAKES and SELLS them! He would have to be pretty stupid not to throw in some tech to protect his own memory and existence in the event somebody changed history.

    Young Boris/Old Boris argument 
  • When Old Boris meets Young Boris, he calls YB "every mistake I ever made just waiting to happen". Since they have happened to OB but not yet to YB, shouldn't that have been the other way around?
    • He could mean that Young Boris was going to make the same mistakes he made unless he altered his past self’s actions.

     Extinct except for Boris 
  • It was my understanding that the Boglodites went extinct because the Arknet stopped them from ravaging Earth, and they starved to death. So... how is it Boris didn't suffer the same fate?
    • Presumably, the prison food at Lunamax is good enough to keep him alive.
    • He's a single specimen. Slightly easier to feed than an entire people/race.

  • Ok, I get that Boglodites are Planet Looters, who need to raid other worlds to survive (let's ignore the fact that they had to have evolved somehow before developing space flight). So why did they need to specifically raid Earth, when there are millions, if not billions of worlds out there to raid? Life seems to be abundant in the universe. Hell, according to K in the first movie, Earth isn't even the only place in the Solar System with life, and the Arcnet only protected Earth, so J's teacher's homeworld (one of Jupiter's moons) should've been easy pickings.
    • Most likely the Boglodites need a specific type of planet to 'feed' on, hence why other planets in the system would be useless. As for the race dying out, I interpreted that as their inability to conquer Earth forcing them on a different path where they died out before they could find another planet.

    Getting sucked out of LunarMax 
  • When Boris blasts open a wall, everyone but him gets sucked out into space, and Boris himself only stays there because he uses his tentacle spike things to hold himself in place. Right after everyone is gone, he... Jumps through that hole and lands on the moon's surface, without getting sucked into space. Shouldn't either Boris be sucked out, too, everyone been lying around outside, or nobody have been sucked out?
    • He doesn't get sucked because after all the air is gone, there's no more pressure difference between inside and outside. The bodies should've indeed be falling somewhere nearby - it's not like the suction effect could've launched them into orbit or even catapulted them across the horizon. But obviously, the movie wasn't going to show a bunch of people freezing and suffocating. And no, decompression in this situation wouldn't have been nearly strong enough to actually suck people out like that. Toon Physics, as it is.


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