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Headscratchers / Mission: Impossible Fallout

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  • Who were those guys trying to kill Lark at the Widow's party? As this Stackexchange post points out, there's nobody it actually makes sense for. Was it the Apostles? Because they somehow realized Asian Lark was dead? Did they just recognize Ethan?
    • McQuarrie mentioned in a podcast that the assassins were hired by Zola, the White Widow's brother, to take out Lark because he was afraid for his sister's safety. They had to cut this part out because the movie was already very long.
      • One of the assassins appears to be trying to stab the White Widow before Ethan stops him in time, but that's a very easy move to fake; Ethan simply wrestled a high-speed thrust into a "stab" that's clearly over a foot short of WW's torso. If not for the intensity of the fighting, that could actually have broken his cover.
    • The most likely culprits are probably the Apostles. Remember that Walker is in league with them, and if they have the knowledge that Walker is the real John Lark, then that means whoever is showing to meet the White Widow isn't Lark and thus needs to be killed so that 'Lark' doesn't compromise their mission to free Lane. If it fails, however, then they can instead count on 'Lark' doing the job for them then snatch Lane away at the last second. It's a double insured plan, I think.
      • If the Asian Lark survived, he goes to meet the White Widow as planned. Walker/'Real Lark' hired him to do the job himself, so he might order the Asian Lark to participate in White Widow's plan to free Lane, have him deliver Lane to the White Widow so that Walker can recover the two plutonium cores, then kills them both to eliminate loose ends.
      • If the Asian Lark is killed and someone else takes his place, which in this case is Ethan Hunt, Walker is free to have him eliminated because he's not part of the Apostles, and the White Widow because she's CIA's mole (Walker would know since he's also CIA). There's a point where Walker is briefly separated from Hunt as he goes to meet the White Widow. Presumably, he goes somewhere secure and orders the Apostles to take Hunt out. If both are killed, Walker would probably free Lane through an Apostles task force like those infiltrated with the SWAT team in London. If both survived, then Walker can use them to free Lane and snatch him at the last second just like he was planning to do in Asian Lark's case. This scenario is what happened in the film.
      • If no 'Lark' ever shows up to meet the White Widow, Walker and the Apostles would free Lane themselves, then plans to recover the two plutonium cores later. Walker is after all infiltrated with the CIA, and would know the White Widow is working for them, so he could easily gain access to her later then use whatever means necessary to get the two cores back.
    • Someone who knew of MI6's mission of getting Lane back, and strenuously disagreed with it. That would explain why Ilsa knew about (and had precautions prepared for dealing with) them. They whack Lark, Lark never makes the arrangements for the handoff, White Widow probably gets too spooked to make a second attempt. This doesn't fully explain who they were, of course; could be any foreign government.
    • Ilsa mentions plenty of people wants Lark dead, given he is a known terrorist for hire and is responsible of a few attack in Asia it's not hard to imagine other agencies want to simply kill him. Could even be someone avenging the nuclear weapon dealer from the beginning of the movie.
    • Pretty sure she offhandedly mentions that some "contractors" are involved, too. That would explain who the assailants are, although not who hired them.
  • Why Lark suddenly cared about Hunt taking the blame? That's Lane's petty revenge scheme if anything he could just shoot him in the head to make a point to Solomon. It can't even be that he believes he will still be able to come back in Sloane's good grace because first he let on way too much in the cave to be believed and second if the nuke plan works in his mind the geopolitical climate is changed to the point it won't be hard to elude the CIA while the new peace order he believes will happen is occurring.
    • Ethan taunts him in the elevator scene by reminding Lark that the Apostles won't hand over the plutonium if he just kills him and ruins Lane's revenge scheme.
    • Still Lane wouldn't be able to figure it out until Lark feels like telling him, which could be after the plutonium deal. There is no camera in the elevator and Lane can't sense if Ethan is alive or not.
    • Lane would never make the deal without good confirmation that Hunt's alive.
  • How did Lane coordinate his whole revenge plot from behind the bars? And for that matter, how much are the rest of the Apostles investing into his and Lark's plan to bomb Kashmir? Are they fully "in" on the plot and willingly putting in their own resources and manpower into a plan that's going to end up with their boss killed, or are they only vaguely aware of Lark's scheme without being directly involved themselves?
    • John Lark aka August Walker is cooperating with Lane. He's Sloane's right-hand man so he might be a high-ranking CIA agent himself, so he has access to a lot of data that he could share with Lane and plot with him behind Sloane's back. It's probably how Walker has some influence over the Apostles members as well. He probably gets in contact with the Apostles and put them through to Lane, who informs them that they can trust Walker to be their mole inside the CIA and work with him. He's also clearly shown ordering the Apostles around multiple times in the movie. The Apostles themselves might not know that their boss is planning to kill himself as his endgame goal until he tells them himself, and by that point, they believed their main goal is already achieved.
  • Why didn't Ethan pick up the briefcase before saving Luther? If Benji could carry it Ethan wouldn't have a problem holding it.
  • Considering the importance of the mission to impersonate Lark and talk to the Widow, why does the U.S. government send only two people to get the job done? And apparently the initial plan was to send Ethan alone; Walker only comes along because the CIA insists on it at the last minute. Why can't we spare a few more agents for a mission of this importance? It's especially silly when you consider that both agents nearly die before they even reach the building (thanks to the skydiving accident) and then they end up needing help from Isla, who just happens to show up at the right moment.
    • More boots on the ground doesn't always result in more effectiveness. The intel analysis seems to come in at the very last minute, with Ethan and Walker being the only two field agents briefed on the details. Throwing more operators into the mission, who might lack their skill level and familiarity with the case, would just enlarge their footprint and increase the risk of being compromised. Besides, they do benefit from an entire support network that provides their intel, transport and equipment. Benji and Luther are more than experienced enough to act as their back-up on the field as well.
  • Sloane (CIA director) betrays Ethan's team in the underground, tries to kill them, and it seems to be patched up by the end of the movie. How does this work out?
    • She didn't want to kill them, she wanted them all arrested to figure out what is happening because the mission is a mess: the person she sent to supervise is the terrorist and Hunt might be working or siding with Ilsa so everyone regroup. Ethan was even fine with it since at least the direct threats (Lark and Lane) are out of the equation.
      • Considering that the IMF practically takes the place of the FBI in "CIA Evil, FBI Good" in the MI universe, Lane probably planned the whole thing knowing that the CIA would inevitably lose patience with the IMF's "zero body count" cons and gambits, whereupon his moles could strike. All he needed to do was let things get complicated enough and the CIA would escort his rescuers to his jailbreak.
  • Was the CIA team sent by Sloane that opened fire on everyone in the underground on Lark's command working for Lark all along, or did they just not believe that "August Walker" was Lark and so were more willing to take orders from him in a pinch than Sloane?
    • They were Apostles operatives who infiltrated the CIA thanks to August Walker. He's the one ordered them to open fire, and he's later seen calling for more backup after he escaped the tunnel, so yeah, they're definitely on Walker/Lark's payroll.
  • Why did the Apostles go through all the trouble of using a broker to deal with Lark when their leader already knew who he was? Or was the deal with the White Widow just a CIA sting operation meant to catch John Lark from the get-go while the Apostles had already worked out the deal with Lark off-screen?
    • John Lark, who's a CIA mole, knew that the whole thing was a sting operation to catch him, so he played along. Remember, Lark was helping Solomon Lane achieve his goal of framing Ethan Hunt at the time. The Apostles were most likely in on it as well, that's why they let Ethan and his team alive instead of killing them outright in the opening scene. Even if Ethan and his team succeeded against all odds in recovering the plutonium, Walker/Lark could've always snatched them back later using his CIA connections. All the trouble Lark and the Apostles went through in the overly complicated plan is all because of Solomon Lane's irrational goal of making Ethan Hunt suffer.
  • Why did Lark even need the other two plutonium cores? His intended bomb setup was meant to detonate if one of the two bombs was defused - meaning that his plan presumably could have succeeded with a single bomb. While he wanted to frame Hunt, he didn't seem to have a specific vendetta against Hunt and was perfectly fine blowing his cover once the time was right. With that in mind, Lark could have just swiped the core that the White Widow gave them in Paris and gone to Asia to set off his plan without any interference at all. He would never have needed to spring Lane or deal with the Apostles.
  • Why were the brokers even needed? The Apostles at the beginning of the film successfully snatched the cores right? They were working for Lark right? Why did they not bring the cores straight to their employer then and there?