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Headscratchers / The Bourne Series

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  • How does Bourne get around and live for 3 whole movies? In Identity it's shown he has a bag full of money and passports. But firstly, weren't these passports given to him by Treadstone, so they would know when and where he's using them? Secondly, where is he storing all the money and passports? He often has to travel light and doesn't seem to take them from place to place.
    • Presumably, Treadstone agents are encouraged to set up their own legends to prevent leaks. Also, it's entirely possible has has caches of passports and supplies scattered all over the place. (In Legacy, we see Cross has a bunch of passports stuck in the door panel of a truck, so it's possible they're all trained to do that).
  • This could possibly be the most microscopic IJBM in the history of EVER, but Marie used Bourne's toothbrush! Upon entering the apartment, each separates to see the home. Asking if she can use the restroom, Marie proceeds to run the water for a bath, and brushes her teeth. Bourne's toothbrush holder is noticeably empty. After a quick cut to Bourne and back, we see Maria has replaced the toothbrush back into the toothbrush holder. Eeeww.
    • Alternative explanations are that it may be a new one from the cabinet, or that it may be her own. She has her purse with her when she and Bourne enter the apartment building. She's shown to be somewhat of a gypsy, so it's not unlikely she carries her own personal toothbrush, among other small personal hygiene products, in that purse for when she's on the road.
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    • Using each other's toothbrush isn't generally a big deal for people who are swapping spit anyway. However, they were not yet a romantic pairing at the time of the scene.

  • My biggest problem with the first film was that I can't understand how a government would train someone and even use some advanced medical techniques to make him some kind of super human, but then would plant a capsule in his body that beams all the information you need to trace him back to several aliases. This would only be useful to the agent if he had amnesia and had someone kindly remove the capsule from his body. Otherwise, it only serves as a way for anyone who captures him (or finds his body) to use all this information against him.
    • Maybe Bourne had it done on his own initiative, as insurance against getting burned.
    • It's a holdover from the first Ludlum novel, where Ludlum had to deal with the fact that a guy going on an assassination mission is not going to carry any form of ID, and the plot requires amnesiac Bourne to have at least one thing telling him where the next plot coupon is. In the book it was a microfilm capsule.

  • Three for the price of one, all from Supremacy:
    • Marie's death in the opening. Bad enough that they offed a relatively likeable character, but the fact that it serves as nothing more than the instigating moment is kind of insulting. There's no emotional confrontation with her killer (hell not really a confrontation period), nothing but Bourne reverting back to his icy-cold badass persona. It's like they decided, "hey, there's nothing else we can really do with her, let's kill her."
      • Haven't read the novels, so I cannot speak on her role in them. However, for the film, she serves as an immediate and powerful motivation for Jason Bourne's character for the rest of the movie. There is no emotional involvement because it is made specifically to be that her death was accidental (shooter thought it was Bourne), thus adding a new layer of internal conflict with Bourne. No other action could have prompted Jason Bourne to take the same actions, especially while she was still alive.
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    • Also, did anyone else find Ward Abbott's characterisation inconsistent? At first he comes off like a cowardly old man out to cover up his involvement. Then he suddenly turns into a monster, capable of murdering a member of his own team. And then at the end he...commits suicide? If he's a coward he should have surrendered. If he's a monster he should have shot Landy and destroyed the tape. As is...what the heck?
      • I don't think he ever comes off as cowardly at all, he was just trying to cover his tracks to prevent investigation, an act of self-preservation. His entire motivation in the film, from his first seconds on screen, is to cover up the Treadstone project and his own involvement in the corruption case, and we see at every turn that he is practically willing to do anything to cover it. When that fails, he is left with no other choice but to end it, as his reputation is gone (Bourne took the tape with him and left the gun) and shooting Landy would just bring up even more questions
      • He did have Conklin executed in the first movie just to help cover up the Bourne mess.
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    • And lastly, during the fight with the Berlin Treadstone agent, the guy says he and Bourne are the last agents left. What happened to the guy in Madrid? And why, when Bourne spent the entirety of the last film in Germany did no one think to send the Berlin agent after him? I mean Conklin was evil, but I didn't know he was that stupid. Not to mention, why'd he attack Bourne? Bourne wasn't there to kill him. Bourne sort of explained that, but doesn't even bother to explain it again and maybe, prevent bloodshed. I mean if he was willing to not kill Abbott, why not give this guy another chance?
      • Well, the other agent had been tracking Bourne since Paris, so regardless of the fact that he wandered into Germany, where more agents were stationed, it's no good reason for the other agent to call off the mission when he was so close to Bourne, and you certainly don't want two agents operating simultaneously, otherwise you stand a greater risk for exposing Treadstone or leading to more of the members getting killed in the confusion. I would imagine that he attacked Bourne in the house simply out of mistrust. It's already been made substantially clear that all the Treadstone agents suffer from serious psychological issues, so I can't imagine they would be the most trusting people in the world. Plus, the agent is still loyal to his agency in some manner (since he calls in that Bourne is there), so I doubt he has any desire to expose his agency's information.
    • If anyone can explain any of these to me in a way that makes them make more sense I'd be very grateful. Is it just because I haven't seen the third movie yet?
    • Look, he had a gang of mooks a few minutes away ready to come to his aid if there was an alarm. It's obvious that he'd been warned that Bourne was back in business and had set himself up as bait. He was simply following orders to kill or capture a Rogue Agent.
      • There is a newspaper clipping in The Bourne Ultimatum that is on screen for about 5 seconds when Bourne is reading the Guardian paper on the train. It specifies that the Treadstone agent in Germany was actually a Czech citizen living in Munich. It sounds like he may have originally been Treadstone's Czech asset but got transferred over to Germany. This also explains why a guy living in Germany is named Jarda, which is a Czech male name.

  • YMMV, but the whole "posing as an assassin to bait a real one" plotline from the book was rather more interesting than the one we got, and it bugs me that they couldn't have just used a fictional assassin to replace Carlos or set the film in the 80s. Either way could have kept the later films from diverging too far from the books.
    • A plot that complicated would have gotten in the way of the action.

  • Let me get this straight, the entire plot of the third movie is that the Blackbriar people think Jason is gunning for them, even though he has no motivation to do so, spared the life of the person whom killed his wife, AND has made absolutely no moves WHATSOEVER against their organization since the second movie. Where they really that desperate for a way to get the third movie off the ground, or am I missing something?
    • Kramer and Vosen wanted Bourne dead because he's proof that illegal black-ops programs existed, and they didn't want anything about Treadstone/Blackbriar being revealed to the public.
    • Also, Jason Bourne was gunning for them. He was making contact with a reporter who was trying to expose the entire operation, and he helped him evade CIA hounds. After the events of the second film Bourne was pretty pissed off and if someone suddenly decided they wanted to expose Treadstone in the press, he was interested. The only reason they started chasing after him was because he beat the crap out of several of their agents. And the second movie actually occurs concurrently with the third movie, up to a point, and the bulk of it is only set shortly before the third one.

  • The entire sequence in the third film about the reporter. CIA able to know within seconds/minutes of when someone in the middle of Europe says a specific word (which COULD have been someone saying "a black fryer")? CIA able to suddenly have the whole call recorded? And the caller's ID? And everything about him? And then they have over a dozen perfectly equipped spies ready to deploy within a very short period of time? And they're able to just hack into London's security network in seconds and view the video feeds? And they're able to hear what he's saying even through the middle of rush hour traffic, lots of noise, and the guy is speaking inside a car? Wow.
    • This is actually not that far off. It probably wouldn't happen in real time but the US and its allies do have several systems which sift through all telecommunications that pass through assets they control. Email, phone, cellphone, even this post. They sift through it with a massive pattern recognition system and when certain trigger words appear they flag the message, save it, and send it down to some analyst spooks. At one time the NSA employed 10,000 such analysts. The other wiki has some data. The fiction in Bourne is the speed here not the breadth of surveillance.... now I've flagged myself for detention. I hope you're happy.
    • Another possibility: Bourne reads in the paper an earlier article that Ross had written about him, identifying him as a CIA operative. It's possible that Ross had already been put on some sort of watch list at that point, so they were already monitoring him when he mentioned Blackbriar.

  • Gunning down a journalist from the Guardian in broad daylight in the middle of London is a sure way to get a bunch of investigative journalists looking into whatever it was that Simon Ross was working on when he was killed. Not to mention that British officialdom would be rather pissed off too.
    • Ross being an investigative journalist, it is possible that he'd done stories on various unsavory characters, any one of whom could have wanted him dead, not necessarily drawing immediate attention to his current story.
    • Vosen doesn't seem particularly proud of it either when he's with Pam : "Decisions made in real time are never perfect."

  • From the book series (Betrayal in particular): When Dujja brainfucked Bourne into taking Fadi out of his cell, why did they play it to make Bourne look suspicious to CI? It served little to no purpose, and it was completely counterproductive to their goals; eventually it actually caused the Old Man to send Lerner to terminate Bourne. What was Karim thinking!?
    • Eric van Lustbader sucks.

  • What is the full extent of Bourne's fighting skills and combat prowess?
    • Highly-trained hand-to-hand combatant based mostly on Eskrima, supplanted by formidable observation skills, social engineering skills, and ability to improvise. He's kind of like Batman, if he were real. Nonetheless, he is just as vulnerable to bullets as anyone else, and there are several other operatives who are at a comparable level in at least physical combat.

  • Can anybody who can explain to me why in Bourne Legacy it is so necessary for Byer to kill everybody involved in the program? (And as the movie states, set back a whole series of espionage programs back years). I mean, I get why Jason Bourne had to be put down. He was a rouge agent, which to the CIA may pose a threat in coming years. But as far as I can see, all the outcome agents were still loyal to the program.
    • I assume it's because of the old saying, "Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead." With Landy exposing all the top-secret organizations, the public would want evidence. Now, even if the agents were still loyal, Landy could point to their very existence as being evidence that the programs were still up and running. Dead, there would be no one to confirm anything. Plus, with the program falling down around their ears and it only being a matter of time before their lives would be over, some of the agents might try to go rogue, go to the press (as Cross pointed out, it was a valid option if they could do it fast enough), or just plain desert. As ham-handed as the tactic was, they were trying to cut off any loose end that might still be out there and do it before the agents got any bright ideas.
    • It was established that Dr. Shearing was at least partially aware of the full scale of the project she was involved with, Byer's entire role was to establish that there was a lot of infrastructure keeping projects like Treadstone running. If Treadstone was going to become exposed that group could have easily been subpoenaed and it would have been a BIG smoking gun. And it was already made pretty clear that they know they have created genetically enhanced Super Soldiers and they don't have complete control over them, it seems like Larx-3 was designed to iron out loyalty issues.

  • From Bourne Legacy - Dr Shearing said there were nine original OUTCOME operatives, then six. In the movie we see five - Cross (Five), his contact in Alaska (OUTCOME 3), the operative in South Korea (OUTCOME 4) , the one in Pakistan (OUTCOME 1), and OUTCOME 6, the one that Shearing examines in the lab (and who dies in a yacht-related incident.) Sooo - who was the fifth agent, and what became of him/her?
    • Jason Bourne, and the other assassins he kills over the previous three movies, are all the likely suspects.
      • Bourne is Treadstone, not OUTCOME.
    • There is a chance that Dr. Foite might be an OUTCOME agent. An implanted killswitch, to clean up loose ends at the lab.

  • How do chemicals allow the Outcome scientist to do all that stuff? Picking a door in several seconds, efficiently killing all but one of his colleagues without any prior experience, and then offing himself. Seriously, I know the guy was brainwashed, but at least that implacable Larx-3 had prior training to complete his missions, this was just some researcher with no military experience or espionage smarts whatsover.
    • The door picking can be taught by the brain washing guys, but most of what the Dr Foite does is not tactical or clever. He just came in and started shooting at people. None of the other scientists fought him, and since the doors was locked he just had to walk around, find another surviving scientist and shoot them.
    • For all we know, Dr. Foite was a well-trained operative who was inserted into Outcome to serve as a kill-switch for the lab personnel. This is an organization that is so ethically bankrupt that it would be willing to do that.
      • I figured they pushed him over the edge with chemicals and by ruining his work. Marta says she has a numerous restrictions on her work and the guy was ecstatic when she approved his work but when we first see him before the shooting he is looking at his work and now needs to do a murder/suicide. Its likely his handlers drove him over the despair event horizon with the orders and the chemicals.

  • What exactly does wiring a passport to a disposable camera do to it? I mean, it looks very clever for Aaron to be going all MacGyver on those forged passports, but I was just wondering why exactly he had to do it.
    • It lets him track Marta in case he loses sight of her.
    • I don't think he was tracking her. I'm pretty sure he was just using the capacitor to short out the RFID chips.

  • Why didn't the "keep it quiet by killing everyone involved" rationale apply to LARX? This implies that no one in the LARX program is potentially threatening to Byer et al like those involved with Treadstone, Blackbriar, and/or Outcome.
    • Because they're further down the chain. Those involved in the Bourne mess had direct connections to those three programs. LARX wasn't under their watch. Byer wasn't trying to destroy everyone who could possibly be a threat, but only kill off as many as is necessary to dead-end any investigation into their activities. Due to the high-profile figures in the Treadstone/Blackbriar mess, that meant wiping out Outcome.

  • At the beginning, when Aaron is hiking, he is shown counting his pills, and later before he meets the contact, he is shown hiding his pill container in his boot. Then he tells his contact that he lost his chems, and tells hima story that doesn't fit with what we have just seen. . Is it ever explained why he was misleading the other agent, since he still had chems?

  • In The Bourne Ultimatum:
    • How did Bourne get into the CIA deep cover building in NYC, much less throughout it, much less into Vosen's office?
    • How did the old Treadstone passport get noticed / connected by one of Landy's people but not anyone else (e.g. Vosen's crew or anyone else in the national security apparatus)? How did Bourne know that passport would have that specific effect?
    • Why did Desh walk away from Bourne on the street instead of verifying that he's dead and/or finishing the job? It's not like Bourne was in pieces.
    • Why did Nicky still have any access at all to Blackbriar / Desh after the ruckus in Madrid?
    • Why did the CIA black ops program's training room in the NYC hospital where Bourne and Hirsch chatted... have a breakable window to the outside world?
    • Why didn't Kramer, Vosen, and/or civilian politicians like the attorney general, secretary of defense, or president just tell the public that targeting and killing US citizens without due process is necessary? That happened in real life without any consequences. In short, what are they afraid of?
      • Seriously? Find a politician or government employee—or even anyone at all!—who dares say that in the public. Find one.
      • Attorney General Eric Holder, CIA Director John Brennan, and President Barack Obama. I don't recall any negative consequences. Tony Gilroy may think we are better than we are.
      • Holder claimed the situation is highly unlikely; the document was originally confidential; Obama followed up by saying he plans to consult the Congress about it. More to the point, you're talking about CIA. CIA doesn't talk.

  • Why was Pamela under such scrutiny in The Bourne Legacy after leaking the information when in The Bourne Ultimatum she clearly was sending it to Congress rather than the media. She was sending the information from one secure facility to another, even calling to ask for a secure fax line.
    • Because classified information is just that: classified information. Even though they are members of the Congress, they still do not have the authorization to read those documents, and therefore Allen gets penalized for that.

  • In Ultimatum when Nikki is fleeing from Desh why does she not use a headscarf to hide her super-conspicuous blonde-streaked hair?

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