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  • Where did the real Adelaide learn the history of the tunnels if none of the Tethered could talk and it had been abandoned?
    • Most likely in the miles of underground tunnels there had to had been some abandoned facilities that had archives or info regarding the entire project.
  • The Tethered have been shown to be mimicking the actions of their counterparts on the surface in a simultaneous fashion, implying that they are like puppets to them as a result of the failed government experiment. "Red" has been shown to be mimicking "Adelaide"'s ballet performance, despite not being a clone like the rest of the Tethered. How was "Red" influenced to do a very similar routine like "Adelaide" as if she was a clone herself?
    • Didn’t the real Adelaide/Red take ballet lessons while she was on the surface? It’s why Kitty said to doppleganger Adelaide that she stopped taking an interest to it all of a sudden. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t know if I’m missing something.
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    • It's been suggested by the child psychologist to Adelaide's parents that the girl should dance as a way of communicating due to her supposed PTSD. This implies that "Adelaide" was the one who started taking ballet, not "Red".
    • Well, it’s shown that both the original people and the Tethered have been able to influence each other. For example, when doppleganger Adelaide was pregnant with Zora and Jason, Red was pregnant with Umbrae and Pluto. If doppleganger Adelaide was the one who took ballet lessons, then maybe Red picked up those skills through their Psychic Link.
    • "Red" mentions that she "Adelaide" were born different. Presumably that explains "Adelaide" having a measure of free will, and "Red" being able to sense what her Tethered was doing.
  • The only food source Tethered have been shown to be consuming are rabbits. How are they able to cultivate that many rabbits to feed the hundreds of millions of clones in the tunnels with limited access to the outside world?
    • It’s not clear that the Tethered actually need to consume food. The rabbits may simply be “props” to use when their counterparts are eating. Or perhaps the rabbits are connected to the way the Tethered are created - the rabbits themselves don’t seem to have any food source in those tunnels, so they may be as unnatural as the doppelgangers.
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    • Probably some unseen remaining staff that decided to feed them in case the project was revive again.
    • Another question is how did they even survive solely on rabbit meat, a food source that actually causes malnutrition in great quantities, for decades?
      • They are not human but clones, they might been designed to survive with a different diet and withstand malnutrition. Strongly evidence by their ability to stand injuries.'
      • Doesn't she say that they were human like them, with flesh and bone and blood, but no soul?
      • Yes, but they are still lab experiments. Aside from being organic there's no telling what exactly where they made from or if they even have human DNA at all. And Red is not exactly a reliable narrator given who she really is.
      • Hm, I wonder...
    • Rabbits "cultivate" themselves.
  • For that matter, how did "Red", who's a regular human not running off whatever metabolism the Tethered are, survive decades on the same all-rabbit diet as them instead of succumbing to fat starvation?
  • So the government just abandoned what seemed to be millions of clones in the underground tunnels, without any locked doors to keep them from leaving or even prevent others from finding them? What was keeping the Tethered below in the first place?
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    • Probably intentional on the government's part, it might had been the plan for them to die off eventually not realizing that they would live longer than the government intended. As for them keeping them underground, there might have been some staff there keeping them until they were laid off or killed off by Red. Or some expired locks that weren't replaced or solved by Red.
    • The Tethered probably didn't know how to escape before the original Adelaide was kidnapped and imprisoned with them by her own clone. They have an animalistic mind, act like cavemen and don't have much of a free will. They must have been too stupid to figure out that there was a way to escape the underground tunnels the government put them in before the original Adelaide (who is 100% human) showed them how to escape so they could invade the surface.
    • There is that carnival funhouse implied to have either a door, hole in a wall or some other type of opening between the Tethered facilities and the surface world which is how Adelaide got kidnapped and dragged into there.
  • Where did the Tethered get the clothes and items that the original people are wearing at that moment?
    • Probably provided by some unseen staff. Abundance of supplies in the miles of tunnels could had been used.
  • I'm genuinely confused and may have missed something, but what was preventing the original Adelaide from just walking out of the facility after she freed herself from the handcuffs? It looked like the Adelaide clone walked through no barriers to get to the escalator and presumably all the way out. I can understand the rest of the clones not trying to escape because they had no concept of it but surely Adelaide did and would have been actively trying to get out.
    • My theory is that, briefly, when they first met, they became untethered and could act independently from each other, explaining how the original Red could switch with Adelaide. But once they switched places, they became tethered again and mimicked each other, thus preventing the original Adelaide from escaping. This means that the real Adelaide couldn't escape unless she was untethered again, which happened during the ballet dance. However, by then it would have been too late for the real Adelaide to return home.
    • After 15 minutes Red's parents would have found Adelaide, presumably horrified that their child was chained up to a bed and speaking an unknown language. They would have kept an eye on her, preventing her from leaving, and likely later take her to the Tethered therapist.
  • Why build the research tunnels underneath a beach in California with the (seemingly) only entrance to it under a publicly accessible boardwalk funhouse?
    • No one would suspect a secret facility under a amusement park obviously. Plus who knows how long is been there, maybe before the park was built.
  • A boardwalk is filled with people just visiting, and yet it's still showing that all the clones downstairs are exactly mimicking the people upstairs. Does that mean that the clones wander the tunnels wherever the people go? Surely that's not possible. How does that work?
    • They don't copy them 24/7 Obviously.
      • Seems like an easy answer, but that doesn't really make sense based on what's presented in the film. There's no indication that they weren't constantly copying the above-ground people prior to the Untethering, or at least prior to the dance recital. Red is shown to have experienced the relationship and pregnancies and various other events alongside Adelaide, just the "bad" version of it. She wasn't just sitting around doing her own thing until Adelaide returned to the boardwalk.
      • That could be the reason why the whole project was abandoned, as the connection seems to be on and off again and only happening momentarily not 24/7 as the government wish to control the population but obviously couldn't with a very loose connection between the originals and tethereds.
    • The Tethered don't copy the actions of the people upstairs exactly, just as close an approximation of that action as they can get away with. For example, we see a group of Tethered standing in a room bending their legs over and over again to mimic people on a roller coaster ride instead of running from one end of the facility to another to keep up with the people they're tethered to. They probably walk the tunnels to get as close to the person they're tethered to as possible but likely much of the time they aren't directly beneath them.
    • I think we're taking the "tethered" connection a bit too literally. The Tethered are basically the same people as their counterparts above; they're just...rougher around the edges, so to speak. Each Tethered individual has some of the same basic drives and motivations as their human double, so they'll engage in approximately the same actions, but from their point of view, they probably think they have free will, same as us. They might even have some primal folk conception of our world as a kind of ethereal heaven filled with more powerful beings who created them and provided them with food (which would be part of why they interpret Red as a messianic figure, and balance out the instinctive fear the film taps into of "things in the dark".)
  • In the end fight between Red and Adelaide, how was Red able to predict Adelaide's movements and not the other way around? if Adelaide was really the shadow, shouldn't she have been able to predict Red's movements and not the other way around?
    • She doesn't predict her movements, she just happens to be faster than Adelaide and stay one step ahead of her.
  • If the tethered are forced to copy the movements of the people upstairs, how were they ever able to break free and plan this attack?
    • It was through Red's leadership. Red, as a natural human, was able to influence the Tethered and orchestrate their emancipation.
    • Again, they don't copy them 24/7 obviously or else they will be running into walls.
    • A deleted scene shows the full ballet scene that had parts of it shown during the fight between Red and Adelaide. Notice how Adelaide strikes a pose at the end while Red is laying down on the ground. Then, the Tethered audience start circling around her, and Red starts looking at them, as if she’s confused. In the movie itself, the Tethered are shown to be extending their hands and touching her. It wouldn’t make sense for the people on the surface to be doing these actions (and it can’t be an approximation either because Red has enough room to copy Adelaide’s pose), which implies that the ballet dance itself is what untethered Red from Adelaide, and then from there Red would be able to influence them on how to break free from the psychic connection. Red even implies it in the movie proper when she says "the miracle happened".
  • Why did the Tethered perform a "Hands Across America"? In fact, what was the point of referencing Hands Across America at all?
    • Red saw the commercial for it as a child. She understood the point was the draw attention. The tethered didn't just want to take over a life, they wanted the world to know about them.
    • Hands Across America happened during and represented the ideology of the Reagan era. It was a time that promised a return of optimism and hope to America but ultimately the policies of that time ignored many underprivileged groups who suffered greatly in ways that were invisible to the general public such as the pain of the LGBT community during the A.I.Ds epidemic. Similarly, the Tethered remain hidden and underground during the 1980's but are eventually able to force the world to listen to their pain by standing together and saying that it was now their time to be heard.
  • So Red's children were born when she and Abraham were forced to have sex with each other by their tether to Adelaide and Gabe, right? They weren't artifically grown like they said the Tethered began as? The shadowy organization that created the tethered hasn't been systematically stealing DNA samples of every single person on earth to create new tethered children? If so, when did the tethered stop being clones and when did they start being the children of clones? Did this organization just one day start getting the DNA of every single new baby on Earth as it was born, grow clones of them simultaneously with their counterparts, and then keep this up until every person born before the beginning of the experiment was dead, and they had clones of every person on earth who would then create the next generation of tethered automatically? If so, how do the tethered of people born in one part of the world who meet in another travel to the underground labs of their counterpart's lover's counterpart to forcibly have sex with each other and create their shadowy tethered mutual rape babies?
    • Let's assume this is limited to parts of the US not not all over the world. My guess is Gabe and Adelaide are from that area. Gabe and Adelaides parents were part of it at least. If Gabe had been from the midwest or the UK then Red would not have gotten tethered children. Given how Red said she had to cut out the 2nd kids herself, the experiment was likely already over. It may have already been over when the switch began.
    • But the scale of the surface invasion clearly indicates they at least had tethered for basically every single human being in the state. If it's been abandoned for that long, how could enough now-natural pregnancies limited by secret underground travel have been happening between tethered that the tethered still had comparable numbers to the freely-moving surface dwellers?
    • We don't know exactly when the project was abandoned. Maybe there were staff there to help with giving birth at least until Red was pregnant. Plus, it's possible that some of the Tethered may have outlived their original counterparts who died on the surface (considering that they were able to break free in order to plan the attack), which I presume would also "untether" them. And just to be clear, the creation of the Tethered is only limited to the United States, hence the title.
    • And if the Tethered children are conceived & born naturally through their Tethered parents, how do they guarantee the same genetic combinations to produce identical clones? Heck, the Tylers' daughters were identical twins; how could that be induced in the clones before the real Tylers even knew?
    • Also, where do they get all the condoms to ensure that, for all the casual sex their surface counterparts are surely having, nobody gets pregnant until their surface counterparts do? That's a lot of sex, by a lot of people, for decades after the project was abandoned. Oh, and here's another thing: a guy from California flies to an airport in Texas at the same time as a woman from New York does, they meet, and in a spur of the moment impulse have sex with each other somewhere nearby and the woman gets pregnant. How do the tethered get to each other in time for the resulting tethered baby to be conceived?
  • I can buy Original Adelaide stirring The Tethered with stories of the outside world but how did she train and organize them. She was captured as a little girl when/how did she receive paramilitary expertise.
    • The tethereds saw her as a Messianic figure and hence would had look up to her given her knowledge of the outside world. As for paramilitary expertise well ambushing and stabbing unsuspecting people combined with the fact of shocking them with the revelation that your their clone doesn't require a military genius to figure that out.
  • Where did the Tethered get the finished products they're seen having prior to their invasion? They have jeans and tee-shirts, not to mention beer cans and other such things. Even if you assume that their jumpsuits and scissors were left behind when the experiment was still running things tee-shirts wouldn't have been and they can't just be made by hand. Especially since they're pretty good replicas of the clothes their counterparts on the surface were wearing.
    • It's possible that those scenes weren't meant to be taken literally; it could be Red's interpretation/explanation of the events. It's even possible that the Tethered were really wearing their jumpsuits the entire time, but for ease of visual clarity they're shown wearing similar clothes to their counterparts.
  • Why did all the coincidences that Adelaide brings up as signs of Red's approach actually happen? Once the film explains what the Tethered are (a failed cloning experiment) there's no reason their existance should affect any aspect of the world. The whole thing turns out to be totally unrelated.
    • They're just coincidences. The only reason they seem important is because Adeleide is back in a place that has a lot of bad memories and fear, so she's paranoid and just taking much more notice of them as signs.
  • At the end, Jason is looking at Adelaide with a knowing look/distrust, as if he knows Adelaide was switched out as a kid at the same time she's remembering it. How would he know though? That is, assuming that's what that look is (and not just him being concerned with Adelaide being a little too good at killing).
    • He might have found out from Red when she kidnapped him.
    • What could Red have conceivably shown Jason that could have convinced him to believe the murdering psycho who sicced a mad dog of a child on him over his own mother?
    • If we assume that Red had tried to convince Jason of his mother's origins, he might not have believed her at first until after the fight between Adelaide and Red, where he put two and two together, considering that Adelaide does an Evil Cackle after it. Or he could just be suspicious of Adelaide and not actually know anything.
    • My theory is that, no, Red didn't tell him. But he heard all of Adelaide's noises after killing Red. And Adelaide was acting a little off when she found Jason. So he probably suspected it, but had no way on confirming it for sure.
  • Does fake Adelaide love her husband and kids, or is it all a facade?
    • It's left in the eye of the beholder.
  • What if the real person is evil and murderous? Does that mean the clone will be polite and harmless? Are the clones' personalities the exact opposite of their surface world counterparts?
    • From what I see, it doesn't seem like the personality of the original person determines the personality of their Tethered counterpart. The Tethered are only murderous because of their suffering underground combined with Red's Kill and Replace campaign. For example, the Tylers are a Jerkass family, yet their Tethered are just as murderous and Ax-Crazy as the Tethered Wilsons.
    • Well, for one thing, how many of the Tethereds are actually that violent? The Tethered!Wilsons take a very, very long time to get around to trying to kill their counterparts; Abraham trusses Gabe up in a sack and gives him a boat ride (presumably to dump him in the lake) rather than beat him to death with the baseball bat, which he otherwise only uses to incapacitate him. Pluto seems to want to play with Jason rather than hurt him. Even Umbrae spends longer running around aimlessly and grinning than actually killing people (and the one guy she did kill onscreen made a point of getting her to come to him). Adelaide, for her part, is probably trying harder to kill Red than Red is to kill her (although Adelaide is a Tethered). The Tylers are chopped up in short order, of course, and there are plenty of bodies lying around, but for every Tethered that's murdered somebody, there seem to be about five to ten more who are just...nonviolently protesting, more or less. The average Tethered might not be any more of a threat than the average human.
  • Did Adelaide not remember being a Tethered until her final confrontation with Red? Throughout the movie she seems genuinely confused about Red's motives and seems to have absolutely no idea who she is or what she wants - even when it's just the two of them alone. It's only in the car that the Flashback finally explains that she pulled a Twin Switch on Red. Did breaking the Psychic Link with her original restore all her previous memories or something? Obviously from a screenwriting standpoint, Adelaide isn't going to explain what happened before The Reveal, but it doesn't explain why her character seems in the dark about everything until then if she keeps it up even when there are no witnesses. She clearly knows what she's doing as a child, so did she just lose her memories as a Tethered as she took over Adelaide's identity? Red remembers what she did, but she never spells it out for Adelaide's family either (except for possibly Jason after she kidnaps him), so did she forget she was an original as well?
    • It seems that Adelaide did forget the switch she performed with Red as time went on. I presume that being raised as a normal human led her to believe that she was always normal and she just repressed the memory for a long time. Alternatively, she could've been lying to Gabe when she told him about the experience, and Red doesn't seem to want to spell it out because she's trying to draw out her revenge as long as possible to make her Tethered suffer.
    • Its worth noting the switch happened when she was a young girl, and she would have spent most of her life being told that she had been through a "traumatic experience", which would have the effect of making her doubt or suppress her memories of what actually happened. People usually forget most of their younger childhood by the time they've reached adulthood, and she would have been actively encouraged to "put it all behind her" by therapists and family.
  • Why can’t the other Tethered speak? If Red could learn to speak during her time on the surface, couldn’t the other tethered have picked up human speech from Adelaide during her time in the tunnels? Could Red only gain the capacity to learn human speech because of her meeting with Adelaide?
    • One possibility for Red's hoarse voice was that she hadn't used it for a long time while she was trapped underground because there was no point. She might have not known that the Tethered were capable of learning human speech (at least until she saw her own Tethered again), so she never bothered to teach them.
    • Further more, the other Tethered don't speak because apparently no one has ever actually taught them before Red came around. They're like adult babies, only able to make noises for attention and emotional expression.
  • Sorry, local perspective here. They were excited to take a vacation to Santa Cruz? If a beach bum was a city, Santa Cruz? Couldn't muster up the fight to keep the rights to "Surf City USA" from Huntington Beach, Santa Cruz? And that beach at the Boardwalk where discarded needles outnumber the grains of sand? That Santa Cruz?
    • That can be explained for several reasons. The family has been there before, so it may be an annual family vacation. Adelaide's parents have a home there, so it's the most convenient place for them to go. And Gabe being a dorky dad, it seems like he's just excited to go to the beach.
    • Often, a local's perspective of a city can be different from how people from other places see it. It's like how a lot of people like the idea of going to places like New York City, which a lot of people there say is overrated. Since we know the family has a vacation home there and don't actually live there, they probably see the place as a cool vacation spot by the beach with a boardwalk amusement park and don't really see the town for its flaws.
  • Why did "Adelaide" (the Tethered) even have to kidnap and imprison "Red" (the human) to secure her own freedom? What was stopping Adelaide from just running out and living free in the surface world without going through the trouble of dragging down her human counterpart into taking her place?
    • This is somewhat addressed when Red herself suggests that Tethered Adelaide could have just come with her as a long-lost twin sister that night instead of locking her away; that just wasn't what she chose to do. Tethered Adelaide was a child when she pulled the switch, and was perhaps operating under the mentality that, for her to be free, the real Adelaide needed to take her place.
  • Gabe protests to Zora that the Luniz song "I Got 5 on It" is not about drugs. But the song is clearly mentioning "weed" as in "Messin with that Indo' weed". Then what does Gabe think the song is supposed to be about?
    • Pretty sure Gabe was just trying to not let Jason know about it, not that he actually believes it's not about drugs.
  • Adelaide made tethered-human hybrid babies and they were human. Red made tethered-human hybrid babies and they were tethered. Is it entirely dependent on the father, or is there something sci-fi about the facility that turns anyone born down there into a tethered?
    • It's not that Zora and Jason are different from Umbrae and Pluto through their biology, just in how they were raised. They are exactly the same as each other, Tethered-human hybrids. They're just classified as human or Tethered based on their roles in the movie (or perhaps, who had to copy the other), but in actuality, it's only the environment they were raised in that makes them different. Although, if you're asking why Umbrae and Pluto had to copy Zora and Jason's actions through the Psychic Link, it seems as though it's purely determined by their locations. Red had to copy Adelaide's actions after the switch in the underground facility, even though she was the original person. So it seems as though it doesn't matter if the person is an original or a Tethered, whoever is underground has to copy the actions of their counterpart above regardless.
    • Why? What's so special about the facility itself? You make it sound magic. And given that that wasn't the desired result by the experiment, why would the facility induce that effect by accident and not be fixed?
    • It's implied at least that the originals and their Tethered share a soul; it's up to interpretation as to how exactly the connection works. Metaphorically, you could say one is more privileged on the surface and feels more "in control" of their lives, so their half of the shared soul is the dominant one, while the other lacks those luxuries in the Tethered facility and isn't in control of their lives due to circumstance, so they are subjected to copy the other, hence why Red had to copy Adelaide. It might explain why the connection works both ways. And you're assuming that the government didn't try to fix this effect, maybe they did, but they couldn't, hence why the Tethered project was canceled in the first place.
    • Given that people don't turn into tethered when they go spelunking, it's pretty obvious that it can't just be a normal consequence of the altitude, so obviously it's something specific about the facility. How could they not know how to fix it when no non-facility building causes the problem?
    • Just because the effect is exclusive to the facility itself doesn't mean that they know how to fix it. According to Red, they found a way to copy the body, but not the soul, so it seems there are limits to what they can do. Keep in mind that I am only hypothesizing, but I meant that the terrible conditions of the facility as an environment to live in are what makes one person tethered to the other; because they're more miserable in the facility than their counterparts are on the surface due to being less privileged. It would fit with the allegory that the Tethered represent, given that the whole movie is about classism. People might explore underground, but they don't become tethered because they haven't suffered long-term like their dopplegangers have; they're not trapped in there, and forced to live out the rest of their lives in squalor. It's may not be the facility itself, but rather the emotions of both the original and the Tethered that determine which one has to copy the other; who has suffered more has to copy who has suffered less.
    • So "It's allegorical magic" is your answer.
    • Pretty much, to be honest. I can't really give you a concrete answer on what makes the facility itself induce that effect, so this is the best I could come up with. While the Tethered are mainly artificial experiments, there could still be a supernatural element to them if Red's claims about them lacking souls is incorrect (which is possible since Adelaide is shown to care about her family).
  • So...what exactly was this film's Aesop? The commentary wasn't as clear as in Get Out. There was no practical reason given for creating The Tethered, or at least none that would have a parallel with real world social/political trends, so it feels like the film is saying something but incredibly garbled.
    • Well the clones are established as having no rhythm early on in the foreshadowing. And we are later told that they are humans without souls. They come from what are essentially caves. They have no culture of their own, only imitating human culture. So, humans without rhythm or soul who come from caves whose only culture comes from imitating others. They are the embodiment of a set of racial stereotypes. I think the Aesop is about making us think about whether we view the children's being half-clone as horrific or not and why. Do we just accept that they are good kids regardless of what crime their mother committed? Do we assume that ambiguous look the son gives the mother is conspiratorial out of some H.P. Lovecraft-style horror at miscegenation? Is the mother a monster, or was she just a child who made a horrible mistake, and has since grown into a decent person? In short, it's about making us think about what causes us to view others as The Other, and what allows us to view a person as part of our tribe and worthy of empathy and fairness. So it uses revelations to make us think about the very concept of The Other, and our emotional reactions to events based on which side we view as The Other and which side we view as US.
  • Where did the Tethered get all those scissors?
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