Q & A: End sequence
Q13.1) How was Fischer unable to recognize the team from his dream(s)?
Answer: It is difficult even for the well-trained to recognize anyone in dreams within dreams. The best giveaway would be the “van level”, which was only one-layer deep; Fischer could have at least had some impression of that dream. Let’s take a look at whoever who was in that dream and see if Fischer would have recognized anyone when he woke up at the airplane.
Since remembering the beginning of the dream was hard, Fischer would probably not have any recollection of the situation before his interrogation i.e. the taxi, shootings etc. He might have had glimpses of some members of the team but the time was too short for Fischer to form any significant impression of them. Fischer was also covered with a hood for most of the time except during the interrogation.
Cobb – he wore a mask when interrogating Fischer so the latter could not have recognized him. Moreover, he was not in the taxi when Fischer was kidnapped.
Arthur – he wore a mask when interrogating Fischer, and even though he was driving the taxi, it was still highly unlikely that Fischer recognized him.
Yusuf – he was driving the van, and was out of Fischer’s sight for almost the whole time.
Eames – he may be in the taxi, but Eames did not show himself to Fischer during the interrogation since he was the one who impersonated Browning.
Ariadne – she was with Cobb, and was not in the taxi. She also stayed hidden from Fischer during the interrogation.
Saito – he was in the taxi and pointed a gun at Fischer. Fischer might remember him because after all, he was his fiercest business competitor. But then again, Fischer would have thought that was expected since it was plausible that his “enemy” could have coordinated the kidnapping.
**Don’t you think it was strange that Fischer did not appear to be bothered by Saito’s presence in the airplane, and that he thought something might be fishy? Possible question mark here.
Q13.2) Why was it so difficult to plant an idea in Fisher's mind when it seemed so easy to do so for Mal?
Answer: Fischer was trained in defending his subconscious. Mal was not.
Q13.3) Was it a dream or reality at the end?
Answer: See Section 4.