Q & A: "Van level"
Q8.1) Why was this Yusuf’s dream and not Fischer’s?
Answer: Yusuf was the host of this dream while Fischer was the subject (remember the subject was usually not the dreamer). Only Yusuf was not plugged to the dream machine at this level because he was required to drive the van and perform the “kick” by crashing the van onto the barrier atop a bridge. The rest of the team (including Fischer) advanced into the “hotel level”.
Q8.2) Why was it raining?
Answer: Two plausible reasons. One, the team wanted Fischer to quickly hail a cab to get out of the rain after he left his office. Two, Yusuf’s bladder could be (intentionally or coincidentally) full and that he went to empty it.
Q8.3) Why was the team attacked by gunmen?
Answer: These gunmen were trying to rescue Fischer from trouble. Fischer was trained in defending his subconscious from extraction. The gunmen were Fischer’s subconscious projections of “antibodies” that would attack the “virus” that was Cobb’s team.
Q8.4) Why did a freight train suddenly appear in the middle of the road?
Answer: The freight train was Cobb’s subconscious projection that he could not control. It was the same train that ran over Cobb and Mal when they were together in a dream a couple of years ago.
Q8.5) Why did Cobb prevent Eames from killing Saito (after he was shot by a gunman) to put him out of his misery?
Answer: Refer to Section 2 (understanding limbo).
Q8.6) What was the team’s plan for “van level”?
Answer: The plan was to kidnap Fischer and force him to reveal the secret code to a safe that contained his late father’s second will. In the film, Fischer initially refused to reveal the code to Cobb and Arthur because he didn’t know it and he wasn’t aware there was a second will. Eames then impersonated Browning and pretended to be tortured in another room, resulting in Fischer becoming very concerned. The latter finally blurted a random number – 528491. This number would be used by the team in the “hotel level”.
After the kidnapping and torture episode, the team brought Fischer back to the van together with Browning/Eames. Yusuf connected all of them to the dream machine so that they could continue the mission at the “hotel level” while he drove the van to a designated bridge where he could crash onto the barriers to perform the “kick” when the time came.
Q8.7) What approach did the team use to start planting inception on Fischer?
Answer: Browning/Eames told Fischer that his late father wrote a second will dissolving the empire and that he could use it if he wished. Fischer wondered why his father would want him to dissolve his empire. Browning/Eames suggested that maybe he wanted Fischer to build his own empire and that he loved Fischer. However, Fischer replied that his father did not love him because his last words were that he was disappointed. (taken from IMDB’s synopsis).
Q8.8) Why did Yusuf put a headphone on Arthur?
Answer: Arthur was the host of the “hotel level”, so putting a headphone on him would warn him that an impending “kick” was coming when the Edith Piaf song was played. This allowed him some time to make sure that the team at the “snow level” woke up at the “hotel level” in time to ride the “kick” back to the “van level”.
Q8.9) What went wrong at the “van level”?
Answer: A couple of things. One, Saito was shot by gunmen (Cobb blamed Arthur for not doing a thorough research on Fischer’s subconscious history). The presence of gunmen also meant that the team had to rush to complete the mission, putting them at a great risk because if they were killed (and that was a likely possibility), they would go into limbo. Two, the planned “kick” in which the van crashing into the barrier would cause the team to wake up did not come to fruition. Instead, they had to rely on the unplanned second “kick”, that of the van crashing into the water, to wake up.
Q8.10) When Arthur wanted to save Cobb after the van hit the water, Ariadne gestured to Arthur not to save him. Why?
Answer: At the “building level”, before Ariadne jumped to her death to ride the “kicks” back to the “van level”, Cobb told her that he needed to find and save Saito from limbo because Saito would have died of his wounds already. In order to find Saito in limbo, Cobb had to die at the “van level” to get into limbo. Thus, Ariadne gestured to Arthur to let Cobb drown so that the latter could fulfill his task of saving Saito.
Q8.11) After Ariadne, Arthur, Fischer, Browning/Eames, and Yusuf, made it ashore, there weren’t any more gunmen chasing after them. Why?
Answer: By that time, Fischer was alone with Browning/Eames, and away from the rest of the team. They were also both free from captivity. So it was likely that Fischer’s subconscious did not trigger any defense mechanism since he felt he was no longer under any threat.