Matrix Comics: Deja Vu (No. 4 from Vol. 1, Series 1)

Spoiler warning!

To read the original comic, click here.

This comic reveals that one kinds of premonition isn't actually premonition: it is the memory of something already happening in the past, repeating itself in the Matrix (deja vu). We saw a smaller-scale example of this in M1, when Neo sees the black cat walk by twice. They said deja vu is a glitch that happens when the machines "change something" in the Matrix. What is the Matrix? Remember, it is a neural network of all the people plugged into it. People themselves are the memory and processing units for the Matrix. So, when something is changed, people themselves are altered (or at least their memories). The wife in this story may have a memory that is difficult to alter or completely erase, and perhaps what the machines "changed" in order to prevent her from having recurring dreams about machines was some kind of brain surgery?

I do not believe this is all that explains Neo's vision of the future. Neo is not a bluepill trapped in the Matrix subject to deja vu about events that will happen in the Matrix. He is given very specific vision about his future path in the real world by the Oracle (see Oracle: Baking Cookies).

Plot Summary

The main character begins by describing the negative traits of his fragile wife, who is hyper-sensitive to criticism and vulnerable to salesman, and for whom linen sheets "scratch". He says she wouldn't be able to handle the real world [little does he know what the "real world" really is!]. She has nightmares, and a book she read about them helped her to understand the fact that while most people have rigid boundaries, hers are "permeable". On the good side, she is very empathetic and is always "all there" when he's making love to her, except this night, when she had an impression of violent death through sudden impact.

He spends the next day the same as any other day - as a stockbroker who speaks all day to "disembodied voices" who are only concerned with numbers - people he will never meet. It doesn't seem "real" to him. That same day, his wife was jogging and saw a robin die as it fell to the ground, feeling its life depart as she held it. She buried it with a stick "like a child". That evening, the wife and husband talked about the fact that this was the premonition she had, among other intuitions she has had. He figures, "Open boundaries... open to time itself. It made a strange kind of sense."

Trying to lighten things up, he tells her about a silly rumor he heard about Pfitzer, a pharmaceutical company, and how they are going to release a new pill that is a combination aphrodisiac and just-before contraceptive. His wife tells him this rumor is true, and that it will be a giant success - it is one of her premonitions. She explains she feels deja vu all the time, including this moment.

The next day at work, he bets everything on the stock, maxing out credit cards, IRAs, their 401K, and borrowing $30,000 from his brother at five percent interest per month. Two weeks later after nights of losing sleep, the stock spikes, and they are now filthy rich. They have a wonderful night together, celebrating their new fortune and discussing everything from power to responsibility.

That night, she has another nightmare, the kind she has trouble shaking off: the one about the machines (picture shows her waking up briefly in her pod in the real world). He always has to calm her down and "bring her back to reality".

Later that week, she has another premonition, yelling at everyone in a store to run away from the front window because a drunk driver would come crashing through the window. They run away, and she turns out to be right again. She insists on giving an interview on television about her premonitions, and she reveals everything, including (to her husband's discomfort) how she became rich. Her openness all made sense, however, when she predicted that San Francisco would have a major earthquake at 10pm, advising people to stock up on bottled water, medical supplies and food, and step outside to avoid falling glass.

She is right again, and now she feels like the world is her responsibility. The husband is annoyed at people calling them constantly, especially one guy to whom he finally says, "What'd I tell ya pal! Good BYE!" and finally unplugs the telephone cord from the jack. Then the phone rings again - they check the phone cord, and it's plugged in again. He answers, and it's the same guy asking the same question in the same way. He hangs up, and they decide to go for a walk.

They both feel a sense of uncovering some kind of hidden layer beneath the real world - something that has to do with the machine nightmares. They also notice passing by the same house twice along their walk. She has another nightmare about machines, and he tells her to describe where "they" are: she says a bunch of different machines were leaving, acting as if they had just completed some task. Then they both realize that they don't remember walking home or getting into bed - there's a gap in their memories.

They finally give up after life delivers them difficulties: a medically difficult pregnancies, paying lawyers his entire fortune to defend himself against SEC investigations into insider trading or conspiracy, a crazy woman at work suing him for harassment after a "weird flirting campaign", and having to move because of a ladybug infestation. He thinks, "So much coming at us... a query into the nature of reality seems less important than coping with it."

The comic concludes with the husband saying his wife still has nightmares, but no "repeat" nightmares about machines [whatever the machines did to her that night must have "fixed" her deja vu]. He thinks that her gift gave them so much possibility at first, and it's like someone decided they had too much power and freedom and decided to put them back in some kind of "cage".

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