Near the end of Primer, Abe and Aaron are at an airport, discussing and disagreeing on what actions to take. What's the nature of this discussion? I don't understand it at all.

Aaron: You're staying? Why? Why? Let's see, why would Abe stay? What possible reason could there be to be here? I guess that it just won't go back far enough, will it?

This is said sarcastically, as if Aaron already knows why Abe will stay. His "I guess that it just won't go back far enough, will it?" seems to refer to the time machine. I assume he means that Abe wants to fix everything by going back to one of the failsafe boxes that "go back far enough"?

Aaron: Tell you what, why don't you take Kara and Lauren and put them in the box... and then you and Aaron can each keep a set and you can stop feeding off it.
Abe: Don't come back.
Aaron: You can each keep a set and a hemisphere.

Does Aaron think that Abe is in love with Aaron's wife Kara? Or does he just mean that Abe envies Aaron's home life?

Abe: There hasn't been a reason to show you what I'm capable of... but I'm telling this you now. Go out there.

What is Abe capable of? Aaron has proven himself to be capable of much more than Abe throughout the film, not the least

Abe: Do whatever the hell you want. There's no way in the world I can stop you. But don't come back here... and don't come near them. Any of them.

Don't come near who? I first assumed he meant the original Abe and Aaron, since Abe plans to stop them from discovering time travel. But based on the dialogue above, it could also be Kara and Lauren, Aaron's wife and kids. Does Abe simply want to protect them from him? This might be suggested by Abe's reaction to Aaron's heroism at the party; Abe does not approve of Aaron sticking his neck out like that because he has a family.

1 Answer 1


I guess that it just won't go back far enough, will it?

[...] why don't you take Kara and Lauren [...]

Aaron bitterly accuses Abe of coveting his family--I would say that you are correct in that Abe both loves Kara, and envies Aaron's home life. Remember that Abe lives alone in an apartment and does not have a family. I believe that Aaron is taunting Abe by saying that no box can take Abe far back enough, to a time before Kara was Aaron's wife.

You can each keep a set in a hemisphere.

Aaron mockingly suggests that Abe take Kara and Lauren with him in a box, then live with them in one half of the world, while drugged Aaron can keep his "set" in another half. (Of course, Abe would then have to prevent his previous self from taking Kara and Lauren.)

[...] show you what I'm capable of [...]

This is a threat--Abe is saying that you haven't yet seen the worst that I can do. If you come back, I won't just try to get into a failsafe, I will outright kill you.

[...] don't come near them. Any of them.

I would say yes, Abe meant Kara and Lauren as well. Abe does want to protect them, and he does not want Aaron to interfere in any way. Abe has already seen the destructive results that Aaron's interference have brought about--not only has Aaron risked his life in stopping the gunman, he has drugged an earlier self and stuffed him in the attic. Imagine if that Aaron had freed himself on Tuesday night and stumbled down to where Abe, Aaron, and Kara were talking, gathering laundry, drinking beer, and eating cake.

Abe wants the Aaron that he has this last conversation with to completely disappear from Kara and Lauren's lives.

  • Thanks for the answer. That makes sense. But Abe isn't completely alone, though? He has a girlfriend and everything.
    – tobiasvl
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:03
  • I suppose not completely alone; however, I would say that Rachel is not quite Abe's girlfriend--she definitely likes him, but I believe that he does not feel the same way about her that she feel about him.
    – Flash
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:32
  • Sorry, meant to line-break--there is a scene near the beginning of the film where Rachel is avidly talking to Abe and showing him something (probably some pictures), and he tersely says "Yep." without looking at her. Then later, he callously says to Aaron "You can't go risking your life [...] for someone like Rachel. She practically begs for this to happen to her."
    – Flash
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:37
  • Very astute observations, thanks.
    – tobiasvl
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:38
  • Thanks, glad to have helped! Great and important questions. I love the film and have spent a lot of time thinking about and analyzing it.
    – Flash
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:50

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