What part did the machines play in the demise of Smith at the end of Matrix Revolutions? Smith's defeat was due to lack of purpose since Neo was dead, but if that is the case then why did the machines "zap" Neo and destroy him and thereby Smith, if Smith was already facing deletion due to having no purpose?

  • 1
    Smith's defeat was due to getting his hand caught in the cookie jar. It's kinda like Raiders where Indiana could've just stayed in bed and let the Nazis open the Ark. The purpose of the second and third movies was to make money.
    – Mazura
    Dec 8, 2021 at 13:18
  • I still go with my interpretation that Neo destroyed him from within similarly as in first part.
    – Mithoron
    Dec 8, 2021 at 18:53
  • 5
    Does this answer your question? How did Neo destroy Smith in The Matrix Revolutions?
    – Mithoron
    Dec 8, 2021 at 18:57
  • 1
    They didn't zap him, it was Neo's own data impulse he emitted. This shattered all of Smith. This way Smith's attack backfired. While script can say it killed him, the movie itself suggests both that he died and that we'll see him again. Now there's gonna be next film, so...
    – Mithoron
    Dec 8, 2021 at 20:47
  • 1
    lack of a purpose/choosing deletion - doesn't matter. Nothing happens until you're returned to the source, willingly or otherwise. The agent on top of the truck in #2 would have taken the Keymaker back to the source to be deleted (or just thrown 'em off the truck). You can't just right click somebody and say 'delete' because who ever programed it didn't document shit, so they had to write these stupid 'agent' programs because that was easier and they got paid by the hour anyway.
    – Mazura
    Dec 8, 2021 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


Smith's defeat was due to lack of purpose since Neo was dead ... why did the machines "zap" Neo

I won't call it an unfair reading, but I don't think this can be taken as a given.

I don't have the energy for a well-cited answer this late, but my interpretation is that Smith, who has ~infected everyone in the Matrix, ends up helping Neo fulfill the function/purpose of The One (by disseminating the code Neo carries).

We don't know exactly what fate awaited Neo behind the other door at the end of Reloaded, but I think the dissemination of Neo's code was always going to kill him.

For what it's worth (this isn't quite how it appeared on screen and I'll snip some bits out since it's several pages) here's this section in the script:

... [in medias res, scene 764] ... 
Smith is about to press his frenzied assault, 
but he freezes, the image of Neo laying splayed, 
suddenly familiar.

Wait... I've seen this... This is it! 
This is the end!


Yes, you were laying right there, just like that... 
And I...


I stand here, right here and I'm supposed to
say something... I say...


Everything that has a beginning, has an end.

The familiar words suddenly clear Neo's mind. He looks up as Smith looks down.

Don't be afraid, Neo

Neo almost can't believe what he just heard as--


What? What did I just say?

In his confusion, he looks to Neo who now understands.

No, No. This isn't right. This can't be right!

One final time, Neo rises to his feet.

Get away from me!

What are you afraid of?

It's a trick!

No, it's what you want. It's why you're here.


You were right, Smith. You were always right.


It was inevitable.

Smith's eyes fire, a scream rises up from him 
and in a crackling, blinding flash of lightning--
He stabs his fist into Neo, who stands with his 
arms open, accepting the blow.


Neo's body hangs motionless, supported by the 
passage as we see as Neo would, an empty husk 
that is being filled, liquid light pouring into 
him from every connection. 
[... near the end of 768 EXT. MATRIX CITY STREET - NIGHT] 
The old Smith, at the center of the crater, fights 
to the last. His scream rails against the buildings 
as he bursts open and is consumed by light.

From high above we see the explosion of blinding light 
sweep through the entire city as--

A final surge rushes through Neo, his body convulsing 
against his metal coils and we see the light drain 
out of him and his body falls quiet and still.

Neo dies.

Many of the details this question hinges on are ambiguous here, but it's clear that Neo isn't dead until the same time or after Smith is.

  • Code dissemination or code re-integration with The Source? And the whole scene resembles reboot rather...
    – AcePL
    Dec 8, 2021 at 10:48
  • Flying too close to the sun was Smith's own damn fault, and the moral of the story. Also, the oracle thinks she'll see him again. And there's #4 coming up, so.... The lesson here is that you don't kill your billion dollar IP by saying Skynet was destroyed, "Michael Jackson turned forty" and they all lived happily ever after.
    – Mazura
    Dec 8, 2021 at 13:29
  • @AcePL I don't think you can distinguish. As the Architect says, "The function of the One is to now return to the Source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry..."
    – abathur
    Dec 8, 2021 at 20:58

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.