Inspired by a couple of questions related to Smith and the backdoors, I started wondering how he was able to access the backdoors.

In The Matrix Reloaded we are first introduced to the backdoors when Seraph inserts a key into the teahouse door, and the door opens to the backdoor hallway (despite the fact that Neo had just walked through the door from a market). Seraph explains how the backdoors work:

The code is hidden in tumblers. One position opens a lock. Another position opens one of these doors.

Smith gains access to the backdoor hallway several times. Chronologically, the first time is from the video game Enter the Matrix in which he enters the hallway and ambushes Niobe (you can see the clip at 10:19 in this video). Later, in The Matrix Reloaded, he attempts to prevent Neo from entering the door that leads to the Architect.

In both cases multiple copies of Smith enter from separate doors, as if he has multiple keys (one for each separate backdoor), or one master key to enter any of the backdoors.

How did Smith acquire the key(s) to open the backdoors?


After watching the relevant sections of the films, the videos from Enter the Matrix, and researching on the Internet I can't find any explicit indication how Smith first gained access to the backdoors -- we simply see him access the hallway. I can think of three possible explanations for how he first gained access.

1. The Agents have access to the backdoors as part of their jobs.

As a former Agent, Smith may have always had access to the backdoors. The Agents are security programs so it may make sense to give them backdoor access. The fact that Agents can already move throughout the Matrix by possessing bluepills means the Agents would not typically need the backdoors, but the backdoors would provide them a way to move around the Matrix quickly without possessing bluepills unnecessarily (and be forced to erase the bluepills' memories of their possession). Also, access to the backdoors could help them hunt down exiles which have access to the backdoors.

If this is the case then Morpheus was unwittingly prophetic while training Neo on the nature of the Agents in The Matrix:

We've survived by hiding from them, by running from them. But they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys.

Morpheus was speaking metaphorically and did not know about the backdoors yet, but if this is the case then the Agents really are guarding all the doors and holding (almost) all the keys.

2. Smith acquired access with the help of the Merovingian.

The Merovingian was holding the Keymaker prisoner at the time Smith became an exile (following his destruction by Neo in The Matrix), and exiles require the help of the Trainman (who works for the Merovingian and controls the link between the Matrix and the Machine City) to re-enter the Matrix. Smith undoubtedly encountered the Merovingian, and the Merovingian would be willing to help Smith since the Merovingian and Smith have a common enemy: the Oracle. The Merovingian therefore gave Smith the key(s) to the backdoors. The fact that the Merovingian and his minions can access the backdoor hallway is proven by another clip from Enter the Matrix, where Cain and Abel steal the key for The One from the Keymaker (clip starts at 29:40 in this video).

3. Smith assimilated a program that had access to the backdoors.

An example of such a program is Seraph, although Smith did not did not gain access by assimilating Seraph since Smith already had access to the backdoors before assimilating Seraph (proven by the Enter the Matrix clip in the question -- Seraph opens a backdoor for Niobe, and then she encounters Smith in the hallway). We never see such a program but presumably Seraph is not the only program with keys that access the backdoors.

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  • Your answer contains the exactly arguments I had in mind while reading your question... The main point for me is the fact that he survived deletion, so he must have contacted the Merovingian.. +1 – LcSalazar Nov 13 '14 at 11:32
  • @LcSalazar Thank you (and thanks for your questions which inspired this one). I too think that #2 is the most likely case, although I also like #1 for the tie-in to Morpheus' quote. – Null Nov 13 '14 at 15:43

I think 1 and 3 make more sense than 2. The Merovingian exploits exiles for his own personal gain. I don't believe Smith ever ran across the Merovingian. If Smith had come in contact with Mero he would have copied him, trainman,Persephone,and all the exile minions. This is not plausible because of where the train goes (the machine world) that was Neos bargaining chip in M3 if Smith had the Mobil ave link he would have destroyed both worlds.The Merovingian as a trafficker would have eventually known about virus Smith and stayed far away. I think a combination of 1-3 will suffice. Now let's flip 3 around to fit my theory: What if the Architect reassimulated Smith after M1? Neo dies in the Matrix at the hands of Agent Smith but that was not Smith's purpose. Smith's purpose was to get access codes to the Zion mainframe. Remember that speech to Morpheus when he removed his ear piece? Stay with me now: At the end of M1 we see Neo jump into Smith,burst through his body shattering his program in to bits and pieces.How is he reassimulated by M2? Who authorized his reassimulation? The Oracle says most programs are invisible you would never know they were there so at best he should be shelless right? But here he is in M2 with his exact same shell (RSI are for blue and red pills) machines and programs have shells.When Neo makes his deal with Du Ex Machina he says the program Smith has grown beyond your control you cannot stop him. When was the Smith virus ever in the machines control? When he was Agent Smith of course, but when he became virus Smith how could he have been controlled? Unless he was reassimulated with some kind of measure of control. When Neo was about to fight Virus Smith he said: then your aware of it (what) our connection I don't fully understand how it happened perhaps some part of you imprinted on to me SOMETHING OVER WRITTEN OR COPIED if he had reassembled his on data don't you think he would know exactly how it happened? I'll end by saying this he had backstage passes to those back doors by no other than the creator and supervisor of the Matrix the Architect he is the only one who could have inserted Smith data back into the Matrix intact after the reload.

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  • The Merovingian and Smith have the Oracle as a common enemy, so the Merovingian does stand to gain by helping Smith. It wouldn't do Smith any good to assimilate the Merovingian and his minions because he wouldn't have the backdoor keys, and the Merovingian could escape through the backdoors anyway. – Null Jun 17 '15 at 22:15
  • This looks like a reply to the other answer, rather than an answer itself. Did you mean to post it as a comment? – Nerrolken Jun 17 '15 at 22:31

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