In the movie, there's one scene that seems very strange to me.
First, the point:
When the team gets in the first level, they find out that Fischer has a militarized subconscious. After they freak out, and argue about it, they also find out that they can't die, otherwise they'd get stuck in limbo.
So, when Eames says that he won't go further, Cobb states that, since the first level sedative will last a week they would be killed. They needed to go on to the next levels as fast as possible, so the combined multi-level kick would make them wake up.
Here's the point: The plan was the multi-level kick would wake them up before the sedative was off
Ariadne: ...is ten years! Who would wanna be stuck in a dream for ten years?
Yusuf: Depends on the dream.
Arthur: So, once we've made the plant, how do we go out? Hope you have something more elegant in mind than shooting me in the head?
Cobb: A kick.
Arthur: Are we going to feel a kick with this kind of sedation?
Yusuf: Well, that's the clever part. I customize the sedative to leave inner ear function unimpaired. That way, however deep the sleep, the sleeper still feels falling, or tipping.
Now, the question:
When they finish the job, they perform the kicks
- The van hits the water
- Arthur detonates the elevator
- Eames explodes the fortress
But they don't wake up. They are back in the drowned van. So, as far as I could understand, they still had to sit and wait for the first level's week to end.
(We see Fischer talking to his godfather)
Why didn't they wake up with the kicks, as it was planned? And how did they managed not to get killed by Fischer's projections after they got out of the Van?