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At the end of Oblivion we watch a flashback to when the astronauts are captured by the alien spaceship. Jack and Victoria are in the cockpit talking to mission control, and mission control says "you are an effective team".

Obviously, the alien spaceship was listening into the broadcast as that phrase is repeated throughout the film.

Did this statement by mission control seal their fate?

We don't know what would have happened had control not said the phrase, but I'm left wondering if the alien has always used native life as a tool or if this was a special case.

The alien was capable of destroying the moon, and using our own nuclear weapons against us. It seems strange that it would be dependant upon Jack and Victoria to complete it's objective.

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I took that quote in the flashback as simply a reveal that, all along, the Tet's version of mission control was just a spliced-up recording.

In other words, I think it was supposed to be an "oh my gosh!" moment for viewers, as it's kind of an odd phrase, so viewers would recognize it in the flashback as something the Tet had been saying in the present.

I agree that it seems odd that such a competent, well-equipped alien would need to use humans like it used Jack and Victoria. But without that premise, there wouldn't have been any story, I suppose...

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I really like this answer. I think you're right in that it was a reveal moment for the viewers. I think there was a point to the film about the Tet using our best people (the Astronauts) against us. I would've liked to have learned more about it's motives for that. –  Mathew Foscarini Aug 5 '13 at 11:22

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