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After Neo takes the red pill, he is sitting on a seat and there is a cracked mirror next to him which starts changing. He touches it and a silver goo starts covering his body. What is the significance of the goo? Where did it come from?

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3 Answers 3

A similar question (about the liquid mirror) has been asked at the Sci Fi Stack Exchange. The following, although complete speculation, is from the highest rated answer:

On one level, the liquid mirror is just a manifestation of the dissolution of the fake reality of the Matrix. It evokes a dreamlike quality in keeping with Morpheus' lines during the scene, and also provides an element of growing tension that leads up to the shock of waking up.

This, however, doesn't explain why it's specifically a mirror — a melting wall would do just as well for that. On another level, though, a mirror is a metaphor for both perception and for a boundary. (Note the focus on Morpheus' mirror shades, and on Neo's reflection in them, in the previous scene.)

Before taking the pill, Neo's perception of himself and his surroundings was flawed, like the broken mirror — he perceived the illusion of the Matrix as real. The healing of the mirror is the first step in his beginning to perceive the Matrix for what it really is.

By touching the surface of the mirror, Neo takes a step across the boundary between the Matrix and the real world (there's almost certainly an allusion to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass here, just as the previous scene referenced Alice in Wonderland), a step whose irreversibility is shown by the mirror swallowing up Neo completely.

Finally, there is a school of thought on several online forums which argues the entire scene is a little out of place with the movie and was only included as a reference to Alice in Wonderland:

You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

The second Alice book was called Through the Looking Glass. This is exactly what happens to Neo. He literally goes through the looking glass, i.e. mirror, as it engulfs him completely as begins his journey to the real world.

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4  
From "Through the Looking Glass": And certainly the glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist. Source –  celtschk Mar 31 at 20:48
    
@celtschk: What a beautiful quotation. Thank you for that, it genuinely made me smile :) –  Andrew Martin Mar 31 at 20:49
    
@AndrewMartin This answer makes me wonder if Matrix was actually inspired from Alice in Wonderland. –  Faizan Rabbani Dec 19 at 9:25

In my opinion (and this is only my opinion and not backed by facts or director's commentary), the "goo" is the mirror. It's just the mirror melting, and when he touches it, the "goo" begins to cover his body. I think this was done to reflect a dream-like-yet-wide-awake state, similar to an acid trip. If you've ever done any type of psychadelia, perceptions like this are common. This type of perception is even quite prevalent in cartoons from the 60's and early 70's, where one form morphs into another, into another, into another. It was just a way to show the "real" world fading away into the world of the Matrix, and the morphing from one to another. Why do you think Morpheus is called Morpheus? ;o)

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The whole purpose of making Neo in the Matrix get coated in the silver goo is to trace the location of his real body.

Morpheus: The pill you took is part of a trace program. It's designed to disrupt your input/output carrier signal so we can pinpoint your location.

Mirror is how humans see their real self, for us a mirror speaks the truth. Psychologically, it confirms a lot about our existence, appearance etc. When a mirror goes psycho on you, it perhaps helps the brain go nuts to generate the required signals which will be loud enough to trace the actual body of Neo.

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