My previous question was closed as duplicate but it is not, this question asks about how did Neil get through the shut tunnel, which is different to how did Neil unlock the gate. Please don't close.

At the first part of the 10min attack, Neil was trying to warn the protagonist and Ives driving the Hummer behind them, after they went in, they trip the wire which detonated the bomb that shut the tunnel's entrance.

At the end of the film, Neil again goes back to unlock the gate, presumably through the same tunnel entrance, because we saw him walking backwards to the the tunnel in a another scene.

The cave has only two entrances, the tunnel that got shut by the bomb and the top oopening that the Protagonist and Ives got pulled out from, you can see the map of the cave in Ives’ briefing before the 10min attack.

Also you could see how bad the entrance is blocked in the movie, lots of rocks and slabs stacked.

How did Neil manage to get through the tunnel entrance second time where he decided not to even try the first time?

You can also see the issue for reversed Neil, the protagonist and Ives go in the tunnel, bomb exploded, tunnel entrance shut, Neil is inside dead, he wakes up and ran backwards to a shut entrance.

  • My guess would be that inverted Neil digs out the buried entrance (partially at least and perhaps with some help) and enters the tunnel. From our non inverted perspective it would look like Neil coming out of the tunnel and then perhaps placing some stones to cover the entrance some more. But with these "pissing against the wind" interactions, causality breaks down and it is unclear how exactly would things behave.
    – Anxhr
    Feb 8, 2021 at 10:52
  • @Anxhr: I think it's better that we "stop trying to understand things and just feel them".
    – Rahul
    Feb 9, 2021 at 8:07
  • He thought of going to the upper opening to pull them up, but if digging out the rocks is possible, why did he decided to go up?
    – Mocas
    Feb 10, 2021 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


The most simple explanation is that Neil inverted himself using the local turnstile before waiting for the tunnel to 'un' collapse. Once he had gone back far enough he would have been able to use his knowledge of the battlefield to covertly position himself in such manner that would allow him to simply close the door on The Protagonist at the right moment (appearing to open it from our perspective). Remember, at this point there are at least 3 versions of Neil running around helping TP on this day, 2 at Stalsk - 12 and 1 at the Opera House (with possibly one more version if the viewer subscribes to the 'Maximilien' character read). Given Neil's foreknowledge of all that has transpired, it seems plausible within the films own internal logic that he would have been able to use all of this information to position himself perfectly for this final go - around.

  • 1
    Can you please clarify: inverted Neil has just been unshot, let Ives and TP through the door and now he runs backwards (as Ives sees him). Where does he run to (from)? The local turnstile?
    – Greendrake
    Nov 8, 2021 at 13:53
  • Yes Greedrake, from the local Turnstile in Stalsk 12 (the machine Sators men are using) as it would only require Neil to remain inverted for a few minutes in order to get back to the moment of his death. Nov 13, 2021 at 8:36

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