In Oblivion, the Tet orbits the earth, and communicates with the towers with imposed regular transmission cutoff as a simple consequence of the Tet's being out of reach of direct radio communication.


  • First, this structure is massive, masters space travel, advanced genomics, fusion, and very advanced technology (drone propulsion, energetic weapons...). We can safely assume that it masters radiocommunication subtleties.
  • Second, it seems totally capable and willing to build or send gigantic structure called Tower all over the earth.
  • And it spends a lot of energy fighting the remnants of humanity through these drones that must be constantly repaired by cloned that themselves must be constantly controlled for any "inefficience".

So at first: why aren't the Towers providing a real communication network? Or why aren't some thin satellite constellations orbiting the earth to ensure such a dramatical strategic facility? This is more important if you consider that drones can't move without direct connection with the Tet (as at the end of the film, the Tet's destruction instantly shuts down power to an army of drones)... This last fact raises so much more questions on other very questionable technological choices from such a powerful being.

Is there a way to explain this seemingly self-imposed lack of stable communication? Might it serve a purpose? Did I miss critical information that would help enlighten me?

  • 3
    This may sound like a cop-out explanation (and is not meant to discredit your questions as bad or off-topic), but honestly, your recent questions seem to suggest that you ran with waaay too much expectation for realism into what ended up to be a stylistically and atmospherically well-made, but narratively poor and often inconsistent movie. That being said, those transmissions from "Sally" are supposed to be creepy and "somehow off" to strengthen the feeling the things are not quite what they seem. If there's an actual in-universe reason to be constructed I'm not sure, but hope for the best
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 12:53
  • 2
    @NapoleonWilson I'm indeed in search for coherence (more than realism) in narrative art mediums which seems to lack some at first glance. But I'm often bewildered by the subtle answers that come up, as I often miss obvious elements, and they frequently reveal simple but profound aspect of the film interpretation (and in the end, its coherence). To people willing to dig further, these views raise the understanding of an imaginary world, but also its place in the Director's intent or how it imprints the audience to receive it's symbolic/emotional load. Many thanks for your comment!
    – vaab
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


I think the biggest thing you are missing here is each individual outpost is lead to believe they (Vika and Jack) are the last remaining people on Earth. Since they are the last remaining people, why would there need to be a large telecommunications network supporting the entire Earth? They'd only need enough to communicate with Jack and Vika. In doing so, they go "out of range" per line of sight. Besides, if Sally in the Tet cannot even get Jack and Vika spare parts, why should they be able to run a massive array of satellites for just one pair of people? It is all about appearances to those on the ground. It leads for better belief and understanding of the clones, and therefor allows for more control of them.

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