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If one dies in limbo, one would wake up in reality. But after Ariadne and Fischer jumped off the building and left Cobb behind, they woke up in the previous level, not in reality. Why?

There's a few possible answers: 

(1) It's not actually limbo, but a 4th level of the dream as dreamed by Cobb and perceived as limbo (although this is highly unlikely if Fischer is dead in the 3rd level, and therefore wouldn't be anywhere but Limbo ... though he might just be unconscious).

(2) Neither Fischer nor Adriane actually die in limbo: they both are given a kick.  It's the sensation of falling from a great height that causes them to wake up in the 3rd level, not the sudden stop at the end.

(3) If you die in limbo you don't immediately wake up: you return to the level you 'died' on (and in Adriane's case, not being dead in level 3, it's the kick of 'dying' or 'falling' on the lowest possible level that pushes her up only one level).  (For this to be the case, then both Cobb and Saito would have returned to the first level of the dream before waking up, although they could probably wake in their entirety because at that point the sedative is no longer in effect).

(4) You only jump up one level from Limbo. Limbo is deep down, so Cobb and Mal did not returned to reality after the train crash, but rather they woke up in another dream level. Mal was right!


Anon_189 asked the question 2010-08-05 10:54:23 UTC view / hide
Anon_278 commented 2010-08-05 11:50:27 UTC
They were falling so they were 'kicked' back to the third level.
Anon_279 commented 2010-08-05 12:08:36 UTC
They didn't go into limbo. Fischer didn't die, they went into Cobb's dream, which he pictured as the place where him and Mal created previously when they were in limbo. In the third dream, right after Fischer was shot, they sedated themselves to find Fischer in the 4th level. The only way for them to enter limbo is if they were to die. But neither Ariadne and Fischer died. Therefor, they weren't in limbo.

And another point comes to mind is when you see the next scene where Cobb finds Saito. Cobb didn't wake up from the first kick from the minivan hitting the water, he died. Leading to limbo.
Anon_279 commented 2010-08-05 12:08:44 UTC
They didn't go into limbo. Fischer didn't die, they went into Cobb's dream, which he pictured as the place where him and Mal created previously when they were in limbo. In the third dream, right after Fischer was shot, they sedated themselves to find Fischer in the 4th level. The only way for them to enter limbo is if they were to die. But neither Ariadne and Fischer died. Therefor, they weren't in limbo.

And another point comes to mind is when you see the next scene where Cobb finds Saito. Cobb didn't wake up from the first kick from the minivan hitting the water, he died. Leading to limbo.
Elise Flanders provided an answer 2010-08-06 02:40:52 UTC view / hide
Mark Roder improved the answer 2011-01-11 09:26:30 UTC view / hide
Anon_241 improved the question 2011-03-04 22:20:09 UTC view / hide
pleasestopthisnow improved the answer 2011-03-04 22:20:26 UTC view / hide
Devon improved the question 2011-04-05 08:43:49 UTC view / hide
Devon improved the answer 2011-04-05 08:43:52 UTC view / hide

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