Photo credits: Warner Bros Pictures

A Migraine Pill For TENET — Plot Explained

Simplified explanation of the plot and concepts (contains spoilers)

Shalitha Suranga
6 min readSep 24, 2020

Maybe you already watched TENET or maybe not. But if you haven’t watched it yet better to read this story after watching it because I am going to reveal very important points of this masterpiece’s plot. It is okay to get confused with the first watch of the movie because the main concept of TENET doesn’t make a clear sense mostly because it breaks several existing rules of natural physics.

First of all, Here are some important buzzwords you heard during the showtime with further explanation.

Inversion is not time travel

We know that usual Sci-Fi time travel is like jumping to a desired moment in the past or future using some kind of magic (normally using a time-machine). Indeed, we are able to understand that the time travel concept is practically impossible. Whereas, the inversion concept is a bit more natural than the time travel concept because there is no sudden jumping between moments breaking a bunch of physics rules. Moreover, speed of the time is not varying in the inversion theory but the direction is swapped.

Inverted objects and Turnstiles

Once a particular element is inverted using a machine called Turnstile, the arrow of time goes backwards for the element. Therefore, if the element is a person he/she can see the whole past events that are happening backwards. If an un-inverted person sees an inverted element he/she can see the particular element goes backwards vice versa. So a Turnstile can reverse entropy of an object and also it will be able to bring back entropy to the normal flow. Also if a person is inverted he/she can feel time goes at usual speed but inverted. If an event will occur in future-past (let’s say in -5 days) then there is a need to wait exactly 5 days to see the event (backwards as usual). I think that’s why they travel using big ships where they can stay a longer time without interacting with unwanted past events.

If you understand what will happen to an inverted person and how outside events are occurring, you will understand the whole movie.



Shalitha Suranga

Programmer | Author of Neutralinojs | Technical Writer