Quentin Tarantino’s movies are the perfect mix of mindless violence and nerdy references, making them the perfect movies for film nerds. And as a result, these movies have had the hell analysed out of them. See, there’s one theory on the internet that all of Tarantino’s movies take place in one universe, due to all sorts of little easter egg connections. For example, Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs is brothers with Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, the sheriff in Kill Bill is the same one in Death Proof, and the same fictional “red apple” cigarettes appear in almost every movie. Concluding, then, that they are all one big universe, how is that universe different from our own? The answer is Inglorious Basterds, wherein the defining event of the last hundred years, i.e, the death of Hitler, is completely different. In Tarantino’s alternate timeline, everyone is more violent because they all grew up learning that the greatest evil of the 20th century was blown up by a bunch of vigilantes. That one moment vastly changed the entire culture of the world for the next fifty years. That one little event creates a world where everyone kills each other, where revenge is always the most important goal, and where Uma Thurman is allowed to carry a samurai sword on a international flight. But wait, this whole alternate timeline destiny changing thing seems like the last thing Tarantino would ever actually consider when making his movies, right? Surely, I’m just reading into things that aren’t there. Right?
Wrong! (And don’t call me Shirley) Because anyone who’s seen Pulp Fiction should know that it’s all about tiny decisions having huge consequences. Bruce Willis’s french girlfriend forgets his watch, and it results in Vincent Vega being killed, Marsellus Wallace getting raped, and three rapist being brutally murdered. One tiny decision by one character creates all these huge changes to the world. Which leads me the next popular theory on the internet; that Pulp Fiction is actually two separate timelines. See, in the beginning of the movie, we see Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer at the diner, and she says “Any one of you pricks fucking move and I’ll execute every mother fucking last one of you”. When we see the same thing at the end of the movie, she says “I’ll execute every last one of you mother fuckers”. Assuming this is intentional, it’s clear that the scenes take place in different realities. One where the guy coming out of the bedroom and shooting at Jules and Vincent missed, and one where he killed them. In the one where he killed them, Amanda Plummer doesn’t see Jules in the diner and therefore reacts differently, giving a different line.
Now, I didn’t come up with any of that, these theories have been all over the internet for years. You can totally look them up. But, here’s where I started to connect the dots. Okay, so assuming both those theories are true, we’ve seen the timeline change twice in the Tarantino universe. Once when Hitler was killed in the movie theatre, and once when Jules and Vincent survived the round of bullets. That means this universe has seen two separate temporal anomalies. If that’s true, then they must be connected somehow. So I thought about it. Hitler being killed in the movie theatre wasn’t supposed to happen. It can’t have been. Some temporal event cause the timeline to split at that point, and the alternate universe it created is clearly the much darker one. So what if, after fifty years, someone, maybe god, or some higher power, realized that this timeline was never meant to happen. And so whatever powers that be selected Jules to set things right. They altered the timeline a separate time, saving a man who should have died, in order for him to be used to bring the world back to the way it should be.
Think about the ending to every Tarantino movie: they all end with characters choosing vengeance over peace, and destroying themselves in the end. In Reservoir Dogs, all the characters shoot each other because of mistrust, and then Harvey Keitel chooses to kill Tim Roth and then be gunned down by cops rather than have a chance at survival. In Django Unchained, King Shultz allows himself to be killed and Django to be captured just so he can get revenge on Leonardo DiCaprio. In Death Proof those girls leave their vulnerable cheerleader friend with hillbilly rapists so they can go kill Kurt Russell. Everyone chooses the path most bloody, and that’s the same way Pulp Fiction should have ended. With everyone shooting each other. But it doesn’t. After seeing two and a half hours of people killing each other, we end the movie with a character finally choosing peace over revenge. It’s the only time in any Tarantino movie where we get a mildly hopeful ending. And why does it happen? Because of Jules. The very first thing he does after being saved from death is to use hopeful action to turn around what would otherwise have been a violent shootout. He sets Tim Roth’s character on the path to redemption.
At the end of the movie Jules believes that his life has been saved for a purpose, and I agree. The timeline was split in Inglorious Basterds, and Jules has been chosen to turn the timeline around. He will walk the earth, doing the same thing he did for Tim Roth. We will choose peace over revenge, and bit by bit convince the rest of the world to do the same, eventually setting right the darkest timeline. And that’s why whatever heavenly powers that be saved him from death, so that his life could be put towards the greater good. It’s just like Donnie Darko being lured out of his house to avoid the plane turbine. If you watch the director’s cut of that movie, they make it obvious that the bunny Frank is like an angel, sent back in time by god to save Donnie’s life so that he could prevent the apocalypse. It’s the same thing for Jules in Pulp Fiction. Quentin Tarantino’s assembled works are the greatest time travel story ever told.