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‘Indiana Jones & The Plot Hole of Doom’

So there’s a fan theory floating around the past few years that Indiana Jones “doesn’t matter” to the story of my favorite movie of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s in the plot, but he doesn’t drive the plot. And if you’ve studied the storyline of the movie as closely as I have, you know that Indy pretty much fails, screws up and gets thwarted the entire movie, right up to the very last scene. The only thing he does manage to do, is survive.

But I’d like to take it a step further than that. I’d like to argue that Indiana Jones surviving this adventure, changed the course of world history. And sadly, not in a good way.

It started with a Big Bang Theory episode in which a character sees Raiders for the first time. Her reaction: “Indiana Jones doesn’t matter to the outcome of the film.” She explains that if he wasn’t in the movie, the Nazis still would have ended up opening the Ark and melting, exploding, and generally turning into beef jerky in God’s flame-broiler of wrath.

That’s not exactly true, as others have already pointed out. Indiana possesses the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra, which has markings on both sides, while the Nazis have a replica Headpiece with markings on only one side. Which means, “They’re digging in the wrong place.” Without him, they would never have found the Ark at all, and my childhood nightmares wouldn’t have been populated with screeching Angels of Death.

Sorry Toht, you have one too many kadams.

Then again, if Indiana hadn’t shown up at Marion’s bar in Nepal, the Nazis would have gotten the actual Headpiece, built the Staff of Ra to the correct length, and found the Ark anyway.

But rewind the story a little further, to the beginning, and imagine that Prof. Jones never leaves the university, or worse, ends up squished under that boulder in South America. There’s nothing and no one to stop the Nazis from torturing Marion until she hands over the Headpiece, they find the Ark, and Yahweh kicks Nazi ass.

That’s all, folks? Not even close.

If Indiana Jones is killed, injured, captured, or never goes on the hunt for the Ark, the following chain of events would happen:

The Nazis get the Staff of Ra and dig up the Ark. Maybe someone along the way is killed by an asp, but no biggie, they’re Nazi goons.

They transport the Ark on the flying wing to the secret island. (No tough guys get churned into hamburger meat in a propeller blade. No show-stopping truck chases happen. No U-boat rides hanging on the periscope by a bullwhip.)

Belloq puts on a tallis, chants a Haftorah, and opens the Ark.

This DJ is off the hook.

Faces melt, heads explode, and laser beams shoot into and out of eyeballs.

What’s left is a barren chamber with the Ark glowing and purring proudly.

End of story, right?

Not quite, kemosabe.

Without Indy and Marion left alive after the Ark slams shut, there are no Americans to take the Ark back to Washington to be studied by top men.

Instead, worker Nazis on the secret island would eventually figure out that Belloq & Co. are missing, come to collect the Ark…

And deliver it to Adolf Hitler.

Hitler gathers his top Nazi brass to show off his latest acquisition.

He opens it up like it’s National Socialist Christmas.

And boom. Adolf, meet Adonai. Not your biggest fan.

Thus ending World War II.

In 1936.

Long before the worst that’s to come.

Allow me to repeat.

If Indiana Jones doesn’t raid the Lost Ark, Hitler dies.

If Indiana gets killed at any point along the adventure, Hitler dies.

If Indiana gets a concussion and ends up in the hospital, Hitler dies.

But Indy didn’t do any of those things. He survived.

And the rest is history.

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