“I’m Mr. Robot.”
Even though Elliot is pretty isolated from the rest of society, he still has a support system that’s been behind him since the beginning. At times, he may not know that that support system exists, but we see that he does have people in his life who care about him, who want what’s best for him. As different as their methods might be, it’s clear that Darlene and Angela will do what they can to help Elliot through his struggles, and it’s uplifting to watch the two forming a strong bond and working together as a result. As Darlene tells Angela: “I should be more open with you. You’re family.”
And that’s an idea that this hour seems to revolve around. In a world run by technology and corporations and depersonalization, the connections we share with other people are invaluable. Whether you’re father and son seeing Pulp Fiction together or lovers having breakfast in bed or husband and wife looking at their newborn baby–okay, it’s a bit different with Joanna and Tyrell–the care you have for each other is what helps you push on in the corrupt world. Angela has a nice encapsulation of this idea when she’s offered a job at Evil Corp by Terry Colby; Colby goes on about how “everyone’s destroying the planet”, and then he asks whether she’s “really going to start taking all of this so personally”. Her response: “Maybe I will. Maybe someone has to.” Detachment is easy when everyone around you is doing it, but sometimes you have to take an extra step and try to care.
In just a short flashback at the beginning, we get a good sense of the care Mr. Robot–or rather, Edward Alderson–had for Elliot, and later on, Elliot’s projection of his father asserts: “They are not going to break us apart again…I will never leave you!” At the same time, though, we also see all the negative influences his father had on him, and it creates an understandable web of connections between past relationships and present mindsets. Rami Malek continues to do a phenomenal job in his role, Elliot’s normally restrained demeanor breaking down often recently as he learns more about his state of mind. The show’s been clear from the beginning that it isn’t concerned with creating a whole “Gotcha!” twist; it’s more concerned with how Elliot responds to the realization about the Mr. Robot projection. This is character, not plot twist, and it’s done to perfection here.
In the end, it comes down to the characters trying to figure out what the “right thing to do” is. Darlene emphasizes that the “reasons…are real”, that Elliot himself was the one who spearheaded all of this to begin with. It may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what should be done moving forward, but what’s important is that you have people working together to figure it out. Sometimes the smallest idea from within can potentially change the world.
– “I’m pretty fuckin’ far from okay.” Love the Pulp Fiction reference here. Also love the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” kicking in at the end (that’s from Fight Club, if you didn’t know already).
– “I envy you. I wish I could talk to my mom again, even if she isn’t real.” Fantastic moment between Angela and Elliot, and another example of the themes I mentioned above.
– “You’re a nobody. You’re a middle aged man doing what my retarded nephew could do.” First off, this customer is an asshole. Second of all, that sounds very similar to what Tyrell was talking about with the waiter in an earlier episode.
-Speaking of Tyrell, I am very interested to see where his pairing with Elliot goes next. He’s such a chilling character to watch, and his power-hungry personality is now attempting to “find that moment” that Phillip mentioned.
-Best title card of the season. Love it.
Photo credit: Mr. Robot, USA Network