“I’m never going to leave you.”
First of all, I have to commend USA for letting Sam Esmail do whatever the hell he wants. Devoting the first ~20 minutes of a television episode to a sitcom version of a dark psychological drama is already outlandish enough, but add onto that the ’90s commercials and you have a wonderfully trippy experience. It’s a strange, enjoyable, and unsettling opening sequence, and it’s an example of just how fun this show can get. Sure, some might argue that it overstays its welcome a bit, but it’s so ridiculous that I’m willing to go with it for however long it might take.
There’s also the fact that it actually means something. It’s not “let’s do a sitcom just for the hell of it!”; it’s “let’s do a sitcom for the hell of it, but let’s also make it thematically relevant!”. It ties in beautifully with the final flashback scene in the car, one of several scenes in this episode that express the care Edward had for his son. We obviously shouldn’t be pretending like Edward is the world’s best father–in fact, we’ve seen that he was pretty shitty–but we also can’t overlook the nuances of their complicated relationship. It gets even more interesting when we consider the promise Elliot receives in the car: “I’m never going to leave you.” Well, guess what? Exhibit one, Mr. Robot.
This entire show is built on lies and illusions. “Sometimes lies can be useful, Elliot,” Mr. Robot tells him during a motivational sitcom speech at the beginning. “The truth is painful, son.” Perhaps that’s why so much time is spent “[peeking] into the future”; if you spend too much time dwelling on the past, you start to uncover your deep-seated fears and secrets, your buried truths. Mr. Robot shows us what happens when you retreat into your mind, and it navigates the relationship between the world around us and the worlds inside our heads.
Additionally, it navigates the relationships we have with others. “Masters,” Elliot’s voiceover states. “We all have them. Every relationship is a power struggle…sometimes the best course of action is to ride shotgun.” The interesting thing about Elliot is that he is oftentimes his own ‘master’, and this power struggle is something we’ve seen play out over the last 16 episodes. It’s a fascinating thing to consider, which explains why this is one of the most compelling shows on television.
-The other major sequence of this episode involves Angela breaking out the hacking skills. It’s a tight, suspenseful, and very well directed piece of television that anchors the middle section of the episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how that pans out.
– “Cocksucker” but no “fuck”. Whatever, USA.
-If you haven’t seen “Too Many Cooks”, go ahead and do that now.
Photo credit: Mr. Robot, USA Network