“Where do you think you are right now?”
Here’s the thing about reveals: it retroactively makes you wonder about the logic of past storylines, and it becomes a problem if it’s viewed as some magical restart button that can be employed every so often. I’m going to give the show the benefit of the doubt here and try to be optimistic about the second half of the season, but the first half seems like the result of pretension catching up to Esmail a bit. Sure, I’m enjoying the season so far–and last week’s episode was a wonderful piece of entertainment in and of itself–but Malek can only do so much with a storyline that sometimes seems lost. Mind you, pretension is not inherently bad, but it can weaken and needlessly convolute this show.
With that out of the way, it’s still a good twist to explore thematically. “Control can sometimes be an illusion, but sometimes you need the illusion to gain control,” Elliot’s voiceover states near the end of the episode, and it’s an interesting way to complicate one of the biggest themes of the series: control as an illusion. It makes sense, though, when we consider these characters’ journeys and their efforts to just keep pushing forward. Whether we’re talking about Angela, Joanna, or Elliot, we see some uncertainty that they all try to take control of. And in Elliot’s case, that means accepting the part of himself he wants gone, or “[cloaking the] harshest reality to gain comfort”. This is the only way he can really move forward in life; the fantasy may be the only avenue available to reach reality. Maybe that’s just how we can allow ourselves to look ahead.
-Subtitles that weren’t said in the Elliot-Ray scene: “I gave Ray the chance to make the right move, and he let himself wide open to me.”
– “No.” Jeez, Angela.
-That little snippet in Congress is hilarious.
-More religious imagery: Mr. Robot as Jesus.
-If this is it for Ray–it better not be–then kudos to Craig Robinson. He’s been fantastic throughout this season, and his character’s fascinating to watch. I’m left scratching my head about his involvement in all this and how much of him is real/not real. Is he a prison guard? What’s the timeline on this?
-So Leon is connected to whiterose in some way. Interesting.
-The title card this week–with a silent image of a paint-splattered Joanna screaming
-Any theories on why Elliot is in prison? It can’t be for the hack or for the death of Tyrell–I don’t believe he’s dead, furthermore–so what could it be? The dog guy from season one? There are a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered in the coming weeks, as this twist raises a few uncertainties about past events we’ve seen.
Photo credit: Mr. Robot, USA