This week’s Mr. Robot left me with one, and only thought:
Ok, that’s not totally true. Really, after almost a whole season of trying to figure out what the fuck is going on, Robot dropped the truth on us like it was going out of style. Rather than hold up any pretense, they chose the penultimate episode of season one to make things interesting. Robot is Elliot’s father, we know this. Robot is also dead, and lives in Elliot’s fucking head.
So what now? Where do we go? Recently I learned that the series we know Mr. Robot to be was initially intended as a movie. During this most recent episode it seemed strange that they would reveal something so integral to the character early on. This is usually one of those shockers reserved for late season two (see: Twin Peaks and the Bob reveal.) However, Robot is smarter than that. They knew that we would be jonesing for a resolution to Elliot’s erratic behavior, and so they gave us the coveted reveal. Since the first ten episodes of this season were intended to act as the first half hour of the originally planned film (something I imagine would have ran for about two hours) it also makes sense that they would bring in the reveal so quickly.
One thing that needs pointing out, is the fact that we still don’t have a great understanding about why fsociety came to be. Obviously Elliot and Darlene have put the organization together in order to “bring down the system” effectively wiping out Evil Corp’s finances. But, other than a revenge plot, what’s the ultimate goal? Darlene has a vendetta against the 1% (as most of America does at this point) but aside from her father’s connection with Evil Corp she mostly wants to level the playing field. Elliot on the other hand has been stuck inside his delusion for so long that we have no idea how he even concocted the plan in the first place.
What’s upsetting is the way that no one around him realized this was happening. Think about when Robot visited him at work. There was a ruckus, and Elliot was threatening him in plain sight. Was he talking to himself? On that same hand what about when Robot went to round the gang up to get the plan back in motion. He pulled a gun out. Does Elliot have violent tendencies in addition to his delusions? Or was it a façade he kept up in order to stay on top of what was happening?
Early on in the season Elliot was thrown off the Coney Island pier by Robot, landing him in the hospital and on suicide watch. Before “falling”, he was explaining to Robot that he had been pushed out of the window as a child by his father for spilling his secret. Upon returning to his childhood home, Elliot returns the favor to his father, though his inner self (or Robot) tries to reason with him. Elliot was feeling emotional, unsure of his place. Before the big reveal, Elliot throws Robot out of the window, effectively injuring himself as he repeated the earlier trauma. That early self-inflicted trauma was perhaps the first time his father appeared to him as part of a delusion, masking his fears (and inability to deal with the present) as abuse rather than accepting the fact that he was already an unstable eight year old.
Moving on, there’s going to be a shift in everything we know about the show. Though it’s easy to get annoyed with Angela, we have to remember that she’s the one who’s able to keep Elliot grounded. Through all of this, he was able to recognize and remember her, yet easily forgot his own sister and father. Even if he does bounce back into the delusion, we as an audience are now aware of the intricacies behind his reasoning and actions. On that same note, we also have to recognize that we are part of the problem. Elliot breaks the fourth wall constantly. What’s driving the series is the fact that he is aware of us watching. He imagined us into being in order to deal with everything in his life. Even if Robot is gone, we are still around. Maybe not interacting, but always watching. Essentially, we are the men in suits who Elliot believes are following him around.
Even with the main reveal out of the way, there’s still conflict and questions to wade through before actually getting the kind of information we need from the series. Wellick has now been fired from Evil Corp with him being the prime suspect in Sharon’s murder. His family, reputation, and pride are on the line, and nothing is going to stop him from achieving his goals. As much as we saw the Robot reveal coming, this whole Wellick teaming up with Elliot shift felt like it came out of left field. Between the two of them, and the team that’s already been assembled, destruction is inevitable. But how far will it go?
Before disappearing, Robot assured Elliot that he would never leave him again, no matter how Angela and Darlene tried to keep him away. So even though we’re aware of his not being real, he will continue to appear to Elliot in times of need or distress. Eventually it will become pertinent to note Elliot’s lack of engagement with the audience, and with Robot. When the series comes to an end, I predict Elliot will either have come to terms with his disorder, getting back on medication and tuning everything out. That, or it will be his downfall, eventually destroying him.
There’s only one episode left this season. Previews indicated the return of Robot in Elliot’s space, and fsociety making drastic moves. Considering what’s been revealed, and the addition of Wellick to the fsociety sphere, we’re likely in for a heavy cliff hanger. Mr. Robot has successfully executed the unthinkable, and to think, this is only the beginning.