Mr. Robot: Believing It’s Real, Makes It So

Courtesy of USA Network
Courtesy of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We begin tonight with the single most creepy imagery we could possibly imagine as it pertains to Mr. Robot. Elliot appears to be lost in an early 90’s USA Network, TGIF like TV show. All clear-eyed and brightly lit. Seriously, I’m freaking out right now. Think Perfect Strangers or Full House. Laugh track and all. Elliot is the only one finding this scenario weird. Dad driving, Mom in the front seat and Elliot sitting next to Darlene who is wearing way too much pink for this to not seem weird. Elliot even reacts to the laugh track as if he’s the only one that hears it.

I really hope they snap this back into the proper ‘universe’ soon. The title sequence is done to the relatively likeness of Full House. One positive though, in this alternate reality, Gideon is not dead. There is a man in the trunk of the family car, so that’s at least something in the right direction. ELLIOT JUST BUMPED INTO ALF. I am so not making this up. Angela works at a gas station convenient store (an Evil Mart) and the rest of the Aldersons just came in to rob the place. The Alderson family car gets a flat tire and the charade continues until Elliot has had it.

Elliot: ENOUGH OF THIS (bleeped expletive). Tell me what’s happening. What is this?
(cop car sounds)
Dad: Whoa. That doesn’t sound good. On the plus side, I hear jumpsuits are in these days…

The fun doesn’t stop there. First commercial in the break is for Evil Corp and their new fast internet. “Our new 28k connection will have you online in minutes”, hilarious. That spot is followed by an actual Bud Light commercial from the 90’s. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping the joke would end after the first commercial break.

The investigating cop is actually Gideon, which doesn’t last long because then Alf comes out of nowhere and runs officer Gideon over. In the car again, Dad keeps up the shtick. There is a moment when Elliot gets serious and pleads for Dad to take him back (to reality). The response is the first time the elder Alderson did not seem to be in this new sitcom ‘character’. The man in the trunk escapes hopping away proclaiming himself to be a ‘business man’. Would not be surprised in the least if it was Wellick. The body runs into a backdrop and falls. Dad keeps up the notion that Elliot is seeing things with the bound man on his back on the side of the road. Then Elliot just starts cussing as if to test the bleep button’s efficiency. Before they put the business man back in the truck, Dad says,

Dad: It’ll feel good if you let it. Believing it’s real, makes it so.

Dad runs through a sitcom like monologue, but the monologue rings true to aspects of the real Mr. Robot. Pretending makes it easier, sometimes lies can help, truth is painful, etc. The message while misguided, in this reality of imagery almost works. Elliot believes this is what it looks like if Dad won. Total control, Elliot, lost in nothingness. Not really true, but it did have me for a moment. In a Sixth Sense/Matrix sort of way. The destination of the road trip was to the hospital that actual Elliot is in after the beating Ray’s goons put on him.

Dad: Nobody’s won anything Elliot. I’m just here to help you put in all in the rear view. As painlessly as possible.

A beaten, very real looking Elliot wakes in a hospital bed, complete with the Tyrion Lannister cut across the face. Without being seen yet, Ray begins to explain Maxine’s (Ray’s dog) condition. Her slowly developing need for assistance when it was never there before. An anecdote of sorts I’m sure. Ray now stands over Elliot. Bringing the anecdote to a close, Ray basically makes the connection that Elliot like Maxine was only breathing because someone else (Ray) permitted it.

Last week, Angela convinced Elliot (sort of) that her involvement with Evil Corp and the FBI is essential. So now, Darlene and the gang are trying to teach her what she’ll need to know to contribute. Its slow going. The timetable has been moved up. They need their device in Evil Corp before the feds vacate, due to the shooting at the end of last week’s episode. Teaching Angela even the basics of hacking is proving very difficult.

Cisco meets before what must be an associate of White Rose. He’s speaking in Chinese, but is the only person of a two person conversation saying anything. He’s demanding to know something. Even drops in that these are his friends of his in question. The associate stops walking away, says nothing. Cisco looks over his shoulder to see two men in Kabuki masks. Same two men possibly that Dom spotted when they arrived in China. Cisco knows the drill

Cisco: Come on man, I thought we were on the same team.
(the masked men restrain Cisco. The associate drives a needle under Cisco’s finger nail and breaks it off in there. Suggesting that all foot soldiers need to do is follow orders)

Dom sits in a superior’s office to hear the disturbing news that she is to take 6 weeks off to deal with the trauma of surviving the shooting gallery that occurred last week. She’s not buying it. She carefully recalls what happened even the part about the shooters turning their guns on themselves when they did not need to. She believes they weren’t there to wipe everyone out, they were there to disrupt only enough, that it might cause the FBI to retreat. Abandon the investigation.

Price’s plans do not seem to be holding up as he’d originally figured they would. The Speaker of the House is putting his foot down about a bailout of any kind for Evil Corp. One of his subordinates cannot deliver on a phone call of some importance and now his driver can’t even get past the protesters.

Angela finally begins to get it, with the assistance of her Tony Robbins talking to herself. When Cisco walks in. DANGER WILL ROBINSON! She recognizes him immediately. It is very awkward. Cisco was the ‘rapper’ that peddled his ‘CD’ to Ollie.  Who then tried to play it in his computer, comprising himself and getting  Angela involved to begin with. Darlene can feel the tension in the air. Angela shrugs it off as if she doesn’t connect the dots to Cisco.

And…welcome to the Ocean’s Eleven portion of tonight’s broadcast. Angela sits at her desk waiting for the call. A three word response, then Angela is on mission. Passing through by-standards, she makes her way to the ladies room. A quick script error occurs. Darlene directs to a new pathway, and they are back in business. Angela is stopped by an over zealous Fed. Not because she’s acting suspicious, but because he’s trying to hit on her. Once he realizes she’s not buying what he’s selling, he turns back into Mr. FBI Man. Darlene skurried in Angela’s ear to get something on this fed Angela can use. Instead of panicking, Angela throws it on in reverse. Questioning why the agent would give up so easily.  He is putty in her hand.

Darlene quickly walks Angela through the schematic of setting up their device. Battery backup to power strip, Ethernet to switch, etc. Angela spends too much time with the Clorox wipes, but gets the green light from Darlene that it was a success and Angela can go celebrate. Angela doesn’t get 5 feet down the hallway when they lose the Wi-fi signal. Darlene will walk her through it from Angela’s terminal. No matter how badly Angela wants to be done with this.

Back in the hospital room, Elliot monologues to himself. He doesn’t see the goons enter or get to finish his diatribe before they whisk him out of there. They toss Elliot into a vacant basement from the looks of it, then lock the door. Elliot doesn’t move. Stays huddled in a ball on the floor when Dad appears.

Dad: Before you get all bent out of shape, all I was trying to do was take those punches for you.
(Elliot lunges, not to strike but to cling to his dead father)
Elliot (trembling voice): Thank you.

At her desk, Angela begins to follow very specific instructions from Darlene. This will include coding which Angela has already not shown an aptitude for. Despite the office traffic walking behind her, she pushes through. She is literally about to hit the enter key when a voice calls to her. Its Dom. Judging by Angela’s look, Dom invites Angela to ‘finish her call’ that she’s not on. Or at least not a conventional call that a fed would encourage the mark to finish first.

There is a flashback to what appears to be the actual past. Dad driving Elliot home with a big shiner on his cheek. Calmly talking with no response from Elliot. Clearly he’s been in a fight and doesn’t want to talk about it. Dad redirects. Tells a story about his supervisor reading off a series of dates which are the precursor to the termination of Dad’s employment contract. The dates corresponded to doctor visits. This is when Dad shares his little ‘health’ secret with Elliot that was a significant story line in season 1. The concept is not new information, the rhetoric is however.

Dad: Come on kiddo, the world’s not getting rid of me that easily. I’m going to be ok. I’m never going to leave you. Promise.

Dad attempts to change direction. Explains that he’s driving Elliot to the location of his new gig. He’s opening a computer store. This news brightens young Elliot’s mood considerably. Not to be outdone by the moment, Dad offers to let Elliot name the new business. There’s a long period of Elliot’s reaction to his news, and he loves it.  Then the weight of the responsibility of naming the store.  Dad helps out by suggesting he just blurt out the first thing that pops into his head upon seeing the store front. The first thing that pops into young Elliot’s head. There is a long pause of Elliot with his eyes closed. He gasps and opens his eyes. Credits.

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