Every episode of Mr. Robot is mired in varying levels of deception, manipulation, slight of hand. However last night’s episode proved why Mr. Robot is not only the best show of the summer, but one of the best on television. All too often in television and cinema, plot-twists are used as gimmicks– a shortcut to the conclusion, Mr. Robot uses them as a part of its creative arsenal. The best mis-direction occurs when the audience knows that something is a little off, so the debates rage on about whether or not Mr. Robot is real, or a delusion of Elliot’s.
In hindsight, the opening of the show, telegraphed the surprise reveal– when Angela and Darlene met up at a ballet studio to practice. They had an odd sense of familiarity, they spoke as if they had known each other for a long time… Because they have! After all things go well and the episode is winding to a close Elliot and Darlene share a moment, she tells him that he is the most wonderful person in the world and that she loves him. He takes this as a cue to kiss her, Darlene recoils. She freaks out and Elliot can’t figure out why. “Did you forget who I am again?” she says. Elliot searches his brain, but can’t quite figure out what’s going on. “I’m your…” Darlene starts to say before Elliot cuts her off. “You’re my sister.”
The episode begins the morning after the conclusion of last week’s, with Tyrell basically becoming completely unhinged. Ruthlessly murdering a woman can do that to you, he does his best to compartmentalize. He is visited by Gideon who tells him that AllSafe has set-up a HoneyPot in one of the servers, the server that Elliot has access to. This sets Wellick off on a hacking spree of his own, but he cannot gain access.
The Dark Army is very much involved with Fsociety and Elliot now, Ollie their new lap-dog sets up a meeting between Elliot and the mysterious White Rose, portrayed brilliantly by BD Wong in drag, the meeting is three minutes long, for while Elliot might hack people, Rose hacks time. The take away is that Elliot must get rid of the HoneyPot, and along with some timely help from Darlene he does.
The police arrive at the Wellick residence, Mrs. Wellick unaware of her husbands recent murder, is still pestering him about the CTO position. Upon hearing the news that Mrs. Knowles was killed she slips away to the kitchen and presumably causes a placental abruption with an olive fork, She is by far the most manipulative and sinister character on the show.
So back to The Moment- after Elliot flees the scene, leaving Darlene behind, his character doesn’t just break the fourth wall, he practically climbs into our living room. Just how damaged is Elliot’s brain? He punches a mirror and sees the reflection of, himself, Mr. Robot, Angela, and Darlene, who is he really? He searches for Elliot Alderson on the internet and finds nothing, he is a ghost. He takes out his collection of hacks stored in a CD holder, the first is blank. He pops it in and sees pictures of himself as a child and Mr. Robot. He finds a photo with his father( Christian Slater) his mother himself and Darlene.
Malek’s Elliot was always an unreliable narrator, but it never appeared that he was missing large chunks of reality. The episode closes with a knock at the door, Elliot opens, Mr. Robot says “we need to talk.” With two episodes left Mr. Robot has been able to sustain the palpable level of tension expected of a thriller, interspersed with highly insightful and scathing social commentary. Now we wait to see how much of Elliot’s world is real, how much is exaggerated and how much is simply imagined.