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MR. ROBOT Recap: Mirroring

Note: This post contains spoilers for USA Network’s Mr. Robot. Proceed with caution.

Welcome back, everybody. We’re nine episodes into USA Network’s hit show Mr. Robot, and barely beginning to understand what’s really going on behind the scenes of the tech thriller. Just when we thought we had it all figured out, last week’s episode came and threw whatever we thought we knew about the show out the window. In between working at Allsafe and planning the ultimate hack, Elliot Alderson—the lone hacker and protagonist we’ve been following around the entire season—has managed to completely wipe both his sister Darlene, and his father Edward Alderson (aka Mr. Robot) from his memory.

“Maybe it was the morphine. Maybe it was FSociety. I think I read somewhere that extreme stress could cause psychogenic amnesia. What’s more stressful than starting a revolution?” muses Elliot early on in the episode.

Mr Robot Christian Slater

As last week’s episode already established, Mr. Robot is indeed Elliot’s father, but of course, it’s not quite what you think. This week’s episode “m1rr0r1ng.qt” picks back up with the father-son confrontation we’ve been waiting for. Elliot is equal parts mad, confused, and incredulous that his father decided to conceal his identity. It’s hard to top the rest of the season, but Rami Malek’s acting in this scene is particularly gripping. As the volume of his voice went up, so did the hairs on the back of my neck.

After shouting at his father, the two head to the train station, eventually ending up in Elliot’s old house. Upon seeing the bedroom window, Elliot reminds his father of the time the older Alderson pushed his eight year old son (Elliot) out the window. Though he supposedly didn’t mean to hurt him, Elliot’s been burdened by it since it happened. When Robot insists that he should let those feelings go, Elliot turns the tables by pushing his father out the window.

Meanwhile, Angela reaches out to the lawyer on her case and inquires about employment. She’s obviously turned down, which ticks her off and leads her in the direction of possibly accepting a job offer from Evil Corp’s former CTO Terry Colby later on. But, before that, she and Darlene are on a mission to find Elliot. The ladies have a minor spat of their own in which Angela accuses Darlene of making her brother worse after coming back into town. But, they settled their differences and both somehow managed to find their way to Elliot’s old house, after the events I explained in the previous paragraph.

At this point, it’s become abundantly clear that both girls are used to dealing with Elliot’s selective amnesia shenanigans and struggle with mental illness. In fact, it was Angela who found Elliot the last time he took a wrong turn and dove off the deep end. But, as Darlene points out, it’s never been this bad before. They’re both concerned, especially after seeing the broken window at the old Alderson residence.

Though Angela’s character has been steadily developing over the course of the season, Darlene’s transformation is unique in that last week’s revelation made us realize that her quirky behavior in previous episodes could easily be attributed to her not realizing that her brother didn’t recognize her. Remember when she just showed up to his apartment and he wondered how she knew where he lived? It all makes sense now. From what actress Carly Chaikin told us in our interview this week, she knew from the beginning that they were siblings. She explained, “Really, the way I played it is like he’s my brother and he knows it. Because how could he not know it, you know? It was just a natural brother/sister relationship.”

Anyways, when the girls arrive at a local cemetery, they find Elliot and his injured father discussing something nearby. After Mr. Robot explains to Elliot that Darlene and Angela are planning to separate the newly reunited father-son duo, the girls approach, asking Elliot who he’s talking to. When Elliot attempts to explain, the camera pans down to where Mr. Robot was sitting to reveal a grave marked “Edward Alderson,” dead since 1995.

When Elliot realizes what’s going on, the camera pans back to him and reveals that he’s bleeding. So, either he threw himself out the window, or he bum-rushed the glass and got hurt. Whatever the case, the truth has finally been revealed. In the midst of his delusions, paranoia, and possible dissociative experiences over the course of he last few months, Elliot’s been taking on the persona of his father, whom he idolized, to come up with and implement a plan to take down the evil company that killed  him.

He also finally uttered the phrase we knew was true all along: “You’re going to make me say it aren’t you? I am Mr. Robot.”

Elliot and Darlene Mr Robot

Now that they’ve found him, Angela heads back to her place while Darlene takes her brother home and attempts to convince him that he needs help. We already knew he hadn’t been in therapy with Krista in a while, but it’s also unclear when he stopped taking his prescribed medications all together. When Darlene heads to the pharmacy to restock, Tyrell shows up at the apartment asking what Elliot’s got planned. After commending him for his work, the now-fallen Evil Corp employee asks to join his operation. He also describes, in full detail, the joy of killing Scott’s wife Sharon: despite the negative repercussions, it made him feel powerful.

Prior to his trip, we saw Tyrell go from 100 to 0 real quick. He and his wife Joanna had a son (yay), but because of the reckless murder he committed, she wants nothing to do with him (noo) unless he fixes his mistake. To make matters worse, Price uses Tyrell’s implication in Sharon’s death as a reason to fire him. As has become customary for the explosive character at this point, Tyrell flies off the handle and yells: “YOU CAN’T! I’VE KILLED MYSELF FOR THIS COMPANY! I’ve been promoted faster than anybody else,” at an unimpressed Price.

Sure, Tyrell acts like a petulant child the majority of the time, but there’s something about his outbursts that makes him incredibly human. Even Joanna, who cold-heartedly pushed him aside after giving birth, was made a bit more relatable with her touching story about giving up her baby girl for adoption when she was a 15 year old mother. With Tyrell’s hatred for his former employer at an all time high, and his past as an experienced hacker, it only makes sense that he’d join Elliot and the FSociety crew in the hack to end it all.

The only question now is whether or not we’ll see Christian Slater’s Mr. Robot again, and whether the hack will go down. I’m assuming the answer to these questions is yes, but since both of these inquiries (for the most part) hinge on Elliot’s decision to get back on his meds, I’m curious to see how they handle it in the finale. The show has provided viewers with a fascinating peek at the constant struggle psychiatric patients face in regards to complying with medication regimens. In Elliot’s case, we learned a few episodes back that he’s capable of hacking into the hospital’s network to alter his records. He’d also been lying to his therapist about taking his drugs.

What I’m assuming happened, is that he felt in control of his sickness and used his abilities to covertly go off his meds. Once Darlene arrived in town, Elliot was triggered by his sister’s sudden reappearance, and because he was already off his medications, conjured up hallucinations of his father and plotted to take down E Corp. As for Tyrell, his development has been intriguing, but I’m hoping the finale ties up the loose ends and leaves the biggest twist to him.

What do you think is going to end up happening in the season finale next week? Let us know in the comments below.


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