Mr. Robot: eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v
August 12, 2015 9:50 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Allsafe is controlled and the Dark Army is prepared to meet Elliot. Tyrell and Joanna’s plan is put into effect.
posted by Catblack (40 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Still not sure if Mr. Robot is a real person or a figment of Elliot's imagination. If he is a figment, I wonder about the meeting with Tyrell; if that was Elliot acting in figment-persona then surely Tyrell would recognize him; maybe from Tyrell's perspective he was actually meeting with Elliot? I thought maybe Tyrell had his own figment that just happened to look the same, but threatening a figment with blackmail wouldn't make much sense. I've been flirting with the theory that Elliot and Tyrell are the same person but I'm not sure how he could hold down two full-time office jobs.
posted by jordemort at 11:32 PM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Mr Robot is Elliot's father who has gone into hiding after Elliot's mother died. Which is why there was a scene with Tyrell and him? I'll have to give it a rewatch tomorrow.
posted by Catblack at 12:15 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I initially figured he was Elliott's imaginary father, or maybe Elliott is superimposing his memories of his father on Mr. R? Or he could be Ferris Bueller, I guess -- something on that order.

Tyrell is the most antiChrist-ish character I've seen on TV lately and even skin-crawlier than the other scary Scandinavian.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:36 AM on August 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's a part of me that was hoping they'd hold off longer coming down one way or another on what really is going on with Mr. Robot and they still might. I liked that it was Elliot who's the ghost that there are no records of. Is he living under his father's name? That seems unlikely given that Darlene would probably find that almost as creepy as Elliot kissing her. I think the most chilling thing in that scene is that Darlene says, "Did you forget again?" and all that that implies. Far more chilling than Elliot and his imaginary dad smashing capitalism and whatever it is Mr. Robot persona's doing with Tyrell.

The Darlene reveal also explains a lot about her earlier breaking-and-entering and what not when it comes to Elliot, as well as the opening scene this week. I don't think we've seen Darlene interact with Angela before and they were quite friendly.

I also find Tyrell creepier than Mads-as-Hannibal. That version of Hannibal... He can be friendly, a certain kind of warm even. Tyrell strikes me as a weak sauce version of Patrick Bateman. His wife is the truly scary one there.

The meeting with White Rose was also incredibly interesting. For one thing that was BD Wong from Jurassic Park and many other things ... For another... Forgive me if I'm misreading here, but I took White Rose as being trans and the fact that the show did not say or do a single goddam thing with that, just let it exist, was kind of amazing.

In any case, great fun this week. If they're willing to dole out this much in 8, I wonder what we're in for next week and the finale after that.

Also, Sepinwall's review is up and mentions that Matthew Weiner was raving about the show to anyone who would listen at the TCA awards last weekend. AV Club loved it as well.
posted by sparkletone at 1:00 AM on August 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the Wellicks are a fun couple, aren't they? Pretty much the warm-n-fuzzy epitome of how I idly envision the middle-to-upper-level denizens of greater metro corpworld and the finance sector.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:20 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's a quick gallery of the faces Elliot sees in the mirror. The guy with the glasses is Sam Esmail.
posted by Catblack at 1:31 AM on August 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is that girl Angela, Darlene, or is that someone we haven't met yet? The other faces could all be considered aspects of Elliot's personality one way or another. He's "himself," his imaginary friend/dad/alternate persona is a part of himself, Tyrell's malevolence is part of himself, fsociety is part of himself in a way. Even the creator self-insertion (which I like as a meta moment even more than the camera smash at the end)... Sam Esmail's a part of Elliot too. Just can't tell from the lighting who the girl is 100% (Darlene or Angela makes the most sense to me).
posted by sparkletone at 1:50 AM on August 13, 2015


There's Angela, Darlene, Tyrell, Mr Robot, the F Society mask, Sam Esmail and Elliot in that scene.
posted by Catblack at 1:54 AM on August 13, 2015


Ah, yeah. Much clearer on my iPad. I think I forgot to turn off my color temp. adjustment at night software so the scene looked darker than intended and obscured the faces a little.
posted by sparkletone at 3:36 AM on August 13, 2015


At this point I think I might be Elliot
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:19 AM on August 13, 2015 [32 favorites]


I think I like Darlene a bit more after The Revelation because it makes her something besides merely the show's Designated Angelina Jolie -- but then again, in the earlier eps, I couldn't really tell if she was an actual DAJ or a winking parody of a DAJ.

After this ep, it's clear that Joanna is pretty much identical to Lady Macbeth. Tyrell still has the funniest name allusion.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:29 AM on August 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, if Elliott = Mr. Robot, then that could have been Elliott meeting with Tyrell in the car and we were just seeing him filtered through his own Mr. Robot persona or from Elliott's separate narratorial perspective.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:34 AM on August 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's been my assumption about what's going on. Mr. Robot is Elliot in his full bore crazed revolutionary mode where his social anxiety and what not is put aside for the time being. Everyone else just sees Elliot all the time.
posted by sparkletone at 4:39 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


All I know is, Mrs Wellick is a ride or die bitch. She broke her own water with her fave snacking fork from IKEA!!!

From here on out I am calling the Wellicks Mr and Mrs Murder, so I dub their baby Le Petit Morte.

Jesus do I feel sorry for Darlene. There was a lifetime of pain in her eyes in this episode -- well, now I know what it is that makes her waver between tortured anarchist and dead soul sadness. Losing a parent and watching out for a mentally ill sibling made her grow up a decade early.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:07 AM on August 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


I agree with the notion that Elliot (a blank persona that he created when he erased himself at some point early in the past decade, or at least a scrubbed digital person) and Mr. Robot are one and the same, and that Mr. Robot is Elliot's unfiltered "fuck it all" anarchist self.

The face of Mr. Robot is that of his father, who died from a money-driven decision by Evil Corp, just like Angela's father. I don't think the persona is that of his father, but rather what Elliot wanted his father to be - the man who would do anything, anything to make a change in the world. Elliot tempers that "let's burn the world" aspect in himself, filters the desire through courses of action with less collateral damage. And the photos of his dad and Mr. Robot are the same age, because that image is frozen from Elliot's past, while Elliot has grown up.

As for Darlene, she's Elliot's sister, but when Elliot was trying to delete his past to make that pain go away, he also deleted his memories of his sister being Darlene. He remembered her at some point in the past, so he's probably "erased" his past a few times, with the same fervor as he cleans his machines (microwave anything with a chip, drill holes in harddrive platters).

Angela (ugh, the angelic one, I get it now, especially with those scenes of her in white compared to Darlene and Elliot in black) is the goodness from his past, and he feels the need to protect her, so he doesn't erase her as he erases Darlene, who is completely capable of taking care of her own bad ass.

Another realization after this episode: all the episode names include "container format" extensions, which can hide all sorts of things, like Elliot's "audio CDs" full of other material. I just found a commercial program that does that (Drivecrypt), and there's an Instructables guide to putting secret messages in audio using free tools, if you want to read some more about it.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:18 AM on August 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


All I know is, Mrs Wellick is a ride or die bitch. She broke her own water with her fave snacking fork from IKEA!!!

I can't even deal with it. I cannot even fucking DEAL WITH IT. Mr. Machine thought it might have been a fondue fork. I was too busy screaming into my pillow.

Can we talk about how much I love the inversions we've been seeing on Mrs. Wellick -- the big stuff about her being an unrepentent-to-date Lady Macbeth aside, I really liked how they've not only inverted the idea of the trophy wife being along for the ride, but also inverted how kink is usually shown in pop media, where it's driven by the top wanting to have kinky sex and pressuring the bottom into it. Here, it's the bottom who wants the kinky sex and who drives the action and tells the top to GO GET THE GODDAMN TYING SILKS GODDAMMIT MY LOWER BACK HURTS.

Also, as mentioned in the wall o' text int he Mr. Robot thread on the blue, I'm really nejoying how this show rubs in that people sometimes choose not to speak English at home, not because they aren't fluent, but because they prefer not to.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:42 AM on August 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


All I know is, Mrs Wellick is a ride or die bitch. She broke her own water with her fave snacking fork from IKEA!!!

Whenever somebody mentions a loathsome activity (like a cocktail party or baby shower or jogging, for instance), one of my go-to jaundiced replies is "Oh, couldn't I just stab myself in the eye with a shrimp fork instead?" or "That sounds like as much fun as stabbing yourself with a shrimp fork." And now it has a whole new glorious layer of meaning! Life is so grand sometimes.

I love that Joanna was initially using her Labor Induction Fork to spear gherkins like some pregnant-craving lady in a 60s sitcom. So bummed she didn't have an accompanying bowl of artisanal ice cream!
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:52 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unicorn on the cob: All I know is, Mrs Wellick is a ride or die bitch. She broke her own water with her fave snacking fork from IKEA!!!

joyceanmachine: I can't even deal with it. I cannot even fucking DEAL WITH IT. Mr. Machine thought it might have been a fondue fork. I was too busy screaming into my pillow.

My thoughts, as I was watching that scene: "Huh, she spilled some tea water on the floor and screamed to pretend her water broke. Oh shit, is that really a bloody pickle fork on the counter? OH SHIT, she didn't just stab herself to make a realistic scream, she broke her own water. Is she even that far along? She's tiny, she should be showing more than that to be due, right? Did she just endanger her baby's life to save her husband?"

And now I'm wondering, will it even work in the long run? Tyrell isn't a really good actor under pressure, given that he fucked up a blackmail scam by killing the woman he was supposed to simply photograph in compromising circumstances.

On that, I'm assuming there were cameras in his office, which would capture them in action, but when she turned down the office tryst, he went for somewhere without cameras with the idea of killing her to push Mr. CTO over the edge, which called back to the Steel Mountain social engineering, where Mobly spoofed some vague, alarming texts to the manager who was trying to usher Elliot out of the building - except they didn't kill anyone, again setting Elliot and his crew apart from Tyrell.)

Can we talk about how much I love the inversions we've been seeing on Mrs. Wellick ...?

I agree, I was worried she was a pretty, simpering wife when we first saw her, but that quickly changed, and drastically. Inversions, indeed, and she plays the role so very well.

FelliniBlank: Tyrell still has the funniest name allusion.

Can you elaborate? I'm missing that one.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:23 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Huh, she spilled some tea water on the floor and screamed to pretend her water broke. Oh shit, is that really a bloody pickle fork on the counter? OH SHIT, she didn't just stab herself to make a realistic scream, she broke her own water. Is she even that far along? She's tiny, she should be showing more than that to be due, right? Did she just endanger her baby's life to save her husband?"

That was my exact. goddamn. thought sequence. Down to the tea. Down to the rapid mental calculation of how far along she must be. Except I was doing a lot of screaming. Like, truly incoherent amounts of screaming. Because I really do love the inversion of the idea that to a pregnant lady ~ the safety of the baby ~ is the most important thing. Like, in pop culture, there's this idea that once you're pregnant, baby thoughts fill your brain, and everything is about keeping the baby safe, and worrying about the baby, and wondering whether you're going to hurt the baby/be the best parent that you can be for the baby.

But Mrs. Wellick is so far from that -- we see her doing pregnancy-type snacking a lot, but back in the kink scene, her husband asks her whether this is safe for the baby, and IIRC she's like UGH GET ON WITH IT STOP BEING WEIRD. And then again when she stabs herself with the Birthing Fork or whatever????

Question, though: when she tells her husband that she won't let them take him away from "us" or what have you, do you think that she means her and the baby? At first, I had to assume she had to mean that, but then she STABBED THE BABY WITH A FORK. Also, this show has taught me to trust nothing about what tropes tell us to expect for women.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:41 AM on August 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


FelliniBlank: Tyrell still has the funniest name allusion.

Can you elaborate? I'm missing that one.

"More human than human" is our motto.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:47 AM on August 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


FelliniBlank: Tyrell still has the funniest name allusion.

filthy light thief: Can you elaborate? I'm missing that one.


Dr. Eldon Tyrell, progenitor of replicants, from Blade Runner.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:48 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I searched online and believe that Mrs. Wellick is using a mini crab fork.

Description: A short, sharp and narrow two-pronged fork designed to easily extract meat when consuming cooked crab.

Image here.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:45 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the most chilling thing in that scene is that Darlene says, "Did you forget again?" and all that that implies.

Yes. This was the best part of the reveal.

I want to re-watch the episode where Mr. Robot pushes Elliott off the wall after that anecdote about his dad, now that it seems Mr. Robot is a figment of Elliot's dad, specifically. Seems like it would add another layer to that whole thing.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:45 AM on August 13, 2015


Not for everything but I do tend to rewatch the best shows before a new series starts. Not sure if I'm gonna wait that long for MR, given how much we learned (and probably still to learn) is going to reshape those earlier eps.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:12 PM on August 13, 2015


it's clear that Joanna is pretty much identical to Lady Macbeth

Yeah, I liked the "out, damn'd spot!" bit where she's at the sink trying to get her dress clean.
posted by whir at 6:21 PM on August 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've been flirting with the theory that Elliot and Tyrell are the same person but I'm not sure how he could hold down two full-time office jobs.

This was a strong suspicion of mine after Tyrell murdered the CIO's wife last episode, but I agree that it doesn't really seem logistically plausible. I do think there's something to it, though, insofar as Elliot and Tyrell are shown to have a lot of characteristics in common - lack of empathy and existing in a social milieu where they don't feel they can relate to anyone maybe being the most obvious, but there's a certain amount of self-control missing from both characters as well. I don't think I'd expect Elliot to strangle anyone on a rooftop, but I can totally see him sort of coming to his senses on a rooftop with a dead body there, if that makes any sense.
posted by whir at 6:33 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't buy that they're literally the same person, but I can definitely see them as... Not two sides of a coin exactly, but more like a "there but for the grace of god go I," sort of thing. They've arrived at similarly disconnected places via very different paths and hold rather conflicting values. I'm really curious to see what Tyrell does next week with his knowledge about CS30.
posted by sparkletone at 6:51 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


...smokin' in the clean room...
posted by detachd at 7:21 PM on August 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah, White Rose is fantastic; this is a vast improvement from SVU for B D Wong.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:08 PM on August 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


That episode had me going "WHAT?? WHAAAAT??" constantly.

I love the "wtf?" moment I had when it looked like Darlene was going to stalk/creep on Angela, and then they knew each other, and I was very sure that was their first interaction on the show. And theeeeeeeen that makes sooo much sense later when Darlene turns out to be Elliot's sister! Of course she would also be friends with Angela and go to ballet class together! And then all the flashbacks in my head of all the random times she popped up in Elliot's apartment and how willing she was to help him every time he asked and the exchanging of phone numbers "to protect us". And like sparkletone said, that line, "Did you forget again?" was really really devastating.

And everything I had to say about the Lady MacBeth have already been said in here.

Ok, now I'm going back to that other thread on the blue for some straightening-out.
posted by numaner at 6:14 AM on August 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Also, a note about "miscasting" that I don't wanna share in the other thread because of spoilers: Christian Slater might seem out of place until you recognize he's the other side of Elliot, the out of control, crazy, dgaf anarchist, but with his dad's subservient and well-meaning looks.
posted by numaner at 6:31 AM on August 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just managed to get time to watch this episode, and woah. "Did you forget again?" and the blank disk, and the crab fork, and oh my god. I was sitting on the couch going "oh no! oh wow!" a few times. Tyrell falling apart was kind of delicious (I loathe him), but of course Joanna would come to his rescue...

Love the extra dimension that knowing Darlene is Elliot's sister brings to some of their interactions before, and how obviously she knows Angela very well - of course. And the BD Wong scene was great. I assumed she was trans too. Elliot using the correct pronoun, and the show letting her just be without commenting on it was awesome. I kind of wish they would have cast an actual trans person for it, though. I really hope we see more of White Rose, even though she said we wouldn't. And her time hack thing was great, especially Elliot's mention of it later.
posted by gemmy at 5:28 PM on August 17, 2015


Holy shit guys. Is this TV? Is this a TV show I'm watching? Because it's the most exciting thing I've seen on screen in a long, long time. So crazy, so fucked up, so intense.

The Big Reveal was great, in particular because it wasn't something as banal as "Mr. Robot is actually Tyler Durden!" I mean I've been enjoying them flirting with whether Slater's character is a real person or not, but it'd be a bit if a letdown if they were just like "twist! just like Fight Club! Also Elliot is really a ghost and Haley Joel Osment is the only one who can see him!". This reveal was way more interesting because it seems so much more messed up, and longitudinal, and I have no idea what to expect next.

But the show didn't just rest on that one thing. No, so much more going on. Gideon turns out not to just be Mr. Nice Guy. The White Rose is revealed and she's a transgender hacker who's scary and powerful as shit. And also crazy in an interesting way. Tyrell's wife has way more steel in her backbone, in fact the only steel in the family, and she's fascinating. Angela knows Darlene, is friendly with her, wtf? Even Ollie, Angela's brofriend, has a role to play.

And on top of all that the narrative at us, the viewer, Elliot questioning the whole dramatic irony of us watching the show. We're his imaginary friend. But the irony is on us, because we have no idea what the fuck is going on.

Full credit to Rami Malek for making this show work. Everything is on that actor's shoulders and he is amazing.
posted by Nelson at 9:44 PM on August 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


This show is really bottom heavy, honestly. It just gets better as it goes. It doesn't start strong and lose it's boner, or have a big bump after the pilot and get third act syndrome.

I mean, i'm not super happy with the whole "i'm ur dad lol" thing but this is just so smart and is giving me the little frisson shivers the way true detective did.

If they can end this season in a strong and decisive way this will be a shockingly kickass package. This is the first show i've really given a shit about in more than a popcorn poppy way in years with almost no exceptions.

I also have to agree that Mrs. Wellick is one of the best character twists just like... On tv in general recently. I'm still in shock that they actually did the fondue fork thing. It's just so anti-hollywood.
posted by emptythought at 10:38 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, lost in all of the other awesomeness of this episode is Elliot's walk back to work after meeting with White Rose.
He talks to us...a lot....he suggests that we know more than he does.
He tells us it's very difficult to listen to an explanation, especially when he's giving it to himself, as he's talking to Darlene on the phone.
He then says it would be so much easier to pay attention only when he needed to and just...
and then time skips and he is back at the office. pretty powerful device that one.

I feel like we were given a lot of information in that scene.

And why did he name drop Krista so many times this episode?
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:19 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


OHenryPacey, I think that we're supposed to realize that Krista is now considered to be another human conductor and problem-solver, which Elliott himself identifies as and also considers the remaining members of Fsociety to be in driving the overall plot. Now that Elliott's revealed his "true intentions" to Krista, she's no longer a project for him to work on, but instead has become a fully accepted compatriot and potential resource for future hacks/plots.

Elliott tends to call people by their last names or job roles when they're projects; he uses first names when he's addressing his peers. I first noticed this when he was trying to break Vera out of prison; at some point, he started calling him Fernando, which confused me.

I guess my question is, does Krista think she's treating Elliott, or some variant of Mr. Robot? Is she aware of his past identity schisms or familial relationship with Darlene?

There's so much to unpack here, I feel like it could fill an airport's entire baggage claim area.

I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed Angela realizing that her mission to stop "people like you getting together in rooms and making decisions" has turned her into one of those "people" (along with Gideon) who has the power to undo an entire group of people's lives. If she follows through with her legal threat, yeah, she can get some kind of justice for losing a parent... but in the process, everyone at AllSafe will lose their jobs, which can lead to future unforeseen woes that may affect their families, possibly in similarly negative ways as what Angela herself has suffered through.

Really nice to see such a simple, yet powerful example of the Butterfly Effect in a single episode.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:56 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


does Krista think she's treating Elliott, or some variant of Mr. Robot? Is she aware of his past identity schisms or familial relationship with Darlene?

On Krista's desk the most visible book is called "Shadow Syndromes". The/A real book with this title isn't about dissociative identity or whatever but the title is good.
posted by sylvanshine at 10:34 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It didn't occur to me until the scene with Mr. Robot and Tyrell in the SUV, but: If Elliot admittedly self-hacks his own perceptions and memories, and Mr. Robot is an aspect of Elliot, then... (mouseover for spoiler)? If Elliot (or at least Robot) is aware of that on even some subconscious level, that could give a weightier reason for the whole fsociety plots and actions against Evil Corp. Or is that too far out there/too jump-the-shark?

I guess we might find out more in tonight's episode, but I'm not sure we would get the answer before the finale at the earliest.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 5:29 AM on August 19, 2015


The "she broke her water"/"there's a bloody fork on the counter" scene literally had me doubled over in pain. That's maybe one of the most intense things I've ever seen on television, and, here's the thing, nothing was explicitly shown. But you know what happened.

Jesus.
posted by jbickers at 8:21 AM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


An alder, the tree/shrub. Maybe a symbol of resurrection. The wood turns colors when cut. Can be used for divination or diagnosis. A faerie place.

Just as we feel like we get a better handle on Elliot and he's getting a better handle on himself, this scene with Darlene on the boardwalk - the weird (eldritch) lighting, the music, it's all very WTF.

Was I in on it the whole time?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:32 PM on December 3, 2017


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