Mr Robot: eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt (R3v1ew)

Mr. Robot Christian Slater
Before going into the whole episode of Mr Robot Mirroring let us take a look at the opening sequence. This is a beautiful scene however you look at it. It is either a flashback or memory, it can be both, as Elliot is in the room behind the sales desk.

Mr. Robot is on the phone at a small computer repair shop.

A customer comes in and rudely informs Mr. Robot that Elliot stole $20 of his money off the counter and he wants it back. The man is angry, pushy and antagonistic. After his short rant, he then takes on a “let’s be reasonable” tone and ask Mr Robot to do the right thing. He is taken aback when Elliot’s dad says no. The tirade continues, during which the customer is asked to leave and he does so after saying that from now on, he will go to Best Buy.

Elliot is called out and after he initially tells his dad he did not take the money, he then gives the note to his father. Looking at the paper Mr. Robot asks Elliot, “Timecop or Stargate?” He tells his bewildered son that 20 bucks ought to cover the both “of us.” Elliot points at the paper. “Pulp Fiction? Never heard of it,” his father says.

The young boy then asks why he is not in trouble and he is told:

“Even though what you did was wrong, you’re still a good kid and that guy was a prick. Sometimes that matters more.”

After the interior scene with Mr. Robot and Elliot, there is an exterior shot of the shop. A time lapse montage rings the changes of ownership over the years. The name of Elliot’s father’s shop is “Mr. Robot” and at the end of the little montage of shop signs, the place has become an “E Corp” Bank branch.

This pre-credit intro is what helps to make this show almost perfect. Certainly it is all about the hack and Elliot’s schizophrenia, along with all the baggage that entails, but it is also all about the “touch.” That gentle nudge towards an allegory.

Or an ironic message.

One telling us that both Tyrell and Elliot are on a very similar journey. This will not be clear till later though and we have no flashback sequence telling us about Wellick’s backstory. Now it is Elliot’s past we see at the start of the show.

The time of the flashback is 1994, Stargate, Timecop and Pulp Fiction are all playing at the cinema. The World Series has been cancelled, Pentium 90 is the biz in computers and 800 mb hard drives are cutting edge technology.

Elliot’s father is younger, but coughing, and it turns out that the guy is pretty decent. Teaching his kid, not to steal as the disgruntled and rude customer maintained, but that not being a “prick” is important. The lesson is that being someone unpleasant will bite that individual in the butt, whether it is not having their stolen $20 returned, or (later) losing their job at Evil Corp (Tyrell).

Later in the show, Tyrell is confronted by his “father” (Phillip) who punishes him, not for being under suspicion for murdering Scott Knowles’ wife Sharon, but for being Wellick. Clearly, as the receptionist/secretary tells Gordon while cleaning out Tyrell’s desk, the man was not always easy to get along with.

Case in point being Wellick’s firing of this three assistants in a prior episode. The man’s rage and aggression were barely held in check and he did treat subordinates abysmally. His “father” clearly was waiting for the perfect excuse to rid E Corp of the “prick” who clearly is not “a good kid” underneath his misbehavior.

This episode drives home that Elliot and Tyrell are clearly the same side of a coin. Both are advanced in terms of computing and both are damaged and flawed. Alderson’s problems are controlled by his medication and Wellick’s are controlled by his wife. Neither man’s control systems work very well. Tyrell’s own attempt at control, beating homeless men after paying them, did not work very well and he literally went straight for the jugular of Sharon Knowles. His new CTO’s wife who did not play by his rules.

Meanwhile, Alderson has been seeing his dad, working with him, forgetting who Darlene was and not remembering that he started fsociety to begin with. Other things have happened along the way, like the death of Shayla and terrifying his therapist.

The two men have been drawn together, although it is Tyrell who recognized the flaws in Elliot and approached him. Just as he approaches him at the end of this episode. They are soul mates, peas in a pod, each sharing a sort of madness and their fates are intertwined.

Mirroring finally brought things out in the open. Those who have been watching from episode one and suspected all along that Elliot was Mr. Robot were finally proved right. Last week’s reveal that the man was Elliot’s father was the set up needed to follow through with just how deeply Alderson’s schizophrenia went and how much he existed in his other personality.

The scene in the “childhood” home was brilliant and gave us a glimpse of just what functions the “Mr. Robot” in Elliot performed. It would have been interesting to see what happened at that window with just Alderson there.

Another revealing scene was in the hospital where Joanna Wellick has given birth to their son. If there was ever any doubt about who the driving force was in the Wellick household, this scene removes it. Joanna tells Tyrell point blank that if he does not fix the mess at E Corp he has no place with the family. Joanna Wellick is the mover and the shaker in this scenario, Tyrell is just the instrument of her “war machine.”

Angela is shocked to find herself wooed by the devil, aka Evil Corp, after she managed to start up the lawsuit. She comes home to find Colby in her house, talking to her father, and he reveals that his former colleagues at the company want her on their team. She refuses and Colby tells her to think about it for another day. The man suggests that if Angela really wants to change things, to think about doing it from the inside.

By the end of the episode, Elliot is depressed and lost. He wants to pull the plug on the whole Evil Corp take down. Darlene goes to get his medication and Tyrell comes in to talk. He wants to know what Alderson’s plans are and he puts on his “special” gloves to force Elliot to tell him. As he puts the gloves on he describes strangling Sharon Knowles to death and it is a chilling moment.

Elliot takes Wellick to the arcade and as they stand there the popcorn machine starts up…the first thought is of the gun that Darlene hid in there last week. Is it still there and will someone use it?
As the popcorn pops, Elliot tells Tyrell that he wanted to save the world.

*Sidenote* Now that Mr Robot has revealed who the Christian Slater character is, does this mean the last of Slater on the show? Fans of the actor will be wondering and those who point to the Slater “curse” (that love the show) may be breathing a sigh of relief that he is gone.

This was the penultimate episode of Mr Robot and the season finale airs August 26 on the USA Network. Since the series, and Rami Malek will be back for a second season, this next episode will obviously leave things wide open. Apart from smelling a cliffhanger coming up, here is one last “sidenote” for thought till next week.

*Sidenote* Did anyone else think that the destroyed computer shop where Gideon went to collect the hard drives (that Elliot dropped off) looked liked Mr. Robot’s old shop front? Irrespective of whether it was or not, who do you think torched the place? Elliot, as Mr. Robot, or was it Whiterose? Those who want to play may leave their thoughts in the comment section below.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

2 thoughts on “Mr Robot: eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt (R3v1ew)”

  1. Elliot and WR have both been known to burn hardware–the only two characters on the show to do so, in fact. My gut tells me that White Rose did the arson, but something about her surreal presence in that weird faraday cage…scratched that part of my mind…the part that knows that Elliot may very well actually *be* White Rose.


    1. Oh wow! Great idea, that White Rose could be Elliot as well. Like you I was a bit blown away by that faraday cage…Thanks for sharing, I definitely thought that WR burned the shop, precisely because of her abject paranoia about security. Cheers mate!


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