Up to this point, Elliot’s journey throughout the first season of Mr. Robot has been dedicated to coping with his fear of social situations, and joining an underground hacking group (real or otherwise) to take down the Evil Corporation he believes is responsible for his father’s untimely demise. Though all signs—especially Angela’s search for the truth—point to the reality of what E Corp did, it’s been hard to discern how much of what’s happening in the show represents reality. Having an unreliable, drug-reliant, and mentally ill protagonist as the narrator tends to do that to you.
Things might have become a bit clearer, though, in the wake of Shayla’s death. This week’s episode, while not as suspenseful, was shocking in its own way. Over a month has gone by since the events with Fernando Vera crescendoed, and Elliot has withdrawn even further, using his grief as fuel for his day to day work at All Safe. With his “disappearance,” as the promo teased, F Society has fallen apart, Angela has worked closer with a lawyer on the E Corp case, and Tyrell Wellick tried to deal with the fact that Scott’s been offered the role of CTO over him—and he may very well lose his job once Scott takes over. The interesting thing about this week’s episode, though, was how everyone’s lives have continued to exist without Elliot.
Like salt in an open wound, episode 7 opened with a flashback of the day Elliot first met Shayla. After coming back home from wherever he’d been (probably work), Elliot heard rustling in Shayla’s apartment. Being the non-confrontational loner he is, he quickly opened the door to his place, stepped in, and locked it. As he’s about to dig into his drugs, Shayla banged on the door, yelling that she’s going to bleed all over the carpet if he doesn’t let her in. My initial reaction to this scene was, “Oh shit, is he hallucinating or seeing her ghost? That’s dark.” But, alas, it was just a shot from a moment in the past that both explained how he met her and why he felt so guilty about her death.
Still in flashback but now in contact, Shayla notices the drugs at Elliot’s place and tells him she can hook him up. When he asks for Suboxone in addition to Morphine, she tells him she’d have to reach out to a psychopath (Vera) to get it. Though she admits it’s dangerous, she tells Elliot that he might be worth a psycho and tells him she’ll reach out if he wants. The rest is history from there, and explains why he feels completely responsible for her death. Consider that knife shoved further in and twisted. The only thing I’m wondering at this point is what Elliot was up to during the month following her murder. I’m assuming he probably did a boatload of drugs because that’s how he’s coped with his feelings in the past, but I suppose that’s obvious and skipping forward in time was the better way to move the story forward.
His opening monologue—as always—said it all:
“It makes me hate myself that I’ve already gotten used to the idea of her [Shayla] not being here. In a year I’ll maybe think about her every once in a while. Then she’ll become an anecdote, a thing to say. I knew a girl that died with the added bonus of, she died because of me. Maybe I should hate myself.”
To make matters worse, his year of required therapy has finished, forcing Krista’s hand despite the fact that she believes he still needs help. To have the one other person he’s been able to talk to—aside from Shayla—push him out the door doesn’t bode well for the impulsive protagonist. (His internal reaction: “If you haven’t figured it out yet, she’s trying to get rid of me.”) Which is probably why he made the trip back to her office in the last few minutes of the episode to tell her that he watched her through her webcam, knows what pornography she likes, who she trusts, how she views herself, and even what drugs she takes. As a look of horror washed over her face, he reassured her that despite the fact that he hacks everyone he knows, he’s helped people. He’s only ever wanted to find a way out of his loneliness. With Krista still frozen in fear, he asks, “Is that what you wanted to hear?” I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling he was doing this to somehow get back into her care.
After his initial visit to Krista’s office, we saw Elliot get raked over the coals by Gideon for spending too much time at work after his loss. Advising him to take time off and find someone he can be his “true self” with—which Ecaused Elliot to laugh while giving another monologue about how he used to rip off his favorite sites by clicking view source and messing around with the code. “View Souce. What if we had that for people. Would people really want to see?” Like with Krista, Shayla, and even Fernando Vera, Elliot has always connected to people via hacking, getting as much intel on them as possible to both take advantage of them and discern whether they’re equally as messed up. As he mentioned at the end of the episode, he’s always just been trying to find a way out of loneliness.
Meanwhile, Angela continued her quest to get justice for her mother’s death. Though the plan was to meet with the former CTO and her lawyer, Colby’s defense attorneys insisted that she go it alone. Despite the risk, she met with Colby in his home (because he’s on house arrest). When asked how much money she wanted, Angela instead offered him an ultimatum: if he answers her question—and agrees to testify against the executives who covered up the illegal dumping of toxic waste—she’ll testify on his behalf and say she was the one responsible for breaking the chain of custody with the file. Clearly amused, Colby laughed in her face and proceeded to tell her a bunch of disgusting things she should do with his genitalia before asking her question again. It was disturbing, misogynistic, and a frighteningly effective way to let Angela and the audience know with whom she’s dealing.
Thankfully Angela held her own, explaining that even if his lawyers managed to get him released, everyone would still know that he’s guilty, and the lost respect of everyone is basically guaranteed. This dig obviously worked, because after she left his place, Angela is asked to come back: he’ll take the deal. When asked what’s in it for her (and she explained what it was all about), Angela looked at him and said, “So you were drunk, eating shrimp cocktail and it was raining when you decided my mother would die? That’s why. So people like you won’t keep sitting in rooms together.” When finally able to ask him whether he felt bad about the decision, he admitted, “Yeah, sure. But then you go home, have dinner and you wake up the next morning.”
In another part of town, we saw Mr. Robot and the rest of F Society scrambling to get back together, without mentioning Elliot or trying to contact him (odd). The media has claimed the group is too weak and unintelligent to mount a successful attack, lighting a fire under Mr. Robot, prompting him to request a meeting with The Dark Army’s White Rose. Despite the fact that Darlene thinks he’s crazy and that whoever this White Rose guy is won’t agree to meet face to face, she’s told later on by her hacker ex-boyfriend that the meeting is going down. Seeing as next week’s episode is titled “wh1ter0se.m4v,” it looks like that meeting is happening. I’m weirdly hoping White Rose ends up being Angela. Now that would be a twist.
Elsewhere in the episode, our buddy Tyrell got quite a bit of screen time. There’s something really off about this guy and I’m hoping his disturbing actions connect to the main story at some point. Angela and Elliot’s paths have already sort of converged, but I’m confused why Tyrell’s petulant reaction to not being chosen as Evil Corp’s next CTO is important. It’s been a month since Scott told him he’d fire him as soon as he took the new position and he’s clearly not coping well. During a meeting with other executives who are as misogynistic as Colby (seeing a trend?), Tyrell interrupts their conversation and fires them all. When asked what they did, he says nothing.
The bizarre behavior didn’t stop there. When Tyrell attended a celebration for Scott, he tricked the new CTO’s wife into meeting him up on the roof for a secret rendezvous. Seeming unsure about it, he explained to her that the cameras up there haven’t worked in a while so they won’t be caught. When she shows up later on, though, she’s smug, telling him she only showed up to see how gullible he was. With her husband snagging the position he wanted and planning to fire him, she told him he was only doing this to cling to whatever he could. In a matter of seconds, though, they were making out, and before you know it, he’s on top of her with his hands around her neck. After realizing what he did, Tyrell quickly freaked out, wiping down her mouth and neck before running off.
I’m not sure which is more confusing: the murder itself or the look on Tyrell’s face after committing it. Despite his predisposition to explode, Tyrell’s always been able to restrain himself. It’s unclear whether he’d planned to kill her all along or whether he got caught up in the moment. Whatever the case, he instantly regretted it, and is more panicked now than when Scott told him he was going to fire him. Since the cameras stopped working on the roof, that might buy him enough time to use this to his advantage. However, with Angela trying to get Colby off the hook, odds are the position won’t even be available anymore and all of this would have been for naught.
The plot thickens.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below, or start a conversation with me on Twitter: @sam3214