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'Mr. Robot' recap: Without user interaction

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “da3m0ns.mp4” | Aired July 15, 2015

What the hell, Mr. Robot? What are you doing to us?

Last week I theorized that Mr. Robot himself is a figment of Elliot’s subconscious, but what if the whole hacker squad is in Elliot’s head? Each member, Romero, Mobley, Mr. Robot, Trenton, and Darlene could represent one facet or another of Elliot’s personality—a daemon, if you will—and he is splintering into these identities as a way to cope with the stress of all his troubles.

Elliot comes up with a plan on Mr. Robot

As Elliot slips further and further into his withdrawal haze, his grip on the other identities starts to shift and they begin to slide. The last half of the episode is a fevered dream that comes after he’s passed out in a roadside hotel room. None of the Mr. Robot team showed up in his dream; only Angela and Tyrell, suggesting that these two characters are the only “real” characters in his life.

It’s becoming obvious that Elliot is an unreliable narrator. Therefore, nothing that happens in his point of view can be trusted. Elliot also keeps speaking to someone in his narration and once mentions “creating” them. Is he talking to Mr. Robot? Himself? Both?

He’s devised a new plan to hack Steel Mountain that is far less destructive but much more dangerous, and requires his physical presence to be successful. It’s really risky, prompting Romero to accuse the team of “losing your collective minds,” hinting that they may share a mind?

Romero helps Elliot on Mr. Robot

Elliot’s withdrawals get the best of him, and the team has to stop for the night in a hotel room. The writers take this as an opportunity to wink at the viewer a little. Mobley and Romero are watching the 1995 movie Hackers and laughing at the absurdity of the “Hollywood hacker bullshit.” It gets even more meta when Romero tells Mobley, “I bet right now, some writer is working hard on a TV show that’ll mess up this generation’s idea of hacker code.”

Meanwhile, Elliot slips into unconsciousness, his inner voice pleading with someone, “Don’t be mad at me. I know I slipped. I’m about the change the world.” This is after Elliot mulls over—also through inner monologue—the idea of daemons, conflating their meanings with intrinsic human characteristics like primal urges and unconscious habits. Elliot thinks that “intentions don’t drive us, daemons do” and even admits that he “has more than most.”

His dream is packed full of Elliot’s daemons and a ton of Freudian symbolism. It starts out simple enough; every junkie probably knows the desire for “one more hit,” but the drug house he goes to is shot up, and the girl on his lap dies. Elliot’s feelings of guilt over his habit manifest in this sequence, especially as fsociety come on the television. They are linked in Elliot’s mind.

Elliot takes on the mask and Mr. Robot offers him a key, which is a nod to an earlier conversation Elliot had with the “actual” Mr. Robot. He tells Elliot, “You are key. You’re the only force of nature at play here.”

Elliot as the only “natural” part of the operation suggests he is the only one with a real identity and body, and when the masked Mr. Robot asks him about his monster, it’s probably asking him to consider what drives his psyche—the originator of his psychology.

The phrase “your monster” comes up repeatedly throughout the dream. The little girl on the street asks him, “What’s your monster?” as they stand in front of a vacant lot that, presumably, was his childhood home (the mailbox said, “The Aldersons”). All that’s left is a “404 error. Not found” message. Elliot can’t go home, or at least feels disconnected to the concept of it.

The little girl on the scooter reminds Elliot they aren’t friends and rides away humming the childhood song “Frère Jacques.” The lullaby, originally in written in French, translates to, “Are you sleeping, are you sleeping/Brother John, Brother John/ Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing/Ding ding dong/Ding ding dong.”

The song is about a monk who oversleeps; his fellow clergymen have to wake him up to sound the bells for morning church—a metaphor for Elliot’s purpose in the revolution.

Next, Elliot finds himself in his apartment—still dreaming. The betta fish bemoans the unchanging nature of his existence—again a metaphor. The fish tells Elliot, “I’m on a loop. I’m exhausted with this world,” and then tells Elliot what to do for a fish who’s tired of the view: “You move him to the goddamned window.”

Tyrell holds the key (Elliot) on Mr. Robot

This portion of the dream takes place as Tyrell looks on, holding the key between his fingers. Perhaps Elliot is the metaphorical key, and Tyrell is the controlling force propelling the whole revolution. Maybe. It’s just a theory

The remainder of the dream moves through Elliot’s personal relationships. He must watch Angela eat his betta fish, even though he protests, calling the fish “my friend.” He also sees his mother force-feed the fish to a younger Elliot. He, on the other hand, eats a raspberry pie (which is a callback to an earlier reference Darlene made to Raspberry Pi—a computer term for a circuit board). Elliot finds the same key in his raspberry pie, and Angela accepts it as a proposal for marriage.

They’re whisked off to applause to their wedding at Mr. Robot headquarters, where Angela tells him, “You were only born yesterday,” and accuses him of being afraid of his monster. She tells him he’s not Elliot, but the dream cuts off before she can say who he is. It sounds like she’s going to say “Mr. Robot,” but that’s just conjecture.

Elliot wants to know what Mr. Robot thinks

Elliot jolts awake, sad and thinking he’s alone, but Mr. Robot is there. He assures Elliot, “I’m not going anywhere, kiddo. We’re in this ’til the end.” I’m not sure if this makes me feel better or more apprehensive about what’s in store for Elliot, but he seems comforted.

I didn’t even really get around to Darlene and Trenton’s adventures with her ex-boyfriend, and current Dark Army contact. Nor did I get to address Angela and Shayla’s big night out, that kiss, or that killer pep talk.

Maybe next time …

Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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