The episode “wh1ter0se” might has well have been an atomic bomb for the way it hit the Mr. Robot fandom. The stunning revelatory hour answered about as many questions as it asked and ended with the stunning reveal that the characters of Darlene and Mr. Robot were both related to Elliot. It was nothing short of a jaw-dropping that Mr. Robot shared the same face as Elliot’s previously assumed deceased father and Mr. Robot fans struggled to make sense of the new information.
In the bombshell’s wake there were two popular theories that surfaced. One was that Elliot’s father is really dead and Mr. Robot’s appearances on the show have been a combination of Elliot’s imagination and him assuming another persona who acts like his dead father. The other is that Elliot’s dad merely faked his death and is not the product of his son’s fractured identity but a real breathing human person. I’m here to say that everyone who believes the first theory is wrong. Mr. Robot is real and I’m going to prove it.
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Elliot Forgot Darlene Why Couldn’t He Forget His Dad
Mr. Robot has called into question everything that we understood with the reveal that Darlene is really Elliot’s sister. Pretty much everything Elliot has told us through his voiceover narration is suspect now. Elliot was always a somewhat unreliable narrator but now it’s confirmed that even Elliot doesn’t know everything that is happening. Since other character like Angela have talked about Elliot’s father being killed because of Evil Corp’s negligence it’s safe to assume that the public story is that Elliot’s father is deceased. This doesn’t meant that Elliot hasn’t known before now that his father was still alive.
In Darlene’s conversation with Elliot it was implied that he has forgotten her before, this wasn’t the first time he remembered he had a sister suddenly. It stands to reason that he goes through the same cycle of recognition and forgetting with his father. It would seem ridiculous knowing apparently close Elliot and his father were that he has let him think he is dead for year. Maybe that’s not the case though. Maybe Elliot’s father has revealed himself to Elliot before now and he hasn’t been hiding since Elliot’s death as young boy. Elliot has just forgotten that long history. It would certainly explain how Mr. Robot recruited Elliot to FSociety so quickly knowing exactly the right things to say to him. Mr. Robot didn’t remind his son he was alive because he knew Elliot would be more committed to bringing Evil Corp down if he though the corporation killed his father.
These first few episodes of Mr. Robot is a pattern the two go through on semi-regular basis.Elliot forgets his commitment to FSociety and his father being alive and Mr. Robot draws him back into the fold. It would go a long way to describe Darlene and everyone’s impatience with Elliot in the pilot. It also helps explain Mr. Robot’s affection and connection with Elliot. Their dynamic makes much more sense as an actual father and son relationship than if Mr. Robot being a figment of Elliot’s posing as his father.
Mr. Robot Has Different Relationships with Different People
It’s also important to consider that Darlene is Mr. Robot’s dad as well. There is a young girl in Elliot’s family photos and Darlene is roughly the same age as Elliot. If Mr. Robot is not Darlene’s biological father he was certainly around enough in her formative years to be a paternal figure. When we’ve seen Darlene and Mr. Robot interact it’s been in this type of dynamic. Darlene treats him as an authoritative figure, she bristles under his leadership but she respects him. It doesn’t appear to be a particularly close relationship, it’s even oftentimes antagonistic. It does though seem like he is a father figure to her if not her real father.
It’s also completely different than the connection Darlene has with her brother Elliot. Darlene cares for Elliot deeply, she called Elliot the best person she knows. If Mr. Robot was Elliot’s Tyler Durden, a persona he puts on in front FSociety you’d think Darlene would be more questioning fo it. She’s never backed down from Elliot and frequently calls him out on his weirdness. If Elliot acts like their dead father half of the time he’s around Darlene and their hacker associates, she’d certainly be more rude to Elliot. Instead Darlene is cowed by Mr. Robot on several occasions which stretches a lot of believability that Mr. Robot and Elliot are one in the same.
Mr. Robot has a past with characters other than Darlene like Romero and Tyrell and it appears to be quite a long history. If Mr. Robot is on-screen Elliot is usually sharing the spotlight but on a few occasions Mr. Robot has been alone with Tyrell and Romero. It could be argued that Mr. Robot’s solo scenes with Romero and Tyrell are really just Elliot but that doesn’t make much sense. Romero and Mr. Robot are clearly contemporaries and Mr. Robot talks to Romero like a peer he has known for a long time. Romero also seems scared of Mr. Robot and certainly wary of him. It wouldn’t make for the older, cynical and more experienced Romero to be so frightened of the young and addled, albeit brilliant, Elliot.
There is less evidence to dissect in the Tyrell and Mr. Robot partnership because their on-screen interactions have amounted to one scene. There is an important detail that is delivered in that scene though that lends credence to the theory that Mr. Robot is a real person. Tyrell threatens Mr. Robot and telling him that Tyrell alone knows the secret that could ruin him. If Mr. Robot is Elliot’s father a former Evil Corp employee who faked his death it would sense that Tyrell has a high ranking of Evil Corp’s organization has some dirt on the man. It doesn’t seem as likely that Tyrell has the same dirt on Elliot.
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Elliot’s Brain Injury
Lastly and the most compellingly is the scene between Mr. Robot and Elliot that happens at the end of the second episode. Elliot and Mr. Robot are discussing how Elliot’s relationship with his father dissolved when Elliot’s dad accidentally pushed his son out a window. The incident occurred after Elliot broke a promise to his father and the man went into a rage.
Now not only does this story sound awfully like a confrontation Darlene had with Mr. Robot after she disobeyed him, it ended in Elliot hitting his head. This incident could be what caused Elliot’s memory loss. This formative trauma could’ve and very likely did create Elliot’s fractured and disparate mind and it was caused because of his father, hence why so many of Elliot’s issue surround this one man, Mr. Robot. It could also explain why Elliot has a mental block in remembering his family because a family member directly caused his memory problems.
The thing that really puts the nail in the coffin is how the scene ends. Mr. Robot tells Elliot that the accident was Elliot’s fault. It doesn’t matter that Elliot was kid, he shouldn’t have broken his promise and then Mr. Robot pushes Elliot off the pier they are sitting on into the rocks below. It should be mentioned that this conversation is happening because Elliot has just broken his promise to Mr. Robot by telling him, he doesn’t want to be a part of FScociety anymore. Essentially it is the same scene that happened years before.
It is definitely plausible that it is all Elliot’s psyche. He’s imagining this conversation with his father, who he doesn’t actually remember is his father, and recreates the accident in question by throwing himself off the ledge. While it’s plausible though it doesn’t seem very likely. Elliot is surprised when Mr. Robot tells him that the accident was his fault, Elliot can’t inform himself of new information. This interpretation of the accident is coming from Elliot father’s point of view. Elliot might be crazy but he’s not that crazy. Elliot can imagine talking to the ghost of his dead father but he can’t know what his dead father thought almost ten years ago.
But what do you think? Is Elliot some bizarre Mr. Robot combination of Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense and Edward Norton from Fight Club? Is Mr. Robot dead or is he alive? Will we ever even find out for sure?
Mr. Robot airs on Wednesdays at 10pm on USA
(images courtesy of USA)