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August 12, 2016
By Katherine Kozelski
Bonsoir, TEKsavvy blog readers. Before we start our recap, keep in mind that our Mr. Robot posts will be chock full of spoilers, so don’t read ahead unless you’re all caught up!
So who else wants to hitch a ride on the next Alderson family road trip? Minus the whole kidnapped person in the trunk, mom punching you in the face and running over a cop thing, it actually seems like fun! The most recent episode of Mr. Robot takes us back to a classic early 1990s family sitcom, complete with a laugh track, witty banter, and snazzy costumes and makeup.
While we’re used to seeing Elliot uncomfortable in social situations, Elliot is clearly out of place in this sitcom. With every fake studio audience reaction, Elliot becomes more confused about’s happening and why Tyrell Wellick is tied up in their trunk. The road trip finally comes to an end when Mr. Robot leads Elliot into the hospital to wake up from the beating he suffered last week.
Meanwhile, Dark Angela (the new badass Season 2 side of Angela) is tasked with learning how to hack in one day. Easy enough, right? Darlene figures out how to exploit Angela’s new job at E Corp and hack the FBI, which just so happens to share an office building. Just as Angela is about to leave for her mission, Darlene’s boyfriend comes up the stairs, and Angela realizes he’s the one who hacked her ex-boyfriend’s computer with a fake music CD. Ignoring this realization, Angela heads to the E Corp offices with Darlene in her ear to set up the femtocell device. For those who don’t know, the femtocell will allow fsociety to listen in on the FBI’s Android devices—calls, texts, emails—and it also can alter data connections. With a few hiccups and a roadblock from a steamy FBI agent whom we’re sure to see more of, Angela escapes back to her desk only to be greeted by Dom. Does she already know more than we think?
As the episode comes to a close, we find out Elliot wasn’t actually in a legitimate hospital; instead, he was under the careful watch of Ray and his posse in some sketchy care facility. Mr. Robot then reveals he brought Elliot into this sitcom fantasyland so he wouldn’t have to suffer through the pain. This is the first time we really see a father-son relationship between the two. As opposed to having his guard up and wanting to push Mr. Robot away, Elliot is vulnerable and embraces the care he has needed from his dad. This father-son moment is mirrored as the episode ends with a car ride between a younger Elliot and his dad. In the flashback, his dad finally builds up the courage to tell Elliot he has cancer. The Dad quickly switches topics to tell Elliot about his new computer store Elliot will have the duty of naming. Can you guess the name?
Would you tune in to this version of TGIF?
Cam: I got very nostalgic with the TGIF-esque opening sequence. Complete with a happy jingle (with creepy lyrics), happy family (aside from Darlene getting punched by her mom), plastic smiles and guest appearances! The jingle sounded almost identical to the Full House or Family Matters jingle, and I wouldn't be surprised if Sam Esmail had the original creators produce it.
Regan: I loved the throwback dream sequence, albeit weird. The show really went for it, including the commercials. Oh, and visit e-corp-online.com, you won't be disappointed! The marketing and attention to detail is off the charts; I think the files and images in the folders are secret codes to what's going to happen this season.
Katherine: While I grew up in the prime TGIF-era with Full House and Step by Step, this grittier version might’ve drawn actual viewers! The writers did a great job with the laugh track and cheesy one-liners. And the commercials? Icing on the cake!
Kelly: I went to after-school specials rather than TGIF, but same difference! They nailed the look and feel of those shows, and it was such a strange juxtaposition with the abuse and other dark undertones.
Will the sitcom be referenced again?
Kelly: I caught myself wondering how many clues to real events were in this "sitcom"? I'm guessing the abuse was a real pull from Elliot's memory. Tyrell in the trunk is probably real, too, but the show keeps implying he's still alive, so maybe not the murder part. It was very interesting that Mr. Robot admitted he's not the real or original personality, so there goes my odd theory that Elliot was the dead one.
Katherine: I didn’t even think about the fact that there were more personalities or voices prior to Mr. Robot—I figured it was triggered when his dad died. But the whole family was poking fun at Elliot’s voices during the road trip.
Regan: I’m not sure the sitcom will be referenced, but we definitely had some questions answered. We know that Elliot was actually beaten up by Ray’s guys and that it wasn’t just a delusion. I also feel show confirmed that Tyrell is still alive since they killed Gideon in the dream.
Will Angela continue to be a pawn for fsociety?
Kelly: So Angela now knows that she's been played from the beginning, and that she's caught in Elliot and Darlene's net. It’s ironic, then, that Elliot is now caught in Ray's web. But if Elliot has (literally) embraced his Mr. Robot side, maybe that will help him figure a way out?
Regan: I think Angela is just starting to put the pieces together with Darleen’s boyfriend showing up at the apartment, but she doesn’t know how to get any kind of power back yet. And can we discuss the scene at the FBI’s office? Did Angela really take that long to answer his questions, because an FBI agent would find that suspicious. Also, no one else was around that whole time. Not sure how realistic that scene was.
Katherine: Yes, Regan! I highly doubt an entire FBI unit goes out to lunch and abandons the office. We’re definitely going to see more of that agent. Angela’s power play might be taking advantage of this FBI agent’s position and getting more access for fsociety—she could use that to get more control in fsociety.
Follow us next week as the theories continue and Sam Esmail’s complex web of characters confuses us all. Have any theories of your own or want to join us in conversation? Comment below.