Mr. Fusion: Who Is Mr. Robot’s Landlord? Eps3.0power-saver-mode.h
Who Is Mr. Robot’s Landlord?
So what did I do with the long wait between Season 2 and Season 3? Hmmm, I wrote like 70 Mr. Robot articles (not kidding).
In other words, I took anything but take a break from Mr. Robot.
Mr. Robot Eps3.0power-saver-mode.h led me to contemplate fusion, time-travel, parallel universes and disintegration in under one hour and fifteen minutes. Enjoy!
Okay, here we go.
If you have not watched every episode of Mr. Robot or read Red Wheelbarrow this could contain spoilers *Spoiler Alert*
“Back In Time”
Let’s do the least important part first.
What if the Washington Township Facility (WTF), a nuclear power plant, is being used by password ‘whiterose’ (from now on just ‘whiterose’) to generate enough power to literally travel “Back In TIme” just like in Elliot’s favorite movie “Back To The Future?”
Sincere apologies for all the haterade I sent towards all of the “Back to the Future” and “SciFi” Mr. Robot theorists over the last two seasons, it is quite possible they were onto something.
When Angela said:
“What if I told you we could make it like none of this ever happened. I mean everything. Including what happened to our parents. If we could take it all back?”
I knew I had misread the Back to the Future references, but I am still sticking to Occam’s Razor.
Here is an article from Wired in 2013 explaining the kind of power that would be necessary to go back in time, and how one might attain it:
“Now, how do you get 5 x 108 – 5 x 109 Joules? Doc Brown’s first choice was to use plutonium. Although he didn’t give too much of the details, I guess he was using Plutonium-239. Pu-239 is radioactive, but I don’t think that’s how it gave energy in this case. Instead, I guess that there was some type of fission process that broke the nucleus into smaller pieces. Since the pieces have less mass than the original, you also get energy (E = mc2). The Wikipedia page on plutonium as the details, but let’s just say that one Plutonium atom produces 200 MeV (mega electron volts) in the fission process (3.2 x 10-11 Joules). In a typical nuclear reactor (which probably wouldn’t use Plutonium-239), this energy is used to increase the temperature of water to make steam. The steam then turns an electric turbine to produce electricity. Clearly, that’s not happening here. I’m not sure what’s going on – but surely it’s not a 100% efficient process. I am going to say it’s 50% efficient. In order to get 5 x 108 Joules, I would need: Since 1 Plutonium-239 atom has a mass of 3.29 x 10-25 kg, this would require a fuel mass of just 1.2 x 10-5 kg. That seems possible.”
Obviously, while time-travel to the future has been proven possible, time-travel backward is thought to be impossible (you have to do some crazy stuff to hold two wormholes open).
However, plenty of folks have suggested possible fixes to both the Grandmother and the backward time travel problems and Michio Kaku often talks about things being possible even if we don’t entirely understand how they are possible “yet,” so let’s not discount the idea out of hand.
I suspect Sam Esmail will just harness one of the theories for how backward time-travel is possible and apply the fusion solution to it.
One possible solution is parallel universes, and (oddly enough) guess what was mentioned in the first few minutes of Eps 3.0 by a group walking through the WTF?
Yup, you guessed it, parallel universes.
Anyway, the WTF modified to become a fusion reactor could allow us to visit parallel universes and to time travel backward (in other words, to visit any moment in time, in a parallel and interacting universe). Also, a particle accelerator is also one of the methods that could create fusion power.
Or, perhaps, this quantum physics theory presents us with the answer:
“It might sound odd to have high-level physicists congratulating each other for figuring out that time travel isn’t real, but in reality it’s physicists’ slavish adherence to mathematical logic has made this conversation necessary. Looking at the most current mathematical models for time and space, there’s simply no reason that the arrow of time can’t be turned backwards, that you can’t enter a so-called “closed time-like curve” (CTC) and loop back around to the past. No reason, of course, except that that’s obviously impossible. The insight published this week is that quantum superposition may offer an out, which both allows time travel and eliminates the paradox. Consider our general situational setup, with a photon going back in time to switch off the machine which first emitted it. This photon will at all times be in a superposition of states, meaning that it can have multiple, sometimes directly conflicting, states at the same time. That certainly sounds useful if we’re interesting in wiping out impossible contradictions, doesn’t it? It is slightly more complex than all that, but the math essentially boils down to that. The actual experiment claims to have confirmed a principle called self-consistency, which basically states that if a particle went back in time it would have a certain probability of emerging and self-interfering across time, and that that probability is fixed to that probability that it will enter the CTC and go back in time. The upshot is that any object traveling backward in time actually has a sort of multi-dimensional probability distribution — much like an electron is in all places within its positional probability distribution. In the past, physicists have traditionally used the probabilistic model to say that while backward time travel is technically possible it is also functionally impossible — that the probability of being able to travel back in a CTC and self-interfere is vanishingly close to zero but, importantly, not actually zero overall. This new experiment could show a way to a more robust, and sci-fi friendly, alternative.”
Or as one one of the ARG folks figured out by running a QR code hidden in 3.0, it could use a particle collider to create the time travel itself.
Regardless, it is hard to forget that ‘whiterose’ explicitly told Angela last season that her Mother had been involved in a project to bring humanity to the next level at the WTF and then makes a reference to it coming full circle by telling his aide that he is using Elliot to get what he needs and then suggests that when they are done with Elliot that he can “die for us just like his Father did.”
Honestly, the fix is less interesting than trying to figure out what ‘whiterose’s’ plan for taking advantage of time travel is. And, at the end of the day, even if I am right, the scheme is just the McGuffin. If you read my interview with Sam Esmail about "plot," you know this part is not as important as the human drama inside the plot.
Mr. Robot is much more fun if you take some theoretical shots. If I end up being wrong, apologies in advance.
Sam Esmail has been talking for months about how Season 3 is “about Disintegration:”
"Esmail leans on two words as he describes Mr. Robot season three: disintegration and duality."
There are plenty of reasons to take this literally.
There is a pretty decent chance that Darlene is only walking the streets because she is working with the FBI (not saying it is 100% but Santiago was threatening a Patriot Act detention to Gitmo...how is she out and about?).
We also now know that Angela is playing Elliot in order to take down E-Corp and as Mr. Robot suggests when she is talking to him, he isn’t going to take it well if he finds out. She lies to his face when he first sees her, telling the story of being kidnapped by the Dark Army and about being scared (true) but entirely left out the part about joining up and becoming the Dark Army’s official “Elliot-Wrangler.”
In other words, Elliot could find out that the two people that he loves and trusts most in the world are betraying him.
Last season, some of the writing I got the most heat for was suggesting that Elliot, by creating and unleashing 5/9, had destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives. I love Elliot too, but the scene of him in front of the “In Memoriam” wall is exactly what I was talking about.
Let’s not be naive, if you unleash a hack that takes down the world economy, you have some moral culpability for hurting and killing large numbers of people.
Elliot’s new plan is to undo all of the damage that he has done in the past and while he works hard to pull that off at his brand new job at ECorp the person he trusts most in the world is actively working against his plan and in cahoots with his Alter Mr. Robot.
Yup, that is a recipe for Disintegration if I have ever seen one.
But Disintegration could work very well in all of the contexts we have covered so far:
the process of losing cohesion or strength.
"the twin problems of economic failure and social disintegration"
the process of coming to pieces.
"the disintegration of infected cells"
a process in which a nucleus or other subatomic particle emits a smaller particle or divides into smaller particles.
Well, at least the Back to the Future References makes more sense now.
Oh, a few last Angela things:
Did anyone else notice, however, that in the “last season” bit at the beginning, during Elliot’s dream dinner, the buildings started to collapse just like at the end of Fight Club when Tyler, still bleeding (just like Elliot was at the end of Season 2) reaches out to Marla and embraces the new world (note that Angela also talks about bringing about the new world at the end of 3.0)?
This is what I wrote last week in my “Angela 101” piece:
“Angela is willing to go to incredible lengths to obtain justice against E-Corp. She ingratiated herself as an E-Corp employee, and with Phillip Price, just to get the information necessary to bring down E-Corp. At great personal risk, she took the information that she got to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission only to find that the Government itself was corrupted and infiltrated by ECorp.Left with no options, and presented with a fait accompli by password ‘whiterose’, Angela decides that if she wants justice her only option is to join forces with the Dark Army. I think it would be a mistake to assume that she is any more committed to the Dark Army than she was committed to E-Corp. I suspect that her end goal has and will always be the same, get revenge (justice is almost always really revenge) on E-Corp.”
I was pretty close on that one, she almost says that word for word to Mr. Robot at the end of episode 3.0.
I think this makes Angela a femme fatale in the most classic film noir sense.
Finally, the line where Elliot says (about Angela), “She loves the people who don't love her, this is her power saver mode” was pretty deep. I have known so many people who live that sadness.
Protective armor, whether it is backed up by dating the wrong people, taking the wrong substances, engaging in risky and/or dangerous behaviors or all of the above, always end in tears.
The Best Trick The Devil Ever Pulled?
Elliot has a great monologue where he explains that E-Corp has turned 5/9 to their advantage and used it to convince everyone, as Corporations always seem to do, that it was everyone but them who were to blame for the world’s misery.
He points out that Fsociety shirts have become commodities (the new Che Guevara T-shirt) and that the Corporations have reduced anti-corporate anger into a fashion-statement
In other words, the Fascists have presented themselves as the sole route to true safety and real freedom to the people who want to hear about the Deep State at the same time they have commodified the revolution for the progressives and Democrats.
Two of my favorite lines:
“We didn't get rid of the invisible hand, it turned it into a fist that punched us In the dick.”
“They turned our dissent into intellectual property.”
Very exciting and fast-paced episode, I really liked Bobby Cannavale’s “Irving” even if I didn’t talk about him too much here. I suspect that ‘whiterose's' assistant is going to become significant too (he seems to have frustrated ambitions and a desire to prove himself important).
They also did a nice job of working an E-Coin commercial seamlessly into the mix (I actually missed it the first time).
Question: Were you as happy to see Qwerty as I was?
Probably should also mention that I am pretty sure that early music during the 'whiterose' scene was a reworked version of the 'Legend of Lone Wolf' intro from the movie 'Shogun Assassin' sampled on GZA's 'Liquid Swords' on the album of the same name.
Until next time, “The Contemplation Moves Me Deeply”