Subtext: Who Is Mr. Robot’s Landlord?

WIMRL Hero 3 Blue.jpg

"Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord?"

In case you missed “Who Is Mr. Robot’s Landlord?” last week here is my recap of Eps3.1undo.gz

Also, don't forget, if you like my recaps, sign-up and add OPS to your feeds.

If you have not watched every episode of Mr. Robot or read Red Wheelbarrow this could contain spoilers *Spoiler Alert*

God Is In The Details

USA Network

USA Network

No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord - Deuteronomy 23:1

Last season I took a ton of grief from Redditors who would get mad when I suggested that Elliot had committed many crimes, caused many deaths (as the result of 5/9), and that he had probably shot Tyrell Wellick with the “popcorn gun.”

After tonight's episode, I take back my apology. I was mostly right.

E-Prime, in the form of Mr. Robot, did in fact attempt to shoot Tyrell and but for a pistol malfunction, Tyrell would have gone down for the dirt nap (nice suit and all).

Elliot wasn’t entirely wrong to feel guilty about having shot Tyrell during Season 2 (he just had a faulty memory of the actual events).

Even more interesting:

* We found out that Tyrell doesn’t really know Elliot as we know him (as the dominant part of E Prime), he knows Mr. Robot

* We found out that somehow, in making the decision not to take a second shot at killing Tyrell, Mr. Robot revealed that he is attracted to Tyrell

And yes, I am fairly sure different fragments of a single person could theoretically have different sexual orientations, so Elliot could like girls while Mr. Robot likes boys (or could be bisexual I suspect).  

So, Tyrell is in love with an aspect of E-Prime, but he is in love with Mr. Robot not with Elliot (Tyrrobot not Tyrelliot). I think, in a sense, we see Tyrell switch from Joanna Wellick and to Mr. Robot throughout the episode as he sees more and more information about Joanna’s reaction to his disappearance.

If GOD is two people working together in harmony (something Tyrell suggested during 3.2) Tyrell can no longer enter the assembly of Joanna’s love, so he is changing dance partners.

If GOD is two people working together in harmony Mr. Robot can no longer enter the assembly of Elliot’s love, so he is changing dance partners.

Also, this should finally put an end to the actual Tyrelliot theory (which suggested that Tyrell is one of E-Prime's alternate personalities)(or will just cause people to double down...sigh)

The Dark Army (or China) Were Responsible for President Donald J. Trump

USA Network

USA Network

I am starting to wonder why “The Assistant” is still working for Minister Zhang since, to date, I have yet to see Minister Zhang be pleased with his assistant (apparently, The Assistant will be diving into the Rosetta Stone English program soon).

It is certainly interesting to consider if China and not Russia had been responsible for the rise of Trump.  

Obviously, the incentive makes much more sense if the puppet master pulling the strings is the Dark Army and not China (since the Dark Army appears to benefit whenever anyone else loses). But, wouldn’t it be interesting if someone else set Russia up to take the fall for the Trump election (the best trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist).

Zhang also tells “The Assistant” and the Dark Army bot & fake news specialist (Frank Cody) to plant a fake trail tying Fsociety to Iran while simultaneously pushing positive stories about Tyrell right before he tells him that he wants to get Trump elected.

Or as B.D. Wong put it during the commercial break right after his segment:

And by the way, I talked briefly with Grant Chang (who plays “The Assistant”) last week:

I guess if Quentin Tarantino can counterfactually reconstruct WW2 & the American South, Sam Esmail can counterfactually reconstruct the 2016 election.


USA Network

USA Network

I have long believed that Darlene is working for the FBI because she wants to and not just because she has to. 

Darlene is working with the FBI because she wants to destroy the Dark Army for assassinating Cisco (who she loved).

I have no doubt that she will do everything she can possibly do to protect Elliot, but she also wants (badly) to take down the Dark Army (in her own way) as much as Dom does.

Sam included a nice small flashback scene showing Cisco (RIP) and Darlene talking about escaping together to Casablanca (Budapest) after things quiet down. Remember that Darlene ended up killing Susan Jacobs mostly because of the enmity she held towards Jacobs since childhood. Darlene is not someone who forgives easily.

Down the road, I suspect Darlene will become towards the Dark Army what Angela has been towards E-Corp (Driven).


USA Network

USA Network

It was interesting and appropriate for Sam to do this deep dive into what happened to Tyrell Wellick (since we had to fill in the entire period in his character arc between Season 1 and the end of Season 2).

After Irving, who is like the Dark Army version of ‘The Wolf’ from Pulp Fiction, spirits Tyrell off to a secret compound (that functions like a chastity belt - nothing gets in) and Elliot gets himself arrested Tyrell starts to do the work Mr. Robot suggested to him during their brief discussion held prior to Irving’s arrival at the Fsociety hideout on Coney Island.

While it was fascinating to see Tyrell chopping wood and watching television with Dark Army soldiers (in masks) there were two things that really stood out to me:

First was the appearance of the new character “Mr. Williams.”

Mr. Williams was played by Wallace Shannon who played Vizzini in the movie The Princess Bride (remember that Rat Tail’s screen name was “Dread Pirate Roberts - a shout out to the Silk Road Hack but also to Princess Bride).

I kept waiting for him to say that something Tyrell said was ‘inconceivable’ but it never happened.

Mr. Williams played, in a somewhat less surreal way, the role that young Angela served in the scene between Angela and ‘whiterose.’

His job is/was to test people to make sure they are loyal to the Dark Army or to their interests.

For a very long time, I have suggested that Elliot’s rage towards his Father foregrounds his two personalities. The split happened when he was pushed out of the window by his father (childhood trauma) and the personalities represent the ideal Father who he remembers lovingly and as well-meaning and caring (Elliot) and the cruel Father who pushed him out the window (Mr. Robot).

There are a few people on Reddit who continue to argue that Edward Alderson never pushed Elliot out of his window.

I think this theory is total insanity.

I have always believed that Mr. Robot is a show much more about Occam’s razor than it is about Oliver Stone, so this theory is discredited in my mind before it even got going. But the entire show makes very little sense without Edward pushing Elliot out of his own bedroom window as a child.

The ONLY trauma which has been suggested in the entire history of the show capable of inducing the dissociative split was this event and it is this even which makes sense of everything Elliot has done:

Why is Elliot nice while Mr. Robot is more Machiavellian?

Because the two parts represent Elliot’s idyllic memories of his father juxtaposed against the reality of who his father really was. His struggle is literally involved in trying to make sense of how the same person could both gently encourage Elliot and also hurt Elliot.

His insecurity and social anxiety come from the struggle virtually everyone with social anxiety deals with...If my parent who is supposed to love me more than anyone else and who I loved deeply, doesn’t truly love me (would push me out a window), why can I trust anyone else?

Why does Elliot hate E-Corp?

Because they killed his father, it has become the focal point of ALL of his rage and allows him to use and give purpose to his (often) murderous rage in general.

Remember in Eps3.0 when ‘whiterose’ says Elliot is critical because of his “Rage?”

The source of Elliot’s rage isn’t just that E-Corp killed his father but also that Elliot was intensely angry at his father in ways that he could not resolve internally (hence the split).

Elliot’s struggle is also Mr. Robot’s struggle.

Sometimes it is hard to remember this, but Mr. Robot is Elliot and Elliot is Mr. Robot.

USA Today

USA Today

What links Mr. Robot to Tyrell Wellick is the poem Red Wheelbarrow which their fathers both used to read to them as boys.

Mr. Williams forces Tyrell to finally admit that he loves and HATES his own father. That his deep anger (remember the scenes of him paying a homeless person to let him beat him up? Or killing Sharon Knowles with his bare hands?) is foregrounded by an almost Freudian anger towards his father.

What links Mr. Robot and Tyrell? They both deeply hate their Fathers. What sense does Elliot’s character arc make if Edward didn’t push Elliot out of the window? What else explains his psychology?


USA Network

USA Network

Okay, one other pretty important thing happened while Tyrell was ensconced in the country. For some crazy reason, Tyrell decides to leave the protected compound and gets himself caught by a rural policeman who calls the FBI (no offense to Sam but it is really incomprehensible how this was kept under wraps).

Anyway, the FBI comes to pick Tyrell up only the FBI agent kills the officer and returns Tyrell to the compound. This happens because the agent was working for the Dark Army and his name was (drumroll please):

Senior Agent Santiago

Yup, Dom’s superior officer (that Santiago).

This explains why the FBI always seems to fumble every lead Dom finds and why they seem to be slowplaying everything she does.

This explains how the Dark Army found and assassinated Cisco (FBI tipped them off).

This at least partially explains the bungled Dark Army hit on Dom in China.

This explains how the Dark Army knew Darlene was working for the FBI (not that it was hard to suss that one out).

There are probably at least a hundred other examples which I will think of, and probably write about later.

I do want to give a shout out to Bobby Cannavale for the really subtle work he did in connecting emotionally with Tyrell over stories that were entirely concocted (and grounded in the little details that he added to his own backstory).

It reminded me a lot of Verbal Kint telling stories during the movie The Usual Suspects by using names on the police bulletin board behind his head

It also reminded me a bit of the scene in Reservoir Dogs where Tim Roth’s Mr. Orange learns “The Story.”

Finally, it was good to see Joanna again (briefly) but that does not mean she is still alive. Also, it was great to see Leon again.

Okay, that is all I have today, sorry for the delay, I came back from DC yesterday and I was exhausted.

This is a 100% reader-funded blog. Please consider following Josh on Twitter, throwing some money into the On Pirate Satellite hat on Patreon, or adding OnPirateSatellite to your feeds.