Tales From A Red Wheelbarrow (eps1.91_redwheelbarr0w.txt) Part 17: Maxine's Eyes


Tales From a Red Wheelbarrow


I am doing a deep dive into the book Red Wheelbarrow by Sam Esmail and Courtney Looney.

Today I am covering the entries for June 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th.

The name of the books is a reference to the William Carlos Williams poem "The Red Wheelbarrow," and I suspect that the book is an attempt to hack tv through literature.

If you have not seen Seasons 1 and 2 of Mr. Robot, and are not reading Red Wheelbarrow, it is possible that there will be spoilers * Spoiler Alert *

Runny Scrambled Eggs


Prison food tastes exactly as badly as you imagine.

Where I was housed, the meals rotated on a never ending two-week loop of unimaginable awfulness. 

I looked forward to spaghetti every other Wednesday (the high) but most of the meats were impossible to identify and the veggies were culled from whatever normal (free) humans refuse to eat.

Jail food is even worse. 

True story, the jail I was housed in waiting for my transfer to prison (I was there for about a month) had recently had its kitchen closed and condemned because it was overrun with black mold.

So, when I as in jail, we got three bag lunches (and KoolAid) every day. Usually, this included a mystery meat sandwich, some small bag of some kind of chip, and a cookie (of the oreo variety).

Prison and jail food were really all about eating personal Ramen Noodles and making what are called "cook ups."

Everyone "eats" some of what is served, but most people get together (combine ingredients) and have ramen "cook ups" as often as possible.

Anyway, Elliot (Rami Malek) starts the June 13th entry by complaining that five/nine has resulted in cuts to the jail food budget resulting in watery eggs (I never experienced anything but runny "eggs" in jail or prison). This is one of those ironic moments, one of many examples of showing that five/nine sometimes bites Elliot in his butt. But, I also suspect this is another of the many windows into the larger term effects of five/nine shown throughout season 2.

What I am suggesting is that while five/nine was intended to help the poor and redress the balance of wealth, the end result has been almost entirely borne by the people it was intended to help. Prisoners get even worse food, hard working grocery store owners lose their leases, and all the while Phillip Price still gets to eat at the best restaurants in town.

Revolution sounds good, but design flaws and lack of foresight can result in the poor being poorer and the rich being richer.

Especially if five/nine was never really about the poor or the imbalance of wealth in the first place (sorry, just saying).

And Now We Return To Your Regularly Scheduled Program


Several events take place on these few pages (Elliot's willingness to write long journal entries is decreasing as we reach the end of the book) that we are well aware of (because the book has caught up with the show).

* Elliot reports that Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell) was forced to publically burn 5.9 million dollars by a fsociety splinter group that hacked the Bank of E (to the music of Phil Collins).

This was the source of one of the angriest responses I have ever written (some guy wrote an article criticizing the music of Mr. Robot and I about blew a gasket).

* Elliot reports that the warden of the jail, Ray Hayworth (Craig Robinson), has asked Elliot for his help with the site he owns (Elliot says no, but mentions that he loves Ray's dog Maxine and says she has beautiful eyes...RIP Maxine).

This was the event that prompted me to ask Sam Esmail if he was a fan of David Lynch and of Mulholland Drive (which started a long on-and-off correspondence between us). This was the event that convinced me and caused me to write that the "tell" proving that Elliot was in an institution was Ray's computer. 

* Elliot reports that Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) took over and later when Elliot regained control, he found himself on the telephone with Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom). This was the beginning of what became the handshake between Elliot and Mr. Robot (the first crack in the war between Elliot's desire to steer clear of Stage 2 and getting back to work on Stage 2).

Anyway, this signals that we are getting very close to the end of this long journey through Red Wheelbarrow.

More Arguments For Mr. Robot Being Large & In Charge


Last week, I argued that we might have the "control" of Elliot Prime backward. 

Most people I have talked to assume that there is Elliot Prime (the combination of the complete Elliot), his Dominant personality (who I have called Elliot 2), and his alter Mr. Robot.

But, what I am starting to seriously consider is that the dominant personality may be Mr. Robot and that the Alter may be who I have been calling Elliot 2 (the nice Elliot we all like).

In all of the literature that I have read about Dissociative Identity Disorder, personalities trade-off based on need. One example, Mr. Robot is the part of Elliot Prime's personality best suited to taking the beatings and to doing anything "bad" that might be required to move Elliot Prime's goals forward. So, as a result, Mr. Robot handles all of the "wet work." 

Anyway, throughout the duration of the show, I have assumed that Elliot 2 lets Mr. Robot take control because those are the moments that he is incapable of coping with. In other words, when necessary, Elliot 2 dissociates control to Mr. Robot.

But, it just doesn't add up anymore. There have been way too many times where Elliot seems lost in his own dreams, where Elliot seems not to understand why or how Mr. Robot takes over, where Mr. Robot seems to be running the show for Elliot 2.

I am still not 100% sure I am right about this, but here are some more examples that seem odd to me:

* Elliot is kept up all night by Mr. Robot who is fired up about the news about Darlene's Bank of E heist. But, why in the world would Elliot be hostage to Mr. Robot unless he wanted to be or needed to be?

* Elliot finds out from Mr. Robot that it was Elliot Prime who told Santos about Reynaldo. Again, given his feelings about Carla (Eve Lindley) why would Elliot allow this unless he had no choice?

* Later Elliot says that Mr. Robot "took over again while I was sleeping.: and "now he has me in with Warden Ray." Again, if Elliot is the dominant personality why would he get sabotaged by his Alter? They certainly don't have to share everything but there would usually have to be an instigating incident that caused Mr. Robot to take over.

* All of the interactions between Mr. Robot and Tyrell happen entirely independent of Elliot's control and knowledge. Again, while they don't have to share information, it seems unlikely that if Elliot were the dominant personality that he would be shut out entirely from important interactions without an impetus.

And then, there is this. At the end of the entry on the 16th Elliot says:

"One other thing, now that he's shown he can still take over, it's made me wonder if he was doing it all along and I just didn't know."

I still haven't worked out every detail, but I am certainly starting to think this theory has legs.

There are a few other small things going on, most important, after the Tyrell call, Elliot asks Leon (Joey Bada$$) to procure a large amount of Adderall for him to use and Leon agreed (also Leon's favorite Seinfeld character is George).

Okay, like I said, I am doing more days per post and the entries are much shorter, so that is all for this week. Just a few more Red Wheelbarrow posts left (and then I will do one on the Tolstoy book Ressurection).


Anyway, that is the end of Part 17.

Normally, during the season, I write a recap of Mr. Robot called “Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord.” I also recap Black MirrorGame of ThronesHalt and Catch FireThe FlashBetter Call Saul, and put out new Spotify playlists every Tuesday (among other music content).

If you are not familiar with my writing on Mr. Robot, check out The complete #OPS Guide to Season 2 of #MrRobot. Mr. Robot tries to hack tv and I try to hack Mr. Robot.

And if you need to catch up on this series:

Missed Part One? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Two? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Three? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Four? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Five? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Six? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Seven? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Eight? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Nine? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Ten? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Eleven? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Twelve? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Thirteen? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Fourteen? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Fifteen? Catch Up Now. Missed Part Sixteen? Catch Up Now.

Don't forget, my Mr. Robot eBook is coming soon too.

Thanks for reading! The next two days in Red Wheelbarrow introduce some of what we see at the beginning of Season 2 so tune-in at the end of the week for more.

What do you think about the relationship between Carla and Elliot?

What do you think about Elliot name dropping Art Vandelay?

Let me know what you think, leave a comment!