Tales From A Red Wheelbarrow (eps1.91_redwheelbarr0w.txt) Part 8: "Reynaldo"

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Tales From a Red Wheelbarrow

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Hope everyone had a really nice Thanksgiving break, I will admit I took some days off from writing to relax.

I am doing a deep dive into the book Red Wheelbarrow by Sam Esmail and Courtney Looney, which was released recently. Today I am covering the entries for May 25th and 26th. The name of the books is a reference to the William Carlos Williams poem Red Wheelbarrow, and I suspect the book is an attempt to hack tv through literature.

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

Hack TV With Reynaldo The Rat

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So, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) has a Robin Hood complex because of what happened to his Sister Darlene Alderson (Carly Chaikin) throughout their childhood. These memories are so painful to Elliot and he felt so helpless about not being able to stop what happened to her he sometimes dissociates from her entirely.

You might remember in Season 1 that he forgot for a time that she was his sister altogether.

In the book Red Wheelbarrow, he sometimes seems at a loss to remember the abuse at all in any detail but at other times he remembers specifics. In his May 25th entry, he tells a particularly awful story.

When they were kids, Darlene found a cat that she really wanted to keep, but she knew that her Mom would never let her keep it, so she hid it for several days and in several ways.

Later in the week, Mrs. Alderson picked up Elliot and Darlene and started driving them somewhere neither of the kids recognized. When asked Mrs. Alderson wouldn't explain anything but eventually she handed Darlene a bag with Darlene's cat inside it.

The car finally stopped in front of a lake.

Mrs. Alderson got out of the car and demanded Darlene drown the cat by throwing the cat-filled bag into the lake.

Instead of complying with this order, Darlene ran away with the cat and hid for several days.

Eventually, a neighbor found Darlene hiding out in his shed and he turned her over to Mrs. Alderson. 

Elliot said that when he finally saw her, she was covered with bruises from the beating their Mom gave her for the cat and for running away. 

Elliot dissociates from these memories normally because they are too upsetting to him. 

Anyway, it occurs to me that Elliot is concerned with Hot Carla's abuse in Jail because she reminds him of Darlene.

Elliot tries to stick up for Hot Carla (Eve Lindley) how he wishes he had been able to stand up for Darlene.

Where Darlene had a cat, Elliot follows Carla and finds out that she sneaks food to a jailhouse rat that she has named Reynaldo.

Parallelism.

Anyway, Elliot is working in the laundry in jail when Carla runs in terrified and trying to hide from Santos and his goons. Elliot locks her in a closet and then acts dumb when Santos and crew show up asking questions (have I mentioned before that you are not really allowed to just wander around jail on your own recognizance?).

Later, when Elliot is walking down the halls and passes Santos' crew he takes a swing at Santos and, as a result, gets beaten down by Santos and his squad. 

Probably as a result of going full on conspiracy theory in front of his entire Church group the day before, Kevin (the not so loveable neo-Nazi) jumps in and saves Elliot.

Elliot gets blamed for the fight (he did start it) and gets his Laundry job taken away and replaced by bathroom duty (bathroom duty just sounds wrong). 

But Santos and goons apparently don't find this to be punishment enough so they go and find Carla and rape and beat her so badly that they put her in the infirmary (they broke her wrist and who knows what other damage they did).

Unfortunately, Elliot's Robin Hood complex has gotten someone hurt again.

Elliot claims that Mr. Robot instigated the attack on Santos, but I am starting to doubt this explanation. I suspect that if Mr. Robot did take control, it is because he was being told to attack Santos (he takes over when physical violence is necessary).

When Elliot Prime is angry crazy things happen. Given that Mr. Robot came into existence to help Elliot Prime accomplish goals that Elliot 2 was incapable of facing, it seems unlikely this is part of the ongoing power struggle IMHO.

Elliot wants Santos hurt and he is so angry that he is not doing a very good job of protecting himself or of creating a strategy, yet.

One other small theory here, part of why Elliot puts a "Mr. Robot face" on anything that he doesn't like is because he blames his father (represented by Mr. Robot) for not protecting Darlene from their Mom either. 

Yes, part of Elliot deeply loved Edward but part of him is angry towards him too. Angry because he didn't protect Darlene and angry because he pushed Elliot out the window. His way of negotiating that anger is by associating his Father's face with anything violent or shameful that he sees himself doing.

At the end of the day, whatever the theory, I am putting my bet in now, Santos won't make it through Red Wheelbarrow in one piece.

Elliot says:

"I obviously can't allow Santos to exist anymore, but how do I delete someone in the analog world?"

Glad my name is not Santos. 

What's In A Name?

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If you were wondering what Carla's original name was, it was Jack.

We learn she got the name Carla from her mother's hairdresser. The original Carla took her in and gave her a job after her parents disowned her because she had decided that she was a girl and not a boy.

Carla would like the name "Hot Carla" if it only referred to her looking "Hot" but because the intended meaning of the name implied sh*t and sex, she doesn't like being called Hot Carla. 

Despite this, because Elliot seems to genuinely care about her, she says it is okay for him to call her Hot Carla.

Oddly enough at the first prison I was housed in (they move you around) there was a transgender woman on our floor and while she was at a different prison she was badly abused and beaten by a group of inmates.

The good news for her was that as a result of not being protected by the Correctional officers, she won a lawsuit against the State of Michigan and the decision awarded her a single cell and a bunch of extra privileges. 

She didn't get released, but she got privileges.

Maybe Carla needs her lawyers?

Elliot visits Carla in the infirmary (man, this jail has some serious freedom of movement, not kidding, people would have laughed at me if I asked to go visit another inmate in the infirmary. That is just not the way it works).

But before he visits Carla, because she suggested he read Vonnegut and Vonnegut said people should write poems for friends, Elliot writes her a poem.

Oh, he also figures out that she hadn't actually read the Vonnegut book she suggested that he read, she just liked the cover.

Where Sh*t Goes Down

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Elliot talks a bit about how the bathroom is where most of the shady sh*t goes down in jail. 

This is accurate, for obvious reasons, the CO's don't watch the bathrooms as closely as they watch other parts of the unit and as a result, lots of badness and shadiness goes down in the bathrooms.

On the other hand, I worked bathroom duty (sigh) for two years and you usually clean during off-times or during count (count time in jail is when everyone has to be in their cells so that the CO's can account for the physical location of every inmate in the facility).

This should be obvious, it is hard to clean something when everyone is using it. So, generally, you do your cleaning during times people are not using the facilities.

Leon and More Mr. Robot Stuff

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Leon (Joey Bada$$) is not happy that Elliot is interfering in the affairs of Carla. He says that Elliot should stand down and leave taking care of Carla to Carla. He also shares information about an episode of Mad About You where Paul (Paul Reiser) and Jamie (Helen Hunt) decide to communicate with each other only using gestures.

He also gets a "nerdy cute Asian girl" as a visitor as Elliot puts it. Elliot suggests that this visitor was Leon's girlfriend but Carla interjects that she doesn't think they are together. Both mention that the discussion gets pretty intense.

My guess is this is Leon's Dark Army contact, however, I could be wrong? Does anyone have a theory?

Later, when asked what he is in for, Leon tells Elliot that he was doing a "favor for a friend" and ended up here.

Elliot assumes it means he did something for a friend that got him arrested but I suspect he got himself arrested to do a favor for a friend (protect Elliot). Wonder who that friend is? Could it rhyme with "tight hose?"

Elliot also mentions that he woke up early one morning to Mr. Robot working on multiplication tables that didn't seem to add up. I assume this is a reference to the stuff written next to the multiplication table at the end of the book (another one of the Easter Eggs solved in the r/ARGSociety subreddit). 

If you want to see the solution, go to r/ARGSociety.

At another point, Elliot has another Freudian slip and says, in reference to Mr. Robot, "So, we're God." Then marks out God and writes Good.

I can't decide if this just means that Elliot is narcissistic (no duh) or if I am losing the plot here. I need to think about this one a bit more before it makes sense to me. I know everything is in question, but I have not thought Elliot has a God complex to this point.

Wrapping Up

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Anyway, that is the end of Part 6.

Normally, 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.

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.

I did a bunch of work on the Mr. Robot book this weekend, it is about three-quarters of the way finished (if you have any suggestions for questions that I should answer, leave them as comments).

I am also feverishly working on my Best Albums of 2016 list, last week I winnowed my choices down to 150 albums and (believe it or not) I am listening to them all again to reduce the list down to my final 30.

A few days ago, I put out a tribute to 80's Gothic Rock called "Goth Kid's Grandparents." If that sounds interesting to you, check it out! Also, you can check out my most recent weekly playlist called the "Dreaming 80's Baby" playlist.

So, what do you think?

Why do you think the parallel was drawn between Darlene's cat and Carla's rat?

Why do you think Elliot suggested that he and Mr. Robot "were God?"

Do you have a different theory about who the "nerdy, cute, Asian girl was?"

Let me know what you think, leave a comment!