“The Robot” Rules: Predicting Robot (Mr. Robot Season 3)

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Predicting Robot

This is my new series where I am sharing my predictions for Season 3.

My goal isn't to create spoilers or to solve Mr. Robot as much as it is to engage in discussions about my perspective of what has happened so far and how things could play out from that perspective. I have long believed that one of the coolest things about Mr. Robot is that it is an "open universe" where multiple theories can be correct at the same time.

I will be as surprised as anyone if I am occasionally right

As always, if you haven't watched all of Season One and Season Two of Mr. Robot already *Spoiler Alert*

“The Robot” Rules

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What if “The Robot” rules E-Prime?

I first made this prediction about five months ago on Reddit and have opined about it many times on my blog and in other places since:

In other words, what if Elliot were the alter and not the dominant personality of E-Prime.

To recap what I mean by “E-Prime” quickly for the uninitiated or curious:

* Elliot has Dissociative Identity Disorder, so last year, before the start of Season 2, I spent a week reading every scholarly, legal, medical, and psychological article I could find on DID.

* I learned that people with DID comprise a complex and fragmented whole made up of a “dominant personality” and one or more “alternative personalities” (aka alters).

* As a result, I suggested that there is E-Prime or E1  (the fragmented whole), E2 Elliot (the person we presume to be the dominant personality, the world’s greatest hacker and loveable, if complicated, hood wearing boy wonder), and Mr. Robot (his alter, taking the face of his dead Father Edward Alderson).

* I probably should also add here that alters are not (necessarily) hostile or alien to the dominant personality or Visa Versa. When situations arrive that “Prime” is uncomfortable with, the personality most capable of best coping takes-over.

We have always assumed that our so-called “unreliable narrator” Elliot Alderson (E2) was running the show and that all of his omissions, misleading statements, and forgetfulness were just proof that he wasn’t sharing everything with us (his friends).

But, again, what if E2 is Really the alter?

What if he really doesn’t know what has happened because, most of the time, he isn’t driving E Prime’s boat?

Part One: Trapped In the Jail of the Self

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In the first 45 minutes of S1 E1 we learn the following:

* Elliot is having massive and debilitating uncontrollable crying fits, seeing men in black, and as a result, seeing a relatively new therapist (Krista).

* After being "tested" by a group called f-society Elliot is approached by a man on a subway train who we have come to know as “Mr. Robot” (later, we learn that Mr. Robot is actually “part” of Elliot - literally wearing the face of Elliot’s long-dead Father Edward - and we naturally assume that he is Elliot’s alter because Elliot is the narrator of the story).

Later, during Season 2, Mr. Robot tells Elliot a story about Elliot's grandfather who was a thief and who eventually incarcerated. That story ends with Mr. Robot's reflection on his father:

"I thought he was free doing what he did, but he wasn't he was in prison, just like you are now Elliot. But, I'm gonna break you out."

Of course, we assume that he is referring to Elliot’s literal imprisonment at the time or maybe we assume that he is talking about Elliot’s insistence on stealing the time that he should be using to continue with Stage 2, but it is also certainly possible that Mr. Robot was literally talking about reunification (and remember one of the Season 2 episodes is pointedly called “handshake”).

In other words, Mr. Robot could certainly be representing the possibility that Elliot could become a more integrated part of E-Prime’s personality, or even reintegrate so that E-Prime is no longer fragmented (this is consistent with the literature on DID that I have read).

Part Two: Mind Awake Body Asleep

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E2 almost always seems to be missing important information that Mr. Robot seems to control

In DID, the dominant personality doesn’t always have to share information freely with alters and so, it would be easy for an alter to constantly seem out of the loop and even unreliable or intentionally misleading (they theoretically could possess only a few chapters of the book of any particular period of time).

Remember, even at the very beginning of the entire story (told out of sequence) Elliot suggests that he doesn't really know when it all started both when he was talking to his therapist Krista, and later he mentions that he first noticed something underneath his consciousness when he was pushed out the window by Edward and again at the infamous Halloween meeting with Darlene (maybe the most exposition-filled scene in the entire series).

Most famously on Mr. Robot, Elliot (E2) asks us to find the Red BBQ menu that was “lost in his apartment” and then uses Lucid Dreaming to “Hack” Mr. Robot’s memory of his meeting with Tyrell Wellick. Yes, I am arguing that Elliot was reliving Mr. Robot’s last meeting with Tyrell as Mr. Robot slept (remember, to the camera, if we are not experiencing E2’s POV, Mr. Robot would appear to everyone as Elliot - only in Elliot’s head are there 2 personalities).

Let me clarify, to E2, Mr. Robot appears as his dead Father but when Mr. Robot is in charge of Elliot Prime, he looks to the world to be exactly the same person as the Elliot we all (think) we know and love.

Why is Mr. Robot in control of all of every bit of information having to do with Tyrell Wellick after 5/9? If you have read Red Wheelbarrow, you know that virtually the entire book is E2 begging to know what happened to Tyrell (meanwhile we know that Mr. Robot is secretly communicating with Tyrell throughout Red Wheelbarrow about Stage 2).

Why was Mr. Robot in charge of Elliot for a long enough time that he could work out the details of the 5/9 hack with Tyrell (including having Tyrell disappear into a Dark Army warehouse, set up Stage 2, negotiate with Tyrell Wellick throughout their entire stay in jail, cause E2 no end of trouble in jail, meet with Tyrell Wellick and so many other things. And, if he is the dominant personality,  why does E2 never seem to remember any of it?

If Elliot (E2) is not controlling the flow of information, if he needs to negotiate from a position of weakness, this would suggest he is the alter and not the dominant personality. In the past, I have assumed that Elliot’s weakness was a protective device (he was protecting himself from knowing, for instance, some of the terrible things that he has done) but It occurs to me now that it could just be that he isn't in charge and can't access what Mr. Robot doesn't want him to see.

Mr. Robot could have decided that most of the time, he doesn’t believe that Elliot just does not need to know.

Part Three: “It Was Him, It Was Always Him

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Isn’t it a bit too bizarre that Darlene is shown over and over interacting with Mr. Robot as if she doesn’t have a concern in the world? When during Season 2 she talks about Elliot as a leader and almost hypnotically states that “It was him, it was always him” it almost seems like she is talking about a person we have never seen before (or at least never seen before wearing Elliot's face).

And let us not forget that Elliot literally forgot who Darlene was during Season 1.

Has Mr. Robot ever once forgotten who Darlene is? I sure don’t remember it happening.

And also let’s remember that Darlene was working with Mr. Robot on 5/9 before E2 was introduced to F-Society.

I mean we know that Elliot is a talented hacker, but a leader?

The Elliot that we know is incredibly shy and socially awkward, often so incapable of saying what he really feels that he shares it with us from inside his own head instead of saying any of it to the actual people populating his own world.

Be honest, how many hundreds of times have you seen one of the many characters inhabiting the Mr. Robot universe look at Elliot like they are saying “who the heck is this guy” with their eyes (as if they recognize the face but are baffled by the change in personality).

Yes, I am suggesting not only that Mr. Robot is the dominant personality but also that Elliot (E2) woke up (became conscious) near the beginning of the series (like he was there but not really there, phasing out slowly since the break between when he was pushed out the window and when Edward died and slowly phasing back in as the series started).

I am suggesting that after he was pushed out of the window, Mr. Robot took over and has been running the show ever since in exactly the way we see him running the show during the “Word-Up Wednesday” fantasy sequence during Season 2 (protecting E2 from the emotionally safe world Edward’s anger destroyed).

Yes, I am suggesting that Mr. Robot is E Prime’s attempt to unify all of the parts of Edward that E-Prime loved and used the resulting personality as the mask E-Prime showed the world ever since. Go back and watch Elliot’s face during the Halloween flashback and you will see a different Elliot.

E-Prime has a LOT of anger both towards what E Corp did to his Father and what his Father did to him and that anger is starting to bleed through.

The same Elliot that coldly planned the 5/9 hack is clearly not the Elliot that fell in love with Shayla. If E-Prime had Gideon killed (and I think this is a possibility shown graphically as Mr. Robot cut Gideon’s throat) does that seem like the Elliot we know? When E-Prime let all the prisoners out of jail in Season 1, did that seem like the Elliot that we know?

The truth could be that Elliot Prime is not always nice and neither are all of his personality fragments (which represent the darker side of a possible reintegration).

Part Four: The Glitch

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Towards the end of Season 2, after Mr. Robot and Elliot decided to cooperate, we saw Elliot start to experience what looked like Princess Vanellope von Schweetz “glitching” during "Wreck-It-Ralph" (he would fuzz in and out).

My first thought when I saw the glitch happen was that Elliot was in danger or at risk of being erased by his own mental illness or by Mr. Root taking full control. However, the more I watched, the more that I became convinced that what I was actually watching was reintegration.

In other words, the disturbances that Elliot (E2) was experiencing were actually his being invited in for the first time by Mr. Robot (and not him being shut out). Of course, there is one other option and that is that Elliot is experiencing what Mr. Robot experiences second through lucid dreaming (more on that next week).

Mr. Robot is always present and seems to be in control during the “glitch” scenes. I think Elliot looks uncomfortable because it is disorienting for him to be present when Mr. Robot is in control. Mr. Robot is often present when Elliot is “in control” of E-Prime (no matter how hard Elliot tries to get rid of him) but Elliot is NEVER around when Mr. Robot is “in control.”

So, I ask you, how could this be true unless Mr. Robot is the dominant personality?

Let me know what you think!