Tick-Tock Clock: Predicting Robot (Mr. Robot Season 3)

Predicting Robot (Mr. Robot)


Predicting Robot is my series where I am sharing my predictions for Mr. Robot Season 3 (USA Network).

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.

** Update ** you can also check out the journey from Twitter ARG Tease to the new Full S3 Trailer that happened this afternoon (8/4/2017) I will embed the S3 trailer below so everyone can see it (if they want to).

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*

Part One: Do You Have The Time?

So, Mr. Robot officially released its first Season 3 Trailer on Twitter today (and no, sadly, it doesn’t include a precise release date which is still only listed as October 2017). Here it is: 

Since I am exactly the kind of nut who will spend way too much ‘time’ digesting what things mean, let’s start with the question itself.

Of course, before I start, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am wondering if there is a significance to Mr. Robot releasing the trailer on National Watermelon Day as well (just kidding, kind of).

So, the trailer is called/asks: Do You Have The Time?

This could mean:

Do we the watchers have the time to watch Mr. Robot S3 or to listen to the stories of these characters?

Do we, the watchers, have the time of day to share with the four characters featured in the trailer?

Do we, the watchers, have the time to help the four characters featured in the trailer?

Do we, the watchers, have time left at all (will everything end before we even get to season 3)

Do the four characters have enough time left to deal with the problems they face before disintegration or before they face consequences?

Do the four characters literally have the time left to survive season 3?

Do the four characters have the time of day?

Do the four characters have the correct time?

Can the four characters make time more elastic?

Let us also remember that “Do You Have The Time?” is the first half of the first line of the Green Day song ‘Basket Case’ and the following lullaby version of was included in the soundtrack for Season 2 Episode 4.

In the Green Day song, the character represented by the singer (a character facing mental challenges in an asylum in the video) is asking if we have the time to listen to his story (to listen to him whine).

Okay, some more additional context, the four characters featured are:

* Darlene who was, most directly,  facing the FBI investigation into 5/9 when we last saw her.

* Mr. Robot who, along with his ride-or-die Elliot will be recovering from a gunshot wound designed to allow Tyrell Wellick to carry out Stage 2.

* Angela Moss, wearing a cool and perhaps symbolic white hoodie and who will be dealing with Elliot and her new alliance with the Dark Army and her relationship to password ‘whiterose.’

* Elliot who, along with his eternal plus one Mr. Robot will be recovering from a gunshot wound designed to prevent him from sabotaging Stage 2 and who is also clearly struggling with mental illness.

Three additional things that I noticed that might matter in the trailer:

First, all of the clocks (aside from the very first clock) were about to strike 12 midnight which is likely symbolic of a reckoning, giving credence to the notion that “Do you have the time” before the reckoning or before time runs out.

Second, and perhaps more important, there is an image of a clock counting up juxtaposed in the middle of all the traditional clocks. This is perhaps suggestive of the ability to stretch or create time in defiance of the traditional clocks.

Third, much of the imagery was the four characters appearing in and around Coney Island which as you might remember is where their F-society headquarters was located and which was ultimately discovered and taken over by the FBI.

This could also be suggestive of different ways to look at time as something other than finite (the ability to hack time would certainly suggest that it is not necessarily finite).

Part Two: To Listen To Me Whine?


So, my guess is that the trailer suggests three things:

  • Each of the characters is facing immediate challenges that they may or may not be able to fix before their time runs out. In other words, there are significant stakes and consequences to what will happen during Season 3.

  • Each character will not only be facing the clock but also be able to change their relationship to the clock. Each may have the ability to counteract or hack time or get a reprieve from the looming reckoning (I have suggested that one means of doing so would be to utilize lucid dreaming to extend the functionally available hours in a day).

  • Our part in the show, our ability to interact with the characters, might become broader during Season 3. Currently, we only have an established relationship with Elliot and we have been able to interact with Darlene through a text based game and in an IRC chat. I have also suggested that elements like Dom’s Alexa might present a functional hacking opportunity in a future ARG.

I would love to hear any additional theories or thoughts.

Part Three: About Everything and Nothing Funko At All

Recently, the @whoismrrobot twitter account has gone to a great amount of trouble to push some excellent new promotions for the Original Funko line of Mr. Robot toys.

For instance, here is the password ‘whiterose” ad:

But what is interesting to me here is not how great the ads are, they are awesome, it is what they represent (and notice that none of them include the @originalfunko address to link the consumer to the producer).

Here is my Tweet in response from earlier today:

I do think Mr. Robot is displaying intentional sarcasm and irony here (or at least I hope they are).

I think a great deal of the criticism of Season 2 revolved around frustration that the simplistic, almost cartoonish, interpretation of Season 1 where a  good team of hackers carries out a just war against the “bad corporations and governments” became more complicated and less predictable as episodes advanced. So maybe the point here is to mock a simplistic interpretation of each character.

Password ‘whiterose’ isn’t just a kids game to play pretending to infect the world’s systems with malware much like kids used to pick sides playing war.

Angela isn’t just a simplistic heroine working to “take down Evil Corp from the inside,” she is also battling serious insecurities and trying to get her own revenge even ultimately siding with password ‘whiterose’ in order to access the power necessary to get her revenge.

Darlene isn’t just a simple heroine “exposing the FBI” she is mourning the death of her boyfriend and coming to grips with her own murder of Susan Jacobs.

Elliot isn’t just some toy helping you infect the servers of Evil E-Corp, he also represents a conflicted human being fighting against his own worst (revenge) instincts. His actions have arguably resulted in plunging millions of regular folks into extreme poverty while his supposed target just moved around the exploitation chairs on the corporate Titanic.

Perhaps the most telling ad is the one for Mr. Robot. Kids are exhorted to “Devastate the World Economy with Mr. Robot.” In an odd way, there is some moral relationship between the old games and toys from when I was young when children were expected to play soldiers and often play the part of soldiers who were involved in questionable ethical pursuits like exterminating Native Americans.

At the very least, it seems pointedly strange to be asked to participate in consumer behaviors celebrating anti-corporate characters. And, I believe one of the most important things about Season 2 was to demonstrate how easily sabotage can be used to widen the gap between the gap between the have’s and the have-nots.

I believe the point might be to suggest that unless revolution and reform explicitly involve material gains for the people most at risk, it can always be used against them. This brings me back to one of my favorite movie touchstones, the Architect scene from The Matrix, Heroes, even those who were well intentioned, can be used by the powerful to consolidate and increase power.

What I am suggesting is that Wikileaks became a commodity and vehicle for Trump to gain power just as Edward Snowden being taken in by Putin remains a constant reminder to American’s of just how paper thin our guarantees of Democracy are. In neither case was power really returned to the people but in both cases, people in power were able to turn Democratic impulses against Democratic interests.

Who is Elliot if not the television representation of Edward Snowden and who is password ‘whiterose’ if not a much more powerful version of Julian Assange?

Or maybe the point isn’t ironic at all. Perhaps the point is to exhort us to take up the banner of these characters in the real world? I have suggested before that by calling us “friends” and asking for our help, Elliot could be trying to lead us from feeling like watching television is participating into the world where television becomes a springboard to active participation.

Or maybe, the point is just that advertising is really powerful. I won't lie, I want a complete collection of Mr. Robot Funko toys but I cannot decide if I should embrace that desire or resist it.

In the end, I suspect it doesn’t matter what I think. The ads are certainly jarring. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Here is the just cracked full Season 3 "Democracy" trailer (including the premiere date for Season 3).