Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord? "All I Wanted Was a Pepsi" Edition

Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord?

Welcome back #MrRobot fans! Finally, we are back for Season 2. 

A few of you know this is my second season of Mr. Robot recaps as I was one of the early adopters of the show. In fact, Mr. Robot was the first show I actually committed to doing weekly recaps for (my other shows are Halt and Catch Fire, GoT, the recently canceled Vinyl, and an occasional Better Call Saul).

Anyway, let's get to the episode. If you have not seen Season 1 or the first two episodes of Season 2 stop reading *SPOILER ALERT*

Elliot Institutionalized?

Several Redditor's have suggested that what we are seeing is an illusion and that Elliot (Rami Malek) is actually incarcerated (but projecting the story that he is staying with his Mother).

It is certainly true that the elements mostly fit.

He has a new friend named Leon (Joey Bada$$) who does not seem very similar to the friends that he has had in the past and all that Leon and Elliot do is eat together and watch basketball games (this does sound a lot like prison).

But, I have some reasons for questioning this theory:

* Given the nature of the hack, it is highly unlikely he would be held in a traditional general population prison. He would likely be held in isolation at a federal facility and he would be getting the second (third and fourth) degree 24/7 from the Feds.

* Remember there has not been enough time lapse for Elliot to plead guilty or not guilty, plea-bargain, go to trial, or be sentenced so this would have to be pre-trial detention. There is NO WAY that with the crisis still unfolding, they would put the central hacker into a gen-pop facility. They certainly would try to deny him bail or even take him off the grid entirely. But, if they took him off the grid to a dark facility, there would not be any significant social interaction or basketball games.

* Also, many of the comments throughout the episode about the state of the investigation (for instance, blaming things on Tyrell Wellick) would make less sense if this were the case. In particular one of the television shots says "One month after devastating five/nine attacks hackers still at large."

* In addition, Edward aka Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) seems convinced that Elliot can easily escape from the situation he is currently in.

* It is highly unlikely that Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) would call Elliot in prison.

* Also, Mr. Robot asks Elliot if he is going to let Gideon (Michel Gill) take the fall for this. Why would Gideon be able to visit or threaten Elliot if he was already incarcerated (calls and interviews of a non-legal variety are recorded) and why would someone else be 'taking the fall' if that were the case. 

* Also, since Elliot is entirely an unreliable narrator, we can only trust information that is conveyed in the scenes that are not from Elliot's POV and none of those scenes suggest that the larger world sees Elliot as being under official investigation or incarcerated (or that anyone has been caught for the hack at all).

I think that it is much more likely that Elliot has committed himself to a mental institution in order to get himself off the grid.

What About Ray?

It is possible that Ray (Craig Robinson) is actually a psychologist trying to break through his delusions and disassociations and to get him to talk about what he actually did on the computer. Or he could just be a smart guard at the facility who has learned about Elliot's background and sees a way that he can use his skills. It is interesting how he brings up having a computer as if this was somehow not typical.

This could explain why he claims to be Elliot's "friend" and is trying to slow play him in the direction of talking about hacking. I am going to go ahead and suggest that Ray is his therapist at the facility while he still has some freedom to leave the facility at times to see Krista as well.

But, Elliot also visits his former therapist Krista (Gloria Reuben) in the premier, who has only agreed to see him because he has agreed to be more honest (whatever that means)  When asked why he has uprooted his life he says to her, "isn't that what everybody does, keep everything on repeat." He also tells her that "Darlene comes by sometimes" which certainly could not happen in a world where he had been arrested.

If I am right about him substituting the word "Mom" for "mental institution," his comment that "better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't" makes a great deal of sense. Better voluntary commitment than prison or worse. 

It is also possible, that he went to stay with his Mom and get off of the grid.

But, I do not believe that Elliot is imprisoned. I also do not believe his entire daily routine is a fantasy (but It could contain elements of fantasy).

I am working on getting a better understanding of both Confictura Industries and of The Red Wheelbarrow before next week.

What do you think of the prison theory, let me know, leave a comment!