BY MATT FOWLER
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
Okay, now we should probably start looking at all those internet theories regarding Mr. Robot and time travel, wouldn't you say?
At the tail end of last season, Mr. Robot began to lean even more heavily into White Rose's obsession with time and those with power on the series wanting to "hack time." On top of the show's background noise of time travel, there are also various multiverse theories, which look to explain many things on the show including Elliot's own perpetual breaking of the fourth wall and addressing the viewers. Or, as some say, his future self talking to his past self, or his self from a different dimension. There's a lot to sort though, to say the least.
Yes, the whole Back to the Future II theory (spun out from few references to the movie on the show) may be true as Angela strongly suggested, here in the Season 3 premiere, that the way White Rose won her over - and won her over so quickly - was by suggesting that time could be corrected. That things from the past could actually be changed and alternate timelines could be created.
This is huge. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't come close to cracking this show's code. I'll leave that to the fans' yarn boards and subreddits as there's far too many layers here to sift through. The gimmickry of the series -- from presumed delusions to fantastical interludes to cheeky pop culture references -- is often in overdrive and Season 2 only worked to fog everything up even more. Now that Angela is fully on board with hitting the reset button, which Trenton mentioned in the closing scene of Season 2 - the idea of undoing events and putting "everything back the way it was" - we can merge with the show a bit better as fans.
It's interesting to think that, as the show streamlines itself a bit here at the top of Season 3, in an attempt to make the narrative slightly more "accessible," we're also starting to venture into some really mind-bending ideas and saddling up to some serious sci-fi. Elliot's carrying huge societal regrets about the entire E Corp hack plan and is about to actually go work for E Corp, Mr. Robot (who comes out at night and works with Angela) is steady-as-she-goes with Stage 2, and Bobby Cannavale's join the mix as Irving, a lawyer-slash-fixer for White Rose and all that she lords over - which may also include the Dark Army. Elliot and. Mr. R are at direct odds, but Elliot's being temporarily placated so that bigger fish can get fried. Angela wants to head back in time and stop her mom from dying while White Rose, perhaps, wants to make the same trip - but for her sister.
Will Angela start to play the seduction card given that she knows Elliot's feelings for her. She recoiled a bit this week, but if Elliot needs managing in the future, or becomes too untrusting or unruly, she may have to cross certain lines. The closing moments of "eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h," featuring Angela and Mr. Robot's interactions, were quite stunning. Not only did it give Angela an opportunity to explain hr motivations to Elliot-Who's-Not-Elliot, but the whole pairing allowed the show to signal a physical and tonal switch between Elliot and Robot. She could tell the difference between them.
What will eventually come of the vast interlocking conspiracies involving E(vil)Corp, the Dark Army, and other nefarious agents of global change is unknown, but seeds being planted for a massive science fiction-level reality shift is exciting. Whether it comes to pass or not, it fits right in with a daring and addictive series that crumbles in front of your eyes, its physical spools unraveling and the visual framework of the show shifting in and out. It's as if the storytelling medium itself is as malleable and unreliable as Elliot's mental landscape. Of course, the sci-fi clues and cues could also just be morsels of misdirection in their own right.
For a flickering moment, Elliot believed that Tyrell's bullet may have killed Mr. Robot but spared him. Unfortunately, unlike Fight Club, the violent blast only drove Elliot's alter ego down deeper inside and caused those close to him to start putting up barriers and subterfuge to trick him into submission. This gorgeous and great season opener placed our hero on a new path while also terrifically teasing some time travel elements that may or may not come to pass.