BY DAMON MARTIN
Being the catalyst for a movement that eventually led to the deaths of thousands of people not to mention two colleagues who were murdered so they could play scapegoats for the entire ordeal will tend to send anybody crashing to rock bottom.
It’s safe to say that’s exactly where Elliot Alderson finds himself during the latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ as the one time hacker who launched fsociety has now found himself guilt ridden after the Dark Army blew up 71 buildings, killing thousands of innocent people, all for the sake of an ongoing war with Evil Corp.
It’s no wonder that the latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ follows Elliot’s downward spiral where he orchestrates his own planned suicide and the journey back from the brink.
The episode doesn’t exactly further the story being told this season — outside of an email from the grave that Elliot receives at the very end — but it’s a powerful, emotion driven story from start to finish.
Add to that, we also see the depths of the guilt that Elliot’s been harboring ever since his childhood when we witness the moment he lost his father and why he’s been carrying him around as a ghost ever since.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Mr. Robot’ titled ‘eps3.7dont-delete-me.ko’…
The episode begins with a flashback to 1994 as Edward Alderson — already in the grips of the cancer that would soon kill him — taking a young Elliot to the movies like they used to do every week.
Unfortunately, Elliot is in no mood to see a movie or to eat the popcorn with M&M’s that he loves so much because he’s still healing after his father pushed him out a window and he broke his arm. Elliot is understandably hostile towards his father no matter how many overtures he makes trying to build a bridge back to his son in between coughs as the disease takes a tighter hold of him.
It’s clear that Edward knows he’s dying and he wants nothing more than to find peace with his son after the awful thing he did to him, but Elliot refuses to accept his apology or explanation.
A few seconds later, Edward falls over, succumbing to the cancer as he passes out on the floor and movie patrons rush over to check on him. Without saying a word, Elliot picks up his father’s coat with the ‘Mr. Robot’ patch still embroidered on the front, takes his popcorn and goes to sit in the movies by himself.
Just after sitting down in a near empty theater, Elliot looks to his left and tells the empty space next to him to keep it quiet because he’s trying to watch a movie.
It seems this moment in time where Edward Alderson died and Elliot rejected his final pleas for forgiveness is when his fragile little mind shattered into at least two separate and very distinct pieces and we see the origin of his separate personality come to life.
BROKEN ELLIOT ALDERSON
Back in present day, Elliot is reaching a breaking point after everything unfolded with Phase 2 and the 71 Evil Corp buildings being leveled in one massive attack courtesy of the Dark Army. To make matters worse, Elliot knows that he’ll never be able to get rid of Mr. Robot — he’s tried drugs, therapy and even sent himself to jail trying to control him but nothing has worked.
Regardless of Mr. Robot’s actions, Elliot still takes personal responsibility because he knows it’s still him doing everything that’s been done. At this point, Elliot has exhausted every possible way to eradicate Mr. Robot from his mind so perhaps saying goodbye forever is the only guaranteed way to be free from him.
Elliot decides that it’s time for one final deletion — anything and everything that’s ever mattered to him has to go. He starts by destroying his computer, piece by piece, ensuring that no one will ever find out about anything he’s been doing. With each file deleted — including the background checks he had done on both Trenton and Mobley, who were framed for the Phase 2 attacks — Elliot is closer to the end of it all.
When Darlene visits, she’s concerned for her brother and believes Elliot should pay a visit to Angela, who is still barely functioning after the part she played in the Phase 2 attacks. Considering Angela betrayed him and teamed up with the Dark Army, Elliot doesn’t seem to care at all about her mental state but he’s still trying to look after his sister, who is frazzled to the ends thanks to the attacks and her own deal with the FBI that’s seemingly about to fall apart.
Still, Elliot calms her down by promising to return to watch a movie with her later that night and they can smoke up and let the worries of the day wash away.
When she finally leaves, Elliot hands over his dog Flipper to a neighbor to watch for the day, he turns over his father’s old coat to be burned and he heads out to find some final sense of closure for everything that’s unfolded.
Elliot makes several stops after leaving the house — he first visits with a drug dealer where he buys an absurd amount of morphine — his pharmaceutical of choice. Elliot then pays a visit to Mobley’s family — namely an asshole brother — who scoffs at the visit thanks to all the trouble he’s facing thanks to his terrorist sibling. Mobley’s poor brother might even lose his job thanks to his brother’s misdeeds and he’s not even thinking about giving him a proper burial because he’s got more important things to worry about right now.
Elliot then stops by to see Trenton’s family as they appear to be packing up and moving away thanks not only to their daughter’s supposed crimes but also out of fear of retribution because they are Muslim’s living at a time of great Islamaphobia. Still, Elliot feels the need to tell Trenton’s father that he believes in her innocence and that she was a good person. Trenton’s father graciously accepts the kind words as Elliot leaves and makes his final stop at the beach at his favorite spot at Coney Island.
Just as he’s about to swallow the enormous bag of pills he bought, Elliot is joined on the beach by Trenton’s little brother Muhammad. The boy was standing and listening to everything Elliot said to his parents and he decided to follow him after he left their house.
Elliot tries to get the kid to leave so he can go about killing himself but Muhammad refuses to go anywhere. He talks him home but Elliot soon finds out that Muhammad’s parents have driven to Connecticut and won’t be home for several hours.
Elliot is doing his best not to shatter under the sheer frustration because all he wants is a few moments of loneliness so he can take his own life. Meanwhile, Muhammad is quietly saving his life by constantly creating scenarios where he’s not leaving Elliot by himself. Finally, Muhammad asks about going to see a movie to waste some time until his parents come home. You see, Muhammad has never actually been to a theater because his parents consider that an extravagant cost that they can’t afford.
Elliot agrees to take the kid to the movies if he will then leave him along to go kill himself. Of course, Elliot never actually tells the kid he’s going to kill himself, but that’s all he can think about while trying to break away from this kid hanging on his every word.
At the movies, Muhammad wants to see ‘The Martian’ but Elliot insists on a screening of ‘Back to the Future II’ because they are at the theater on the exact day that Marty McFly travels to in the future — October 21, 2015. While standing in line, Elliot hears two other theater patrons argue over the plot of ‘Back to the Future II’ with one of the passionate movie goers explaining how the movie is about how one change can affect everything else happening in the world.
Elliot knows that feeling all too well after he set in motion a single event that eventually tumbled over a string of dominoes until thousands of people were dead inside 71 burning buildings.
Inside the movie, Elliot is enjoying his popcorn and M&M’s but a second later he looks over and Muhammad has disappeared. He finally tracks him down at a mosque near his house after Muhammad talked about the place earlier when asking Elliot if he prayed.
At the mosque, Elliot’s agitation with Muhammad continues to grow as the boy’s own frustrations finally boil over as well. He screams at Elliot that he wishes he would die and Elliot answers back by saying ‘so do I’.
It’s the first time that Elliot has said it out loud — he wants to be dead.
The situation defuses itself a few seconds later and Elliot eventually walks Muhammad back to his house. It’s there when Elliot begins to break down — he knows that Trenton and Mobley are dead because of him. Mr. Robot pulled them into his scheme and by default Elliot is taking the blame because he shares the same body with the other half of his damaged personality.
Still it seems Elliot’s day with Muhammad has allowed him some sense of closure that didn’t require a bag full of morphine pills. Instead, Elliot has connected with this boy in a way he was never able to do with his own father before he died. Muhammad saved Elliot’s life without even knowing what he was doing.
Finally, Elliot offers to hang out with Muhammad again and he’ll even take him to see ‘The Martian’ next time. Before leaving, Muhammad offers Elliot a lollipop because he’s been feeling sick all day long. An act of kindness — no matter how big or small — seems to pull Elliot back from the brink.
With a renewed sense of purpose, Elliot returns to Mobley’s brother’s and proceeds to blackmail him into giving his friend a proper funeral. Elliot hacked into Mobley’s brother’s email and found some incriminating evidence against the law firm where he’s employed and he’ll gladly release that information unless there’s a funeral a couple of days from now.
Elliot once again professes innocence upon both Trenton and Mobley before going back home to restart his second lease on life.
Elliot then pays a visit to Angela, who still isn’t well enough to open the door, but instead they both sit on opposite sides while remembering a favorite childhood game where they would tell each other what they wish for most in the world. It wasn’t so much getting what they wanted as sharing with each other all the wishes they hoped would one day come true. With optimism in his eyes again, Elliot felt like sharing some of that with Angela, who might have been teetering on the brink as well until he showed up.
Back at home, Elliot picks up his dog from the neighbor, finds his father’s coat in the trash outside, puts up a new mirror in his bathroom after smashing the last one and then reassembles a new computer from parts he bought at the store.
After booting up the system, Elliot logs onto his email to find a single message waiting for him like a gift from beyond the grave. It’s from Trenton — she had a failsafe in place if she was ever harmed that an email would go out to someone she trusted with information about how to undo the entire Five/Nine hack.
That person she trusted was Elliot Alderson.
He opens the email and it seems that Trenton figured out some sort of back up that their cohort Romero had accidentally saved on his hard drive that could restore all the information wiped out during the Five/Nine hack. Remember Romero was the first guy from the team to die, although it turned out he was shot by accident and not killed by the Dark Army.
Anyways, Trenton claims that Romero’s hard drive might contain the information that will allow Elliot to restore the information and reverse the Five/Nine hack all together, but there’s only one problem.
Those hard drives are currently in the property evidence lock up courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Of course, going up against the FBI has never been a problem for Elliot in the past and it’s likely he won’t mind doing it again.
‘Mr. Robot’ returns next week with a brand new episode at 10pm ET on the USA Network.