Michael Parmelee/USA Network

Mr. Robot

S3 E4
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TV Show
S3 E4
November 01, 2017 at 11:00 PM EDT

I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere
Unless we share with each other
We gotta start making changes
Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers
And that’s how it’s supposed to be
How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me?
I’d love to go back to when we played as kids
But things change
And that’s just the way it is.

-“Changes,” 2Pac

Irving loves BBQ. He’s a sucker for ribs, even in the morning. Hell, he doesn’t even care if the ribs are real meat or made in a lab somewhere. As long as it tastes good, he’s a happy man. It’s the beauty of technology, he asserts, that such deliciousness can be attained. Ribs like the ones the Red Wheelbarrow serves weren’t possible 100 years ago, that’s for sure.

Sure, all that fancy technology makes for some delicious pork, but it’s not like the tech revolution is all roses and BBQ sauce. “We go on September 29th.┬áTen days from now.” That’s what Irving tells Angela. The timeline for Stage 2 is moving, and considering Whiterose’s relationship with time, you don’t challenge that. None of this would be possible without technology. There were simpler times. Childhood was much easier, to an extent. But as 2Pac notes, there were still plenty of challenges for certain people — still are, no matter what the Dark Army manages to pull off. Who benefits from this revolution? It’s a big question without an easy answer.

“Eps3.3_metadata.par2” is filled with people just trying to return to simpler times. Tyrell just wants to go back to when he loved Elliot and considered him a god. Elliot wants to take back everything that came after the 5/9 hack. Darlene, who, at the top of the episode, tells someone on the subway about all the horrible things she’s done, desperately wants to get back to a normal relationship with her brother. The Polaroid family picture is evidence of that.

“I’d love to go back to when we played as kids.”

That’s the simple refrain from 2Pac on “Changes,” but it’s the song he samples — Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s “The Way It Is” — that plays while Irving chows down on his Friday morning order of ribs. He gives Angela instructions to manage Elliot/Mr. Robot so that Stage 2 will be ready to go in just a few days. Easier said than done, but Angela is seemingly all in at this point. Why? Because, however hesitantly, she believes in whatever Whiterose has promised. “Have you seen it?” she asks Irving. He has, and he believes anything is possible.

As Darlene rides the subway and contemplates her own choices and the moral consequences, a single ad stands out. “Still on your side,” it says, but there’s no real sense of what the ad is for. It’s certainly a way into the changing nature of Darlene and Elliot’s relationship though. Is she still on his side? What side is Elliot even on? If Mr. Robot is dedicated to Stage 2, doesn’t that mean that some part of Elliot is as well? Elliot’s struggling with those questions too. As Darlene points out, he could have easily handed over everything he knows about the Dark Army and Stage 2 to the FBI, but he hasn’t. Something is holding him back. Some part of him can’t abandon his plan for revolution, even as the doubts continue to creep in.

The decisions are complicated. Can’t he just return to simpler times, before the 5/9 hack, before Mr. Robot learned to adapt and take over, and before Darlene was hacking him? “We don’t do that to each other,” he says, brokenhearted.

But things change, and that’s just the way it is. (Recap continues on next page)

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