“Eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko” begins with what could be a moment of joy and simplicity. A father taking his son to the movies should be a moment of respite from all the chaos and darkness we’ve seen throughout this season of Mr. Robot. This little slice of life, mixed in with a bit of nostalgia, should ideally act as a break from…well, everything. The thing is, though, nothing has ever been simple for Elliot, at least not since the moment his father pushed him out a window and broke his arm. Since then it’s been nothing but destruction, pain, and failure. By the end of “Eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko,” Elliot has perhaps found a place to go back to, one where things are simple, where he feels grounded. It’s quite the journey to get there though.
It’s appropriate that “Eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko” begins with a premonition of death. It’s 1995 and Elliot and his father are out for their traditional movie night. It’s a tradition that may have once held some semblance of love and familial connection but is now ruined by the sling that Elliot’s wearing on his arm. Both physical and emotional scars refuse to heal. Elliot says he’ll never forgive his father, and Edward Alderson collapses in the cinema lobby. His son takes his jacket and leaves him lying there. He sits down in the theater alone, but that doesn’t stop him from talking to an empty seat next to him. It’s something he’ll get used to.
Death in the past, and death in the present. No wonder Back to the Future holds so much sway over Elliot; it’s an escape, both in terms of entertainment and in terms of providing a map for literally escaping the present. In this present, Trenton and Mobley are dead. Like everyone else during moments of immense trauma in this day and age, Elliot stares at his computer. He sees news articles about Trenton and Mobley having terrorist ties in Iran, and how fsociety is a terrorist organization.
The propaganda machine, fueled by the Dark Army, is working perfectly. A ton of information is out there about Trenton and Mobley, and Red Wheelbarrow being a front for fsociety, but none of it is true. Elliot knows this, and yet he’s powerless to do anything. Well, there might be one thing he can do. He thinks he only has one option left, so he wipes his hard drives and computer and begins to prepare for one final “deletion.”
When Darlene comes over and sees his panic, she starts to worry. Elliot is manic and yet also clear eyed. He’s distraught and yet seems to be in quiet control of his actions. Elliot has come to an understanding: This is all his fault. Darlene tries to tell him otherwise, but Elliot knows a fundamental truth, which is that Mr. Robot is part of him in some way, which means he’s responsible for his actions, and in some way condones them. “I feel like you’re giving up,” says Darlene. He is. He’s ready to be done with all the pain and suffering.
So, Elliot goes to a drug dealer named Hard Andy and buys a bag full of morphine. When Hard Andy determines that the man buying that much morphine isn’t trying to screw him over or sell him out to the cops, he figures there’s only one thing this man could want: This man wants to die. Various forms of guilt and burden have plagued these characters throughout the season. Last week’s episodes contained a heartbreaking scene that saw Angela failing to cope with the mass murder she helped facilitate. Now this week Elliot is reckoning with his own guilt, and he’s decided it’s too much to bear.
The oppressive atmosphere of this whole season — the despair, the sense that everything is hopeless and the bad guys will always win — comes to a head in this episode. Elliot hits rock bottom. But does that mean things can only get better? (Recap continues on next page)