Michael Parmelee/USA Network

Mr. Robot

S3 E8
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TV Show
S3 E8
November 29, 2017 at 11:01 PM EST

Before Elliot kills himself, he wants to set a few things straight. He visits Mobley’s brother’s house to tell him that Mobley was a good person who wouldn’t do what the media is accusing him of doing. His brother isn’t having it. He curses Mobley and the attention he’s brought to his family. He doesn’t believe a word Elliot says. He believes the news. “You think they just make this s— up now?” he says. Just wait until it’s 2017, buddy.

Elliot receives a warmer welcome at Trenton’s house. He tells the family, who are in the process of packing up and moving because of the hatred they know is coming, the same thing he told Mobley’s brother: that Trenton would never do this, and that she was a good person. Trenton’s father has no trouble believing this. He knows somebody set his daughter up, and he’s aware of the anti-Muslim sentiments that allow everyday Americans to shift blame away from themselves.

The established paranoid thriller atmosphere really pays off throughout “Eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko.” This isn’t an episode like the others, filled with dark corners, shady motivations, and cryptic language. It’s a more controlled look at this world and the shape it’s taken since the 5/9 hack. A curfew is in place. Soldiers roam the streets. Everybody is on edge, and yet also trying to go about their lives. It’s a stirring statement on the way Americans have normalized violence and accepted the Big Brother response. It’s a nation throwing up a collective shrug. “There’s not much we can do,” they say, a reflection of the rhetoric that comes from the NRA and its backers after every mass shooting. It’s not just Elliot who’s given up. America has too.

With America on its ways out, Elliot looks for the exit door himself. He heads to Coney Island, that bastion of childhood fun much like the cinema in the cold open, forever marred by personal relationships. He pulls the bag of morphine out of his pocket, ready to consume the pills like a bag of Skittles. But then there’s a disruption. Trenton’s little brother shows up on the beach, having followed Elliot from his home.

Elliot tries to get him to leave, but like so many young children he’s persistent. He just wants to hang out with Elliot for a while, and if he could get some answers about why his sister didn’t do what everyone’s saying she did, that’d be great too. While Elliot sees the world crumbling, this kid just sees the world. It’s seemingly all he’s ever known. A child of immigrant parents, he’s certainly used to the hatred. He knows this country has not been kind to his family.

And yet, there’s a hope within him that perhaps inspires Elliot. Maybe giving Elliot a guardian angel of sorts is a little too easy for Mr. Robot, but the emotions certainly ring true. It’s heartening to watch as Trenton’s brother ends up working his way into Elliot’s good graces, talking him down from a ledge without even knowing that’s what he’s doing. They start their day by going to the cinema, which is, of course, screening the Back to the Future trilogy. The kid wants to see The Martian, but Elliot insists he’ll love the older film. Maybe he did, but he walks out before the movie is even over. Elliot is left alone in the theater again, an empty seat beside him and a bucket full of popcorn mixed with M&Ms.

Someone standing in line for the movie says that Back to the Future is about how one mistake can change the world. Again, a little too easy for Mr. Robot, but it’s a line of thinking that helps bring Elliot back from a darker place. If one mistake can change things, certainly one correction can get everything back to normal (whatever “normal” means in this context).

Elliot hops in an ice cream truck, driven by a man listening to The War of the Worlds on the radio. Elliot thinks it’s a little dark to be listening to these days, but that’s not how this man sees it. He sees it as a story of human perseverance. Elliot muses on that idea, another one that helps bring him back from that darker place. And yet, he’s still struggling. When he finds Trenton’s brother in a mosque near their home, the kid lashes out. “I wish you were dead!” he shouts. “So do I!” replies Elliot. It’s out in the open now, and yet perhaps Elliot can turn back. (Recap continues on next page)

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