WEIRDLAND: October 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Will Mr. Robot Have a Happy Ending?

Sam Esmail: Mr Robot was never about “Capitalism: Is it good or bad?” or “How can we fix the world economy?” or “How can we fix the geopolitical nature of money?” This was about wanting to connect and not being able to connect. When you got to season three, I felt like Elliot was the thinker and Mr. Robot was the muscle. Now we’re in season four and Mr. Robot is doing things that Elliot might otherwise do and vice versa. We’re starting to see the two of them meld together into this one person because, in fact, they are. Season four kicks off with Angela’s violent murder, and Elliot has become unhinged in a way. He’s just out for vengeance. He’s gonna be like what Mr. Robot was like in the first season. Of course, Mr. Robot, throughout the last three seasons, has seen the consequences of that aggression, so now he’s taken a step back and has become more like Elliot.

Sam Esmail: The thing about Elliot is, he can be obnoxious. He’s very angry at the world. He names his hacker group “Fuck Society.” It’s a very delicate thing for an audience member to watch a character like that, week in and week out, and be able to root for them. The thing that Rami allowed me to do as a writer and director is that no matter how difficult Elliot became, no matter how inaccessible I wrote him, or no matter how closed off he needed to be, Rami found a way to add that vulnerability. Mr. Robot can get complicated, Rami has that gift of being able to ground it. I mean, we’re inside the guy’s head. We don’t even know what’s real or what’s fantasy, and Rami was able to always walk that tightrope and make us be with him, whether or not we understood what was going on around him.

-Matt Zoller Seitz: The paranoid thriller is one of your favorite genres. One point of disagreement between us is that I believe it can’t be a true paranoid thriller if it has a happy ending. But I’m looking at season four and it really seems like you want hope to come out of this. I can’t picture you leaving the viewer feeling completely shattered.

-Sam Esmail: I always think about the Three Days of the Condor ending, which is very haunting, right? To some people, it’s clear-cut: The system has won, it will always win. Or maybe not. Maybe you have that optimistic point of view that Robert Redford is gonna figure out a way and the press is gonna blow this thing wide open. I love endings where you can choose. But the thing about the paranoid thriller is it’s always man versus the system, and the system in our real lives continues on. Source: www.vulture.com

To prepare for Mr. Robot, Rami Malek learned about cybersecurity and read textbooks on schizophrenia and took typing lessons for hacker verisimilitude and found a psychologist who assigned him homework. “There were times when I would go to Sam and say, ‘This doesn't quite match up for me,’ and I would have a reason why the psychology didn't feel accurate, and I would reference some book on dissociative disorder by Elyn Saks,” Malek says. Instead of being annoyed at Malek's conspicuous overachieving, Esmail hired the psychologist onto the show as a consultant.

Rami Malek Gets Lucy Boynton's Support at 'Mr. Robot' Final Season Premiere on Tuesday (October 1) in New York City. The pair turned the star-studded affair into a stylish date night, with Malek rocking a flawlessly tailored pinstripe suit with a black-and-white patterned button-down. Meanwhile, Boynton looked chic in a black dress, with ruffled collar, which she wore with a pair of strappy black shoes.

Their sweet red-carpet outing was perfectly memorialized in a beaming snapshot of the pair, standing below the theater marquee which read "Mr. Robot. The final season. Goodbye, friend." “People's perception might be altered,” Malek says, in the wake of his Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar win, “but when you sit down and talk to me, there's nothing that's mystifying. I'm not fucking covered in gold.” 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Mr Robot Christmas episode: 404 Not Found

Mr Robot Sci-Fi Theory: If Elliot's true identity is an AI created by White Rose, it would explain why in the scene where Elliot's mom is dead and Darlene and him are getting her belongings, the clock says 11:16, and Darlene finds a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in her Mom's coat pocket (both of which are tied to the Season 4 Episode 3 with White Roses background). Edward Alderson might have helped create Elliot, and maybe even had part of his consciousness transferred to this supercomputer/AI. Maybe that's also why Edward and Mrs. Alderson were always fighting/arguing in Elliot's memories, basically his Mom wanted to just treat Elliot like a machine (hence the abuse) but Edward understood he was a full consciousness. Let's take the assumption Elliot is silently being tested on which is why he suffers from such vivid and powerful delusions. Also, Elliot might be the project Whiterose has designed. Sam Esmail: "Whiterose clearly has an agenda and that agenda does involve parallel universes. The most powerful people in the world—not unlike a lot of people in our real world—go after these loftier goals because they can, because they have the money and the power to do so. In the “Mr. Robot” world there is a character who is fixated on this idea of parallel universes. Do they exist? And can she somehow find a way to harness that?"

Zhang was Minister of Security of China at a young age and wielded considerable power in China during that tenure. Zhang started DEUS in 1989. Deus essentially owns/controls ECORP and many governments. So Zhang had plenty of access to Ecorp and other countries/various governments for many years, which she used to her advantage to build her secret project under the Washington Township nuclear power plant. Zhang is WhiteRose, the head of the Dark Army, a highly motivated and skilled hacker group that includes some cult-like members willing to die for their cause. This all leads me to the following questions: With all those resources at her disposal already, why did WhiteRose ever really need Elliot and fsociety? Why bring in outside parties without the same level of loyalty who had the ability to complicate things? What is so special about Elliot that he had to be involved to the point that WR let his will be her guide? Many folks have questions about how Elliot is truly connected to WR's project. How does this mysterious, complicated project depend so much on Elliot's involvement, and how/when did WR decide Elliot was so credible that she would place all her faith in him when she had many other resources/methods at her disposal that could have likely allowed her to get things done much more easily? 

Why does Elliot need to live until the project ships? I get that fsociety were the fall guys, but again, WR had adequate resources to pull that stuff off internally between China, DA, and the Deus club. So why chance it and leave any part of the operation and the fate of your project in the hands of people who are not fully under your control or fully loyal? It even seemed to me that Elliot managed to mess with WR's timeline several times, not even counting the 71 building's blowing/martial law imposition and Ecorp logistics shipping delays. So what is really so special about Elliot, and how does WR know? When did she know.....when did she meet him? Why is WR allowing Elliot's will to be her guide for her project?

Is Elliot some enhanced human or AI/other entity human hybrid? Why is his "unadulterated, focused rage" really needed for her project? We're missing some bigger-picture information that is very important to the story. I mean, the same guy who is now getting her project shipped to the Congo actually caused the situations that delayed her project from shipping between the 71 buildings blowing/martial law placement, and by owning the Ecorp shipping logistics system (something Elliot told us he was trying to create his "paper record mirage" while working at Ecorp). 

And when I ponder these questions, I again must wonder if a lot of this story is just Elliot's delusions and we're seeing the depths of his mental health struggles in the same way he sees/experiences them, if we the audience being lied to/conned as part of a "cautionary tale", and if so, who is conning us? Elliot, WR, Ecorp, Mr. Robot? Or is Elliot actually some sort of enhanced/superhuman/AI, or someone with knowledge vital to WR's project locked away in his head that WR has to extract in some unconventional way? Is Elliot himself the project? Is Sam Esmail trying to go so far with surrealism as to out-Lynch David Lynch? Maybe Whiterose's project could be just a super computer, and Whiterose plans to upload him/herself to it, live as an immortal AI, and control the world. Elliot's first words sound as an AI consciousness directed to us, when he says “hello friend” to the world. Theoretical physics has models of black hole creation being possible with the use of a powerful supercollider. Black holes might be access to parallel universes. A parallel universe in which Whiterose's true love didn't off himself.

According to Weiler’s theory, these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past. “One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes,” Weiler said. “Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future. Whiterose might want to use the machine to "hack time", controlling Higg's singlet particles. Source: news.vanderbilt.edu

Martin Wallström tells The Hollywood Reporter why Tyrell was so obsessed with Elliott: "Here, we get the missing piece of Tyrell with Elliot: Elliott just doesn't care, Tyrell doesn't have to be someone for Elliot. Elliot turns out to be almost an idol, someone Tyrell wishes he was, that he didn't have to care about what other people think of him, to fit into this frame that he created for himself and his wife, all of it. Elliot stands for all the freedom that Tyrell really wants." Moments after the epiphany, Elliot and Tyrell come across the Dark Army operative, who kills himself, but not before fatally shooting Tyrell. Recognizing his own impending demise and the ramifications of what happens if his body is discovered by the Dark Army, Tyrell chooses to walk back into the woods to die alone, buying Elliot some time in his quest against Whiterose. The episode ends with Tyrell stumbling toward a glowing blue light (maybe an allusion to the Shutdown Error/Windows 'blue screen of death'), before the scene fades to white.

According to Wallström, Tyrell's final episode hit all the right notes: "It was funny, it was sad … it had everything." He also feels it has one surprising component for Tyrell: redemption. "For him, taking that bullet was one good thing he could do," says Wallström. "The fact that Tyrell and Elliot are all alone in the woods, physically left to each other without any other choice other than continuing on with each other… and as soon as he gets to clear up all of his stuff with Elliot, he finally gets to do something good. Because in a way, he takes the bullet. He's sent off having finally done something good — one good thing after four seasons. It just feels natural to me that he had to die. But it was very heartwarming to see that he at least did one thing good in the end." As for the enigmatic nature of Tyrell's final moments, bloodied but bending toward a great blue glow, the actor is just as confused as the viewer: "It wasn't clear to me what that was. Sam and I talked about it, but in my mind, we weren't sure if it's something that's in his head. For me, I saw it as him realizing that his son would be okay. It's not the way he planned things, but his son will be okay now, and Elliot will be okay, too — and he'll take down Whiterose. It's a relief for Tyrell. I think he's thinking: 'All of this struggle, it was useless, but it's fine now. I'm going to die now.'" Source: www.hollywoodreporter.com

Elliot is lost. Mentally and physically. In the Season 4 Episode 4, he reveals he feels he cannot defeat Whiterose. In what was a very emotional scene, he expresses to Tyrell at this point he just wants a chance at having a chance of saving Darlene. It's not even a guarantee he can save her but he just wants the chance to try. The gas station is called Salamano's, after Salamano, a character in Albert Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider). Janice's taxidermy shop is La Mort Heureuse, also a Camus reference. An odd detail is Elliot’s voice shifting in tone at times. Like when he was talking with Tyrell just after yelling at him? It sounded like multiple voices talking at once: one sounded like it was Elliot’s, another like it was Mr. Robot’s (meaning Christian Slater), and another that sounded like someone else talking through a modulator. Tyrell's assumptions about Elliot are deeply flawed, though. Elliot’s hoodie is his armor, true; but he’s never been uncaring. Closed off, perhaps, but that’s generally because Elliot always seems to feel so much, virtually all the time, no matter which personality he’s wearing.

That said, his confession that he can’t stop fighting to try and save Darlene’s life is extremely moving. Dom’s Dream (told to Angela in the S02E09): ‘In that dream when I was being drowned, I stopped fighting it. When I finally let go and stopped struggling so much...that’s when I survived." Tobias (in full Bad Santa attrezzo) drunkenly quotes Jimmy Stewart’s character from It’s a Wonderful Life at one point during his car ride with Darlene. A classic holiday movie, to be sure. But also a film about the power of the people in our lives, and the ways that caring about one another can change the world. And if that’s not the true meaning of Christmas—and largely Mr. Robot, as well—I don’t know what is. Source: www.denofgeek.com