With a wider focus set to capture its growing cast, Mr. Robot reminds us that everyone is lonely and miserable, and the harder you work to fix things the more you fuck it up along the way. Everyone and everything’s a lost cause.
Mr. Robot: “eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd”
Elliot’s call with Tyrell is cut short, leaving him knowing less than before. That combined with learning about Gideon’s murder is enough to push Elliot to be more direct with his problem. With a little help from Leon, he resorts to Adderall consumption. An overdose on medication, he hopes, will be the trick to expel Mr. Robot from his head. Permanently.
When visiting Romero Mobley finds his friend shot dead on the floor of his mother’s terrace. Darlene assures him that she has everything under control and not to worry about the Dark Army or Elliot betraying the group; she’ll get to the bottom of everything. But Mobley doesn’t trust either of the Alderson kids and wonders if Trenton feels the same way.
After impressing Price with her command of media channels, Angela gets invited to a dinner date with a couple of Evil Corp executives. Price tells her they were involved with Colby’s decision to hide information about the leak that led to the death of her mother and Edward. Though its clear she doesn’t trust her boss, he offers her information on insider trading that would convict them both and leaves her to decide their fate.
Romero’s death raises alarms with the FBI, sending Dominique the hacker’s home. But before she can get anything the responding NYPD display their incompetence and trip Romero’s rigged PC, destroying any files inside. All that survived where some printouts of FBI agent’s names from a hack published months some time ago.
Elliot suicide attempt fails when his mind imagines a kidnapping by the Men In Black who feed him concrete from a red wheel barrow until he expels the drugs from his system. This isn’t the way to cure himself of Mr. Robot, and when that’s made clear Elliot decides a slower medication method: a daily dose of 200mg of Adderall and sleep avoidance for nearly a week. It normalizes him (somewhat) but a the other end of his prolonged trip Elliot loses his religion and his patience, sending the walls of his labyrinth crumbling.
Dominique, sleepless in her empty apartment, tries to distract herself from work with chats in a cybersex irc that don’t do the trick. She obsesses over the notes from Romero’s apartment and finds her name among agents on the list. During a second sweep of Romero’s home, she makes friends with his ill mother and comes across a flyer for an End of the World Party featuring by DJ Mobley. Following the address leads her right to Fun Society’s door.
When a former tech partner fails to hold on to their bitcoins and migrate their site to a new server, Ray tracks down Elliot. Seeing him at his lowest point, Ray shares with Elliot the truth about the state of his own mental health following the death of his wife and the methods he used to cope. Avoidance seems like the way forward, but when Mr. Robot returns Elliot’s willing to accept a little help.
Elliot’s kernel panic is the result of warring with this corrupted manifestation of his father. Like with a PC, this is a prompt for Elliot to wipe or replace his entire rig (brain). It’s the result of this meltdown he’s been trying to avoid with strict schedules and regular journaling. The result of which was little more than a test of Elliot’s tolerance of Mr. Robot’s presence.
Mr. Robot’s Men in Black reinforce this. Though they appear to form out of nothing and are menacing in all aspects, these additional specters wind up saving Elliot’s life. It’s a defense mechanism triggered to keep the influence of Mr. Robot at bay, which would explain why he’s been so vocal about Elliot avoiding them since revealing himself. But can they actually help? Can anyone?
Something Esmail’s hinted at with Mr. Robot, and I’ve written about before, is made explicit by Ray when talking about dealing with the grief of his wife’s death. According to Ray’s observations about life, Elliot’s attempt to find order is hopeless. Life is a series of trips and stumbles from one end of a dark corridor to another, knowing nothing to help you along the way.
Contrary to Elliot’s hopes, control really is an illusion. But in understanding that, he might find a bit of hope to keep him moving forward.