Mr. Robot Recap Eps3.7dont-delete-me.ko “All I’m Asking is That You Forgive Me”

Mr. Robot -Season 3, episode 8 – Eps3.7dont-delete-me.ko

Spoiler Alert

October 21st, 2015 is the day Marty McFly goes back to the future in Back to the Future 2, and it’s also the day Elliot has decided he will delete himself.

Mr. Robot eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00 Recap

The episode begins with a flashback of Elliot and his father at their local theater, The Alpine. Clearly in the last days of his illness, Elliot’s father is hacking — literally coughing up a lung as he adds M&M’s to their bucket of popcorn. Elliot is visibly upset at his father, which could just be typical teen angst until his limp arm is revealed. Tonight’s movie outing took place shortly after Elliot’s dad pushed him out a window.

His dad implores Elliot “All I’m asking is that you forgive me. Think you’ll ever be able to do that?” A black hoodie-clad young Elliot replies “No” and leaves his dad to collapse in a coughing fit on the floor of the theatre. Elliot removes his father’s iconic Mr. Robot jacket and walks away from his father’s presumably dead or dying body. As onlookers call for help and an ambulance, Elliot goes into the theatre and sits down.

His dad implores Elliot “All I’m asking is that you forgive me. Think you’ll ever be able to do that?” A black hoodie-clad young Elliot replies “No” and leaves his dad to collapse in a coughing fit on the floor of the theatre. Elliot removes his father’s iconic Mr. Robot jacket and walks away from his father’s presumably dead or dying body. As onlookers call for help and an ambulance, Elliot goes into the theatre and sits down.

He whispers to no one sitting next to him “Quiet, it’s starting,” which seems to imply that Mr. Robot has been with Elliot since the very second of his father’s death.

Back in the present day, Elliot can’t bring himself to replace his long broken bathroom mirror. Indeed “mirroring” his real-life paralysis, he has all the parts he needs, but he can’t bring himself to do the actions required to repair the situation.

 

An out-of-focus overhead shot also reinforces a lack of clarity, direction, or sense of self as Elliot deletes Mobley and Trenton’s files from his computer. It’s an old school Season One “wipe down,” Darlene notices as she arrives at her brother’s place. She asks Elliot why he hasn’t left his apartment in three weeks and tells him that Angela needs his help. “I recall her being there for you,” Darlene reminds her brother. “I guess I’m an a**hole,” Elliot replies, signaling his refusal to help.

Plenty of good people had to die in disgrace for Darlene and Elliot to reconnect, and the weight of their actions and the subsequent deaths has been heavy on Darlene throughout this season. The full impact seems just now to be reverberating through Elliot, who finally admits that on some level he can’t get rid of Mr. Robot because he likes him. This admission is the most aggressive, the loudest, the most physically present that Elliot has been thus far in the series, without transforming into Mr. Robot.

Elliot promises Darlene some quality time the next evening. They’ll watch their favorite movie “Careful Massacre” and get high. “Since when did we start following the rules?” Elliot asks his sister when she protests the ritual hangout taking place on a day other than Halloween.

Elliot runs some errands next — first to his neighbor to drop off Skipper the dog for the day, then to a trashcan fire to burn the Mr. Robot jacket he has possessed since childhood. Perhaps this will finally rid him of the ghost of his father, but it’s unlikely. Finally, he sees his friendly neighborhood drug dealer, Hard Andy for a whole bag of morphine. Andy calls his bluff — first assuming he’s a narc and then realizing Elliot is suicidal and looking to delete himself via ingesting a huge amount of opioids. Not one to interfere with anyone’s liberties, Hard Andy tells him to go for it although with some reservations about handing over his entire “pure as a nun’s c*nt” stash.

Out in the suburbs belongs to Mobley’s brother, who cares more about the consequences for his career than planning his brother’s burial. “There’s no way I was gonna pay for a terrorist’s funeral,” he spits at Elliot before retreating into his heavily TP-ed home.

On the way to Elliot’s next stop, he passes a memorial billboard for the latest massive attack, dubbed 7/9. The streets of New York are now trafficked by army vehicles more frequently than cabs, and uniformed servicemen are frisking suspects up and down the block. A speaker announces a 9:00 p.m. curfew for the whole city. Elliot arrives at Trenton’s home where her family is packing to leave. The anti-Muslim sentiment in the country paired with the death of their daughter has made it impossible to stay. “This country now blames Muslims for everything,” says Trenton’s father. Elliot has some kind things to say about Trenton, while a sly younger brother tries to listen in.

The subway is filled with trash bags, as it seems is the rest of the city. Elliot makes his way through scattered people with surgeon’s masks to Coney Island, where he sits on the beach ready to delete himself. Except Trenton’s brother has followed him. “That’s a lot of pills,” the boy says. “Are you sick?”

Elliot tries to ditch the kid, but he is persistent. And it’s a good thing considering he’s the only thing standing between Elliot formatting his own hard drive. Elliot agrees to walk the kid home, but on the way, they pass a movie theatre, and Elliot realizes, it’s October 21st, 2015. Back to the Future Day. “I’ve been waiting for this day since I was a kid!” Elliot admits and decides to take Trenton’s brother to the movies. It’s act of redemption. He’s reenacting his own childhood movie experiences with his dad, only this time in the role of the older, wiser adult pouring M&M’s in the popcorn. The kid begs to see The Martian instead of the classic film, but Elliot stands firm. They’ll be joining the mob of cosplaying, time-space-continuum-debating fans for today’s screening.

Midway through the film, the kid disappears. Elliot tracks him down, with the help of a Hasidic Jew driving an “oyce cream” truck. The man is also listening to Orson Welle’s 1938 broadcast of “War of the Worlds.” This audio choice is dense. Not only does it parallel their own world where things seem to be descending exponentially towards chaos, but moments earlier the kid was asking for a film set on Mars — the home planet of the invaders from the broadcast. It could be a metaphor for humanity asking for its own destruction, or maybe an ironic reassurance that the panic may not be warranted or based on reality.

Elliot finds the kid at his mosque and yells at him for ditching the movie. The kid yells at Elliot “I wish you were dead,” and Elliot replies “So do it.” This spurs a more heartfelt conversation about Trenton’s death. The kid blames himself for his sister’s demise, but Elliot admits it was all his fault. The kid accuses Elliot of being selfish and disrespectful to the mosque “you’re not allowed to wear shoes here,” but isn’t angry.

“Do you think I could be president of the United States,” the kid asks. The question is a conundrum. It’s significant that this young Muslim boy  — the only member of his family born in the United States — is asking this question. In the United States both in the world of the show and in our real world, so much animosity exists for the Muslim community. The innocence of a child who thinks the only limitation on his prospective candidacy is the country of his birth is striking. His presidential agenda? Put bad guys in jail, make everyone eat pop-tarts. Elliot tells him a dictator is basically “a really bad president.”

The kid’s parents still aren’t home, but he pulls out the keys and lets himself in.  Like Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz, Elliot asks, “You had the keys this whole time?”

“Sorry I made you late, hope you can still do your important thing,” the kid tells Elliot and asks to see him again. Elliot says sure, he’ll take the kid to see the Martian, but he’s also promised that to Darlene. In one of the most heartwarming and redemptive moments of the series so far, before he leaves, the kid gives Elliot a green lollipop “because you said you were sick.”

Elliot rips the wrapper off the pop, goes back to Mobley’s house to force his brother to have a funeral — blackmailing him into it by hacking his corporate email. The house has been TP-ed thoroughly. Then he travels to Angela’s place, but she won’t answer the door. The screen is split between Elliot, back-lit in red, and Angela, front-lit with green. The juxtaposition of red and green recalls the red and green books in Elliot’s therapist’s office. With the door between them, Elliot tells Angela a memory of their childhood wishing game. “The ending was never our favorite part,” Elliot reminds her. “It was the wishing.” Angela has been in white for the past several episodes, as though the clothes she wears could somehow purify her.

Elliot leaves, empowered and ridiculous triumphant. He made a human connection, saw his favorite movie, helped his friend and didn’t kill himself. This new mood is not the mania of Elliot on Zoloft. It’s the stride of a man who has recovered his previously deleted files. As he arrives home, someone in a white van drops off garbage. Sitting atop the bags is the Mr. Robot jacket.

Undeterred, Elliot replaces the mirror in his bathroom and logs into his email. In it, he finds the final email Trenton set to automatically send. She says “I may have found a way to undo the hack.”

A full 40 minutes with no Mr. Robot takeover is definitely progress for Elliot, though he did have to go through some dark mental places to get there. The re-emergence of hope is a welcome flutter in the back half of an extremely dark season. There are only two episodes left to go, and many questions still to be answered. 

Mr. Robot, written and directed by Sam Esmail, continues its 10 episode season Wednesday nights on USA at 10 p.m. ET.

Missed the previous Mr. Robot week recap? Read it here.


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