Monkeys Fighting Robots

In a particularly grim season of an already dark show, sometimes you need a ray of light, and eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko was that ray.  An episode about hope in the face of despair, this was my favorite episode yet of the show, and probably the best.

This review contains spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, hop in your DeLorean and go check it out first.

Sit Back and Enjoy the Show

Mr Alderson eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko

Monkeys Fighting Robots Youtube

We start with a flashback to a young Elliot and his father at the movie theater, dumping a bag of M&Ms into a bucket of popcorn.  A heartfelt (if somewhat unhealthy) moment, right?  Not on this show.  Elliot is still angry at his father for breaking Elliot’s arm and for not admitting he has advanced stage cancer.  We see exactly how advanced when Mr. Alderson collapses.  While the other patrons scramble to help him, Elliot takes his Mr. Robot jacket and calmly leaves his father’s body to go watch the movie.  He’s not alone, though.  Mr. Robot is with him.  As the film starts, Elliot tells an invisible person in the seat next to him to shush.

Old Habits Die Hard

When we return from the flashback, Elliot is back to some old habits.  As we saw last week, Trenton and Mobley, two of Elliot’s compatriots from the 5/9 hack, have been killed and framed by the Dark Army for the bombings of 71 E-Corp locations.  In a scene mirroring one from season one, Elliot backs up on discs any data he had relating to these two and then burns the hard drives that may link him to them.

Darlene is worried about Elliot (understandably, since he hasn’t left his apartment in weeks) and wants to stay with him.  He says come back tomorrow and they’ll hang out, get high and watch their favorite movie.

But that’s just a brush off.  Elliot has decided the only way to rid the world of Mr. Robot permanently is to kill himself.  He leaves his dog with a neighbor, drops off the Mr. Robot jacket at a trash burning business and buys enough morphine for a burn ward.  As you may recall from season one, Elliot was a heavy morphine user who staved off addiction with the use of naloxone.  This time, however, he’s not buying naloxone.

Before he shuffles himself loose this mortal coil, Elliot goes to pay his respects to Mobley and Trenton.  Mobley’s brother seems more concerned with how his career will be affected than the death of his brother, so the next stop is Trenton’s family.  On the trip there, he sees that New York is in a military lockdown, with a curfew set up and Jeeps full of armed soldiers roaming the streets.  Trenton’s mother, father and young brother Mohammed (in a fantastic performance by Elisha Henig) are leaving town due to anti-Muslim prejudice further stoked when the Dark Army framed Iran for the bombings.

eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko Ferris Wheel

“All history present in that visage, the child the father of the man”

So Elliot heads back to the pier and sits on the beach in the shadow of the Ferris wheel.  He’s about to start taking the morphine when Mohammed approaches him.  Elliot tells him to go home, but he doesn’t know how, his parents aren’t there, and he doesn’t want to go.  Who can blame him?  The home he knew isn’t there anymore, his sister has been killed and the news says she was a terrorist, but this stranger, Elliot, says he thinks she was innocent.

Elliot tries to get rid of him, insisting that he has something to do.  Mohammed pesters him about his hobbies, but Elliot is so far gone that nothing holds joy for him…except perhaps Back to the Future.  In the show, it is October 21st 2015: the day that Marty travels into the future.  Elliot has wanted to watch this movie on this day since he was a kid, and a local theater is showing it.  So a lonely young man takes a lonely kid to escape from their troubles in cinema.  One problem, though: partway through the movie, the kid escapes from the theater.  Reminded of an earlier conversation, Elliot determines he went to pray at the mosque.  Luckily, he finds a ride with a friendly Jewish ice cream man who is familiar with all the local religious groups.  In the mosque, Elliot and Mohammed have a conversation about how Mohammed is the only one of his family who was born in America and thus the only one who could become president.

When Elliot finally brings him home, Mohammed asks if he will see him again.  Elliot, deciding that life is worth living, says he’ll take Mohammed to see The Martian before he leaves.  Mohammed, since Elliot said he was sick, gives him a green lollipop as he leaves.

Old Habits, Part Two

eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko Angela and Elliot

Elliot, reenergized, pays another visit to Mobley’s douchebag brother.  He has hacked him and found some dirt from his business emails.  Unless the brother gives Mobley a decent funeral, Elliot will expose him.  He hands him the morphine and tells him to use the money he gets from selling them back to pay for the funeral.

Then he pays a visit to Angela, realizing he was too harsh with her earlier.  She may have been used by White Rose, but so was he.  She’s still his oldest friend, no matter what.  Though she won’t unlock the door for him, they sit on either side of it, as Elliot sadly and sweetly reminiscing about their wishes when they were kids.  It wasn’t what they wished for, but the hope that those wishes provided them, two kids dealing with the death of parents, that was important.

Returning to his apartment, the trash burner throws a load of garbage on the street (if you can’t trust trash burners, who can you trust?), including the jacket Elliot thought he was finally rid of.  Inside, he finds an email that Trenton had set to be sent to him automatically in the event of her death.  There may be a way to undo what they did…

Joshua Versalle
Josh is a writer and a lover of The Simpsons, Monty Python, The State, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, and Preacher. He spends probably too much time reading and has lately been attempting to eat the occasional vegetable, with limited success.
all-is-not-lost-in-mr-robot-eps3-7_dont-delete-me-koThis episode was uplifting and featured a number of great performances, particularly from Rami Malek and Elisha Henig. The use of symbolism and parallelism is rich and powerful.