Mr. Robot is a show that has never backed away from asking the big questions: What is the nature of identity? How much, if any, control do we have over our lives? Do we see reality as it is? It is in this spirit of philosophical inquiry that we take a look at some of the unanswered questions from season 3.
What is Whiterose’s Project?
Online speculation has run rampant on this one since the season premiere. A lot of people say it’s a Large Hadron Collider (more accurately, it would be a particle accelerator, since the Large Hadron Collider is one specific example, not a category). Particle colliders are used to examine the way particles interact with each other in an attempt to understand the physical nature of the universe and what things were like in the time directly after the Big Bang. In the context of the show, could Whiterose be using this technology to create another universe, one over which she would somehow have control? A related possibility is that all these different universes already exist and Whiterose’s project is a way to travel to whichever one she wants. After all, before Grant kills himself, she told him she would “find” him when the project is over.
A time machine is another possibility, given the show’s references to Back to the Future and Superman, as well as Angela’s belief that Whiterose’s project can undo the damage caused by the bombings and even reunite her and Elliot with their deceased parents. This one feels like a red herring to me, but could still be Whiterose’s endgame.
Probably the most “realistic” theory is that the power plant is just a power plant and will be used for Bitcoin and/or E-Coin mining. Running the computers required for massive-scale mining of this sort would take an immense amount of energy. This theory would require Whiterose to have had the foresight to see all those years ago that these cryptocurrencies would exist and be relevant in the present, which seems unlikely, though not impossible, given her ability to see and control events at a global scale.
What theory I believe changes from day to day (more than that, I’ve flip-flopped a few times while writing this), but currently my favorite theory is that Whiterose is constructing a massive Matrix-esque simulation. This would allow her to “resurrect” Angela’s mom, Elliot’s dad, and the Dark Army soldiers (like Grant) that have given their lives so freely to the cause.
What is the Nature of Elliot/Mr. Robot?
Sure, they’ve already shown us that Mr. Robot is a manifestation in Elliot’s mind of his dead father, but what if there’s more to it? When I was first told about Mr. Robot, I was reluctant to watch it because it has ‘robot’ right in the title, but doesn’t have any robots on the show. But what if it does? Maybe Elliot (and some or all of the other characters) are actually sentient computer programs or androids/replicants and they really do hack each other? Mr. Robot (and us, friend), could be malware or just bugs intruding on Elliot’s mind/programming. Under this theory, the more easily manipulated a person is (I’m looking at you, Bill from Steel Mountain), the earlier the generation. The master manipulator (Whiterose) might be the most advanced program, or the person doing the actual programming. This might be going a little too off-the-deep-end for the show, but I’m still holding out hope that there are robots of some kind.
What’s In the Bag?
This like a large, but forgotten, plot point to me. After Angela clones the hardware security modules for the Dark Army in episode five, she is handed a mysterious white paper bag by a Dark Army operative. Whatever it is, seeing it rattles Angela, and (unless I completely missed something in the intervening episodes), it hasn’t been seen or mentioned since. So, what could it be?
A lot of folks online seem to think it’s a gun, for either her or Elliot (who was supposed to be the one working on the HSMs) to kill themselves after the task was done. I don’t really buy this theory, since 1.) Neither Angela nor Elliot shot themselves, and 2.) guns are heavy. In the scenes, the paper bag doesn’t seem to have much weight. Angela is holding it by two fingers, and the bag doesn’t appear to be stretching at all.
So, what else could it be? I did some brainstorming with my brother, technical consultant, and Mr. Robot fan, Andrew, and these are some of the possibilities we came up with:
- a memento related to her mom/his dad
- a photo of her mom/his dad now, because they’re not dead, but hidden away in a secure Dark Army facility somewhere with the little girl who may or may not be Angela from the past.
- a photo of her dad or ex-boyfriend Ollie, held hostage by the Dark Army
- information revealing that there were actually 71 target buildings, not just one
- A fantastic new Red Wheelbarrow side dish that the world is not ready for yet. A taste sensation that would make the best curly fries seem like the most bland cole slaw by comparison. Some culinary creation so tasty it could warp the fabric of time and space.
- Bart Simpson’s soul – I know, I know, USA isn’t even owned by the same corporation as Fox (yet), but is it just a coincidence that both Mr. Robot and this classic episode of The Simpsons both feature Alf (in a dream sequence in one, in pog-form in the other)? Surely Whiterose wouldn’t think so.
What do you think? I’m sure you’ve got some wonderful theories I missed out on. Let’s discuss in the comments section!