This season of Mr. Robot has been on overdrive for the past three episodes, further escalating events that showed no signs of stopping, but we’ve finally reached that point. That isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, however, as this was yet another stellar episode for the third season. With so much going on, there hasn’t been time to examine how Elliot really felt and the effects that have occurred to him as a result of his failure to stop Stage 2. So, Sam Esmail dedicates a moving hour to the final breaking of Elliot and how he manages to find purpose again in the world that seems to have lost all hope.
Opening with a flashback of Elliot’s continued childhood troubles with his father is a good foreshadowing of things to come. Elliot’s fractured relationship with his father shows that he’s been carrying guilt with him longer than from more pressing events, despite all his father’s attempts to do anything for Elliot’s forgiveness. It seems Elliot is more interested in his dad accepting reality and that he’s sick, rather than trying to hide it from everyone around him (which is how Elliot got the sling he’s displaying in this scene after his father got angry that Elliot revealed the sickness to his mother). Edward collapses after one of his coughing fits and Elliot emotionlessly just takes the Mr. Robot jacket from his father and heads into the theater alone, though he does speak to a unknown entity, implying this was the birth of the Mr. Robot we know in current time.
We haven’t seen Elliot do a file burn to a CD this entire season, sadly it had to happen with him erasing all the data he has on Mobley and Trenton after learning about their deaths. He’s disappointed that the Dark Army decided to shift Stage 2’s blame on two innocents, but the guilt continues to rise as they were involved with fsociety, making this loop back to Elliot once again. Darlene arrives and reveals it’s been three weeks since the destruction of the 71 E Corp buildings and Elliot has been keeping a low profile since then, mixed in with updates on the deterioration of Angela’s mental health. Elliot’s mental health isn’t in tip top shape either as he goes on a tirade about the current state of affairs and his inability to do anything about it thanks to Mr. Robot. Darlene senses a deeper issue within Elliot and attempts to spend time with him, but he remains vigilant that he needs to cope with this alone, though he plans a movie night with her for the following evening.
We see that Elliot has no plans to attend this movie night, however, and that Darlene was justified to be worried. Elliot’s computer wipe after erasing Mobley and Trenton’s files wasn’t “routine” as he claimed it to be, neither is handing over the Mr. Robot jacket to a trash collection company and having his landlord watch his dog for a bit. He heads over to a drug dealer and purchases all the morphine he has on him, which the dealer warns is a “death wish” if the audience didn’t get by now that Elliot can’t live with the guilt any longer and is planning to delete himself. Before following through with this, Elliot has some last things to attend to. He pays a visit to Mobley’s brother to learn where he can pay his respects, but is offered nothing in return as Mobley’s brother has no desire to pay for a terrorist’s funeral. Elliot’s visit to Trenton’s parents is a warmer exchange, as her father believes Elliot’s claims that she was innocent in all this and that he’s sorry for what happened to her.
Finished with apologizing to his two lost friends in the best ways he could, Elliot heads to Coney Island and prepares to down as much morphine as he can before it kills him, but Trenton’s brother Mohammed had apparently followed Elliot after he visited their home all the way to Coney Island, hoping to find answers about Elliot said about Trenton and her innocence. Considering Elliot’s attempting to kill himself, he tries to get rid of Mohammed by returning him home, but learns that his father and mother are currently 2 hours away at Mohammed’s uncle trying to find a place to stay. There’s a part of Elliot that still wishes to do the right thing, so he doesn’t abandon Mohammed and even takes him to the movies after initially refusing. The day is October 21st, 2015: the day Marty arrives in the future in Back to the Future II, something Elliot has been waiting for since he was a child. He comments it’s odd the day is today of all days, but feels it’s a fated experience.
He shows Mohammed the tradition we saw earlier during the flashback between Elliot and his dad of mixing M&Ms with popcorn and then they head into the film together. Midway through the movie, Mohammed disappears when Elliot has his head turned, so he heads out to find him. Considering their earlier conversation about mosques, Elliot figures that’d be a good place to start. Continuing on with this entire sequence since Mohammed arrived feeling like a dream sequence, a ice cream truck pulls up and offers Elliot a ride. The driver is playing War of the Worlds, which triggers a conversation with Elliot, specifically about how playing it now is bleek considering the nature of the world. The driver retorts that it’s actually the opposite as he sees the story as a sign that humanity can prevail after traumatic events, a hint that maybe deleting himself isn’t in the best interest for Elliot as he can overcome this.
Upon arriving at the mosque that Mohammed ran off to, the two get in a shouting match, resulting in Elliot outwardly saying that he wants to be dead. With Elliot sharing his secret, Mohammed reveals that he thinks it was his fault that Trenton left and that she’s now dead, but Elliot lets him know it’s not and instead Elliot’s. The two begin to bond more and Mohammed even gives the origin of Trenton’s codename as it was the place Mohammed was born. 2 hours eventually has gone by in this time, so Elliot returns Mohammed to his home. Before departing, Mohammed asks if Elliot and him can go to the movies one more time before they move, to which Elliot agrees. He then breaks down, realizing that he doesn’t actually want to die anymore, and Mohammed hands him a lollipop “because you said you were sick”.
With renewed belief in life and the world he’s in, Elliot pays another visit to Mobley’s brother and forces him to have a funeral for his deceased brother or else he’ll leak shady memos to the IRS that he found while hacking him. He then hands the morphine over that he bought previously, revealing that the drug dealer is one of said shady clients, and states that the drugs should cover the expenses of the funeral. Elliot then decides to forgive Angela’s role in assisting Mr. Robot and try to get her out of her mindstate. He reminds her of a game they used to play as kids where they’d wish for what they wanted the most and hope it came true. It never did, which is why Elliot didn’t get the point of the game, but he remembered Angela always used to say a phrase after they’d play: “No matter what happens, we’ll be okay.”
There was a special feeling to “dont-delete-me.ko” that really resonated with me. It begins with Elliot at his lowest point in life and ready to truly end it all this time by removing himself from the equation. Several background shots in the episode show closed down stores, military patrolling the streets, alarming numbers of homeless, and now memorials made to the 71 E Corp buildings nail down the effects that the 5/9 hack and Stage 2 had on the world and that this was in a way all Elliot’s doing. If all this was around you as a reminder of what you’ve done, consciously or not, you’d probably want to stop it too. It seems from the point that Elliot prepares to go ahead and accept the fate of death, though, is where the universe reminds him that there’s are two sides to Elliot’s coin and he isn’t necessarily the bad one. The strange odyssey with Mohammed cements all this into Elliot and gives him purpose again, which results in him transforming to probably the highest point we’ve seen this season. There’s always hope to fighting, even when stacked against insurmountable odds and Elliot’s ready to take on the Dark Army for everything they’ve committed.
dont-delete-me.ko – 5 out of 5
- A beautiful and touching episode of Mr. Robot.
- The cinematography was seriously top notch this episode.
- Ending with “In Time” was a solid choice to cap off this 80s style episode.
- I liked The Martian, but I laughed at Elliot’s hatred of it. Also his dig at Rotten Tomatoes and critic reviews in general.
- This episode makes me wish we got more Mobley and Trenton this season before they were offed.