Crazy Grim Reaper Theory

Welcome to our Crazy Grim Reaper Theory or as we call it “Chess Club”

We know what you’re thinking, that the title “Crazy Grim Reaper Theory” has given away the crux of this post – that Mr Robot is The Grim Reaper… but you’d be WRONG!!!

Okay, let’s get down to it, Boppers…

In Lost it was backgammon, in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey it was Battleships, Clue and Twister but in S02E04, it was chess…

Crazy Grim Reaper Theory - Overhead Chess shot

“Two players, two sides. One is light, one is dark.”

Never has a tribute to Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 classic The Seventh Seal been so masterfully shot and edited. If you don’t know the film, it’s most famous scene sees Antonius Block, a Medieval Knight challenge Death to a game of chess on a beach straight outta Dante’s Inferno. 

Crazy Grim Reaper Theory - Chess

You last saw 87 year old Max von Sydow (right) being killed by Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens!

We’ve a saying in Film & TV writing – “A ticking clock creates tension” and here the sound editing was Emmy-worthy;  the chess pieces hitting the board creating both ticking clock sound and tension. As the game played out, the pacing of the editing quickened and the shots became tighter and tighter until…

Crazy Grim Reaper Theory - ECU

These ECU shots make us feel like Alice in Wonderland after her “Drink Me” shrinking potion (Red Pill)

Well; nothing. Stalemate. Impasse. Inertia.

What happens when the red pill and the blue pill cancel each other out? I guess you get marooned (see what I did there?) Elliot playing himself at chess lead to the irresistible force paradox or, as Whiterose might say, 矛盾  – “Sword Spear”.

So what if the chess game as metaphor is derivative? Esmail pays homage but always, always makes it his own with bold new ideas. Except maybe not this time! Remember in Recap Part 1.0 I said that too many movie reference winks could help us solve a mystery?

Wellllll… listen carefully, I shall say this only once. Antonius The Knight was The Seventh Seal’s hero and it was he who challenged Death to the all-or-nothing game. He even utters the line “If I win, you set me free.”

Here it was Mr Robot’s idea.

So what if Mr Robot is actually our show’s hero? What if Sam Esmail has re-used a major theme from one of his favourite movies and dropped us a massive clue?

Crazy Grim Reaper Theory - 1957 Still

Crazy Grim Reaper Theory watches your every move. We know where you live, Esmail.

What I’m trying to say here in this Crazy Grim Reaper Theory is…

What if Elliot is The Angel of Death, come to fetch his father? Death certainly surrounds Elliot; many of the few he connects with seem to die. Edward, Shayla, Gideon, Romero, possibly his own and even Angela’s mother… plus God only knows who else is to come.

The Sixth Sense famously pulled the rug from under us with a blindingly good “I’m dead” twist, but Esmail not only borrows ideas; he improves upon them, so what if the “I’m dead” twist became “I’m Death.”?

Further to the whole chess game with Death homage, let’s look for more evidence… from the first second we met Elliot he’s always worn all black clothing; is that cos he’s a subversive, hacker who wants to blend into the night like a 35 year old emo kid or because he’s The Collector of Souls wandering the streets of New York like a ghost and unseen by everyone?

Now THAT would make a fucking great TV show! The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse bringing about the collapse of society as a hacktivist, ticking names of his list and visiting his shrink!


Crazy Grim Reaper Theory - Skeletal Elliot

I think SK-ELLIOT-OR may even have spoken about being almost invisible in Season One

Much of the time he also wears his hood up. His dark, sunken eyes contrast his pale skin suggesting much more than just fatigue… In case you’re not with us yet on this Crazy Grim Reaper Theory, I’ll spell it out in CAPS LOCK for the cheap seats…

Crazy Grim Reaper Theory - Death himself

You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you dance with The Reaper!


So there we have it – there’s this week’s crazy theory from my brain-thinker.

The very same day as this episode hit our screens, this little piece of misinformation about Elliot’s black hoodie being Rami Malek’s idea hits the web. Coincidence? No way!

It’s as if they knew this Crazy Grim Reaper Theory was coming and had to misdirect us!

Esmail realised he’d said too much, that some nut-job like me was gonna crack his cinematic code and he had to cover up the whole surprise twisty-ending ending of his TV Show!

So what do you reckon? Do you agree that Elliot could be the Grim Reaper?


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5 thoughts on “Crazy Grim Reaper Theory”

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jane – glad you like the article.

      You raise a very good point but with this show, nothing is as it seems!
      I’ll have a further think and let you know if I come up with a concrete reason 🙂

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