After a wee Halloween detour, where we counted down the movies that have most shaped Darlene and Elliot’s lives, Mr Robot Hacks is back and BY ZEUS’S BEARD! This time we think we’ve actually gone and solved the mystery behind Mr Robot!
If you thought that reading about two fictional characters’ favorite fictional films was too strange and meta, don’t forget that Mr Robot makes a living from being strange and meta! And in a bizarre coincidence of more strange and totes meta, the good news is that while researching the Halloween Countdown, we happened across a tiny clue that led us to the secret behind the show’s biggest fucking mystery!
The big break came while writing about The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, which somehow (surprisingly) was NOT Number One on The Alderson sibling’s list. So fasten your seatbelts… it’s gonna get bumpy!
I’m pretty certain everybody noticed, way back in S02E04, when Elliot loaded up his (illegally torrented) copy of his fave slasher film on that fateful, dark and stormy Halloween night, that the film was financed and/or distributed by E Corp.
A nice little Easter Egg, I thought at the time. And it did its job of raising a chuckle.
The thing is… after a whole sleepless night, thinking about this alone in bed with nothing but the howls of she-wolves in the distance to keep me company… I realized it’s absolutely not an Easter Egg nor little in-joke.
It’s the muthafkkn key to unravelling the whole mystery!
Watch the first twenty seconds of The Careful Massacre again and see if you notice anything in the opening titles…
Yep. You got it – another Easter Egg, The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie was made by Tannen Pictures Ltd. – a little nod to Biff Tannen, the guy in Back to the Future who finds Marty McFly’s sports almanack and takes over Hill Valley.
But what if Tannen Pictures wasn’t just an Easter Egg? What if it were more than coincidence that the very movie that created Elliot and Darlene’s crusade was distributed by E-Corp; the company they ended up trying to destroy?
What I mean is, what if the idea for F_Society and the 5/9 hack wasn’t only inspired by The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, but Tannen Pictures was one of many breadcrumbs purposefully left in Elliot and Darlene’s path to subconsciously direct the angst over the death of their parents towards E Corp?
If Elliot’s favorite movie is Back to the Future II…
then seeing a movie made by Tannen Pictures could surely (subconsciously) be one of many subliminal suggestions to implant ideas and trigger suggestibility in Elliot’s head. The thing is, it’s prolly not the first time, this may have been happening throughout his life.
Think that’s beyond the realms of possibility? Well, first check this video out from genius English mentalist Derren Brown:
But hold your horses, Louis! The first of the Back to the Future movies was released in 1985, so Tannen Pictures appearing in the earlier The Careful Massacre (1984) must either be a) impossible or b) just bizarre coincidence, right?
You’d think so, unless… unless someone TRAVELED BACK IN TIME to place breadcrumbs to ensure a young Elliot would watch, enjoy and be inspired by The Careful Massacre, became embroiled in a chain reaction of events and turn into cyber-terrorists.
And who could that have been?
It’s that time again, the time to say…
What you talking about, Willis?
It’s our theory that Whiterose has traveled back from the future (maybe a future where transgenderism is the norm?) and she’s been sent back to perform a task – a task that goes far beyond the normal stop JFK’s assassination or Let’s Kill Hitler storyline; one that requires a million tiny cogs to be put in place… a chance meeting here, a whispered idea there, a subliminal, implanted suggestion there, a course-correction here.
Remember Whiterose’s words to Angela about how she and Elliot’s parents were supposed to die for the greater good?
Just as Obi-Wan Kenobi allowed Luke’s Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen to die (so that Luke had nothing to lose and became embroiled in the quest…)
A time-travelling Whiterose not only allowed Edward Alderson and Angela’s mom to die from the Washington Township Chemical Leak but probably caused their deaths. We think she has been time-travelling (or the virtual reality / alternate dimension hopping equivalent) to course-correct events at every turn. Running around through time, making sure this person meets that person, he avoids him, X kisses Y…
A bit like Marty McFly in… Goddamnit! A bit like Marty McFly in Back to the Future 2!
Since we don’t have time to watch the all 22 episodes again to search for clues, this is just one example of Whiterose’s breadcrumb laying – but think of the planning, time, energy and manipulation just this one course-correction would have taken to have someone create a film like The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, have E-Corp’s film/video division finance and distribute it, then make sure a newly half-orphaned Elliot, Darlene and Angela see that movie, then reel them in like moths to the flame.
Her plan to involve E Corp in the film would have involved thousands of people, hundreds of meetings, millions of planted seeds. Tiny seeds like planting the name Tannen Pictures so that Elliot would see the Tannen name, associate Ivy League fraternities with oligarchies and one day grow into the man who would take down E Corp. Just imagine if the major players sometimes missed those breadcrumbs – she’d have to go back and lay more clues!
Not only is Whiterose / Minister Zhang the Ben Linus of Mr Robot – the puppetmaster making everyone think their ideas are their own ideas – she’s also Eloise Hawking; course-correcting time and influencing everyone’s actions.
If we have just unravelled this mystery (which we have!) Sam Esmail has taken the relatively new, 21st-century phenomenon of Easter Egg spotting and turned it into the basis of his story. And that is a level of meta heretofore unseen in television.
Heroes’ “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” has become “Spot the Easter Eggs, Save the World” for Elliot…
which has, in turn, become “Spot the Easter Eggs, Solve the Show” for we viewers!
Yes, lots of shows and movies hide mystery Easter Eggs for us fanboys (and girls) but in Mr Robot, the writers are leaving Easter Eggs for the characters to spot (albeit subconsciously) to make them make decisions that lead them to save the world.
When we all watched The Careful Massacre, Verge said “For a throwaway Easter egg with no bearing on the main show, it’s a pretty good parody of ‘70s and ‘80s exploitation films” but it was sleight of hand on Esmail’s part – he made us think it was all about the mask but this was a diversion!
The only reason The Careful Massacre exists is to make sure Elliot, Darlene and Angela were embroiled in the quest.
And it worked. By Jehova! Did it work!
As always, if you watch the magician’s hands closely enough, you can see the trick.
And Mr Esmail, Mr Robot Hacks believes, after all these months, we’ve finally worked out the secret to your mystery.
So, whaddya say, Sam – are we getting warm? Or is next week’s theory that takes this theory even deeper?
You can get in touch on Facebook, Sam… or are we getting so close that you’re gonna have to plead the fifth again?