“Mirroring”

“Mirroring”

Mr. Robot, S01E09 – “Mirroring”

Episode Number: S01E09

Original Air Date: August 19, 2015

Time: 49 minutes

Synopsis: Elliot tries to track down some answers about Mr. Robot and Darlene, while Angela and Tyrell Wellick reach turning points in their job prospects.

Pulp Fiction

The episode begins with a flashback to 1994—we see old computers, CRT monitors, Nintendo consoles and cartridges and old-style tape backup drives. We hear on the radio that the 1994 World Series has been canceled, and see Mr. Robot sitting at the front desk, working on a floppy disk. The phone rings and he answers it “Mr. Robot;” it’s the name of the computer store he runs.

A customer comes in and claims Mr. Robot’s son stole money from him. Mr. Robot tells him to leave, then confronts his son Elliot. Mr. Robot then offers to take him to see “Timecop” or “Stargate,” but Elliot wants to see a different film: “Pulp Fiction.”

As they leave to see the movie, we see the exterior of the “Mr. Robot” shop. Time progresses and we see it change into a dry cleaners, a florist, a tattoo shop and then a branch of Bank of E.

  • Notes: According to Amazon, because those three films are showing in theaters, that puts this flashback scene somewhere in late October 1994. The “florist” in the Mr. Robot location is named Washington Township Flowers, setting this flower shop in the same place where the Washington Township Toxic Waste scandal takes place.

  • Filming Location: According to WhereisMr.Robot, the exterior shot of the “Mr. Robot” store were filmed at 18 Main Street in Yonkers, NY. It is currently the home of The Loop Footwear & Clothing.

  • Goofs: While the “Mr. Robot” location goes through several changes in ownership as time passes, the reflection of the tree branches and leaves—which remain identical throughout—shows that this succession of “shops” was created by the production team over just a few days to simulate the passage of time by showing different shops in the same location.

Important Work

Elliot shouts at Mr. Robot—why didn’t he tell Elliot that he was his father and that he was still alive? Mr. Robot answers that the work they are doing to bring down Evil Corp. is more important. Elliot wants answers but Mr. Robot says they need to be careful—and asks Elliot to follow him.

Worried they are being followed, Elliot and Mr. Robot take the train to his childhood home in Washington Township. They break into their old family home and Elliot tours his old room, seeing the window his father pushed him out of. They argue, and Elliot and pushes Mr. Robot out.

  • Notes: On the train, there are fsociety stickers on the walls and a man is reading a newspaper that shows an article titled “Evil Corp to Release Earnings Report Monday, Substantial Growth Expected” with a photo of Evil Corp CEO Phillip Price. Elliot relates the story of being pushed out his window to Mr. Robot on the Coney Island boardwalk at the end of S01E02.

Burnout

Gideon Goddard has a quick breakfast with his boyfriend Harry, but he’s too nervous to enjoy it. AllSafe has been hacked and Gideon doesn’t think the company can recover from the bad press. When he visits Blank’s Disk to pick up the corrupted hard drives, but there’s been a fire. The entire shop has been destroyed, along with all of the contents.

  • Notes: This is the first time we see Gideon’s bedroom—the last time they showed Gideon’s house was when he invited over several AllSafe employees for dinner in S01E03.

Panorama

Angela arrives at Antara Nayar’s office—the attorney has been inundated with new information on the Washington Township scandal. Angela wants to work on the case but Nayar says it wouldn’t be a good fit. As she’s leaving, Angela gets a call from Darlene—she’s looking for Elliot and tells Angela that Elliot tried to kiss her last night, forgetting that she is his sister. “You’re the one that found him last time he was like this,” implying that Elliot has “forgotten” important things before.

They meet at the Queens Museum, New York Building, and stand over the Panorama of the City of New York. Angela is surprised Elliot’s not there—“he always came here” when they used to run away together.

Back at her father’s house, Angela surfs the Internet and reads stories about Terry Colby, the former CTO of Evil Corp. Her father returns and says he’s just seen Darlene in town. Angela goes to Elliot’s childhood home and finds Darlene—she’s still searching for Elliot. They find the remains of the broken window outside. “Hey, wasn’t that Elliot’s room?”

  • Notes: The Panorama of the City of New York was built for the 1964 World’s Fair and contained a scaled version of each of the city’s 895,000 buildings. Updates were made every few years, and in 1992 the entire model was updated. The model still includes the twin towers of the World Trade Center, even though they’ve been gone for over 14 years in the show universe; to read more about it, go here. Angela uses Firefox on her laptop to surf the Internet.

Let Go

In the hospital, Joanna Wellick has had her baby. Tyrell Wellick looks on with a smile. Joanna tells Tyrell about the other child she had, a girl, when she was fifteen years old. She also tells him to fix the situation with his job at Evil Corp. or she’s going to leave him. When he arrives at work, CEO Phillip Price is waiting in Tyrell’s office. Because the cops are suspicious of Tyrell—Price says he’s a “person of interest”—he is being let go.

  • Characters: The baby in this scene is played by Declan Dzurkoc and yes, he has an IMDB page.

Mr. Robot

Elliot and Mr. Robot stumble through a cemetery. Mr. Robot’s hurt and Elliot’s helping him along and they end up at a grave. Darlene and Angela are running through the cemetery as well, shouting at him. The grave is Edward Anderson—it’s Elliot’s father. Mr. Robot isn’t really there—he’s been an illusion this whole time. Elliot suddenly realizes he’s injured—his head is bleeding and his leg is hurt.

He threw himself out the window.

Darlene and Elliot take the train back into town and she asks him if he remembers when they started fsociety together. And Angela returns to her father’s home to find Terry Colby waiting—he’s got a job offer for her at Evil Corp.

Back at his apartment, Darlene finds his medicine and leaves to refill his prescriptions. Wellick enters a moment later—he knows Elliot is behind everything, including fsociety. He tells Elliot he killed a woman only two days ago, strangling her. Elliot takes him to visit the fsociety headquarters and Elliot tells Wellick the whole plan, including the plan to destroy the redundant backup files at several Steel Mountain locations.

  • Notes: Edward Anderson was born 5/9/49 and died 2/28/95. At the train station, Elliot tells Angela: “I’m pretty f*cking far from okay.” This is the same line spoken by Marsellus Wallace, a character in Pulp Fiction, the movie Elliot and his father went to see at the start of the episode. Wellick takes off his coat and pulls on gloves, just like he did before beating the homeless man in S01E03.

  • Music: When Elliot and Tyrell tour the fsociety arcade, the song playing is an instrumental version of the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” by Maxence Cyrin.

  • Quotes: Tyrell: “How long has this been going on?” Elliot: “I don't know.” Tyrell: “And what is it that you're doing exactly?” Elliot: “Encrypting all the files, all the Evil Corp's financial records will be impossible to access. The encryption key will self-delete after the process completes.” Tyrell: “What about the backups?” Elliot: “I took care of that too. China...” Tyrell: “Steel Mountain? Of course, even when we went redundant.” Elliot: “I hacked the AirDream network. I was in all of them.” Tyrell: “You really thought of everything. Who else was involved?” Elliot: “ Just me.” Tyrell: “Well, now it's you and me. I've always told we'd end up working together, Elliot. But still, I have to know. Why did you do it? What did you hope to accomplish by doing all of this?” Elliot: “I don't know. I wanted to save the world.”

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Critique:

Things begin to spin wildly out of control for Elliot as he learns that Darlene is his sister and Mr. Robot, the person who’s been following him around—and popping up whenever needed—is his father. They set off on a journey for answers, the answers Elliot has been seeking ever since that ride on the Wonder Wheel in S01E01. Even back then, Mr. Robot would just shake his head and say the answers would have to wait a while.

The trip to his boyhood home is interesting—it reminded me of the similar scenes in the Netflix Marvel series Jessica Jones, where she returns to her childhood home.

I was surprised to see that Joanna Wellick had actually had her baby—I saw her walk into the kitchen carrying a glass in the last episode, and between that and the bloody fork thing on the counter (ick), I assumed she’d faked her water breaking. And no pressure, Tyrell, but if you don’t get your plan working, you’re OUT of the family!

The big reveal paid off nicely, with Darlene and Angela running through the cemetery to keep Elliot from flipping out too much when he finally learned the truth—there was no Mr. Robot. He’d been imagining his father all along—his real father died years ago of leukemia. As a viewer, I wasn’t let down, but I remember scenes where people are specifically talking to Mr. Robot and not to Elliot. I guess I’ll chalk it up to his delusions, much the same as we, the audience, are seeing through his eyes whenever we see a sign that says “Evil Corp.” instead of the real name of the company.

Episode Notes:

Mirroring, the episode title, means to preserve an exact copy of something in another location to provide better access and security.

References:

NOTE: All sites accessed on September 1, 2016.

Greg Enslen is an Ohio author and columnist. He's written and published eight books, including four fiction titles and four collections of essays and columns. Several are available through Gypsy Publications of Troy, Ohio. To receive updates on upcoming titles, sneak previews and appearances, subscribe to Email Goodies. For more information, please see his Amazon Author Page or visit his Facebook fan page.