Parallels — Mr. Robot

How we’ll find out that Tyrell is Elliot

There are a lot of parallels in Mr. Robot, plot lines resembling each other:

  • Romero’s story about the owners of the arcade, the brother shooting his father then falling out of the window due to the shotgun’s recoil. This is unmistakable similar to Mr. Robot throwing Elliot out the window and also shooting him.
  • Elliot being responsible for getting Shaela involved with Vera and the guilt associated with she dies. Mobley being responsible for getting Romero involved in fsociety and his subsequent death. We, the audience, finding about about both of these through flashbacks.
  • Both season premiers ending with Tyrell’s trademark “Bonsoir, Elliot.”
  • Historical (not to mention Biblical) references and parallels: Phillip Price lecturing the government officials about FDR’s bank holidays to boost consumer confidence stating that the government should do the same (paralleling the the government interventions of 2008) as well as the World War I references, which followed by World War II, did not turn out the be the war to end all wars.

What is the purpose of these parallels? This question scratched that part of my brain that doesn’t allow anything to exist in this show without deeper meaning! Nothing seems to be done without without deeper purpose or serving as some sort of critique.

First, it feels as though these parallels are a commentary on the human condition and the phenomenon of history repeating itself. Neither as a group, society, or civilization nor as individuals do we seem to learn from our mistakes, even though many of them arise from predictable patterns of behavior. We’re either too stupid or just too caught up in the everyday to stop and recognize the obvious warning signs, the precursors of mistakes that we are about to repeat.

But a second reason for this device recently struck me. If in fact we are such creatures of habit, exhibiting looping patterns of behavior, then we can use our past to look for clues about the future. Even though what happened to Tyrell during the night of the hack seems like a mystery without the benefit of hindsight, it shouldn’t be. Hindsight is actually provided to us in our history, giving us models of parallel conditions which lead to parallel outcomes. Likewise, Tyrell’s condition is actually foreshadowed quite clearly in what has already occurred on the show.

The cliffhanger scene showing the night of the hack strongly suggests that Elliot reached into the popcorn for the gun and killed Tyrell. Yet we hear Tyrell’s voice on the telephone speaking to Elliot, indicating that he’s probably not dead. How can both of these conditions be true?

Can we mine the past for clues of repetitive behavior? Where have we seen this before, a trigger happy character shooting another without killing him…?

What about Mr. Robot and his habitual target practice on Elliot’s skull! One character in Elliot’s imagination shooting another.

So I think this is how both Elliot as well as the audience will eventually find out that Tyrell isn’t real. This will be yet another parallel: Elliot shooting Tyrell and Tyrell not dying.

It’s a parallel we should probably have seen coming…