Writer’s note: A daemon is a computer program that runs in the background, without interference from the user in control.
“Please tell me that you’re seeing this too…”-Elliott (1×01)
There are two water paintings hanging up outside of Krista’s office. The one on the left features a family heading into an old farmhouse, with one figure remaining behind, by the fence. The one on the right features the same family, now behind the farm house playing together in the fields. The fourth figure does not appear in the painting on the right, he only appears in the other one. The first time we see these paintings is in episode two, right after Elliott decides that Vera, “can’t be allowed to exist anymore.” Then we observe his therapy session with Krista, where they discuss the “allusion of control.” Elliott is only comfortable when he feels in control. He assumes power by hacking into the personal lives of others online, and then constructs boundaries within his personal relationships. Elliott would choose to remain behind, by the fence, while his family goes to play in the fields. That’s an easy choice for him, the hard ones come when others are involved. Adding Shayla to the equation made Elliott force his hand in terms of Vera. But did he make a decision, or was the choice already “pre-paid” for him a long time ago? After all, “Intentions are irrelevant, they don’t drive us, daemons do,” explains Elliott (1×3).
The paintings can be see again, in the background as Krista lets Elliott into her office at the end of episode seven. Unfortunately, moments later Krista discovers that by having Elliott as a patient, she’s letting him into her entire life. Beneath the bank statements, online site profiles, pornography, beneath everything; Elliott finds their one honest connection; they are just two lonely people in the world. “I want out of this loneliness, just like you, is that what you wanted to hear?” cries Elliott (1×7). After the end of the title sequence during episode eight, we see Elliott facing the paintings again, as his monologue begins, “But you have to admit, she’s just like everyone else, too afraid to peek over their walls for fear of what they might see.” The camera zooms in on the lone figure standing by the fence. When Shayla was still alive he could of possibly wanted to join the others and play behind the farmhouse. Now that she is dead, he wants to remain behind while the others go ahead without him. He wants to remain by the fence to control who comes in and who leaves. Again, is it Elliott’s choice, or did a “daemon” already make it for him? Is he in control, or under the false allusion of control?
“People who are violent get that way, because they can’t communicate.” –Mr Robot (1×03)
During the third episode’s opening sequence we see Tyrell Wellick comes undone, through desperate actions of control. Now that Terrance Colby has been removed from the situation, Tyrell has the opportunity to become the youngest CTO that E-Corp has ever seen. Then Philip Price awkwardly turns him down, because Scott Knowles has taken the position, right out from under him. Instead of causing a scene at the office, Tyrell takes his anger to the street, literally. He exchanges money with a homeless man, and they agree to fight one another. Tyrell retains control as he stripes away pieces of his business attire; his watch, sports coat, tie, and undoes the top buttons on his dress shirt. Then he pulls out a pair of surgical gloves, not boxing gloves, or a knuckle brace to wear during the fight…but surgical gloves. Tyrell is a man of discipline, order, cleanliness, and sustainability. Therefore he is a man who needs to keep his hands clean; of dirt, germs, blood, but mostly importantly clean from failure. Tyrell is without his control, his surgical gloves, while on the rooftop with Sharon Knowles during episode seven. “Scott plans on firing you, and you are clinging on to any chance you can get…you seem desperate,” explains Sharon moments before Tyrell chokes her to death. Yes, in the face of failure Tyrell is desperate for control. In one moment of pure impulse Tyrell takes the life of another, which simultaneously sends his own life into a tailspin. During the next two episodes Tyrell loses both his job and family to his mistake, his failure. Again, did Tyrell decide to take the life of Sharon Knowles, or did the impulse stem from the “allusion of control,”pre-paid for” by a “daemon”?
“The lock pick, every hacker’s favorite sport. The perfect system to crack mostly, because unlike virtual systems, when you break it, you can see it…hear it…feel it.”-Elliott (1×02)
“I don’t know what you’re master plan is, but I need to…and you’re going to tell me,” Tyrell calmly says to Elliott, as he slips on his pair of surgical gloves. Instead of sharing the same guilt that Elliott felt for having a hand in Shayla’s death, Tyrell felt a moment of “pure power,”while strangling Sharon. In this scene Tyrell posters and asserts his dominance as he describes how it felt to murder someone…by his own two hands. Cut to Elliott letting him into the fsociety arcade. Why would Elliott let in someone who diametrically opposes him? If in the wake of Shayla’s death, Elliott choses to stay behind and be the gatekeeper, why open it for Tyrell? Sam Esmail is the real “daemon” threatening to take down Elliott’s construction of reality. Now tell me, are you seeing, what I’m seeing?