“Remembering you falling into my arms…” Pictures of You by the Cure
An ambulance sound queue goes off, as the screen dissolves to reveal Elliott returning to his apartment, in the early morning. There are no visual queues indicating that this is a flashback, to Shayla and Elliott’s first meeting. Instead the viewer sees Elliott acknowledge a moving van, then what appears to be someone moving into Shayla’s old apartment. Elliott retreats to his apartment and literally closes the door on a possible relationship with his new neighbor. Moments later Shayla comes banging on his door to “Open up.” Now we understand that this is a flashback to one of the few times that Elliott has ever opened up to someone, as he opens his door to Shayla. Elliott hacks people in an attempt to retain control over his relationships.
All the signs are there that this new friendship will end in tragedy, as she offers to supply him with “Top shelf” drugs, and then ultimately offers to talk to a psychopathic dealer, to get Elliott his Sub-Condone. The pair find themselves sitting on the building’s stoop, exchanging small talk. There’s a sense of genuineness in this scene, because they are two strangers relating to one another on a personal level. Then in an instant this happy memory becomes sad in the eerie irony found in Shayla’s final words to Elliott, “You might be worth a psychopath, maybe.” This brings us right back to Elliott’s present mental state as he navigates those seven stages of grief. All set to the very fitting song Pictures of You by The Cure.
In previous episodes, Elliott has spoken about his desire to hide his source code in a perfect maze. Now Shayla is dead, because she became a part of his life and now Elliott feels exposed. After Elliott puts Shayla in his own digital graveyard, removing her from the virtual world, we hardly see Elliott. Instead the episode is divided up between the supporting characters. Darlene attempts to reassemble fsociety, Mr Robot faces off against Romero, Angela meets with Terrence Colby and Tyrell kills Sharon Knowles. While Elliott struggles with losing Shayla others attempts to reclaim things that they have lost along the way.
“Find someone to be your honest self with.” -Gideon
This episode’s optimistic beginning is juxtaposed with Elliott’s dark confession to Krista during the final scene. He begins by verbally assaulting Krista with all of her flaws, lies, and insecurities that he found online. Elliott hacked into Krista’s personal life and is now exploiting her. Then he connects her hidden loneliness with his own. Just like in the opening, in an instant, Elliott’s confession turns into an honest cry for help. Both Shayla and Krista are exceptions for Elliott, because he allows them to view his “source code.” Note, he also has attempted to take down the dangerous and deceitful men in both their lives. Behind Elliott are closed blinds, with daylight breaking through thus creating the illusion of a jail cell in the background. A great visual depiction of someone desperately trying to escape their own cage of loneliness, “I want a way out of the loneliness, just like you, is that what you wanted to hear?”cries Elliott. These scenes are perfect bookends, a beginning destined for tragedy, mirroring an ending reveal of a tragic truth.
By Sarah Belmont