The relationship between Elliot and the viewers of the show has always been active and that too, explicitly. This is mainly because on Mr. Robot, he treats us as an imaginary friend by talking to us, confiding in us and expecting the same from us. On the other hand, this relationship was ruptured when Elliot discovered the true identity of Mr. Robot in the latter episodes of the first season and came to the realization that being his friend, we knew about the truth before Elliot and kept it a secret.
Keeping this in mind, the second season of Mr. Robot opened with Elliot explicitly asking us how much could he trust in us. But then he lied to his audience for six episodes consecutively. This was done by showing us Elliot living a strictly routine life with his mother outside New York City, but he was actually living in a penitentiary of a state. As soon as the wool started to pull away from our eyes, Elliot apologized to us saying,
“I’m sorry for not telling you everything. Please don’t be mad too long. This’ll be the last time I keep things from you, I promise.”
In last night’s episode, Elliot has returned to rebuilding his relationship with us irrespective of the episodes from last week. “init_5.fve” started off with Elliot explaining everything in detail and answering all the questions which we had lingering in our minds with regard to his imprisonment. At the end of the first season, we saw the cops knocking on Elliot’s door while he single-mindedly pled multiple felonies as guilty. By imprisoning himself and Mr. Robot, the explanation of Crag Robinson’s character (the prison’s warden) was rapidly explained.
Later on, we say Joey Bada$$’s Leon befriend Elliot talking about the cruise he had through the 90’s TV and we were even provided with a clarification for how Elliot tripped on Adderall in jail. The recap was nearly absurd in its candidness. However, on some other show, this would be considered bad writing and a bit too much explication.
The message being given by Elliot was that there are no more secrets portrayed a new phase of the relationship between Elliot and his imaginary friends (us); he seemed to be promising his sincerity and straightforwardness, this time. Shockingly, just when the message was about to seep in, Elliot hugged Darlene right after leaving jail and this is when she whispered something in her ear but once again, we were kept in the dark. Sadly, we have once again been played as Elliot’s old secrets were replaced with new ones.
More deeply into the episode, we are given hints to why these omissions are still happening. We are shown Elliot’s world through his eyes as “E Corp” transforms into “Evil Corp”, a childhood bedroom turns into a prison cell – but we are also being kept out of this loop and so is he. This loophole has been obvious throughout the whole season and we along with Elliot are demanding for the whereabouts of Tyrell Wellick. Although, Elliot is seemingly responsible for the disappearance of Wellick. However, last night, this issue was sharpened even more as Elliot was locked out of numerous discussions he had with Mr. Robot. We are unaware of the plan of Mr. Robot as “Phase 2” is his idea and since Elliot is our only accessible window into this story without being privy to the information.
In terms of compelling TV, this does not seem to be the most fulfilling route for Mr. Robot. Isn’t it better to let us viewers know if a show is going to keep secrets from us? Because being played like we were in last night’s episode is thrilling but drains our mind as well – a surprise is a surprise for only so long. It is also highly discouraging that a reaffirmation of Elliot and Mr. Robot as characters at odds came to be in sync just when the two split personalities began to cooperate and come together as Super Elliot. In Mr. Robot, if the main character is in a stoppage as it isn’t a possibility nor shall we be confident in what we know, have been told or shown as similar to Elliot, we as the audience are unaware of who is at the door until and unless he opens it.