Elliot reflects on his past; Darlene and Dom are tied up, in an emotional Mr. Robot.
This recap of Mr. Robot Season 4, Episode 8, “408 Request Timeout”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Our experiences make us who we are. It’s a widely believed, inoffensive claim that speaks to how little we know about the mind. Taking the claim in full entails that who we are is the sum total of our experience, both the good and the bad. Traumatic events can shape us as much as positive ones can — perhaps even more.
Elliot understands this. He knows his life has been far from perfect. But more important than perfect; it’s been the only life he’s ever known.
Krista & Elliot
A prologue in 1995 in Mr. Robot Season 4, Episode 8 shows a young Elliot running through the Queens Museum. Young Darlene chases after him, to which he responds, “I gotta do this, just trust me”.
Back at Vera’s, where we left off last week, Krista is shocked. She has killed a man. Naturally, she wants to tell the police. At the station, Elliot questions the use in telling them: “What can they do, when they find out about something like this?” But he has more on his mind.
After his shocking realization, Elliot breaks down and confesses to Krista. “It made me feel special,” he says of having Mr. Robot in his mind. He doesn’t know how to move on. Krista reassures him; “you will survive this.” Despite recent events, she is still a therapist.
But instead of going home, Elliot sees someone. The younger version of him we saw way back at the beginning of the season. He follows the young Elliot to the Queens Museum. “Why did you bring me here, I don’t get it?” Elliot asks. Then he realizes — this is where he went to escape from his father. Young Elliot shows him something hidden. A key, the key to Elliot’s old bedroom, they hid it so Elliot’s father couldn’t get in. Elliot realizes; he wasn’t running away, he was “fighting back.” Elliot is and has always been a fighter, and he knows he will get through this.
Dom & Darlene
Meanwhile in “408 Request Timeout”, a nice looking family is having a lovely looking Christmas, until ski-masked men invade the house to the tune of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
Janice has Dom and Darlene tied up. Unable to get Darlene’s phone to work, she talks about podcasts (as if Janice couldn’t be worse). Janice teases Dom about her attraction to Darlene, before stabbing Dom in the lung. Despite her urgent need for medical attention, Dom pleads Darlene not to give Elliot up. Only when Janice threatens to murder all of Dom’s family does Darlene give Janice Elliot’s location.
But Elliot is no longer at Vera’s. Janice is mad. Esmail directs with overhead shots then anxiety-inducing circular shots that move around Darlene as she struggles to come up with Elliot’s location while Janice moves closer to killing Dom’s relatives. But when Janice calls to make the hit, there is no answer.
It turns out that those masked men were lead by “Lucky Irish Bastard”, sent out by Dom to retrieve her family. With the knowledge that they are safe, Dom manages to grab a henchman’s gun, shoot him and the other and Janice, freeing herself and Darlene. The only problem is, her lung is punctured.
Elliot & Mr. Robot
Elliot makes it back at Allsafe, finally back to work on the Deus hack. (The past few episodes have taken place over barely a day, in which he went through that business with Tyrell, the heist and subsequent chase, and been kidnapped; rough to say the least.)
Mr. Robot appears. Elliot doesn’t acknowledge him, but Mr. Robot talks to him, trying to get through. “The only reason I’m here is to make sure no one ever hurts you,” he explains, “It was supposed to be your father’s job, but he was too weak. You were strong, you fought back. You created me, to protect you. From him.”
Sometimes our friends hide things from us to protect us. Sometimes that “friend” can be a part of us that we created.
“I understand if you cant forgive me or shut me out for good. I am not your father. I never was.”
Elliot responds, “You’re the father I needed, not the father I had.”
Mr. Robot is weighed by guilt; “I could’ve stopped him if I could change it…” But Elliot knows better; “Then that wouldn’t be me. And I wouldn’t have you.” He is aware of his trauma but is not trying to ignore it. He recognizes that Mr. Robot has been his companion, his helper, and they embrace.
He is now in control, but so weighed down by the past. He is sure of himself but at the same time totally unsure. Elliot bursts into tears, and tells Mr. Robot –
“I don’t know if I can go through with a hack anymore.”