After last week’s shocking ending, Mr. Robot held back this week. Another character died, another was held at gunpoint, and by the end of the episode Elliot appears near the end of a complete mental breakdown. That all of this happened and the episode felt calm only speaks to the level Mr. Robot’s rolled at the entire season. “eps1.6_v1ew-s0urce.flv” in a way felt a bit like picking up the pieces after the chaos left from the last couple of episodes.
The tepid pace did allow for the introduction of a couple devices that only further open the box of what can and cannot happen in the Mr. Robot universe. The episode began with a flashback of when Elliot first met Shayla; the scene was shot in a way that didn’t imply this was a flashback until Elliot’s voiceover returned. There have been moments of Elliot remembering the past, but right here it was presented as if maybe he just didn’t see her bloody body last week. Their interactions retained the same surreal quality that existed when Elliot and Shayla were at the dinner, a moment where everything felt “normal” until she was ripped away from her kidnappers. The show exists within Elliot’s head, and those moments make it unclear if what we’re seeing is in fact reality or just something made up in his head.
This episode also saw the first time the show jumped ahead in time. It was only a month, but when multiple characters mentioned this time leap, things felt like maybe the audience was again being toyed with. Such a leap could easily just be a singular occurrence, but in a show where there are so many twists and turns the fact that time is also up for grabs is worth not forgetting.
Beyond the meta level, “eps1.6_v1ew-s0urce.flv” revealed characters searching for answers to the questions that’ve motivated them for so long. Angela is searching for the answers about her mother’s death, members of fsociety are attempting to figure out their role in the group, and Elliot fell back into starting into the crushing isolated emptiness. Various levels of closure are achieved, but even receiving the answers one wants to hear doesn’t mean the problem is resolved.