So, here’s the thing. Mr. Robot, a show with a history of big reveals (Darlene is Elliot’s sister, Mr. Robot is his dead dad, Whiterose is also a high-ranking Chinese security official, etc.), gave viewers another one last night: Elliot was not “staying with his mother,” as he had claimed to us in his voiceovers since the beginning of the season, and his “regimented routine” was not so much his own doing as it was a required part of his daily life. He was in prison. And still is. (At least for now.) He had just concocted the whole other scenario either to hide the truth from himself or from us, and as soon as the curtain was pulled back, all the pieces started falling into place.
Buuuut we kind of knew it all already, didn’t we? Theories about Elliot’s potential incarceration have been floating around since literally the day after the first episode of the season, with the conventional wisdom leaning toward either prison or asylum. (I was in the “mental hospital” camp, so let’s call this a half-whoops on my part.) Now, theories float around about every show these days, and most of them aren’t worth the yarn used to connect them together on a living room wall. But this one stuck and felt more obvious as the season progressed, to the point that when they showed us, it felt more like a “Yeah, okay” than a “Holy crap!” Doesn’t necessarily mean the plot was bad, just that it was a little less fun because this time some of the audience beat the show there and was waiting for it to catch up.
In any event, though, we’re all here now, and even if you saw the broad outlines of all of this coming, there are still some questions that need answering after it happened. So let’s do that!
Why exactly is Elliot in prison?
I guess this is the big question. It doesn’t appear to be for the hack, because if it was the rest of fsociety would be in more police trouble, and there’s no way Darlene would have been able to visit him, assuming that really happened and wasn’t just another Elliot vision. And it doesn’t appear to be for whatever happened with Tyrell, because there was the thing at the beginning of the season where President Obama was talking about Tyrell in the press conference, and Joanna getting the divorce papers certainly indicates he’s still just missing. So if it’s not the two big things, then… what?
It’s important to remember here that there are, uh, kind of a lot of reasons Elliot could be in jail. It’s been mostly forgotten what with all the E Corp business and Whiterose such and such, but he did hack the police as part of a plot to orchestrate a massive jailbreak to spring a violent drug dealer who killed his girlfriend and left her in the trunk of a car with his fingerprints all over it just outside the fence of the prison. Like, I’m not saying it’s definitely that. There’s a million things it could be, including a Whiterose master plan to take down Ray, or years of hacking catching up to him, or something that we don’t even know about yet. Although maybe, possibly, it would explain that loud, cop-like knock on his door at the end of season one.
What is/was Ray’s deal?
Back when I was thinking Elliot was in some sort of mental hospital or halfway house, I assumed Ray was something along the lines of a counselor or mentor. That would have explained why he was out in the van and why he had that office. Now I have three theories: