Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MR ROBOT: Season 3: Mandela Effect & a Day Off…

Hello, friend.

Collecting some bits and pieces that connect to the so-called Mandela Effect and M-Effect adjacent phenomena in the universe of MR. ROBOT. Note that this is no doubt far from comprehensive. As any watcher knows, this show goes deep. =)

Elliot’s employee ID number…

072391. As a date, this is July 23, 1991. The date on which Nelson Mandela died as reported in a non-non-fiction essay published in South Africa in 1991. Before the essay was identified as non-non-fiction, this was passed around as a possible artifact/proof of the Mandela Effect. The ME explains that the phenomena of a great many people remembering hearing that he died in the 80s when in fact he passed away in 2013 is the side effect of a manipulation of the past of our timeline (somehow imperfectly allowing for some people to remember the original, or earlier timeline’s history) or the memory/history of an alternate timeline somehow psychically bleeding into ours.

This Esmail Egg is not strictly speaking evidence on which to build a logical theory about the MR. ROBOT universe, but a wink and a nod for us, the audience, a hint, but, y’know, possibly a misleading one.

Project Berenstain…

The FBI runs an illegal surveillance initiative dubbed “Project Berenstain.” Within the world of MR. ROBOT, we’re not given a reason for this code name, but the first reference that comes to mind is the children’s book series, the Berenstain Bears. Why that would be associated with surveillance, I do not know, but maybe that’s the point in choosing a project name for the FBI. Not to be clever about it, but to name it according to some agnostic system or order—children’s book characters in alphabetical order?—and so, give nothing away about the nature of the program in the name, right?

However, in *our* universe, “Berenstain” is another collective memory glitch of the Mandela Effect. Many—including myself—remember the bears’ family name being spelled with an “e,” “Berenstein.” Seriously, I pronounced the name like “Einstein.”

Darlene’s a Sinbad fan!

In an episode this season we got a glimpse of Darlene’s monitor which showed her torrenting SHAZAAM (1996), a movie that I believe was manufactured by the Internet (as Photoshopped posters, cases, fake trailers) in response to another Mandela Effect glitch—a memory of Sinbad playing a genie in a kids movie. The movie that seems to have inspired that mismemory, or overwritten it, is KAZAAM (1996), which starred Shaq.

What does this mean?

I’m sure there are more Mandela Effect droppings in the world of MR. ROBOT, but this is all I’ve got in my head just now, sorry. Still, in a story with BACK TO THE FUTURE REFERENCES, discussions of alternate timelines, and a cameo by what appears to be a particle accelerator, I don’t (want to =) believe they’re insignificant.

Assuming these facts of the reality of MR. ROBOT matter, they tell me that what we’re watching on the show is an earlier iteration of our own reality. So, when we examine the world and history and people in MR. ROBOT, we are seeing the source of the apparent aberrations we are now pointing to as evidence of the Mandela Effect. In the universe of MR. ROBOT, the bear family was named Berenstein, Sinbad starred in Shazaam, and Nelson Mandela passed away in the 20th century (I don’t believe that last event was reported in the show in any way, but please allow me the zany extrapolation). Then *something* altered the history of that universe, maybe once, maybe multiple times, ultimate resulting in *our* universe, one in which the bears are the Berenstains, Shaq played Kazaam, and Nelson Mandela died in 2013.

Could that *something* be WhiteRose and the Washington Township project (transferred, recreated, or completed in the Congo)? Has WhiteRose worked out the psychohistorical math to send information back in time to alter history so that the Washington Township leak never happens, Edward Alderson and Emily Moss never get sick and die, their kids grow up with their parents to be very different people, and WhiteRose herself is reborn as B.D. Wong, star of stage and screen, as she’s always truly wanted to be? =)

I go on about this rewriting of reality in this post: Some Pre-finale Big Picture Theories…

Note that this bothers my brain a bit because in changing reality to change herself, WhiteRose may alter events so much that she will never acquire the resources to create and use a time travel device in the new reality (not that B.D. Wong couldn’t make it happen, I did say “may alter” =). If MR. ROBOT only allows for one precious universe/timeline, then that could result in a paradox (that may or may not be resolved by the universe itself somehow), but if it allows for multiple timelines, then she will have created a new reality (possibly ours), but not overwritten her current one. Sad.

If you like this idea, here’s a fun thought… Think of the universe of MR. ROBOT as the first, original timeline. If WhiteRose’s machinations lead to the creation of *our* universe and our Mandela Effect is real, then the Elliot and Angela and Dom and Tyrell that we’re watching have no equivalent to the Mandela Effect in their world. There are no memories or history of a previous iteration of reality to leak into theirs.

Also, if the universe is as good as a simulation and hackable, then something something something… =)

Take the day off!

Something I’ve noticed that I consider ME-adjacent, in that it reinforces for me the experience of MR. ROBOT as an alternate reality…

When you compare the dates in MR. ROBOT to the days of the week they should fall on in our world, when it’s noted, they appear to be one day off. Someone pointed this out to me in season 1 or 2 but I can’t remember the details. I think it must have been about 5/9. In season 3, I noticed it when several people refer to the execution of Stage 2. They give the date as September 29 (2015) and refer to it as a Monday. On our calendars, 9/29 fell on a Tuesday.

I also found this little rabbit hole…Dom’s badge number: 22958. At least, I think that’s what it is. She identifies herself by it when she calls OpCenter for help. As a date, it becomes February 29, 1958. A leap day, but one that never actually happened! And the title—as ”Feb 29, 1958″—of a poem by Allen Ginsberg about a dream he had “last night” of meeting T. S. Elliot (aka Terribly Sexy Elliot). I’m no poemologist, but I take the the poem to be Ginsberg recounting a dream of himself dreaming of an evening spent with an imagined version of his hero. MR. ROBOT-y enough for you?

Be seeing you.

Keep on keepin’ on~

Monday, December 11, 2017

MR. ROBOT: Season 3: Some Pre-finale Big Picture Theories…

Hello, Friend.

Gonna ramble on some Big Ideas that might explain what’s going on in the WhiteRosey sectors of MR. ROBOT…


The universe is a simulation, or at least effectively functions and exists as one, and WhiteRose is able to hack it. Currently only to a degree. She can copy and paste elements that exist and have existed in the universe. She can edit them, but only in certain ways. She currently has limited write permissions.

We've seen her do this when she copied a young Angela from the past and pasted her into the present to interview the adult Angela.

We also saw *someone* do this when Trenton's brother (who actually left town with his parents) was copied and pasted onto the beach next to Elliot. Each of these instances was edited, tailored to accomplish a certain task. This is the kind of "undo" that WhiteRose has promised and tantalized Irving and Angela with.

However, he cannot yet deliver what Angela wishes for—the return of her mother and Elliot's father, hale and hearty. Editing them to the degree that they would be cured and healthy is currently beyond WhiteRose's power. She needs to proceed with her Congo project in order to gain that ability. WhiteRose's ultimate goal is to be able to edit the universe so that she can make lasting and stable changes, for herself, and to herself. In order to achieve that, anyone and everyone may be expendable, but also revivable.


WhiteRose already possesses time travel capability, and she's used it countless times, each time tweaking events to get closer to an ultimate desired result. She doesn't believe in coincidence because when it occurs around her, she's had a hand in manufacturing it. In the events and timeline we see unfolding on the show, Elliot Alderson is the right person with the right connections and experiences in the right place at the right time for what WhiteRose needs to be done. I do not think that WhiteRose's time travel allows for a person to get into a DeLorean in 2015 and step out of it in 1985. Instead, what she can do is send herself (and maybe others) information. Maybe it's "psychic," a la PRINCE OF DARKNESS, but I prefer to think it's electronic, a la STEIN'S GATE. An email with an attached document sent from her personal server in 2015 to her AOL address in 1990.

How would this help WhiteRose? I'm gonna run thru a couple of *hypothetical* loops to demonstrate…

Let's say that in a previous iteration of the universe, WhiteRose identified Edward Alderson, Elliot's dad, as a useful tool in a takedown of ECorp and the global economy. He was poisoned by ECorp and had the coding/hacking chops to damage them. WhiteRose could have used her resources to encourage him to make the attempt. It fails. Edward can only do so much damage to ECorp in the 90s before he dies. However, his son grows up to be an accomplished hacker at a time when ECorp is committed to digital records and vulnerable to a catastrophic attack. But for whatever reason, this Elliot doesn't have the drive to pursue such a course. At the same time WhiteRose, Zhang, and the Dark Army try many paths to sink the economy and gain leverage for acquiring the Congo, but none pan out.

When WhiteRose believes she's exhausted her options in that iteration, she assembles an information payload—added to the one she received from her previous older self—for her younger self. ZIPs it, attaches it to her Chronomail, and hits [SEND]. The next iteration begins. This time, WhiteRose tweaks details at the Washington Township plant so that Edward dies earlier (perhaps by stepping up the timeline of her pet project there?). In the wake of his father's death, this Elliot makes toppling ECorp his lifelong goal. He grows up and assemble the fsociety team, but he's too reckless, and he gets himself caught or killed. His aggression needs to be tempered. He needs to be introduced to some already available channels instead of brute forcing his way every step of the way. Again, WhiteRose has many irons in the fire, but none prove successful. She assembles a new payload, updated with this iteration's edits and outcomes, and clicks [SEND] again.

The next iteration begins. This time, WhiteRose engineers events so that Elliot has a sister and a best friend who share his interests and motivation. Darlene is another hacker, naturally more reckless than Elliot, enough so that Elliot has to step up his responsible side. Angela is another victim of ECorp, whose shared orbit guides Elliot to a position beside her at AllSafe. This Elliot wants to take down ECorp, has the skills and access, and is levelheaded enough to accomplish it. However, when he does the math and comes up with an unavoidable body count, he cannot go through the hack, at least not 100%. WhiteRose takes notes and launches the next payload into the next iteration.

This time, WhiteRose somehow gets Edward to reveal his illness to Elliot in secret, leading to the first time Edward pushes his son out the window, and so, the introduction of Mr. Robot. Everything goes nearly perfectly, but the hack is thwarted. There's one piece missing, and WhiteRose thinks she's located the raw material from which to carve it. She adds her new experiences and insights to the next payload and begins the next iteration.

This is the one we're watching. The one in which Elliot breaks his father's trust, angering him enough to push him out a second story window, creating Mr. Robot. The one in which Mr. Robot recruits fsociety and plans the hack. The one in which Angela's influence gets Elliot to the place he needs to be—Allsafe—to enable Mr. Robot's hack. The one in which they both meet Tyrell Wellick, the final (perhaps) piece of the puzzle, and low and behold, a bloodless 5/9—well, y'know, not counting the aftermath—and leverage enough for WhiteRose/Zhang to acquire the Congo!

If this is the furthest that WhiteRose has gotten, then she is in truly uncharted territory. We've seen how she has numerous strategies in play (influencing the media to pump up a certain pompous buffoon's Q rating), and I think it's in that same vein that she turns to Grant for his advice in light of Elliot's proposal of Stage 3, something that would not have come up in any previous iteration of events. WhiteRose has the coltan mines of the Congo now. Maybe Elliot *has* outlived his usefulness. No doubt she's already made notes for her younger self to take steps to quell the unrest in the Congo so that her pet project can be transported there hassle-free in the next iteration.

And what is her pet project? Her ultimate goal? Y'know, assuming she's already got this method of time travel? What could top that?

What about the ability to run these iterations as simulations, allowing her to not have to *live* each iteration? Not that she feels it, but intellectually, for a hacker of time, that's got to be aggravating, right? Of course, each of those simulations is an iteration, too, so a subjective, paradoxical advance.

How about hacking reality? Basically, the ability I discuss in my first theory. I feel like WhiteRose's ultimate goal involves taming cosmic forces to perhaps selfishly right a personal (cosmic) wrong. Did Zhang ever have a sister? Do Zhang and WhiteRose each wish to live as two separate beings? Or is WhiteRose her true self, and Zhang a mask? Would WhiteRose wish to recode herself as a biological woman? Or somehow able to transform at will? Perhaps her pet project, once complete, can realize these wishes.

This would also make her promise to Angela a deliverable one, as I describe above.


I would *love* for WhiteRose to have or be working toward, classic pulpy scifi time travel, but I just don't see it working out. Assuming that's the goal, and that she achieves it, she can't use time travel to go back and change or fix anything without endangering the machinations she engineered to enable it in the first place. Which logically means she can only go forward in time, and aside from hoverboards and gambling, where's the fun in that, right?

Huh. Something (zany) just occurred to me. Maybe she wants to go *all the way* forward, to the Singularity and/or Omega Point. Sorry, "and/or" because I forget if they're mutually exclusive. I’m fuzzy on the details of each. In any case, once then-there, assuming there isn't some fascist super villain who's somehow able to dominate the state, WhiteRose can live or relive any life she would want…or something. Right?

Yeah, like I said, that *just* occurred to me.

Multiverse-hopping also sounds like fun, but I'm not seeing the upside to that, either.

Maybe WhiteRose has been contacted by an alternate version of herself and given instructions on how to bridge and cross 'verses, but to what end? A Council of Cross-Time WhiteRoses who manipulate markets and technology across timelines? I'd *love* that, but it seems incongruous with the fabric and feel of the MR. ROBOT we've watched for three seasons.

Maybe WhiteRose speaks of these things in earnest with certain parties in order to manipulate them, as dramatically seen with Angela. Irving has mentioned that he doesn't find the possibility of some kind of undo (Angela and Irving never name it) completely unbelievable, and I love the idea that such a promise is part of Irving's motivation, but just as likely is the notion that Irving is toeing the line with Angela, saying what he's supposed to say to keep her motivated.

But you *know* Irving wants WhiteRose to deliver a reality in which BEACH TOWEL is a huge best seller and optioned for an HBO series, right? =)

Some last bits of crazy talk…

  • Washington Township has been the home of WhiteRose’s project for a very long time. If time travel is in play, maybe it’s only available for the lifetime of the functioning core of that project. How the heck is she having that “packed up” and moved to the Congo? Or is she having a second/newer facility assembled there?
  • What properties of the DRC region and/or coltan would be so valuable to the presumably exotic science involved in WhiteRose’s project? EM radiation? Magnetism? Radioactivity?
  • The Mandela Effect is visible everywhere in the show—and I *love* it—but maybe that's just the reality that this show lives in.
  • I'd like for there to be an opposing force to WhiteRose, someone we haven't met yet, who's playing the game at her level, or maybe even one level above, unknown to WhiteRose. Maybe it's a future Elliot. Or someone we've been told is dead. Or an alternate WhiteRose. Maybe Elliot's landlord (is that Guillermo del Toro or G. G. Martin? =) is the Yoda to WhiteRose's Emperor?
  • I think that someone or organization has repurposed Flipper's chip and is using him to track or spy or spoof Elliot and Mr. Robot. Krista's dick ex returning Flipper to Elliot as a curse on him was just a bit too dramatic for me to be legitimate.
  • Does WhiteRose know that Elliot shares his body with Mr. Robot? Does she *recognize* this dual persona existence because she does the same with Minister Zhang? Were WhiteRose's parents exposed to the same poison cocktail that killed Elliot and Angela's parents, but under different circumstances?

I know I've got more crazy talk in my rusty innards, but it's not coming to me just now. Hopefully events and revelations in this week's episode will rule some of it out. Just as likely, tho, it will inspire more. =)

Be seeing you.

Keep on keepin' on~

Friday, December 08, 2017

MR. ROBOT: 03x09: Eps.3.8_Stage3.Torrent: Angela and Phillip…

Hello, friend.

Several moments from this week's ep have gotten some fleeting ROBOT-y thoughts to coalesce into almost-theories…
MR. and MS. ROBOT?

When Angela discovers Leon waiting for Elliot in his apartment, she freaks, believing them to be in cahootz against WhiteRose's plans, which she believes will bring back her mom and Elliot's dad. We see her packing up her life into a cart and hitting the street, all the while apparently verbally checking in with herself, and possibly Qwerty. Of course this gets me thinking…

Angela is experiencing a second persona the way Elliot has been. Maybe we're witnessing a relapse or reversion, and she's had this second self—Ms. Robot?—since she was a kid, around the time Elliot's and her parents died.

How would this be possible? Whatever killed their mother and father in the Washington Township power plant also affected them. I'm unclear on the nature of the carcinogenic exposure, as well as when it occurred and over how long a time, but for the sake of this crazy talk theory, let's say that exposure happened/began before Elliot and Angela were born (and before the reported *leak*). So, their parents were already exposed when the kids were conceived. The power plant contaminant affected Edward Alderson's and Emily Moss's physiology in some way and these changes were passed on to the children. After they were born, it manifested in this potential for bifurcation of personality. So, they're mutants, and their mutation allows their single brains to be hosts to more than one mind.

Or…Angela is just talking to the fish. =)

The fish who spoke to Elliot in his withdrawal visions.


At the first meeting between EvilCorp and Allsafe, Phillip Price seems to recognize Angela. Sure, it could be from the Washington Township class action suit, somehow, but I'm thinking that he might have been reacting to her resemblance to someone that he does know—Angela's mother.

Remember Emily Moss's living funeral shindig? Lawyer Antara Nayar mentions an anonymous would-be benefactor (again) to Angela's mom, and she refuses the offer (again).

I'm suggesting that Phillip Price is Emily's biological father and Emily is his illegitimate/estranged daughter. This blood tie is a family secret kept from Angela. It's possible that Emily doesn't know, but there was something in the way she reacted and turned down the offer that has me thinking she knows who made it. Angela's father might know—he walked away from the convo when the offer to cover Emily's treatment came up—and is respecting Emily's wish, or perhaps honoring some legally binding contract, by keeping schtum about it.

Could Phillip's reaction to Angela and the medical care offer be explained by Phillip being *Angela's* bio-dad and Emily's one or sometime affair? Emily worked for EvilCorp at the Washington Township power plant (doing what?). From what position with what duties was Phillip Price promoted to CEO? Maybe his pre-CEO responsibilities included administration of or visits to the Washington Township facility, where he and Emily became familiar and then began an affair.

Perhaps Emily broke it off once she got pregnant, and uncertain of the paternity, or played it that way with Phillip. Or maybe Phillip broke it off when he started angling for CEO and got himself into a position that took him away from Washington Township? Yeah, that might make things a little…smoother. Maybe he ghosted before Emily even knew she was pregnant. Only after the leak and Emily's illness (and Angela's birth) did Phillip re-enter her life, but only as this anonymous benefactor.

Hrm…Maybe paternity isn't "necessary" at all here—just an affair…or dalliance. Who knows? Maybe they shared was some simple, singular, Christmas Miracle-ish moment of kindness once? Y’know, like accidentally killing someone together and burying the body. The usual. =)

How about Phillip takes a shine to Angela (and so, Allsafe) to kinda-sorta-honor Emily? Could Phillip ever have been—or actually still be, under his crusty layers of greed and villainy—the kind of man Emily would actually fall for? Did Emily make Phillip a better man? For a time?

Some show facts/history may easily bust these ideas—I readily admit my MR. ROBOT memory could definitely use an upgrade—but I do like riffing on theories and connections like these, almost as much as I enjoy considering the multiple choice options the show's given us for WhiteRose's Undo device or project… Time travel, parallel worlds, cosmic (re)programming…

I do so dig this show. =)

Keep on keepin' on~