Mr. Robot eps1.1_ones-and-zer0es.mpeg


Bullshit disguised as insight:

I’d like to title this one “Poor Elliot, who just wants to love and be loved in return.”

There are a few moments in this episode that hearken back to a sentiment expressed by Angela in episode one, after Elliot spoke up on her behalf in the meeting with Evil Corp, “You didn’t have to stick up for me in there.I know that you were just trying to help, just don’t do it again. Even if I’m losing.”

First, when Shayla chooses not to report she was raped by her drug supplier, Fernando Vera. Earlier in the episode Shayla foreshadowed that there was worse to come, “…he’s just a creeper. I hate it when your employers can’t take a hint.” She brushes away Elliot’s concern here, and she refuses his help later when he wants to report the rape. Workplace harassment and lack of reporting is not duly uncommon(though I may be stretching “workplace”, and people have their own reasons. In Shayla’s case, Fernando is offering her discounts and therefore, she makes more money off her sales. And just to twist the knife, she only met Fernando because he is the only one who sells the withdrawal drugs Elliot asked for.

The other moment, his father. Just when I was hoping that Elliot had had at least one positive role model in his young life, his father pushed him out a window Game of Thrones style when he discovered Elliot told his mother about the leukemia. Elliot promised he would tell no one, but when his father’s health continued to decline, Elliot tried to get him more help. It was revealed in Elliot’s therapy session that his father may have been able to get higher quality care, but didn’t.

These moments also interconnect with another idea brought to life in this episode, the ones and zeros, the yeses and nos, the do somethings or do nothings, the be somebodies or be nobodies. It’s the presumption that there are 2 options. Action or inaction, and inaction indicates acceptance.

Early on, when CS introduces this to Elliot, he tries to refute this theory.


Elliot argues that there are more available options than blowing up Steel Mountain. Surely there are other numbers available than one. Well not in binary, and not in this metaphor. Later Elliot discusses his frustrations in therapy. He uses the examples of Coke or Pepsi, Honda or Hyundai. Of course, there are other options, but they’re so insignificant, do they even matter?

I think so. Krista seems to be pushing Elliot towards this as well. The either/or fallacy, also called a false dichotomy or the false dilemma, negates this two-sided view (See, there’s even three+ names). It’s a fallacy that falsely argues that there are only two options and then lays them out, usually directing the reader or listener to desirable and “only real choice” (UNC Writing Center). It doesn’t change that these megaliths of business exist, but there are other options out there.

But before we get ahead of ourselves.

Elliot mentions many can’t even pick their own cable. I have spent too many hours of my life on the phone with Comcast, and I’d drop them in a second if I had any other provider available to me where I live. I do have an option, Comcast or no home internet, but is that really even a choice I can make? Not one I’m strong enough to do.

He also mentions lack of choice with water. This episode ran July 1, 2015 and was written and filmed before that. Concerns over the water supply for Flint, Michigan, arose in April 2014. The validity of these claims were disputed again and again by government officials and agencies even when tests consistently show dangerously high levels of lead in the water. October 2015, citizens are told not to use unfiltered water. Jan 2016, President Obama declares a state of emergency in the city of Flint (timeline). Now of course, you could choose to buy bottled water if you had the kind of money to spend on that sort of thing. Now you tell me.

Darlene tells Elliot, whether he wants to be or not, he’s part of fsociety’s movement. It is too late to turn fsociety over to the cops and not screw himself over. Elliot tells his created friend, “I’m culpable now. No, we’re culpable. You’re in this with me, so start thinking of solutions now.” Yeah, I think he may be talking to us to here.

Elliot sees that that his friends and family are struggling and not doing enough to help themselves. He wants to help, desperately.They don’t want it. They aren’t doing anything either (debateable with Angela). In this case, they are the zeros.

By the end, it seems Elliot believes his choices have been made for him, at least in the case of Fernando. He chooses to be a one.

Last episode established that Elliot doesn’t make great decisions on drugs and this episodes, Elliot was on a lot of drugs and making a lot of decisions. Throw in that element, too.

There are little seeds planted in various enemies or friends (probably enemies) for Elliot. Elliot has a business card, but I’ll bet we’ll be hearing from Tyrell again whether Elliot contacts him or not. Now there’s someone spying on Angela, and we don’t know why, although it could have something to do with her working at Allsafe. My bet is that the random guy hounding the couple for over a week about a mixtape that hacks computers and spits out kanji code is not just there for peeping (any connection to the hacker group “Dark Army” first mentioned in this episode?). Then there’s the drug dealer Fernando, who has attached himself to Shayla . He makes it clear that Elliot needs to keep his distance (so I’m guessing this means Fernando would not be ok if Elliot continued to sleep with her, even though their sex is consensual). I found it almost amusing when Fernando threatens Elliot when he has much bigger and at least equally unstable guys to handle, but Fernando could be the most immediate threat. CS just pushed him off a rail, but seeing as his patch says “Mr. Robot,” so I don’t think we’ve rid of him yet. So far he seems to have a one-track agenda, and we’ll see how Elliot affects that.

Poor kid cannot catch a break. Even Flipper’s pooping on his bed (take care of your dog, dude).

Or maybe Elliot died when CS pushed him off the rail onto that extremely polluted beach. Probably not.


  • Haha, even Evil Corp is bound by the non-compete clause.
  • 11 lawyers plus Tyrell and Elliot, disciples, I’m telling you, Last Supper.
  • I just loved the effect with the music and opening titles. Grand pronouncements, dramatic architecture, expansive skylines, thundering (non-diegetic) music, stark colors, dramatically staring down in front of giant windows. And in true Elliot fashion, long silence, “Can I think about it?”

God, that ceiling’s gorgeous.

  • The suits following Elliot seemed to be really obvious this episode. We know we’re seeing this through Elliot’s eyes (It’s not actually Evil Corp), so I’m wondering if they’re actually there, or one of Elliot’s delusions. Or maybe they’re getting desperate and sloppy. He wonders if Darlene saw them when they board the subway, but she at least doesn’t indicate she did.


  • Dude’s in the tighty whities; that means he can’t have a weapon on him. Well, he’s picked a gun up from the table next to him. Forget that idea.
  • Flipper is alive. Repeat, the dog is not dead.
  • I listened to a drug dealer. Elliot means “Jehovah is God.” Fernando, equivalent to Ferdinand or Vernon, meaning “adventurous, bold journey.”
  • Kinda seems like Krista’s on her last thread with Elliot’s relapse into shouting and extreme rudeness. Elliot, you cannot lose her. She is there for you, bro.

This was a good episode but it got me thinking about all the things in the world that make me mad, and I’ve been so happy lately but maybe that’s the point (There is hope and happiness in this world; someone loves you!!!).