If you watched the opening to “Mr. Robot” last night, odds are you immediately had many questions. For example, why were we suddenly watching a 1990’s sitcom? Why was ALF there? Where were we planning to go with this? In the end, it did seem like much of it was Elliot’s dream world while we awaited his fate in the hospital, but Mr. Robot also had a very particular purpose in all of this that cannot be forgotten.
Speaking about this matter in an Entertainment Weekly postmortem for the episode, show creator Sam Esmail did his part to make it clear that this sequence was in part a way to convince Elliot that his father’s presence, while haunting and frustrating at times, could also be useful in his journey:
“The notion was that we wanted Mr. Robot to actually show the good attributes of having an alter ego … Here’s the plus. You’ve seen the negative. You can’t get rid of me, even if you want to. You can’t control me, but here’s a huge plus of having me around.”
Esmail of course also made it clear that the classic family sitcom trope was a huge inspiration for him in coming up with an interesting parallel to portray in this episode:
“I remember being envious of the families on those sitcoms because even if they had their minor conflict every week, they always resolved it. Everyone always loved each other. Life was a lot simpler. Every house looked totally nice, and you had everything you needed. So Elliot goes to that place.”
While it was a huge creative risk, the sequence was reminiscent of the moment with the dinner table earlier this season, a reminder that Elliot does crave that normalcy, even if he does not exactly know how to get there. As a result of that, it made sense.
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