Mr Robot Decryption Scene
If you watched last night's episode of Mr. Robot, you witnessed Elliot perform some hacking magic to decrypt Romero's keylogger files. The following is an explanation of what actually is happening in that scene, and what assumptions the writers of Mr. Robot are making.
Mr Robot Decryption Scene
The scene starts off with Agent DiPierro logging into an FBI computer from Agent Santiego's car. Next, she hands over access to Elliot who in a minute or two has completey decrypted Romero's keylogger files. A good place to start is by explaining what is a keylogger? A keylogger is just a hardware device or a software program that records the real time activity of a computer user including the keys they press. Romero had one running during the initial Evil Corp. hack, which could have the private keys to undo it.
The scene does not show that Elliot logged into a remote machine so we'll just assume he's running the commands on the FBI machine locally, and everything is installed and ready to go. After Elliot executes the script, we see that some songs are being downloaded. What exactly is happening here? We here Elliot mention that he "knows Romero". This is impying that Elliot knows how Romero might have picked a password for his encypted files. We can assume the code in the script Elliot runs is downloading song lyrics from artists Romero listened to. What might the code for something like this look like? It's actually pretty trivial.
Price is seen outside the E Corp building, looking at the E Statue when his attention is drawn to the trombone player. He follows the bill folder's instructions and retrieves a dry cleaner's receipt from the trombone player's hat. Elliot finishes the creation of the 3D printed mold. Upstate, at the crime scene Dom was asked to intercept, the police take the burned body into the coroner's van. Dom walks past an officer with a loud ring tone and leaves in her car. She is annoyed with the radio. At the red light Darlene previously passed, she notices the traffic enforcement camera. Elliot picks the emergency panel in the elevator to get him and Darlene up to the badge restricted ninth floor. He runs into a room and put a card in a machine.
The film significantly deviates from the short story, most notably turning Johnny, not his bodyguard partner, into the primary action figure. Molly Millions is replaced with Jane, as the film rights to Molly had already been sold. Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS) is a fictional disease that is not present in the short story. NAS, also called "the black shakes", is caused by an overexposure to electromagnetic radiation from omnipresent technological devices and is presented as a raging epidemic. In the film, one pharmaceutical corporation has found a cure but chooses to withhold it from the public in favor of a more lucrative treatment program. The code-cracking Navy dolphin Jones's reliance on heroin was one of many scenes cut during an editing process. Gibson said that the film was "taken away and re-cut by the American distributor". He described the original film as "a very funny, very alternative piece of work", and said it was "very unsuccessfully chopped and cut into something more mainstream". Gibson compared this to editing Blue Velvet into a mainstream thriller lacking any irony. Prior to its release, critic Amy Harmon identified the film as an epochal moment when cyberpunk counterculture would enter the mainstream. News of the script's compromises spurred pre-release concerns that the film would prove a disappointment to hardcore cyberpunks.
James criticized the film's lack of tension, and Rainer called the film's tone too grim and lacking excitement. McCarthy criticized what he saw as a "unrelieved grimness" and "desultory, darkly staged action scenes". McCarthy felt the film's visual depiction of the future was unoriginal, and Gleiberman described the film as "Blade Runner with tackier sets". Savlov wrote that Longo's "attempts to out-Blade Runner Ridley Scott in the decaying cityscape department grow wearisome". Savlov still found the film "much better than expected". LaSalle felt the film "introduces a fantastic yet plausible vision of a computer-dominated age" and maintains a focus on humanity, in contrast to Rainer, who found the film's countercultural pose to be inauthentic and lacking humanity. James called the film murky and colorless; Rainer's review criticized similar issues, finding the film's lack of lighting and its grim set design to give everything an "undifferentiated dullness". McCarthy found the special effects to be "slick and accomplished but unimaginative", though Ebert enjoyed the special effects. Gleiberman highlighted the monofilament whip as his favorite special effect, though James found it unimpressive.
Although saying that Reeves is not a good actor, LaSalle said Reeves is still enjoyable to watch and makes for a compelling protagonist. McCarthy instead found Reeves' character to be unlikable and one-dimensional. James compared Reeves to a robot, and Gleiberman compared him to an action figure. Rainer posited that Reeves' character may seem so blank due to his memory loss. Savlov said that Reeves' wooden delivery gives the film unintentional humor, but Rainer found that the lack of humor throughout the film sapped all the acting performances of any enjoyment. Gleiberman said that Reeves' efforts to avoid Valleyspeak backfire, giving his character's lines "an intense, misplaced urgency", though he liked the unconventional casting of Lundgren as a psychopathic street preacher. Rainer highlighted Lundgren as the only actor to display mirth and said his performance was the best in the film. James called Ice-T's role stereotypical and said he deserved better.
I think Tyrell 'fixed' the problem. If he has the decryption key, he could use that as leverage to become the new CTO of Evil Corp. That could also be the reason why the new CEO is so confident, because the situation isn't hopeless and he will be the savior of Evil Corp and the world for that matter.
Boy I hated that last scene, and I hate the idea that the show is going in the direction of a shadowy conspiracy. To me, it undercuts so much of what has been exciting about the show's critique of capitalism. It's so much less interesting -- and so much sillier -- if the evil is the product of a coordinated effort of a group of rich men sitting around together in a dark room with a roaring fire, a harpist, and champagne. The much bleaker reality was presented so well in the conversation Terry Colby had with Angela when he described the meeting in which the decision was made to go forward with the actions that led to her mother's death.
It's really daring of the show to take the climactic action of the whole season -- fsociety executing the hack -- and not show it to us. I mean, I guess it would just be a scene of somebody typing some things on a keyboard? But still, they've managed to make plenty of scenes like that dramatic.
That suggests to me that Elliot finally realized (at least that one time) that he does have more than one personality. I'm going back and forth on whether he's Tyrell or not but if the translation of Joanna's is accurate, that she said she would kill him if he did anything to Tyrell, I guess he's not. Unless the Joanna/Elliot scene that Avaleigh provided is somewhat accurate and she meant she would kill him if Elliot got rid of the Tyrell personality that she prefers/knows.
Avaleigh, thank you so much for that detailed interpretation of the Elliot/Joanna scene. I've been baffled as to why people have been wondering if Tyrell is another alter of Elliot's (or vice a versa) and your analysis makes it clearer to me. Finally. :)
My current feeling on the Joanna scene is that Tyrell and Elliot-in-Mr. Robot-mode together confronted her during the missing three days, saying "crazy" stuff. Now that "Ollie" is acting like he doesn't know her, she wonders what else he's done with/to Tyrell.
I don't think the Elliot is Tyrell thing works... not only for the aforementioned scene where Elliot speaks to his assistant and there's nothing to indicate she thought she was speaking to her former boss, but we also have numerous scenes of Tyrell and Elliot's separate lives. We know Elliot worked at Allsafe, and have numerous examples of Allsafe employees addressing him as Elliot and a tangible impact that he had as an employee there. And we have the same thing with Willick at Evil Corp, people addressing him by his name, him having his own office, and again having tangible impact. If Elliot and Tyrell are the same person, then we are talking about either one person having and maintaining two separate lives and identities, or one of these person's entire existence, and all of the people within it, are imaginary. That's a horrible leap to ask the audience to take... it means a great deal of the show's content is a delusion, which. I'm sure a rewatch of the series would effectively torpedo this theory. And it would be an awful, terrible plot development.
This seems right to me. There was definitely an undercurrent in their interaction, and I think this is a better reading of it than as a suggestion that Tyrell is an Elliot identity. I think the show has conclusively shown us that is not the case (there's no getting around that scene with Tyrell's assistant, for one thing). I do think that Joanna's reaction to Elliot indicates that this was not the first time she's seen Elliot's face, and the way she was testing him about whether he's seen Tyrell during the last three days probably means she knows he has because she saw them together sometime during Elliot's missing time. 041b061a72