After two wonderful episodes that focused on introducing our main character and the main story with FSociety and Mr. Robot, ‘Debug’ puts Elliot in the bench to understand the side characters and Elliot’s surroundings a bit more.
In contrast to the previous episode, in which we only got to see Tyrell proclaiming that he was going to be the next CTO and offering Elliot a new position in the first few minutes, ‘Debug’ showed us a day in the life of sociopathic Tyrell Wellick. First of all, we found out that despite all his training, his meeting to be the next CTO for E-Corp got pushed back for two weeks. We also found out that he has a pregnant wife (or girlfriend) and that, despite of that, he goes out and has an affair with a man. Tyrell is the antithesis of Elliot, although he is at risk of becoming too cliché, almost a caricature of a businessman. He’s also probably going to be one of Elliot’s future rival so it’s good that we had an episode dedicated to him.
Because we didn’t get much from Angela in last week’s episode, ‘Debug’ also put a lot of focus on her and her boyfriend. We see how Ollie is having a lot of trouble with the malware he accidentally introduced in their computer. The hackers are blackmailing Ollie into infecting Allsafe’s servers. At the end of the episode, he has no choice but to come clean with Angela on the infected CD and on his cheating. Angela is obviously very mad and terrified at what happened. Strangely enough, she didn’t break up with him and actually contemplates doing what the hackers say to prevent identity theft.
Meanwhile, Elliot is in a hospital for a short while after Mr. Robot pushed him off in the previous episode. Strangely, Christa and Shayla were visiting him, but not Angela. Elliot lies about drugs usage by hacking the hospital because “it’s all about finding the bug”.
He later has a conversation with Mr. Robot against his will. Mr. Robot says he’s sorry (seriously?) and tells him that FSociety is over without him. Far from feeling guilty or blackmailed, Elliot gives him the middle finger by actually trying to have a normal life insulting Marvel movies while sipping from his Starbucks cup.
He even asks Shayla to be his girlfriend and accompany him to Gideon’s party. While doing so, Elliot learns that you cannot know everything about a person by just hacking in their social media, emails and computer. There’s also the stuff that people don’t share online. However, we knew that that bliss couldn’t last long for Elliot. During Gideon’s party, they see on TV that Terry Colby was implicated on the cover up of the toxic leak scandal from 1993, which was responsible for the cases of leukemia. We also find out that it didn’t only kill Elliot’s father, but also Angela’s mother. “Mr. Robot finally found my bug”, Elliot thinks.
I’m not going to say that this episode wasn’t as good as the previous two. But it definitely felt more slow-paced and less thrilling. After all, ‘Debug’ didn’t revolve much around Elliot and Mr. Robot, and the little we got to see from Elliot was him trying to have a normal life as a respectable member of society. As strange as that felt, some side-characters building was necessary to enrich the plot. After all, a second season has already been confirmed, and the story could even go further than that.
There’s something I feel like I need to talk about, though. Ever since the first episode, viewers have enjoyed speculating what’s real and what’s not. After all, that has been something that Elliot himself asked us. What we see is what Elliot sees and we know that Elliot is somewhat delusional. In ‘Debug’, we could actually start seeing that some characters weren’t interacting with each other, which raised suspicion. Or maybe we are just becoming paranoid too.