USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 4, Episode 7: “407 Proxy Authentication Required”
Directed & Written
by Sam Esmail
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “406 Not Acceptable” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “408 Request Timeout” – click here
In a trunk, Elliot is headed to who knows where, kidnapped by Vera’s thugs right off the streets in broad daylight. He lies in darkness, waiting for the car to arrive wherever it’s going, listening to the sounds of passing cars, voices, and the people inside the car talking. He’s soon pulled out and taken in to see the high, unpredictable Vera waiting for their reunion. It’s “emotional and shit” for the “fanboy” who’s been waiting to see the hacker again.
The two men sit across a table from one another. Elliot and Mr. Robot briefly chat about whether Krista’s dead— here, again as we’ve seen throughout the series, we see the conversations they have are entirely in Elliot’s head, he’s not talking aloud to himself but actually having a whole silent conversation mentally. Vera cuts in, impatient for a conversation of his own. Mostly a monologue about going back to the Dominican Republic and becoming the king of everything, from the DR to Haiti.
He goes on to talk about seeing a shaman who fed him “titty milk” and “red blood.” He was put under the mixture’s spell. Then, after he shit himself and puked a lot the shaman told him to “go home.” He was meant to be an American, living in New York, no matter if he was Dominican. He believes he was meant to reconcile with Elliot, and they were meant to take over New York.
Before Elliot can agree to anything he wants to know Krista’s okay. He won’t back down in the face of Vera and his violent temper. He refuses to let the man intimidate him. The gangster grabs the hacker close, holding a blade between their faces. He’s more threatening than ever. Yet he relents. He wants to make sure he’s got Elliot’s full attention. They go see Krista in the other room, but he only gets to see her, that she’s alive. Now Vera wants “an introduction” to Mr. Robot. Things are getting especially uncomfortable. The hacker tries negotiating to get Krista away from these creepy, rapey dudes, and it’s too much.
Mr. Robot comes out to play. His demeanour is enough to forego a “puff of smoke” magic show, letting Vera know to whom he’s talking. He wants straight answers out of Vera. Peanuts puts a gun to his head and that doesn’t stop him from pushing back. He wants to know the purpose for being brought there. Vera’s looking to get to the bottom of Elliot’s psychology and why Mr. Robot protects the hacker.
But Mr. Robot is smarter than Fernando. He turns the tables and has the gangster trying to sell himself. Vera talks about wanting to control everything in the five boroughs of New York, from the upper echelons of power to the lowest scum on the streets. Mr. Robot thinks it’s only a “monopoly on stupidity” to take up the debt of a city. He thinks Vera is biting off more than he can chew. And he starts to seed the gangster’s mind with bigger ideas about where to go with the plans. Problem is, Krista remains in danger.
This is when Elliot steps back into the conversation, hoping to quell Vera with stolen money. The hacker gets his bag, to use the laptop and start siphoning off cash— “stadium money,” as Peanuts calls it. This gives Elliot his chance to grab the gun out of bag and pull it on the three holding him captive. He tries pulling the trigger, only for the gun not to go off since they already took his bullets. But Vera now knows Elliot’s ready to kill.
“Power is just an asshole stuffed with money”
Vera’s going to have some twisted fun. He grabs Krista, ready to put a bullet in her head. Elliot offers to be his partner, pleading for some way to save his therapist. He says he needs her because she’s the only one who can help him. This convinces Vera they’re more connected, that Krista is Elliot’s own shaman.
They’re going to sit down for a “therapy session.” This angers Krista. Elliot would rather give the gangster a show to watch, rather than let him hurt her. The therapist insists it only works in a “controlled environment.” Vera has his people leave. That’s as private as things will get, and Elliot insists they go on like they’re alone. Krista eventually agrees, asking him about the death of his mother. However, Vera is impatient, looking for the “24–karat” truth— why Mr. Robot came to exist in the first place.
And Elliot’s coming to realise people are hiding the truth from him, both Krista and Mr. Robot, too. What exactly is the “root of his condition“? The hacker wants to know, and Vera’s reading the therapist’s notes about the day Elliot fell out the window. He wants the truth, so Krista attempts to help him figure it out. Darlene has been filling in events for Elliot his whole life when he loses time and Mr. Robot shows up. Elliot starts to wonder how long his alter’s been around, and if it’s been protecting him for longer than he remembers. That day, in that room, Elliot jumped out the window because Mr. Robot was trying to protect him from his father, who maybe hurt him, made him scared. It’s clear his father had abused him before, and likely Darlene, too.
This breaks open the dam within Elliot. He remembers the sexual abuse.
Vera tries to reach out to the hacker, but Elliot doesn’t want to be around anybody, not wanting to live anymore with all this unbearable pain. The gangster tells him he can be his “true self” now after shedding the poison of his past. Elliot screams and screams to purge the anger he feels. He doesn’t see a way forward after figuring out his own trauma. Vera does his best to be a friend, speaking truth to him during such a painful moment: “You don‘t carry it alone.” But the hacker doesn’t like that Vera set all this up and caused this wound to open wide. Fernando comes clean about the abuse his own mother allowed, passing him around to her friends as a boy. These are two tortured souls, and, for better or worse, they’ve got each other.
Well, not really— Krista sinks a knife into the gangster’s back, killing him.
Wow. Just, wow.
One of the most emotional episodes of TV this year, probably the last decade.
“408 Request Timeout” is next. Surely it’ll bring something wild and unexpected.