TV - Mr Robot Season 2, episode 1: the Easter Eggs


Needing less physical exertion than Pokemon Go, Nate McKenzie shows you where you can catch at least some of the Mr Robot Easter Eggs in the Season 2 premiere (SPOILERS but FUN) ...

On Sunday evening, during a Live Q&A with some of the cast of Mr. Robot, the USA Network surprised its devoted fans by releasing the season two premiere for a limited time. But for that evening only.

Thanks to an utterly brilliant marketing campaign, Mr. Robot is quickly moving beyond the realms of cult favourite. I expect by the end of the summer it will be one of the most popular shows on television.

The current trend in film and television is to hide references and Easter Eggs all throughout episodes and feature films. It should be no surprise that Mr. Robot is no exception. With its smart, intricate, hacktivist sub-culture soul, the show was always primed for dropping subtle hints and creating a web of intrigue, puzzles within puzzles, in each episode. Christian Slater and Sam Esmail have both confirmed in the media that the second season was set to be 'riddled with' Easter Eggs.

The premiere did not disappoint.

THE HOMAGE

Just after executing a Social Engineering Toolkit that took out bank servers, Darlene sees a message on her screen:



"Hack the Gibson" is a phrase used in the real life hacker community, but it's a direct reference to the film "Hackers" that became a sort of rallying cry for the culture in the early 90's. In that film, the best hackers attempt, and succeed, to break into the most secure computer server in the world, known as The Gibson. Referencing a failed attempt at a hack is now known as trying to Hack the Gibson. A tip of the cap to predecessors is a great way for a show to ingratiate itself to the community it is portraying and representing.

THE BURNING BOOK

In my earlier theory article I mentioned that Hot Carla is burning a book in her red wagon. That book? Waiting for Godot.



It is a bit difficult to make out the title at first, but that's what it is. Why is this an Easter Egg? Samuel Beckett's absurdist play is about two characters that wait endlessly for the arrival of a third character, a person named Godot. Godot never arrives. The two characters discuss hanging themselves multiple times throughout the play but never do so. They also never leave.

The meaning behind the play has been speculated ad nauseam. However, one interpretation is that Vladimir and Estragon are eternally stuck in limbo. Or, at least stuck until one of them does something to change their circumstance'; like hanging themselves?

Could this be an allusion to Elliot's current situation? We see him take a bullet to the forehead from Mr. Robot in the ep (and his journaling reveals that it isn't the first time). Is Elliot (and perhaps Leon or Mr. Robot) stuck in, at the very least, a proverbial limbo? It would seem that Elliot is forcing, or being forced, to live the life he has constructed for himself but I find it hard to believe he can be entirely satisfied with that life for long. Which might explain how Elliot seemed to be doing well for about a month but then regresses to having a difficult time quieting the voice of Mr. Robot.

THE OTHER BOOK

On Elliot's desk beside his journal is a copy of Leo Tolstoy's Resurrection.

As far as Easter Eggs go, this one is easy to find, but its meaning isn't readily clear. If you judge a book by its cover, you might think that Resurrection is referring to Elliot being shot in the head but not dying. It probably won't surprise you to find out that there is a deeper hidden meaning.



The main ideas explored in Resurrection are those of the injustice of man-made laws and wrongful imprisonment. The novel also explains in detail the economic philosophy of Georgism which holds that the economic value of land should belong equally to all residents of that community. All three of those themes resound heavily with Elliot's personal belief system.

THE CODE

In one scene, Elliot opens his journal and quickly turns the page. If you saw the episode, you probably noticed the hand drawn QR Code on that page that is viewable for only a split second.



If you are able to pause the playback and scan that code, it takes you to a website: www.ConficturaIndustries.com



The website is a basic html website as it would be designed in the 90s. None of the gifs are clickable and three of the jpgs won't load. However, the email address listed in the middle of the page is a legitimate email address; but clicking the link won't open it. If you hover the mouse over it you can see the address in the bottom left of the page. But you have to right-click and open in a new tab to copy/paste it. (I emailed it from my personal account but have received no reply)

More interesting than that is the name of the page: Confictura Industries. I looked it up. Confictura is a Latin word meaning invention, fantasy, fiction, or falsehood, all of which mean just about the same thing: something made up (possibly imagined?).

Additionally, the Confictura logo resembles the apple peel dropped by Mr. Robot in the scene when Elliot meets with Gideon. It may not be spot on, but the fact that the camera lingered on the peel did resonate with me. I just wasn't sure why and I did not figure it out myself. (I was clued in by a Reddit user.)



Also within this website there is code that is commented out (which means it can't be viewed directly on the site): the Dancing Baby Gif, the first viral gif, made way back in 1996.



It's an Easter Egg within an Easter Egg. It's like the toy inside a Kinder Egg.

THE ADDRESS

When Darlene is talking to Mobley about their mission (just before we see the Hackers reference) she is typing the commands for the SET to attack the banks. On her screen, an IP address is visible:



Curious, I typed that IP into my address bar. It led me to this... http://i239.bxjyb2jvda.net/



More than a few things are interesting about this. First, the phrase "YOUR PERSONAL FILES ARE ENCRYPTED" and "More instructions forthcoming" are both phrases used by fsociety in the bank attack.



The countdown clock is similar as well. That IP address you see in that screencap takes you to the same site as well.

What is it counting down to? Some are suggesting it's an ARG - an Alternate Reality Game. ARG's are interactive narratives that use the real world as a platform. Think of it like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book using computers.

One thing: if you go to the website, the numbers begin counting down from 24:00:00 or 24 hours. But if you close out the tab or turn off your computer... the counter resets. (I learned the hard way.)

Delving deeper into the website: if you view the source code, it seems to be relatively straightforward. Unless you scroll to the very bottom where you see this:



Very cool. Even cooler?



That's the scene where Elliot goes to the church group meeting.

The only show that I can think of that had as much attention to detail and as many layers of meaning as this one does was Lost.

I may have missed something, so if you catch anything, let us know!

And remember... hugs are cheaper than handshakes.

Images - screenshots