Mr. Robot on the surface appears to be a television show about an expert hacker with social anxiety who tries to fight an evil corporation with the help of the mysterious Mr. Robot and an underground group of rebellious tech experts called Fsociety. Elliot works with them to coordinate digital attacks while going through a morphine addiction as well as complicated relationships with his longtime friend and another fling. But this is simply the surface story.
What if Mr. Robot is actually about Elliot’s pet fish named Qwerty? The fish rarely appears on the show, but when it does, it has a major impact on my emotions. I’ll tell you why. Warning: There are spoilers from the entire first season, but I doubt anybody reading this wouldn’t already be a fan of the show by now. You can catch up on the first season of Mr. Robot on Amazon Instant if you don’t have the USA Network.
Qwerty Is the Only Thing Giving Elliot Constant Company
The simple fact is: Qwerty is always there. If he’s not fucking Shayla, his drug dealer who supplies him with an ample supply of morphine, or hanging out with his hacking crew in that rundown arcade with the popcorn machine that’s full of stale-ass popcorn all the time, Elliot is sitting in his apartment alone crying with much desperate lip clenching.
As we see him sob in the first episode, he explains in voiceover, “If it wasn’t for Qwerty, I’d be completely empty.” Now you could interpret this as meaning that without the keyboard and his hacking abilities, he’d have no reason to live, but he’s actually referring to his fish, who is his best friend.
Qwerty, being a fish, never exposes Elliot’s secrets to anybody, and never serves as a source of paranoia. He is a source of incredible comfort, if anything. It sits in a fishbowl, shits and eats, and never leaves Elliot’s apartment, making it a true friend that will never leave Elliot’s side. He may not have many lines until later, but from the start of the show I thought that if Elliot’s going to be in a meaningful relationship with anyone, it’s going to be with Qwerty, the only real constant in his life. It’s also incapable of hacking or using a computer, unlike every other main character in this show.
Qwerty is Named After Elliot’s Main Hacking Tool
QWERTY: the first six letters on a standard keyboard. This is what Elliot uses to hack into people and violate their privacy. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe he just liked the sound of the word “qwerty” and spells it “quirty” because “squirty” without the “s” is cuter to him, inadvertently naming it after his keyboard. Either way, it’s a representation of the true importance of the keyboard, which is a wonderful twist of irony because it’s the one character in this film without hands or fingers.
Everything in Episode Four’s Hallucination Sequence is About Qwerty
In the fourth episode, when Elliot is going through withdrawal from morphine, everything has to do with Qwerty. The fish is able to speak at one point and urgently requests to be put near a window for once, making its desires known to Elliot’s conscious thought. A fish appears on a dinner plate in a restaurant set up like cubicles, not only illuminating the fish’s feelings of persecution, but also its suffocation beneath Elliot’s occupation; it doesn’t receive enough attention from Elliot, thus starving and becoming fodder for greedy corporate zombies.
When Elliot is in the hallucinatory apartment getting an hallucinatory heroin shot, it’s Qwerty cleverly disguised as a woman who administers the shot. She then kisses him, which is exactly what Qwerty always wanted to do, another hidden desire that was unachievable in a fish body.
And when the shooting starts, as a presumably disgruntled dealer or user starts opening fire on everyone inside, that’s Qwerty too. This is because Qwerty realized he could never truly become a woman that Elliot would find attractive, and decided killing everyone (including his female disguise) was the best solution to it all. However, this was all merely a hallucination in Elliot’s mind, as he experienced the ultimate empathy for his fish. Unfortunately, all of this symbolism regarding Qwerty went over Elliot’s head, meaning that I’m much smarter than him.
Qwerty is Elliot
That’s right. Not only is Qwerty an external pet fish, but another element that is overlooked is the fact that Qwerty is Elliot, just as Mr. Robot turned out to be Elliot’s projection of his dead father. Except the truth is that Elliot and Mr. Robot are both projections of Qwerty. Yes, Qwerty is the main character, and out of the boredom of living in a fish tank has imagined a world where he’s an entertaining hacker who owns a fish (given to him by another imagined person, Shayla), and who hallucinates about his dead father being the leader of a group of rebel hackers, only to discover that he is Mr. Robot. Unfortunately for the fish, none of this is real, and he isn’t Elliot. He’s simply a fish probably owned by an old Italian man who watches The Bicycle Thief on his ’90s-model TV all day.
The last two episodes when Elliot actually learns about what’s been going on with his life is actually the fish’s ultimate hallucination, when it loses sense of who it thinks it is. He’s so lost in his mind that he actually believes he’s Elliot realizing that he’s been suffering from delusions. In the end, the fish manages to develop a delusion so intricate in order to escape the life of a fish that it becomes convinced it’s Elliot realizing his destiny. If you don’t believe this is the real conclusion that Sam Esmail wanted in the series, here is some irrefutable evidence brought to you by MorphThing.com, which turned out a little better than last time’s results between Johnny Depp and a clam:
Impeccable, isn’t it? That is what their kid would look like.
Of course, if Elliot is actually the fish, then that means that everybody else, including his sister, Fsociety, his coworkers, his friend, his psychiatrist and even the erratic megalomaniacal Tyrell Wellick are all figments of Qwerty’s imagination. Everyone he hacked is also a character in Qwerty’s mind. And Qwerty is the name it gave itself while imagining itself as Elliot naming it.
Brilliant, eh? I want to hear your thoughts, even though anything else you suggest is indisputably wrong.