‘Mr. Robot’ Theory: Are We Operation Berenstain?

uncovered a secret surveillance operation known as Operation Berenstain, but very little is known about it or what it means for the show. All we know is that this top secret operation has something to do with Fsociety, but are they being watched?

Mr. Robot often leaves me with so much to think over and after this revelation, I came up with a whacky theory: What if we are Operation Berenstain? It sounds crazy, right? Bear with me and I’ll show you what led me to this theory.

The Berenstain Theory

The word Berenstain has come to be associated with the series of children’s books called The Berenstain Bears, however there is a common misconception that “Berenstain” is spelled as “Berenstein.” is similar to the , which discusses the idea that many people have vivid memories of Nelson Mandela dying in prison, which did not happen.

The idea is that if there is a group of people who share the same memory of an event that never happened, then perhaps the event took place in an alternate reality or a parallel timeline — like Donnie Darko. Similarly, many people argue that they vividly remember the “Berenstain” being spelt as “Berenstein” arguing that this is evidence of a parallel reality.

Taking this into consideration, it’s noteworthy that Mr. Robot not only chose to name their illusive operation Berenstain, but the spelling of the word was also shown onscreen. This is possibly deliberate — anyone who is aware of the Berenstain Theory will have automatically associated Mr. Robot‘s operation with it as soon as they saw the spelling.

Surveillance Operation

The Fsociety gang have been more than careful when carrying out their operation — they rarely spoke in person and once the mission was complete they destroyed the evidence — so how is it possible that they were being watched and did not know about it? These are professional hackers, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn’t know they were being watched.

Have we been watching Elliot the whole time?
Have we been watching Elliot the whole time?

However, one person has been along for the entire ride. One person knows everything about Fsociety and the entire operation to take down E-Corp. One person knows Elliot better than anyone else, so that one person would know how to allude his suspicions. That person is us: The voice in Elliot’s head, his imaginary friend, the viewer. The first thing that hit me when Operation Berenstain was first spoken about is the fact that it is a surveillance operation — and we’ve been watching everything.

Elliot talks to the viewer at least once an episode and on one occasion he actually made clear that he did not trust us. But what if in reality we were playing him the whole time? We were inside Elliot’s head the whole time, we knew all the information, all the hack codes and more importantly, every detail of the mission.

Alternate Reality

This leads us back to the Berenstain Theory. If we apply the Berenstain Theory to Mr. Robot then we are to believe that all of the events in Mr. Robot have been taking place in a parallel universe.

Did Fsociety cause a parallel universe?
Did Fsociety cause a parallel universe?

You might ask: What evidence is there to suggest that Mr. Robot is taking place in an alternate universe? Well, there were definitely a few signs in “eps2.2_init1.asec.” Firstly, the flashback sequence saw Elliot explore his collection of illegally downloaded uTorrent films. He decided to watch Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie — it became obvious that this film inspired the infamous Fsociety outfit.

However, what’s intriguing is that there is no film called Careful Masscare of the Bourgeoisie. Go check it out for yourself, the film simply does not exist — at least not in this universe. Moreover, among Elliot’s collection of films is A Clockwork Orange — a film that takes place in a dystopian futuristic society and — more importantly — exists in the real world. It’s also worth noting that Comet is among Elliot’s pirated collection, a film by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail. Why would Esmail’s film be in Elliot’s collection — as the creator of Mr. Robot, wouldn’t that distort the idea of reality within Mr. Robot? Coincidentally, Comet also deals with parallel universes.

The events above occurred moments before the inception of Fsociety — and Mr. Robot — so what if this parallel universe only came to be because of Fsociety? In Donnie Darko, the tangent universe began moments before the aircraft engine crashed into Donnie’s home. What if the creation of Fscoiety is what caused this parallel universe to splinter off from our own universe?

So Who Are We?

We’ve been Elliot’s friend since the very first episode of Mr. Robot. However, if Mr. Robot takes place in an alternate reality, then perhaps we are more than just his friend. If we are to believe that we — the viewer and Elliot’s friend — are Operation Bernenstain then it poses the question of who exactly are we?

Are we Elliot's friend or foe?
Are we Elliot’s friend or foe?

If Mr. Robot resembles Donnie Darko in any way, then perhaps we are Elliot’s equivalent of Frank the bunny rabbit — perhaps we are guiding him. Or perhaps we are attempting to enter into this alternate reality to find out whats going on. If so, will us entering into the parallel universe cause it to collapse? Maybe we’re not Elliot’s friend — maybe we’re his enemy.

A daemon is a computer process that runs in the background, rather than being under the direct control of the user — perhaps we are Elliot’s daemon, silentlu watching Elliot this whole time before we attack.

Coming apart? Are we tricking Elliot?

Maybe I’ve too much time on my hands, but it seems that Operation Berenstain may be a whole lot bigger than Fsociety realizes. As for Elliot, I hope he can figure everything out before it’s too late. We’re here to help, friend. Or are we?

What do you think of Operation Berenstain? Tell me in the comment section below.


writer. editor. dreamer