Mr. Robot – Season 3, Episode 1: “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 3, Episode 1: “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps3.1_undo.gz” – click here
IMG_0304Will we see Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström) help the Dark Army enact “Stage 2” finally? Or, will our friendly neighbourhood hacker Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) be able to stop it after he was shot by his supposed friend?
We open on Irving (Bobby Cannavale) arguing with a woman at a fast-food joint called the Red Wheelbarrow about his punch card and its “faulty logic.” He’s a man of principle. He likes order. Quite the unique man.
He’s also been called up to Tyrell’s little HQ, to check on Elliot after the gunshot. Plenty of blood. There’s help on the way, so long as the young man survives. So, on appearance Irving looks like a used card salesman. When in fact he’s so much more, some sort of Dark Army operative, as he’s also given the name of Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday) over the phone by his contact.
IMG_0305Mr. Zhang a.k.a Whiterose (BD Wong) keeps an eye on everything, of course. While others around him believe Elliot and Wellick both are unstable, the man himself is more inclined to watch on with a bit of a curiosity. He speaks about the former Mr. Alderson (Christian Slater). As well as the value of having Elliot around: “His unadulterated, focused rage.” However, it only lasts as long as he’s needed. Then he can die for the Dark Army, “just like his father.”
Oh, my. So much intrigue in only 10 minutes.
When Elliot wakes he finds Angela waiting. He wants to know what’s been happening, realising that Tyrell is indeed alive. Likewise, he discovers the power he once held has dissipated; greatly. He hates Evil Corp, but he doesn’t want to see people die if their facility is blown up. At the same time, the “ever looming presence” that was his father doesn’t feel present anymore.
He goes back to his apartment and finds Darlene (Carly Chaikin), worried about him and where he’s been. He tells her about people outside, likely watching, listening. She fills him in on Cisco’s death. Afterwards, he explains Stage 2, what could happen, the backdoor they infiltrated into E.Corp in the beginning. But it also splits the brother and sister slightly, considering she didn’t know about the plan. All the same, Elliot isn’t well. It wasn’t technically him who did all this, it was the influence of Mr. Robot.
With the power reduce by brownouts, there’s no internet. So, it’s a family outing somewhere Darlene knows they can get access, in hopes Elliot might close the backdoor into E.Corp and stop the planned destruction. They head to a sort of club/internet lounge, a “hacker space.” They’ve got to be careful, though. Could be Dark Army lurking at every turn.
IMG_0307And they’re everywhere.
So is the FBI. Before anyone can get them, Irving picks them up in a cab. They go to talk about Stage 2, and Elliot leaves believing he’s finished it all. Darlene isn’t so sure, and their divide widens. Now, our hacker sees how he’s “fucked society.” Nice play on the fsociety’s original name.
The mental illness angle of Elliot’s character comes out vividly through Sam Esmail’s visuals and his writing. Here, we see a great inward v. outward sequence, as Elliot rants: “What if instead of fighting back we cave, give away our privacy for security, exchange dignity for safety, trade in revolution for repression? What if we choose weakness over strength?” And as he narrates onscreen, walking through a scene doing a theatrical aside, he goes into voice-over narration, too. Great techniques.
Also now we’re seeing Elliot come to grips with having made things worse somehow. People who brand this as a leftist show, and in many ways it is, it doesn’t pull the punches when it comes to exploring how revolution is messy, and it doesn’t always go well, for either side.
They turned our dissent into intellectual property” – a timely line, right?


What does Elliot do from here? He goes to Angela, asking for her to get him a job at E.Corp. To help working from the inside out, to undo the hack, to restore civilisation so they can at least try rebuilding from a better standpoint. Right now, it’s all ruined. On top of that, our hacker asks his old friend to watch out for him, to make sure Mr. Robot doesn’t take over again.
That night, dad does show up. Is Angela taking advantage? Certainly seems that way. And that’s troubling. She’s one of the most unpredictable characters of the series, which is always interesting. However, she’s manipulative right now, telling Mr. Robot things he didn’t know Elliot’s been doing. Shit, this sets up a very compelling plot for Season 3. All of a sudden I can’t help resent Angela a bit, doing this to someone she considers a close friend, someone mentally ill. That’s ugly.
They go meet Irving. Discussing things moving along. The guy doesn’t know all about how things with Elliot and Mr. Robot work, so it’s questionable at first. Soon enough this changes. And who else is there? Tyrell. He feels terrible for having shot his friend. But Mr. Robot understands, for the most part. We see how they’re all manipulating this young, mentally ill hacker to their own ends. Under the guise of friendship. The only one who seems outwardly emotionally affected is Tyrell; that in itself is kind of… creepy. Angela kids herself that she’s actually talking to two different people, and that it’s all for the greater good. In certain ways, she’s as ill as him.
IMG_0314Perfect opener to Season 3. Just a spectacular way to begin, as always. Dig how Mr. Robot finds ways to refresh itself, recharging every so often, in the middle of a season and at the end, too. Esmail’s a genius. This show is a work of art.
“eps3.1_undo.gz” next week.

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Mr. Robot – Season 2, Episode 1: “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 1: “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc” – click here
Pic 1We start on the fsociety mask, of course underneath is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), as many of us suspected. And the whole time he was recording that video, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) was right there with him. So, what happened to Tyrell afterwards? Did our boy use the gun he hid in the popcorn machine ages ago on him? I’m not so sure.
Its almost as if somethings come alive
Flashback to when young Elliott got knocked out of the window by dear ole dad, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) himself. At the doctor, the bills are naturally of concern considering dad’s unemployment. And doc wonders if there’s anything nasty going on at home.
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.15.56 AMNote: I was late starting into this show, and can’t understand how that happened. Because not only is the acting and the writing fantastic, the visuals are outstanding, the cinematography is unique. So much to enjoy. But best of all is how the visual style, even the music, really helps to put us in the fractured state of mind where Elliot exists perpetually. Playing into the narration, where the audience is treated as the voices in his head, at least in the sense of us being who he’s talking to directly.
Leon: “The human condition is a tragedy, coz.”
Now things are all fucked up. Even Obama’s talking about Tyrell Wellick, fsociety, and their impact on the economy as a whole in the country, abroad. Everything’s gone mad. Elliot, though, he’s making new friends like Leon (Joey Bada$$), whom he hangs with often, eating together, watching basketball games at the park. Although our hacker doesn’t understand sports, except for the rules: “The invisible code of chaos hiding behind the menacing face of order.”
Because Elliot likes routine, normalcy, repetition. No more thinking, just a drone from day to day. He goes to see Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben) regularly for psychiatric sessions. She’s not exactly thrilled with him, after all he’s done. But professionally she gives him the benefit of the doubt.
At home, Elliot deals with dad coming back, trying to force his way back inside. The son wants answers. All he gets is an imaginary bullet in the head. Yet he goes on, effectively ignoring Mr. Robot, that other part of him. I wonder, at what cost?
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.27.15 AMThe Wall Street bull is having its nuts cut off, fsociety sending that figurative message to the elites that they’ve neutered them. A clever gesture.
We’re introduced to Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt), she works as general counsel for Evil Corp. Nicknamed “Madame Executioner” for dealing with lawsuits often involving deaths. She lives a fairly normal life. Jobs, watches the news. Tonight, life is a little different. Her licks flicker while she’s swimming in her pool, music plays then stops. The shower nearly burns her skin. In the rest of the house, the temperature’s been dropped. Her TV turns, the phone rings. Someone’s hacking her Smart House. You just know Darlene (Carly Chaikin) is kicking around someplace.
Later, Elliot meets with Gideon Goddard (Michel Gill). Apparently the FBI believes Gideon was involved in the hack, in some way, shape, or form. He’s hiding away, scared, paranoid. Problem is our hacker has to contend with dad rambling in his ear while listening to his old boss plead for help. When he refuses to help, there’s the possibility of blackmail, plus the fact Elliot can barely tell reality from delusion anymore.
How do I take off a mask when it stops being a mask? When its as much a part of me as I am?”
Part of why I love Mr. Robot is that it takes a look at the toll on those who try to bring revolution, what it takes personally, professionally, ethically/morally. We see Elliot’s further deteriorating mental state, exacerbated by this feeling of wanting to save the world. We also see Darlene warped by a sense of power, not doing too well, either; she’s pointed in the right direction, but even those with good intentions can be warped, too.
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.42.33 AMSeems the hack has made things a bit worse than better. People had their debt wiped out, though now the banks can’t verify how much people paid, if they did at all, their systems are all out of whack. And it’s getting worse. By worse, it’s Darlene hoping to make things better, to affect genuine change.
Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) and Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell) meat with Susan, to talk over the hack, issues of money. She gives her thoughts on paying the ransom to fsociety in regards to the latest hacking move. She thinks it’s best to pay and be done. Then Scott offers to bring the money himself.
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.52.33 AMDamn. A very intense, mysterious opener that has me curious about what’ll happen to Scott, where Darlene is headed, and most of all how Elliot’s going to keep coping with dad.
“eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc” is next.