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 12: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 12: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 4.50.39 PMElliot (Rami Malek) is wondering about Tyrell (Martin Wallström), how he’s just suddenly showed up again after all this time, sure that the man is dead. We go back to an old moment between the two men: “Youre not seeing whats above you,” our hacker told him. Tyrell repeats a few lines of “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams, something his father repeated often when he was a boy; it’s a reminder of his father and the man he never wanted to become.
Back to present day, as Elliot’s being led somewhere by Tyrell. They go an unsuspecting building, a relatively decrepit-looking place inside. A worker in a white lab suit and goggles (Stephen Lin) takes them in an elevator. Our hacker heads onto a dark floor where he’s shown what the Dark Army’s helped them setup, though he doesn’t remember what Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) has been up to while he’s been… asleep. Tyrell fills him in again, and Elliot is a bit bewildered.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 4.59.58 PMIn an FBI interrogating room, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) invokes her “Fifth Amendment” rights. Although Dominique (Grace Gummer) offers condolences, for Cisco’s death. Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) doesn’t have time for that shit, pulling out The Patriot Act and shoving that in her face, considering her an enemy of the country. This all prompts Dom to take some time alone with Darlene. She wants to get close, to make the young woman feel comfortable.
Except Darlene doesn’t want to do that. She bites back. Until Dom brings in the evidence from the Smart House – camera, tripod, the fsociety mask. And if they can link the camera to the videos made by the group, this might mean trouble. There’s also a bullet casing in the mix. The one linked to the Fun Society arcade. Shiiiiit.
Elsewhere in the city, Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) has tracked down Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell). He’s the one who’s been sending the gifts, calling on the phone. She mocks him saying the sonogram picture made her “wet.” Really, she’s there to figure out why he’d do such a thing. So he talks about his wife, when she found she was pregnant. Joanna doesn’t care: “Fuck her and her fetus corpse.” Scott goes mad and tries to strangle her, then beats the shit out of her instead when she continues mocking. Wow, that’s ugly.
Darlene: “If you want any other details, the answer is suck a dick.”
Elliot’s lamenting the fact he’s the leader of the plan between Tyrell, Whiterose (BD Wong), the Dark Army, all by default. His father’s been pulling the strings, he’s been along for the ride unwillingly. Now, there’s a massive plan put together, a huge operation against Evil Corp.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 5.12.06 PMWhat does Joanna decide on after her beating? She wants her boyfriend to help her frame Scott for the murder of his wife, which will likewise get her husband off the hook, too. Hmm, so many things coming together. So many brutal things, too. And this poor dude, he’s wrapped around her finger. He protests, but not for long.
Dom keeps pressing Darlene, trying to get her to talk. Using any tactic she can think of to pull from her FBI back of tricks. Then she plays on the young woman’s curiosity, saying she has something to show her: “Youre a lot more special than you think.” As Darlene walks through the corridor, agents watch her, like people would a celebrity. Coincidentally, the brownouts flicker the lights as she passes while Aimee Mann sings. And Dom shows her all the work the FBI’s been doing, how difficult it’s been. That it was nothing of their own volition which brought fsociety into their web. Rather, an accident.
Elliot: “No matter what I do, he always finds a way.”
Our hacker doesn’t understand the purpose of Mr. Robot, or why he’s constantly fucking with him. No matter if he overdoses, goes to jail, dad is always around. Because they’re the same person, just different identities in one package, different iterations of an identical personality. It seems Mr. Robot is there to push Elliot to the end, towards his fate, towards whatever’s necessary; to distract him, long enough for things to get accomplished.
Elliot worries people will die if they blow up the E.Corp building. He pushes Tyrell out of the way, to take care of the malware. This prompts the disgraced businessman to grab a gun, pointing it at the hacker. Dad says walk away; the son won’t abide death. Elliot sees Tyrell and Mr. Robot as the same people, that it’s all a trick of the mind.
Is it? Is Tyrell actually there holding a gun, or is he a figment of his imagination?
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 5.27.04 PM (1)While Elliot feels he’s taking back control, he gets a bullet put in him. Blood spurting from an open wound. Seems Tyrell is very real. In the background, dad flickers in and out of perspective; he’s the one who gave the gun to their friend, to stop anyone who got in the way. A full circle of vicious delusion.
Afterwards, Angela (Portia Doubleday) gets a call from Tyrell who hates what he’s had to do, saying he loves Elliot. She does, too. She heads out, already knowing what’s going to happen. Just as a large blackout strikes, lights everywhere shut off, and cars honk their horns, crashing together.
In another place, working at an electronics store, Frederick and Tanya talk about something on their break, about generating keys, so on. Fred doesn’t want to hear more, though Tanya is insistent. That’s because it’s Mobley (Azhar Khan) and Trenton (Sunita Mani), they’re okay, hiding away from the wandering eye of the Dark Army and anybody else looking for them. Yay!
And who else shows up to ask for the time? Leon (Joey Bada$$). Whoa. C’mon Season 3!
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 5.33.59 PMPerfect season finale. Cannot wait for the new season, coming very soon. What’ll happen? How will Elliot move forward after this? What will Angela’s role ultimately be now that she’s integrated into the Dark Army’s plotting? And what will become of Darlene?