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 11: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 11: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z” – click here
Pic 1Hes always a step ahead of me, because he is me.”
Elliot (Rami Malek) is still trying to solve the puzzle of his father, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Despite all he’s figured out, there’s so much more to unravel. His mind is an enigma. It’s not an easily life, being him.
Mr. Sutherland (Jeremy Holm) once again shows Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) the location of where the calls came from, and it seems she knows something more, obviously. Just from his reaction in the previous episode, this location is a place they know. But where the hell is it? Whose house is it?
Somewhere else, stuck in the back of a van, Angela (Portia Doubleday) is transported by two silent people in the front seat, a cage dividing them. They turn up the radio to drown out her protest, so she eventually gives up and sits back down.
Pic 1APoor fucking Dom (Grace Gummer). She’s lived through another shooting by the Dark Army, men around her telling her she’s “in shock” and that she needs time to decompress, blah, blah, blah. When you know if it were a male agent he’d be frothing at the mouth for revenge.
Even as a high-profile FBI agent, Dom deals with misogynist bullshit. Plus, she blames her superior, Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) for not believing her. She considers this “an act of war.” He likewise brings up the fact China bailed out E.Corp, a $2-trillion no-interest loan. Highly suspicious, certainly. In light of this, Santiago is more inclined to start believing Dom.
Angela’s taken to a house, by the man and woman in the van. She’s led inside through a very upper class, modern kitchen, living room. Down a hall with some creepy photos on the wall; they look like certain faces are cut out, or scratched off. She’s brought to a dark room. In it is a desk by a fish tank. She’s locked in there alone. On the desk is a lot of old technology, like an office ripped out of the ’80s. Soon, a little girl arrives and begins typing on the computer. After that she asks: “Have you ever cried during sex?” Good lord! She reveals marks on her side, saying that if Angela doesn’t answer she’ll receive more of the same treatment. One question gives way to another, each morbid, weird, out of context. What’s going on here?
In his ivory tower, Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) is angling to make eCoin the new currency, wanting to leave the old dollar, and Bitcoin, behind. This is all just a way for him to get richer, it isn’t about helping anybody, not even the economy. It’s about making sure he’s able to survive in whatever new world comes out of this fucked up revolution. He’s just another capitalist trying to save his skin.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.19.51 AMFurther and further, Angela is led through questions until the little girl hands her the red phone after it rings. More instructions from a computerised voice, similar to the early type-and-play games from the early days of computers, like Hugo’s House of Horrors and others. She has to answer more questions, guiding the game along. But no answers yet. After a little more she figures out the game, to an extent, and this at least moves things on to the next step.
A scene between Dom and her personal assistant Alexa highlights the loneliness in the former’s life, seeing how even the computer PA doesn’t comprehend loneliness, being utterly alone, without anybody. Whereas Dom must suffer through it, coming home after nearly dying in a shootout to nothing except an empty apartment and old takeout boxes.
Soon, Angela gets a visit from Whiterose (BD Wong). And, as usual, they only have an allotted time. Whiterose is prompt. Plenty of cryptic conversation to start, centring around the Chinese woman’s concept of doors and locks. All comes around to her not wanting Angela to give up her “sensitive information” and not wanting her to die, either. If it isn’t necessary, anyway.
Later that night Angela goes to her lawyer, telling her to forget about their latest legal chats. She also tells her to stay away, no more calls.
Mind awake. Body asleep.”
When Elliot comes to, he can’t remember how long he’s been out. And dad is back, as if nothing ever happened. It’s like they’ve switched places, too. Like Mr. Robot is the one of flesh and blood, and he’s the invisible counterpart. Dad has a cypher, somebody is trying to get in contact with him. Hmm. Now he’s going about decoding the message.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.26.51 AMA man in a cab is waiting for Elliot. They get going, but quickly Elliot is going nuts, wanting to know if the guy sees someone next to him. He’s falling apart.
Out of the blue, he’s dropped off and sees Tyrell (Martin Wallström) on the street. They’re ready for Stage 2, supposedly. Big things are happening. Is this real? Or is our hacker just hallucinating more? Hard to tell these days.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.50.30 AMGod, this series gets better with each episode. Leading up to the finale, this is all so tense, so exciting. Sometimes you think Mr. Robot has reinvented itself already, its not going to happen again. And yet, it does. Time and time again. A big reason why it’s such a fantastic show.
“eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z” – the finale – is next.