Mr. Robot – Season 3, Episode 2: “eps3.1_undo.gz”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 3, Episode 2: “eps3.1_undo.gz”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps3.2_legacy.so” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.40.26 PMIt’s a brand new day. Elliot (Rami Malek) wants to undo his part in the “downfall of human civilisation.” Today, he’s headed up to the inner sanctum of Evil Corp. He’s found a “way to hit undo.” Angela (Portia Doubleday) was able to land him a job. He’s working from the inside out. He wonders if he’s able to keep Evil Corp in check, so long as they’re a “necessary evil” he can control. He’s growing up, medicating, partaking in the realm of “2D emotions” everyone else was living in around him.
It’s not selling out. It’s maturation, as well as figuring out a way to undo what he did in the Five/Nine hack. Likewise, he wants to avoid Tyrell’s (Martin Wallström) plan of destruction. He sets out to try convincing the upper-ups to go digital with their records, converting from paper records. When one dude won’t listen, he digs into his shady secrets, gets him arrested, then goes up the corporate food chain.
So for now it’s live that life, the supposedly normal life, while he keeps on going. The next bureaucrat goes down, as he pushes his agenda higher while manipulating the shipping of the records. Luckily everybody around Elliot is pretty much an idiot socially, where his social anxiety comes in handy.
Finally, he gets up the ladder to one of the women. She’s the one to listen, setting the wheels in motion to get Elliot’s plan moving. He’ll soon talk to the VP of Technology at E.Corp. After this, he’ll be further on the way to undoing the hack, and when E.Corp reboots, they’ll also be free of embezzlers, sexual harassers, and so forth. “Making it better,” not destroying it and never looking back.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.42.07 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.50.36 PMBut it’s not all roses. His loneliness, his mental illness won’t just go away. He spends the night weeping, alone, stuck in a void. The drugs can’t fix everything, and he’s struggling. He still sees Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben) for therapy. Yet he forgets his own birthday. He’s fractured, wondering if the disappearance of Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) is what’s done this to him, even if things are relatively better. He tells Krista about a time with Darlene (Carly Chaikin) when they were younger, their love of Home Alone; also the day dad pushed him out a window, breaking his arm. Krista is shocked, she’s never heard of this before.
Frank Cody (Erik Jensen) has Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen) on his show, after Scott Knowles has been arrested on charges of his wife’s murder. Joanna talks about her husband, that she knew he was innocent, as well as the fact she’s rescinded her petition for divorce from Tyrell.
In the meantime, a new fsociety has gone online. They’ve got a new plan, it says. Darlene is in custody, the video says they’re “malicious,” so who’s doing it? Dominique (Grace Gummer) and Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) believe she knows more, they also mention her brother’s connection to Tyrell. Darlene doesn’t believe it. This requires her hearing a call between Wellick and Elliot to know the truth.
Later, Mrs. Wellick and Mr. Sutherland (Jeremy Holm) are followed by her boy toy, mad that he was lied to, that he was conned into helping her get her husband free of the charges. However, Mr. Sutherland tries convincing him not to get too upset. So the boy toy shoots the guy, before putting a bullet in Joanna’s head. Holy fucking shit.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 2.05.33 PMOut on the pier, Darlene meets with Elliot. She wants to stay close, he pushes her farther. He believes she’s his “trigger.” Although he loves her, he knows the brings on his illness worse when they’re together. She claims to be leaving, going upstate. They reminisce about Kevin McCallister the snowman, the one they made that day dad pushed him from the window. And then he realises he needs her around, no matter about any emotional triggers.
Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) gives a speech at the G20 in Turkey, talking of a “currency war” on the Chinese end when they won’t sign an accord to accept eCoin as the global currency rather than Bitcoin. In the audience sits Mr. Zhang aka Whiterose (BD Wong). He’s not happy, nor will he bow down. He wants his UN vote, or else. When Phillip gets angrier, Zhang brings up Angela, which does not sit well.
Whiterose: “Dont mistake my generosity for generosity
We see Elliot trying to get Krista to talk with Mr. Robot. She coaxes him out, then he’s there in the room, her patient changing into his father before her eyes. He’s not entirely forthcoming. He’s angry at her, too. Believing she wants to destroy him. Krista would rather understand, to help Elliot. She does begin seeing the depth of his mental illness.
But there’s worse things happening. Darlene seems to be cooperating with the FBI, after meeting her brother earlier. Things are changing. Elsewhere, Whiterose decides Stage 2 will go ahead, no matter what the UN vote outcome. He has a deep hatred of Price’s hubris.
Oh, and Elliot – he’s sent the FBI an encrypted link via e-mail, and he’s sneaked into his sister’s apartment while they’re watching. Hmm.
Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 2.21.00 PMThis episode shocked me with Joanna’s death, and even more than that it was a crazy ride the whole way through, so much poised to happen/already happening. Things are ramping up for a very serious, exciting Season 3.
“eps3.2_legacy.so” comes next week.

Advertisements

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.

Mr. Robot – Season 2, Episode 9: “eps2.7_init_5.fve”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 9: “eps2.7_init_5.fve”
Directed by Sam Esmail
Written by Kyle Bradstreet & Lucy Teitler

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx” – click here
Pic 1Elliot (Rami Malek) is arrested for “unauthorised use of a computer” among other charges and taken into custody. His apartment is looted by the authorities, as they process him. Fingerprints taken, questions asked, a few truthful answers in return. The sleazy boyfriend of Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben) got him into all this trouble. Yet Elliot doesn’t try getting out of it, pleading guilty. Even though dad (Christian Slater) wants him to do otherwise. This is our hacker’s way of taking responsibility, something he’s wanted to do for a long while.
Thus begins his odyssey into the American prison system. Same place Ray (Craig Robinson) works, Lone Star (Michael Maize), too. This is a head trip. He’s there with Leon (Joey Bada$$), who initiates him into the life, telling him about the place. He likes a lot of 1990s stuff; he’s ready to start watching Seinfeld next. I love how Mr. Robot again this season pulls the rug from under us, in such a way it’s unbelievable, the execution of which is beautifully orchestrated.
Pic 1ANow, Elliot’s out of jail. The hack, through all that’s happened, wound up affecting many things, involving the prison industrial complex. He’s released because his crimes were of a non-violent nature. Back to the real world. Or, well, whatever that is to him. At least Darlene (Carly Chaikin) is there waiting. Although she, and things, have changed, quite a bit.
In other news, Angela (Portia Doubleday) is enacting further plans with the Rubbery Ducky she was given by Mobley (Azhar Khan). She slips in and out with relative ease, getting a ton of E.Corp personal information, allowing her to login and find files on the Washington Township leak, copying all its files over to a zip drive.
Darlene is worried, both Mobley and Trenton (Sunita Mani) are nowhere to be found. She thinks Evil Corp is “cleaning house.” Yet her brother believes they played a part in him being released early. Needs more investigation. He stops in to see his mother (Vaishnavi Sharma) in a care home, to thank her for helping him survive in jail, the memory of her one of the few soothing entities in his mind.
Whiterose (B.D. Wong) is at the cemetery, visiting the grave of a previous CEO at Evil Corp. To literally piss on his grave. She was the one who put him there, believing now she may have to do the same with Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer).
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 8.09.18 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-24 at 8.09.35 PMMeanwhile, remember Darlene knocked Cisco (Michael Drayer) out with a baseball bat? Well, we’re back there with them again, arguing over what’s going on, what to do. And Mr. Robot is out calming them down, as Elliot hears him gearing up for a rant. He’s still not entirely stable, jail did him no favours. One good thing is Cisco has a Dark Army contact, so this gives our hacker a few ideas.
Price doesn’t feel that threatened by “veiled death threats,” pushing back against Minister of State Security Zhang. The two men are entirely at odds after the bailout money got figuratively flushed. Money is what E.Corp requires. It’s all a twisty, turny pot of unethical soup. “I would rather see you lose than win, myself,” Price makes clear.
The question is, what do the Dark Army want? fsociety set out to change the world, now Elliot wonders why they’re into the whole game. That’s his next task, to figure out the puzzle. He’s hacking them, one rung of the ladder at a time. He insists he’s got a plan. All the while Mr. Robot is in the back, whittling away his confidence. But there’s a strange power in Elliot, waiting to explode.
Except maybe it’s not power. Something is wrong. He can’t seem to bridge himself with Mr. Robot anymore, like they’re literally two different entities yet he’s trapped inside. Or perhaps it’s all just visions. Doesn’t make Cisco feel any better while they’re headed out together to meet with the Dark Army. When they get there, the contact isn’t happy. This is when Elliot gets serious, telling them to ask Whiterose for information on “Stage 2.” They leave without a word, so I’m curious as to how this will pan out. We know Whiterose doesn’t fuck around.
One problem arises: Darlene thinks they left the fsociety VHS tape with her face on it back at the Smart House belonging to Ms. Jacobs. Cisco offers to go back and check, just in case. Don’t like the sounds of that.

 


Out of the blue, Dominique (Grace Gummer) shows up at Angela’s door for a little impromptu chat, a bite to eat. Dom talks about an unusual dream, a violent one. She then explains Ollie told her about the CD at AllSafe, since then she’s been tracking Angela. She can’t put all the pieces together, not yet. What will Angela do next?
Over their tap, Darlene finds out that Elliot is actually the originator of Stage 2. Or, should we say, Mr. Robot was the originator. Seems the Dark Army’s well aware of his issues, at the same believing they have to tread carefully: “He is a master.” Simultaneously, at the Smart House, Cisco stumbles onto something else while looking for the VHS tape. And who’s waiting for Elliot when he gets home? Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen). For what, exactly? We’ll see.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 8.36.54 PMAmazing, mysterious, wild episode. This series delivers consistently like no other.
“eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx” is next, promising many interesting things.