Last night’s episode of Mr. Robot was part one of the two part season finale and could explain why the episode maybe felt a little incomplete. Please don’t confuse that as me saying this episode was bad (it wasn’t), it just means that this finale was meant to be one large helping that for whatever reason was broken up in to two. And that lead me to a bit of an epiphany; this season of Mr. Robot is going to be ultra good during the binge re-watch session I’m going to have when it’s released. We now live in a society where episodic television seems to be a trend that’s fading, for better or worse. Mr. Robot is clearly a show that is meant to be binged and I almost want to say that it’s weekly installments is forcing viewers to look harder into the material. When you binge shows you kind of take things for granted because the information is kind of fresh and at your finger tips. Spreading a show throughout a couple of months, especially a show like Mr. Robot, forces the viewer to stay on top of the content in fear of getting lost. While I stand by my stance that this second season has been outstanding (it’s almost like two seasons in one) I think the real reward will be watching everything front to back while picking up on all the subtle clues spread throughout. I have no doubt that there will be enough answers to satisfy me next week. I’m the type of person who doesn’t need clear resolution at the end of a season. What’s the point? That’s why shows like LOST worked so well for me because there was always something to discuss. Mr. Robot doesn’t seem interested in giving away the farm so you need to ask yourself are you okay with that? If you’ve come this far I believe you are, and I believe that Mr. Robot is going to reward us not just with it’s finale but with it’s playback because something tells me the events of next week are going to make us want to jump to the start of this season and try and piece this whole thing together.
But that’s next week. We’re here to focus on what happened this week, and let’s be honest, there was a whole lot of things going on. If you came into this episode looking for resolution to last week’s big shoot out then you walked away disappointed. There was no clear answer given over who lived and died which is one of the things that gets lost in splitting the finale. I can live with that though because enough was alluded to. There were a number of little things in that hospital scene that hinted that there was at least one survivor (Darlene, Darlene, Darlene…Darlene?). From Dom saying the blood wasn’t hers to asking to be the one to do the interview all hinted that someone was dead and someone was very much alive. For starters we know that a dead person is the hitman from the Dark Army as he capped himself instead of being arrested. I would like to believe that the show would have informed us if the getaway driver was caught (kind of a big deal) so I don’t think that’s the person whose going to be questioned. This leaves us with Darlene and Cisco. Again, Cisco is the most expendable here and I think his death would have such a strong impact on Darlene that I would like to see carried out next season. Not to mention Elliot has far to much going on right now to deal with the death of his sister. Yes, we can argue that he won’t even find out about her death until next season because he’s a little busy at the moment, but I think an event that impactful would need to be addressed within the season. Final answer: Dom wants to question the injured but not dead Darlene.
Besides the lack of shootout answer this episode perfectly constructed three immense character moments that were not just brilliant in story telling but also in acting. Key moments for characters where everything we know about that was allowed to shine and opened the door to new opinions. A door that you could open if you have a key or even bothered trying to open, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
I’m going to start with the most straight forward character moment, Dom and Alexa’s conversation. I’ve spouted all season long how Dom is one of my favorite characters on the show but haven’t really given much evidence to why I feel this way, other than saying she’s a badass. All season long Dom has displayed that she is the smartest person in the room, and if everything happening with F Society/Dark Army/Evil Corp is a game of chess then Dom certainly is coming across as a ringer. As the season has progressed we’ve seen Dom as a character who is driven slash defined by her career. The only scene of her home life I can recall is her trying to masturbate while sexting, but her job won’t allow her to focus. It’s always there and she has no idea how to turn it off. We’ve been shown glimpses that maybe she has a life, think all the way back to the joint rolling and conversations with the fellow agent who died in the China shooting, but they all seemed sort of hollow. The only real friendship interaction we saw was with the owner of the deli and that doesn’t count as a friendship as he’s just the supplier of delicious turkey sandwiches. That’s all small talk not substance.
Last week we saw the price that Dom pays for her talent. It is clear that she’s dedicated her life to her profession and she has no one for it. The conversation with the Siri like Alexa was both excellently crafted (look at the disarray her apartment is in) and heart breaking in exploring the fact that Dom just wants somebody to be there. I’m not talking in a sexual manner but she’s needs someone to validate her as a human being. This latest shootout has Dom wondering if she actually exists outside the FBI and questions of existence plague characters from this show. Dom is just as broken and flawed as anyone else in this universe, and Grace Gummer owned this scene. Fun fact that I just learned last night, something I can’t believe slipped through the cracks, but Grace Gummer is the daughter of Meryl Streep which explains her ability to act the crap out of the scene. It’s in her DNA.
Now let’s get to the most trippy aspect of this episode, Angela. What the what was that? I’ve been very critical of Angela this season, even going so far as questioning her loyalty to Elliot, and I felt that all of that was validated in the first half of her arc last night. During her kidnapping and entrance to the room, Angela continued to be that scared girl pretending that she was tough and confidenet. When the tiny clone like version of her came out to ask a whole bunch of weird questions using the oldest computer known to man we saw some of that facade start to crack. Once Whiterose made her presence felt it all but disappeared.
The importance of Whiterose giving up twenty-eight minutes of her time can not be understated. Angela has been a character that has been a thorn in her side for at least three months (when she should have been killed) and Whiterose needed to see what the big deal was. It is made evident that Phillip (Mr. Evil Corp) holds Angela in great importance to the point where it’s tripping up the agreements between Whiterose and Evil Corp because of her, but it can’t be simply because of the conspiracy that lead to the deaths of Angela’s mother and Elliot’s father. Whiterose presents Angela with an opportunity that seems to be hinting at some of the larger narrative that Mr. Robot wants to tell. The concept of being able to design your own future. Whiterose lives in a world ruled by time but also is able to obtain anything she wants. Anything. If she thinks it’s possible then it can happen and then does. That’s power. She offers this to Angela if she abandon’s her crusade for justice or retribution. We’ve talked about World War III here before and it seems that Whiterose (with the help of Elliot and Stage Two?) is looking to tear down the world to be rebuilt in her image. A world where you can want to be something and then become it. But in order to do that we have to be willing to move forward. The past is a constant road block to the future and convincing Angela to not blow the whistle helps remove her from the board or at the very least puts her in the pocket of Whiterose and not Phillip. This whole meeting is clearly a power move and Whiterose views people like pieces of a chessboard. The big game is with Phillip, and Whiterose is trying to stack the deck in her favor which is best because it is so clear that Phillip is looking to pull a double cross. The E Coin plan for example is the ultimate middle finger and seize of power to a country that just bailed him out. Whiterose doesn’t have time for that. Literally.
Which brings us to Elliot. All this time I’ve been wondering when Mr. Robot was going to take control that I never stopped to think that Elliot could willingly give it up in order to get the upper hand. Continuing the theme that everything is a game, Elliot allowed himself to slip into his subconscious and Mr. Robot fell into the trap thus leading us to our big revelation… Tyrell is alive! We knew that though because we’re smart television viewers so that kind of impacts the shock value. What got me though was the casual nature in which it happened. Tyrell slips into that cab like he hasn’t been missing this entire season and it actually took me a couple of minutes to figure out if it was actually him. The cab was so dimly lit and the casualness of it made it feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal. What followed was Rami Malek putting on an acting clinic as he screamed at the cab driver to validate the fact that Tyrell was actually in the cab and that his mind wasn’t slipping further out of control.
There have been theories that Mr. Robot isn’t the only person that Elliot’s mind is projecting and while this episode didn’t give us a yes or no answer on Tyrell I have to believe that it’s actually him. What I loved about his appearance here was the transformation. This brief encounter didn’t give us the douchey executive from last season but a man who was very much in control and proud of what he was doing almost as if he had finally found his purpose. There is general concern when he asks Elliot if he’s lost it again, and while the question is laced with a little of that douchey tone, it is clear that Tyrell needs Elliot to validate his existence. Tyrell has spent the time from the conclusion of season one working on Stage Two for Elliot and needs Elliot to believe that he was worthy of this opportunity. Elliot can be falling apart piece by piece but Tyrell wants to be the man who makes him whole again. By presenting the work he’s been doing for Stage Two, Tyrell is looking not only to further the plan but to be Elliot’s savior. The man who put Humpty Dumpty back together again which is such a huge role reversal from last year. Tyrell was a character who wanted things because he believed that possessions defined him; now it appears that he’s found substance and validation in something bigger. A door that was opened by Elliot.
Stay with me just a minute longer because I’ve got a couple of other quick thoughts.
- Did anyone else notice how the beginning and end of the episode used songs from Back to the Future II, Angela and Elliot’s movie of choice. What does this mean? I think it helps to bookend the connection and peril for Elliot and Angela this episode, but also think it has to do with the greater sense of time that Whiterose alludes to. Time can only move forward and with so much thought on the future everything in the past becomes irrelevant. Possibly the big battle for Mr. Robot has to do with the past and the future and what defines us?
- Does anyone think that Angela handed something off to that attorney? I don’t know, any time any one talks that close in fiction I just assume that a secret note is being handed off. I could be wrong though (most likely). I have a really strong feeling that Whiterose is going to give Angela purpose much like Elliot has given Tyrell.
- When Elliot was doing his little mantra to help put him in a zen like state was that voice over repeating it back to him supposed to be us? I felt that it was and if that’s the case this show doesn’t just break the fourth wall it comes in like a wrecking ball (you’re welcome).
Geeklings… this show. Only one episode left before this season wraps and there are plenty of answers looming and new questions arising just as quickly. Each door offers to take us further and further inside and we’ve come to the point now where we have to ask ourselves, do we have the key? Do we even dare to open the door?
The comments are yours by all means let them rip. See everyone next week!
Images from USA