Series Issues: Mr. Robot takes the python approach. Finale Thoughts (eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z)

Please tell me you’re seeing this too.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

In a veritable concoction of knots, Mr. Robot’s season finale eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z leave us all wanting more, but it was beautifully done. I’m not going to be charmed out of my wits, the show still left more questions open than closed. It may have been intentional to entice for the future, but there’s no way you can’t watch this week’s episode and season finale and not enjoy the storytelling. I’m not going to worry about the order. I never do. And if you haven’t seen it, you have no business being here but just because I’m in a good mood… spoilers ahead.

Without a doubt, Dom interrogating Darlene was the highlight of the episode. Specifically that flowchart, but the reveal was so enjoyable. Dom seems to need something from Darlene. It takes a while for the female hacker to realize the FBI Agent is a lot closer than she thinks. And as it turns out, she has been playing possum while taking the python approach.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

It was perhaps the most orchestrated reveal, but it’s a slow descent for Darlene with FBI Agent Dom DiPierro at the helm. It feels like Dom has a lost battle ahead. Then she brings in the mask, casually mentions the film and brings in the movie equipment. Darlene is immutable, just waving away Dom like a pesky fly. Shit starts to get real as Dom shows her a bullet. A bullet of the gun that was hidden in the popcorn machine. But still, she has nothing on Darlene, right? And then there’s that walk, across the agents desks, as they turn to her because they know her, they’ve been studying her. And then into the meeting room they go… And as Dom shows her a flowchart. A flowchart of fsociety that leads directly to her and to her brother up to Tyrell Wellick himself. And the truth is Darlene might even be learning a few things from it she herself didn’t know until now. Dom has it all figured out. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. Dom hasn’t been a step behind. She’s been a step ahead all this time.

Okey, so time to gloat. I guessed that the location was Scott Knowles’ house based on the “believe me, he wouldn’t be calling from that house” from Sutherland. And yes, Scott was making the calls although there’s something I gotta say about that one while Elliot was buying hardware… More on that one later. The point is that Scott is a broken man, who wanted some sort of revenge by giving Joanna Wellick hope and then crush it. However, he’s the prey in this scene. He gets played and any cards he ever had are revealed. Joanna goes in, not to kill Scott, but take away whatever power he has left. And when she curses him, his wife and their unborn child out, that’s when he goes berserk and hits her within an inch of her life.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

Joanna is letting herself be battered and bruised to use it to take Scott down later. The one thing we know about Joanna that seemed like irrelevant information, is that she’s used to being restrained, punched and choked. Know I almost wondered if that was training for whenever she had to endure that experience. Okey, perhaps not. Still, this is a bit of a twisted message. Joanna is a sociopath, so you expect the manipulation but there’s little payoff in just getting bruised. Not exactly the power play I would expect from a villainess. I’ll leave it for the highs and lows, but it’s complicated.

Enough dancing around, let’s go for the main course. Stage two is revealed and it’s almost too evident. E Corp is rebuilding the database of everyone’s debts with documentation. Paper is what the database is made of. And it’s all going to E Corp’s headquarters in New York City. Stage two is about overcharge the batteries to fill the building with hydrogen, then getting a spark by engaging the autostart on the UPS… Okey, sounds a little hokey but the idea is to generate an explosion. We’re not terribly invested in how factual the actual details are. But as soon as Elliot understands, he wants to stop it. Tyrell (who looks a lot more like himself in this episode) says this is for us. And Mr. Robot reappears. As much as Tyrell is BFFs with Elliot, he won’t let a little thing like morals stop them. It’s been Tyrell and Mr. Robot doing this all along, but Mr. Robot has kept this little side project hidden to almost perfection. And here’s where all this season’s theories of Tyrell Wellick not being real get literally shot down. He’s very real alright. Elliot’s down and Mr. Robot starts to blink in and out of sight until he’s gone.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

Angela is the one that gets the call. Angela comforts Tyrell and lets him know to keep anybody from seeing Elliot. She wants to be there herself. How exactly she’s going to get there when the city devolves to the dark ages is a mystery. But don’t worry, I’m sure there’s a plan.

We’ll get to that scene after the credits, but first…

Highs/Lows/EasterEggs:

  • When Angela gets the call from Tyrell, which she seems to be expecting, Tyrell sounds the same as the call that Elliot gets while buying computer hardware. Was this really Scott Knowles? Or did Elliot somehow got a vision of what would happen if he ever found Tyrell? Was this a way for Mr. Robot to warn Elliot to stop trying to find Tyrell?
  • The FBI’s flowchart was the best. Dom’s operation is far bigger than we were led on to believe. There was a couple of oversights. Tyrell is hardly fsociety, and more Dark Army. Trenton’s not in there. Still, so close to the show that some viewers would benefit of looking at it just for fact checking. Have I mentioned how Dom was my favorite this season?
  • The season’s been a series of experimentations but is it style over substance? I say nay. I think there’s been plenty of story and enjoyable at that. Did everything fit with the main plot? Not square on. There were more than a few side quests that barely touched the main storyline(s). Nothing that was uninteresting.
  • I know Joanna Wellick’s story was not everyone’s cup of tea. I realized what was coming and was divided. On one hand, she’d think of something like that. She’s handled that level of brutality. On the other hand, it’s not that it’s an underhanded tactic but it’s also twisted in its approach. The most empowering thing she does is let herself be beaten up? I know it’s manipulative, but it’s also submissive. I know the character is not supposed to send a positive message, but to set her up as a force to be reckoned and her best tactic is to take blows… I’ll probably need to see the payoff next season.
  • I need to talk about the fish tank. When Angela goes to see the Dark Army, there’s a fish tank with a giant fish behind her. That giant fish is Elliot. Wait, get back here and hear me out… When we see the Frankly TV show with the question “What is happening?” on the screen, it’s Angela’s phone ringing. We briefly get a shot of a fish tank with a small fish in it. My theory is this is an easter egg. The big fish tank with the big fish symbolizes Elliot as Whiterose’s favorite. Then at the end of that scene when Whiterose walks out, the fish has died and the tank is empty. That symbolizes Elliot no longer being considered the Dark Army’s operative AND possibly being shot. That role goes to Angela, symbolized by that smaller fish in that smaller tank we see this episode. It almost looked like an angelfish. It’s an easter egg in a fish tank.
  • Based on the fish tank, I should’ve predicted Elliot gets killed (or seems like he gets killed) in the finale. Elliot is not dead. And please let’s not go with “he was dead all along”. Mr. Robot has out-inception the movie Inception.
  • Angela has been fully converted by Whiterose but the question is since when? We’ve all noticed that Angela falls asleep in the van (last episode is so connected to this finale) and wakes up to be brought into this house. I mentioned how dreamlike is this scene, but now I’ve changed my mind. This scene actually happened. I’m just not sure when it actually happened. This might be too bizarre for even Mr. Robot, but is it possible that this encounter took place earlier in Angela’s timeline and was hidden – no, actually that’s not the right word – it was encrypted until Whiterose decided to bring it forth in Angela’s mind again? I’m jumping the shark? Yeah, I think I am.
  • Okey perhaps that last one’s too crazy.
  • I know it’s late…. But let’s visit Mobley and Trenton. They’re out in the boonies, working at a Fry’s electronic store. Trenton has had to eschew her burka for the sake of anonymity. The car that is pulling up is being driven by Leon, but we don’t focus on him just yet. Esmail is pulling the last camera tricks for this scene as he comes in following the car and then turns away, GTA style. The camera then zooms as Trenton is trying to get Mobley to look at something that could potentially undo the whole mess. Then as we make a turn showing there’s nobody in front of them, we turn right at them as someone interrupts from out of frame. Mobley replies they’re on a break. We then pull back to reveal Leon, asking for the time.
  • Because the obvious bluff is to scare the audience into thinking Leon is there to kill Mobley and Trenton, I tend to think he’s just looking out for them. However, it could be a double bluff and it turns out he’s… Okey, you know what? This is just something that I’m sure is yet to be decided until next season. See you then.

That will do for now.

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Series Issues: Mr. Robot enters a lucid dreamland (eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z)

Have you ever cried during sex?

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

There’s a moment in this week’s Mr. Robot episode (eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z) where Elliot wonders where is Mr. Robot going. You can’t help but have the same question. Last week, I said the show was getting good to the point that there’s no throwaway episodes. Then this week happen and now I’m not so sure. Please tell me we have a plan. You got one episode left. Don’t fuck it up.

Elliot has managed to induce himself into a lucid dream. I think. As he himself casually tells us later, what he’s seeing is not reliable. What he appears to see is Mr. Robot finding some old BBQ takeout menu with a bunch of numbers and letters in it and decide it’s a code. Then as he decodes and Elliot decodes it as well, we start hearing Mr. Robot’s inner monologue as well. Elliot has become the observer and can see what Mr. Robot does when he’s in control. It all ends up with a phone number and indications to board a taxi cab at a particular corner. He’s off with Elliot in tow.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

Agent DiPierro has had a rough day. Dom is at the hospital, being examined and debriefed. She wants neither of these two things. She talks to her FBI counterpart, Agent Santiago who strongly advises her to stop trying to rock the boat. Basically, China just bailed out E Corp out of the hole to the tune of two trillion. Nobody wants to look into the Dark Army, for fear of jeopardizing international relations. Dom is really being told to stop investigating. She’s has been the only one close to breaking this case open. Yet she realizes, she’s alone in this. Dom ends up going home and having a surreal conversation with Alexa, her Siri-like AI.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

Meanwhile, Angela is brought to an urban neighbourhood and into a room straight out of the 80’s. A table in front of an aquarium hosts a commodore 64 with a floppy drive and a book of the novel Lolita. I honestly thought Angela had walked into a Stranger Things set. However, this scene quickly goes Twin Peaks as a small blonde girl who seems like a mini-me clone of Angela, walks in and operates the commodore to start up a game called Land of Ecodelia. This apparently involves asking Angela a questionnaire that sounded like Blade Runner’s Replicant test. It’s almost a test to see if Angela is dreaming or not. Then Whiterose walks in and asks her to drop her investigation and her idea of revenge and believe. Who’s on the acid trip here, Angela or the Dark Army? This scene takes way too long, but when Angela’s surreal meeting with Whiterose ends, she finally arrives at the lawyer if only to let her know to forget everything. Never mind the black SUV waiting for Angela outside.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

As for Elliot, he arrives at the taxi cab without an idea of what to do, until he remembers – he’s really supposed to be Mr. Robot. But he’s still lost so once he gets into the cab, he’s unable to tell the driver where to go. And then, Tyrell Wellick gets into the cab and requests, “Chambers and Church”. But, is it really Tyrell Wellick? Unable to believe it, Elliot demands the annoyed driver to tell him if he sees anybody in the cab with him. Has Elliot picked up a new personality or an old one? Dumped in the middle of the street, Elliot tries to get some straight answers from Tyrell, but all he learns is that stage 2 is ready. And that he’s going to be proud of it. And as “Earth Angel” plays in the background, Tyrell recites the last lines of Casablanca: “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Highs/Lows/MindAwakeBodyAsleep:

  • Let’s see what I left out. Joanna Wellick telling Suderland that somehow the location of the phone that has been calling is “the greatest gift he’s given us”, referring to Tyrell Wellick.
  • Also Phillip Price, talking to a government official after the bailout and telling him he wants to make E-coin the currency of the future.
  • The take out menu is for the Red Wheelbarrow BBQ. Elliot’s notebook has “Red Wheelbarrow” written on the cover. Make of that what you will.
  • I’m a bit stumped really. Did we just see Angela kidnapped just so we can create this David Lynch scene with the computer and the Angela mini-me? If I wanted to look for an excuse for that scene it would be that the Dark Army amped the weirdness just so that Angela can never report the incident. However, the easiest other excuse is that Angela was dreaming since she fell asleep in the van. Still, why play up this scene unless this was a self-indulgent exercise of directing. And if we have time for those that means we’re just stalling.
  • Was that really Tyrell Wellick? I’m not even sure I was looking at the same actor to be honest. And if he’s supposed to be Tyrell, how much of that was real and how much was in Elliot’s head? Has the show jumped the shark on Matrix/Inception dream scenes?
  • Is Angela working for Whiterose and the Dark Army now? Let’s face it, it might be her only chance to live.
  • The FBI is compromised. Can it really be all up to Dom now? Is Agent DiPierro really capable to bring the Dark Army to justice for their killings? I’m including the fish in the empty aquarium, real or not.
  • One episode left. No chance that it will tie it all up. Will it be good enough to make us watch the third season? Can we please at least resolve some of the second second season before we do that? We can only hope.

That will do for now.

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Series Issues: Why you can’t say no to Mr. Robot (eps2.8h1dden-pr0cess.axx)

I think she can see us. Also, I’ve forgotten to give you guys advanced warning: spoilers ahead.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

Mr. Robot continues to reach levels of epic-ness. There’s no throwaway episodes. There’s no filler. We’re being taken somewhere and we have no clue where, but it’s being exciting every step of the way. This time, we get the much anticipated second confrontation of Elliot with Joanna Wellick. Joanna has long stepped out of her husband’s shadow, and this week she proved she’s the most dangerous threat to Elliot AND Mr. Robot. Elliot fears she can hear his inner monologue, while Mr. Robot fears she can see him. And for a moment there, she seems to almost do that. Almost. She wants Elliot to find Tyrell. As Elliot wonders what Joanna might do if she learns Tyrell might be dead, Mr. Robot warns him they might survive that reveal… and Joanna counters why she’s positive that he’s alive in precise timing. As I’ve said before, Joanna is as much of a sociopath as Tyrell is/was but she’s more dangerous because she’s the more functional one.

Of course, Elliot ends up having to comply. Having no hardware of his own, he has to direct Mr. Sutherland (yes, the Wellick’s bodyguard has a name, go figure) to the nearest tech emporium. Here’s a clue though, when a call does come through the cellphone presumably sent by Tyrell, Mr. Robot is nowhere in sight. There’s obviously something about Tyrell, dead or alive, that has not being revealed. However, if Elliot wants to hack this overnight he’s lacking the fabulous internets. Enter the improvised “cantenna” made out of a Pringles’ tube. A nice little nod to improvisational hacking. To top it off, Elliot ends up impersonating a police officer to get the cellphone tracked using a fake suicide threat report.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

While they wait, Sutherland opens up about his life and the people he’s worked for before the Wellicks, for apparently no reason. I guess he’s figured Elliot and himself are now part of the help in the Wellick’s household or something. Also, Elliot asks us – yeah us, the audience to help him out. He believes Mr. Robot wanted Elliot to come home because there’s something in Elliot’s apartment he wants. So at Elliot’s request, the camera pans out to the rest of the apartment.

Meanwhile, Cisco has made it back with… Well, nobody we know. He’s an fsociety recruit named Vincent. We should care about him as a human being but let’s face it, we don’t. Mobley and Trenton are still in the wind. But our victim is hurt and Cisco believes the spots on his gut are evidence of internal bleeding. The proper thing would’ve been to drop Vincent at the ER and speed away, but Darlene has decided she wants to do the right thing. Cisco has been riding her about her pretence of control, so Darlene picks up this moment to fess up. She’s lost control of the whole thing. Sigh. The next time let’s leave the heart-to-heart chat when we’re safe and sound in a beach somewhere tropical.

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

Agent Dom hasn’t been idle. Madame Executioner’s house has been found and it’s crawling with FBI agents. To make matters worse, someone saw Cisco leave with the wounded fsociety recruit. Did the Dark Army leave it there knowing that Cisco would drag it back to Darlene and they both would have a crisis of faith? It’s the only thing that makes sense on why was that guy left there in critical condition. Dom wants to follow the lead, but her FBI superiors have other ideas – they want to plaster Cisco’s head all over the news. Is Dominique DiPierro the only FBI Agent with a brain in the whole organization?

As Darlene and Cisco drop off Vincent at the ER, the FBI has already found Cisco’s place. Darlene and Cisco leave the ER to get something to eat while the news key in the hospital personnel about Cisco’s description. The FBI is there in a flash, but as quick as that they’re ready to leave. Only Dom sticks around to figure out that they couldn’t have gone far.

Elliot ends up finding the exact coordinates from where the calls are being made. That’s when Sutherland lets him know that Tyrell can’t possibly be calling from that house. We don’t get to know anything else. Elliot doesn’t recognize the coordinates, but then again that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been there before. At least he’s finally off the hook and able to answer Angela’s texts. She wants to meet at the subway, where she questions him about fsociety. Angela is on her way to meet her lawyer. She wants to confess. “But sooner or later, Elliot, this will all catch up to you,” she tells him. It’s also not a coincidence that Angela asks him about an incident at the Queen’s museum where Elliot was screaming at the staff about not seeing someone that he could see. Elliot does not remember the incident. Is this a clue? Is there anything that is not a clue?

(Source: USA Network)

(Source: USA Network)

And so we get to the scene at Lupe’s. This is a thing of beauty. A still shot from the other side of the street conveys all the action. I can’t really do it justice in describing it. Director Sam Esmail can literally take this whole scene and use it as his presentation card whenever he wants to direct a movie. The shot gives us Darlene and Cisco in the distance, seated at the front window. Dom coming in, explaining herself in a rush. The motorcycle driver, no doubt from the Dark Army, dropping off the shooter. The shooter, blasting through the window. We can see Dom ducking out of harm’s way, but Darlene and/or Cisco might be hit. Dom returns fire, hitting the shooter. The patrol cars speeding in. The motorcycle speeding away. The shooter, finishing himself off and erasing his history to prevent being tracked. Dom running out, identifying herself as FBI, covered in someone else’s blood. Fuuuck.

Highs/Lows/GreenGreenFBI:

  • Yes, I left out the conversation between Terry Colby and Phillip Price. A lot of god overtones, which was well done although we’ve already set up Phillip as an egomaniac. A bit excessive perhaps? Or should be interested in China trying to take control of the Congo? Is Phillip Price the most powerful person in the room?
  • I do know who the most dangerous person is. Joanna Wellick gets to know where the calls are coming from but is that the same thing as finding Tyrell? Was it ever? And what’s the deal with not telling us the significance of the location? Here’s a possibility. When finding the coordinates on the map, there’s no reaction from Elliot. We’re led then to believe that location has no significance. However, later on the subway, Angela mentions an incident in which Elliot made a fuss about the staff at the museum in Queens not seeing who he was seeing. Elliot has no memory of it. So, Mr. Robot can censor Elliot’s history.
  • “Trust me,” says Sutherland. “He wouldn’t be calling from that house.” We then establish that Sutherland is not coy about sharing stuff from his past employers, so this is a secret he knows from Tyrell and not a ruse. I’m not going back through season’s one’s episodes but… Could it be the Knowles’ house? After all that’s where Tyrell killed Sharon Knowles. Is it possible the calls and the gifts have been made by Scott Knowles? Is Tyrell a prisoner there? Did Mr. Robot deliver Tyrell to Scott Knowles figuring that he would kill him?
  • Who is Angela approached by in the Subway? It can’t be Dom or the FBI. The Dark Army is the most obvious party, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it’s people from E Corp. Anyway, I don’t think she’s in mortal danger. Legal trouble is pretty much a given. Perhaps she’ll turn double agent.
  • The kiss was a goodbye kiss and nothing more.
  • Who got shot and who survived at Lupe’s? It’s anybody’s call – or blood, but chances are they were both hit. One of them will be in critical condition. I don’t want it to be Darlene, but if it’s her we care a lot more. If it’s Cisco, Darlene will have a crisis of conscience. There’s a lot of ways this could play out, I just hope we don’t lose Darlene as a character.
  • Did anybody notice the walk signal on the scene at Lupe’s? It starts counting down from 18 seconds when Dom confronts Darlene and Cisco and then merrily counts down as the biker drops the shooter. The shooter walks over to the front window and doesn’t start shooting until the walk signal ends at zero. Great scene!

That will do for now.

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