It should be noted that the Mr. Robot season one finale was delayed a week after the WBDJ shootings on air last week. As the last episode ended with Tyrell searching out Alderson to make him reveal what was going on with the Evil Corp database, this installment started with Elliot in Tyrell’s SUV sans Tyrell, and this suddenly turned the show into “Where’s Wellick.” As the episode progresses, however, it starts to feel a little bit more like “Who’s Wellick.”
Alderson is frantic about his lost days, what happened to Tyrell and who executed the take down plan. He awakens after a two day slumber to learn that the world has been hit by his planned hack and that debt has apparently been wiped clean for everyone.
The show opens with Krista’s former lover, and love rat Michael/Lenny, asking for her help. (Typically the douche lied to her about his health.) He wants to go after Elliot. Despite the hacker not telling his wife about his infidelity, the Ashley Madison leaks passed his indiscretions on anyway. He now wants payback and his dog. Krista refuses to help, lying to him about what Alderson has or has not told her.
Standout Moment Number One: After a pretty hostile reception from the rest of the fsociety team at the arcade, Elliot goes online to verify what Darlene and the team have said is true. He sees that the Internet is full news about the hack. Alderson goes to Evil Corp to speak with Wellick. As he walks toward the offices, E Corp’s hallways are full of panicking employees and television mounted on the walls are showing news of the hack. Elliot maintains his internal dialogue. All this is set to a lilting electronic version of Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Waltz No. 2.”
At the office of E Corp, Elliot learns that Tyrell is no longer employed there. He sees the masked spokesman for fsociety on one of the mounted television’s spreading the new message that the world is free of debt and awake for the first time and that Evil Corp have been “owned.”
Angela gets shouted at by John Plouffe as he gets ready to go on air; live, to talk about the hack.
Standout Moment Number Two: The fsociety team, sans Elliot taking the incriminating computer hardware down to the local pound to burn it in the “puppy oven” aka the unwanted pet incinerator. As the group toss the gear in the incinerator and then release all the captive dogs, the Jim Carroll Band song from the 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” remake, “People Who Died” soundtrack overlays the sequence and continues to play as Elliot knocks on Tyrell’s house door (the footage is sped up to match the quick cadence of the song) which brings us to:
Standout Moment Number Three: Elliot meeting Tyrell’s wife Joanna. We already learned that this Danish housewife and mother was the driving force behind Wellick’s quest for power and money last week. As a “beaten” Wellick sits by his wife’s bed, she is holding their new baby and Joanna hisses, that he will not be with the family till he “fixes this.” Elliot meets the new mother as she returns from walking the baby. “I’m looking for Tyrell Wellick. Is he here? ” Elliot inquires nervously. “No,” answers Joanna, “He is not.” This is the last utterance from Mrs. Wellick that does not make her seem to be a predatory animal waiting to pounce on its next victim. In a word Joanna Wellick is terrifying. (After watching this interaction between Elliot and Joanna, one feels like doing a freaked out “Arthur.” “Have you met Tyrell’s wife?”)
This whole scene feels like another important reveal. The odd and knowing looks that Joanna Wellick gives Elliot. The probing and knowing questions that she asks Alderson and…the most important part of the conversation…is in Danish. She and Tyrell speak it to one another all the time, at home and when they plan their strategies. She speaks to Elliot in her “mother tongue” and when he says he does not understand her expression changes…yet again.
In that Sam Esmail has acknowledged the show’s huge Fight Club connection, it stands to reason that Elliot Alderson is not only Mr. Robot, but he might just possibly be Tyrell Wellick as well. At the end of the previous episode, Tyrell shows up, just like Alderson’s dad used to. (Although it has to be acknowledged that if Elliot is Wellick why didn’t Tyrell’s former secretary recognize him. Still, there is something there…)
Standout Moment Number Three: John Plouffe provides the Evil Corp statement and answers the questions posed by the reporter on the live transmission. After admitting that the public should be worried and that his life is over, he pulls a gun from his bag, puts the barrel into his mouth and shoots his brains all over the window behind him, seconds after telling the world that the hack will be impossible to fix. This happens scant feet in front of Angela who was pushed to stop Plouffe mid interview. (The FX for this scene shocked and overwhelmed the viewer. The blood pouring from Plouffe’s nose was disturbing and unexpected.)
After the death on air, Angela sits waiting to go home she is, understandably, in shock. Phillip Price tells Angela to go home and recover and then tells her to attend a PR event later in the day, he gives her some money to buy new shoes, as her’s have Plouffe’s blood on them. He gives her cash since credit cards have been rendered obsolete by the hack.
(Later on Price reveals to Angela, by his actions, that she really has sold her soul to the devil by working for E Corp. Telling her that he is glad that Plouffe killed himself and that the world will be a better place as a result. He then goes on to present a “tribute” to the late Evil Corp exec.)
Elliot is desperate to learn what happened to Tyrell Wellick. He wants to ask his father, aka himself, but he needs to get the manifestation of his dad to show up. He forces Mr Robot to appear. What follows is a surreal “out in the open” event where we see that in Elliot’s mind he is talking to his dad. (Comic line of the episode goes to Christian Slater as Mr. Robot. After admonishing Elliot for how weird he looks at the moment, Robot says, “I recommend you get one of those bluetooth headsets. That way people will just think you’re the local douche.”)
Standout Moment Number Four: The music playing at the celebration, being held at the arcade to cover up fingerprints, is Kelis’ “Got Your Money.” Listen to the lyrics…it is self explanatory. Darlene’s final line is “We’re finally awake.”
(Add this line to Elliot/Mr Robot’s upcoming rant and this episode suddenly leaves Fight Club and enters The Matrix territory.)
Outside, in the streets, people are celebrating the elimination of debt and Elliot and his father argue. His younger self shows up along with her mother. He asks his friend (re: episode 1) what to do and Mr Robot tells him to stop. Elliot begins the mantra of “you’re not real.” His father says, “What. You are?” He looks around at the crowd, ” Is any of this real?” He grabs Elliot’s face, “Look at it.”
“A world built on fantasy. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills, psychological warfare in the form of advertising, mind altering chemicals in the form of food, brainwashing seminars in the form of media, controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century.”
Certainly sounds like The Matrix, or something awfully close.
The rant continues and Robot/Elliot wraps it up with “hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen,” and his final statement in the tirade, is “We live in a kingdom of bullsh*t.”
Elliot fights himself for control…and loses. To the music of Alabama Shakes’ Sound and Color Christian Slater, as Mr. Robot, aka Elliot’s dad, aka Elliot, “sing/talks” (Think Dr. Doolittle, the Rex Harrison film) directions to Elliot on what he needs to do. Alderson follows the instructions and ends up at his apartment watching the coverage of the “carnage” he’s created. Suddenly there is an insistent knock at the apartment door. Which leads us to the end credits and:
Standout Moment Number Five: Price is at the PR function “afterparty” (?) and talking to…Whiterose, played by B. D. Wong, gone is the wig, the female clothing, but not that beeping alarm watch. Whiterose talks about Nero watching Rome burn while the fire crackles in the fireplace and the harp plays on.
Sam Esmail has given the world sheer perfection in terms of modern entertainment. Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, Martin Wallström and Stephanie Corneliussen have all stood and delivered in the tale of hacking, truth, deception and reality. USA’s Mr Robot finishes strong and leaves its fanbase eagerly anticipating season two.
Mad props to Mac Quayle for scoring this series with some seriously stand out moments. Look up the definition of brilliant in the dictionary and you will find the definition of that word; brilliant, which Quayle is. (Apologies to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang for that borrow.)
So what do you think? Is Tyrell yet another personality of Elliot, or is Alderson another facet of Wellick? Answers below, please and thank you.