Mr Robot: Python Part 1 – Dream State and Wellick as Elliot (Review)

 Mr. Robot - Season 2

Things keep getting stranger in Sam Esmail’s hacking world. Python, part one, sees Elliot entering a controlled dream state and Wellick returns. Although it appears that Tyrell is showing up only to Elliot. It is clear at this point, if at no other, that the two men are the same person.

This may be purely because of Elliot’s conscious dreaming, taught to him by his childhood friend Sam.  Although it is apparent that Elliot and Tyrell are the same side of the same coin. Both want change the world and to overthrow Evil Corp.

Python Part 1 was very surrealistic, even without the whole “mind awake, body asleep” mantra.  All the players had abstract experiences through the episode.

Dom talking to Alexa again and asking if the thing loves her.  The agent’s belief that the Chinese are declaring war and her increasing paranoia are all clues that not only is she in shock but that shootings by the Dark Army have also  shaken her.

Angela easily has the most “through the looking glass darkly” (pun intended) experience in the episode however.  The entire Dark Army interlude with Whiterose was off kilter.

The van ride, the house where she is taken to the black room and those esoteric questions all point to a surreal “trip” sans the acid.  Everything about that sequence screamed fake.

As Angela is shown into the room, the door is white and the area beyond the opening appears to be brightly lit. Once inside, however, the door is now black, like the room, and it is not brightly lit at all.

There is light from some high windows and that large fish tank as well as that weak glow from the little interrogator’s Commodore.

Everything about the interrogation is odd. The copy of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, the child interrogator, the nonsensical questions, and the leaking fish tank all strike a discordant note with the viewer.  The presence of the archaic Commodore computer with its huge floppy disc is also jarring.

The old video game questions about the door were also disconcerting, it had no real logic.  Only when Whiterose enters to speak with Angela do things become clearer.  She wants to know what Philip Price’s fascination is with the young woman. As do we.

At the end of their 28 minute conversation, Angela is turned. Her earlier goals are discarded and she tells the lawyer not to call her again.  Angela’s countenance is that of the damned, as though she is now privy to some horrible knowledge.

Joanna Wellick is, apparently, shown the location of Tyrell’s phone calls. She tells Mr. Sutherland that this is her husband’s best gift yet.  Joanna still believes Tyrell is alive. And so she should, she has seen Elliot and spoken with him.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Elliot spies on Mr. Robot as he finds what was hidden in the apartment. It is a coded message on a barbecue flyer.  After some code breaking Robot and Elliot learn what they must do.

Mr. Robot follows instructions and Elliot follows him.  (The predominant colours in this episode are red, blue and black.  This will obviously have some significance to the plot and  Esmail may reveal what this is later on.)

Elliot reminds himself that he is not following Mr. Robot and approaches the waiting cab.  The driver is clearly Arabic and speaks “sporadic” English. Elliot finally gets in the cab and admits who he is.

The driver asks him for the address and Elliot is stumped. Suddenly the other cab door opens and an address is given to the cabbie.

Tyrell Wellick is the new passenger.

Elliot pressured the driver to acknowledge his new passenger. The man responds in Arabic and finally Elliot, and Wellick, are ejected from the vehicle.

This seems to be proof positive that Wellick is Elliot and vice versa.  Keeping in mind that Esmail said in the first season that this is a spin on Fight Club it makes perfect sense.

Next week is Mr. Robot’s season two finale.  Mike’s Film Talk predicts that all computer hacking hugger mugger aside, Esmail will reveal that Angela’s interlude with Whiterose was a dream and that Wellick is indeed Elliot.

The premise works if one believes that Joanna has known all along of Elliot’s (or Wellick’s) split personalities.  It would be a brilliant twist if it is revealed that Elliot has not really existed all along. That he is a manifestation of Tyrell Wellick and always has been.

Mr. Robot will have its season two finale next Wednesday on USA.  Tune in and see just what Sam Esmail has up his sleeve this year.

CAST:

Gotham: A Dead Man Feels No Cold – Strange Takes Over (recap/review)

Gotham: A Dead Man Feels No Cold takes up where Mr Freeze ended, with Victor heading out to save Nora and Strange overseeing the rehabilitation of Penguin.

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Gotham: A Dead Man Feels No Cold takes up where Mr Freeze ended, with Victor heading out to save Nora and Strange overseeing the rehabilitation of Penguin. Ms Peabody, personally applies the treatment and despite Cobblepot’s threats, enjoys torturing the former king of Gotham.

Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has returned to Wayne Manor,and Gotham, after his Alfred imposed break from the city.  An enforced rest period spent in a Swiss Chalet (“Castle in France” sniffs Selena Kyle later in the episode) and afterward  Bruce talks with Lee about his state of mind. 

Disturbingly, or perhaps prophetically, young Wayne is exhibiting the duality of nature, aka split personality, that enables him to become Batman when he grows up.  Another sign of Bruce’s future abilities appear when Kyle attempts to sneak up on Wayne and he tells her,  “I felt the air move when you came in the window.”

Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is annoyed that Bruce caught her out and she get more upset when Wayne asks her to get him a gun later. Also annoyed is Captain Barnes who rages about Mr. Freeze demanding his wife be released after he froze five cops to death. Barnes swears he will “Free his foot up Victor’s frozen a**.”

Barnes demands that Nora be sent to Arkham for her own safety and Lee (Morena Baccarin) accompanies the dying woman.  Meanwhile Oswald’s treatment turns him into a confused and eager to please inmate, briefly. 

He confronts Jim Gordon in the Arkham grounds and asks for help, his “friend” refuses and Penguin starts yelling that the future commissioner killed Galavan and that he, Cobblepot, lied. This exchange is observed by Hugo Strange (BD Wong) via CCTV.

Ironically, Nora is put in the same ward as Barbara Kean. Alfred brings Bruce the file on M. Malone and the two have a brief moment where the butler makes his charge agree that Alfred will kill the man who killed Bruce’s parents when they catch him.

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Victor removing Nora, and Lee, from Arkham

Victor frees Nora and brings Lee along. Gordon is put in a closet unharmed. Strange facilitates Fries’ entry into Arkham and sets up an escape vehicle and exit after Victor leaves some of his cryogenic solution for the doctor.

Fries takes his wife back home to freeze her and place her body in an container.  Nora (Kristen Hager) swaps the solution canister so that when Victor shoots her, it kills her. Consumed by grief, Fries uses the same solution on himself.

Lee confronts Jim about lying, she knows he killed Galavan and Penguin is strapped in that chair again for anther treatment. Ms. Peabody opines that he may be incurable and Strange disagrees.

Victor Fries wakes up in a frozen room, Hugo tells the man that he survived due to a cellular acceptance of the formula.  As Strange explains to the “dead man” about death only being the beginning the camera leaves the room.  It pans down to another section of Indian Hill and we see Theo Galavan and what appears to be the back of Jerome “The Joker” Valeska’s head.

These dead villains floating in glass containers full of fluid make it seem a certainty that as well as Galavan and the Joker returning to Gotham  Fish Mooney may also make a dramatic reappearance. All that remains to be seen is whether Oswald Cobblepot will be able to recognize her.

It should be noted that during the mid-season break, David Mazouz has shot up in height and lost some of that roundness of face from last year. As teenagers are wont to do  the actor has had a bit of a growth spurt. Since Bruce Wayne was not in last week’s episode, the change only became apparent in this week’s installment.

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Bruce Wayne, taller and leaner…

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX and while this semi-touching episode was  a little slow, the next episode should pick up pace as Bruce looks for a gun.

Gotham: Mr Freeze – BD Wong and an Order of Fries (Review)

Gotham: Mr. Freeze brings Bruno Heller’s prequel-verse back with BD Wong and and order of fries…or two.

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Gotham: Mr. Freeze brings Bruno Heller’s prequel-verse back with BD Wong and and order of fries…or two.  Of course that means little if one has not seen the episode and watched Harvey Bullock lording it over Jim Gordon for mispronouncing Mr. Freeze’s real name.

Bullock: “Oh, uh, one more thing. What’s the correct pronunciation of your last name?”

Nora: “It’s Fries.”

Bullock: “Fries. Thank you.”

To Gordon (both smug and accusatory): “Told you.”

The storyline of Nora and Victor Fries is sad, tragic and horrific.  It is easy to feel a mixture of emotions when Victor heads to the pharmacy to get pills for his wife only to be met by the kind of pharmacist that deserves to be frozen into a giant douche-cicle.  One can  feel empathy for a man who cares desperately for his wife plus a certain satisfaction that the  nasty bloke at counter has no idea who he is dealing with really deserved his fate.

In the pharmacy scene Freeze, after throwing the medicine bottle at the pharmacist, quotes the Terminator:

“I’ll be back.”

Of course, just as James Cameron’s villain in the 1984 film does, Fries returns to dispense death. While not on the same scale  as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character does in the film, Mr. Freeze goes on to deliver his lethalness with extreme prejudice. He also mentions that his two victims can help to save his wife.

After Fries leaves the pharmacy with the frozen stiffs in the back of his blue van,  James Gordon and Harvey Bullock give chase.  Leaving the frozen “sidekick” in the middle of the road causes an accident. The two detectives smash into the corpse-cicle and while the main body smashes into lots of little pieces,  part of the deceased smashes into the windshield, giving new meaning to the phrase “heads up.”

Penguin is caught by Barnes and after being questioned by the chief, Cobblepot backs up Gordon’s version of events in relation to Galavan’s death.  Nygma promises to look after Oswald’s mother’s grave and the “King of Gotham” is escorted to Arkham Asylum.

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Cobblepot’s face says it all…

In terms of “yuck” factor Victor’s experiment with the one victim who horrifically melts into a running conglomeration of brownish-red fluid and bone wins as most visceral and disturbing death yet. Even more upsetting than a drunken Butch getting his arm chopped off by Cobblepot. Although, the poor inmate that claws his eyes out may be more horrific the sight is more gory than yucky.

Drew Powell’s drill-handed Butch, aka the new King of Gotham, and his pairing up with the beautiful but deadly Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) is deliciously perfect, as was that imagery of his spinning drill with her knife forcing it slowly down.  

Just as perfect was BD Wong‘s pairing with Miss Peabody (played by Tonya Pinkins who is currently a much nicer character on another fantasy show) as was his pronouncement that Penguin suffers from megalomania and an “unhealthy” relationship with his mother. 

The big reveal was that Mr. Freeze’s experiment worked, at the end, and that Hugo Strange is rather surprised and a little displeased  that someone else got his failed cryogenics program to work.

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James Gordon (Ben McKenzie)

 

Observation of the Episode: 

In the scene where Jim Gordon waits anxiously for Chief Barnes to speak after questioning Oswald Cobblepot, McKenzie’s character looks incredibly like an older Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Whether it is the expression on Gordon’s face or the framing of the shot, the grown man looks amazingly like Wayne. It makes one wonder if this were entirely coincidental…

Final Verdict:

A splendid start to the “back-end” of season two. Deliciously ironic, wry, tragic and, in the case of the Fries’ story, sweet. After all, who wouldn’t go around freezing total strangers if their wife was Kristen Hager and she could look like that while dying a horrid death.  Major kudos to BD Wong who is killing it as Dr. Hugo Strange and he’s not even wearing a dress. 

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in.

Mr Robot: eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v R3v1ew

Elliot Alderson freaking out on the subway

Mr Robot could be called the ultimate thinking person’s television series. It could even be classified as Geek TV masquerading as thriller/psychological drama. What it is not, however, is facile or shallow. In the latest episode, “whiterose” the theme is twofold, melting down, or freaking out, and discovering who one really is aka, the big reveal(s). Both these things happen to Elliot and to Tyrell.

The big question throughout the series thus far has been all about who Mr Robot really is. The theory was that he was part of Elliot’s schizophrenia, a manifestation of his mind, or a another personality. This last episode proved that particular theory to be wrong…apparently.

By the end of the show, Elliot learns who he really is, or at least who those closest to him are, thereby putting him in a place where Elliot knows he belongs. The big reveal of Mr Robot (Christian Slater) as his dead dad and Darlene (Carly Chaikin) as his heretofore unmentioned sister, most likely unmentioned since he regularly forgets her, “Elliot, have you forgotten who I am again,” Darlene asks before forcing him to tell her who she is.

So the first two reveals are that Elliot and the fsociety are all “fam” and this may be just what the ‘f’ in society stands for; family. Darlene is sis, Mr Robot is pop and all that’s missing is mom…could she be the one who Evil Corp “murdered.” Sorry, thinking out loud here, but Mother Alderson is the only one not mentioned, even if, in an earlier episode, she was mentioned either in past-tense or not, the existence of Daddy walking around and pushing his kid off the pier, means all bets are off.

Leaving Elliot alone for the moment, Tyrell and his story, even without the reveal that he has been working with Alderson’s pop, aka Mr. Robot, was educational to say the least, although not nearly as surprising as Elliot’s. Wellick has been going through major meltdown since choking the life out of Scott Knowles’ wife Sharon.

The reveal that Mrs. Wellick wears the trousers in the family and also provides the real brainwork in his climb to the top of the executive heap is no real surprise. The clues have been there all along.

*Sidenote.* Her character has leapt forward in importance, just look at IMDb, she has gone from being listed as Tyrell’s wife to having her Christian name listed (which is Joanna). A big leap for the little lady who is willing and able to stab herself with an escargot fork to fake a pregnancy emergency.

Those that doubt who really is the boss of whom should look at Wellick’s hesitation to tell his wife what really happened on that roof. After learning that it was Joanna’s plan to have sex with and photograph Sharon in her compromising positions it is clear that Tyrell is worried less about the murder and more about disappointing his wife.

We, as viewers learn where Elliot and Tyrell both fit in and who they really are. Wellick is just as fascinating as Elliot. His rages are obviously less about the stress of his journey to be the next CTO of Evil Corp, but more about his controlling mastermind of a wife and his paranoia about disappointing her. This explains so much, especially the murder of Sharon, was Tyrell killing his wife by proxy?

Looks like.

This information also removes Tyrell from the category of shark and makes him more of a trained Doberman. Wifey is the brains and the strategist behind his move up.

Of course apart from the themes of “discovery” there was the follow-on of the Whiterose meeting plot thread. Elliot does meet the legendary leader of the Dark Army. BD Wong (who voiced the heroic love interest of Mulan in the Disney film) played the elusive hacker as an apparent transgender character, or considering Whiterose’s paranoia, not just about time, of discovery, it could just be another version of smoke and mirrors.

The beauty of this show is that even if nothing else of consequence had occurred in this episode, the scene of Whiterose and Elliot meeting alone would have been more interesting than anything else out there at the moment. Thankfully there was a lot more going on.

For example:

Tyrell telling Mr. Robot, while they talked collusion between fsociety and Evil Corp (and the viewer picked their jaw up off the floor) that his (Robot’s) dirty little secret is something that Tyrell knows about. “There are people close to you who would not be happy to know what I know,” says Wellick, the implication is that Elliot, will not be happy. Mr. Robot is not fazed, no real surprise there.

Ollie sending Elliot to the Whiterose meeting, Alderson learning that the hack that Gideon learned about during his meeting with Tyrell, is pretty inconsequential and obviously a distraction.

Back to Tyrell and his wife Joanna. How revealing is the coffee stain removal scene? Mrs. Wellick is clearly a hands on person. Her pregnancy has obviously forced her to take the role of backseat driver, so to speak, and her choosing to remove the coffee stains herself rather than to send the shirt out or to toss it in the bin shows a lot about her and the Wellick’s status.

Scott Knowles hit a nerve the last time he and Tyrell verbally sparred. Zeroing in on the fact that the Wellick’s still lived in “that tiny two-bedroomed” place. The mention of the couple’s financial status, or lack thereof, brought Wellick to his metaphorical knees and he lost that match against the new CTO. Joanna opting to remove the stain herself speaks volumes about her, the couples status and their relationship. Most revealing of all? Watch the way she removes the stain, the anger and frustration behind her actions and movements…

Pertinent point, Elliot becomes overly aware of time after his meeting with Whiterose, his fixation, which the Dark Army legend points out, is people, has become the passing of time. As Alderson mentions in the episode, “we are all living in each other’s paranoia.”

Random amusing moment: Elliot asks Darlene to provide a distraction so he can hack Gideon’s phone. She hacks the company’s Smart TV and does an fsociety broadcast. In it, the “mask” calls the company by name as well s takes them to task, and one of the cyber security team, in a tone of wonder that one could associate with a child learning that Santa knows who they are, says “Holy sh*t, fsociety knows us.”

All of Allsafe are transfixed by the message and Elliot hacks his boss’s phone. When the transmission ends, Gordon expresses that he is not pleased that Alderson was not with the rest of the group. His tone and implication make it seem that Elliot’s time at the company may be coming to an end. Elliot himself may circumvent that action. He tells us that looking in Gideon’s files, he found a good man and that he, Alderson, does not belong there.

Later, after remembering who Darlene really is, Elliot goes through a combination of memory surge and meltdown. On the subway he yells at his imaginary friend and when he gets home he smashes a mirror. Heading to the computer he searches for himself online and finds nothing.

Going through the CD-R storage book he finds an unlabeled disc. It has pictures…of Mr. Robot (Dad) and Elliot. Mostly, however, there are photographs of Mr. Robot. Elliot goes over to a shelf and finds a picture with the whole family, Dad, sis, Elliot and his mother, who looks an awful lot like Darlene in a floppy hat.

There is a knock on the door and it is Mr. Robot and he tells Elliot, “I think we should talk.”

Wow.

This episode is a jaw dropper and game changer. The power of this series, apart from dynamite performances from Malek, Slater, Wallström, Chaikin and newcomer Stephanie Corneliussen, is the writing and the intricate plot threads that all interweave like some giant spider web. The show has a lot going on apart from the hacker baseline.

Mr. Robot is addictive and mind blowing. USA has put one of the best shows on television on its network lineup and that there are only two more episodes left this season is agonizing. The series airs Wednesdays on USA. This is exquisite television that sticks with you long after the end credits roll.