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.

Mr Robot: eps1.6_v1ew-s0urce.flv (review)

Darlene and Mr Robot at the bar
After last week’s Mr Robot “uber downer” episode, Shayla in the trunk of that car is an image that will never quite go away, eps1.6_v1ew-s0urce.flv rings the changes and picks up the pace. While the start of the episode shows the Elliot version of “meeting cute” where he relives the first time Shayla interacted with him. “Keep the fish ya filthy animal,” as an exit line from a girl who could quote Home Alone and make it funnier made last week’s death all the more tragic. Never mind the “you might be worth a psychopath” quip.

Moving ahead the show focussed on Angela and her Evil Corp crusade. Her path, now that she has taken the fork of her choice (see the episode where she moves back home – Exploits), is to take down the big ‘E’ and her “cutting off Allsafe’s nose to spite her face” does not go down well with boss Gideon. Elliot’s best friend may be developing a back bone and mounting a metaphorical steed to launch herself at the corporate windmill, but she is learning that evil acts have a normal and mundane face.

She asks Colby what happened at the meeting where they decided to let her mother and Elliot’s father die. Shrimp cocktail and booze and the executives being angry at having the shrimp twice in one day. Death, at Evil Corp, is boring routine and Angela is disgusted and upset that the meeting did not have significant meaning. Angela does get a confession from Colby that afterward they did “have pause” over the decision, but it is obvious that this is not enough for the girl.

Tyrell Wellick Moment Number One:

Three of his team are talking trash in his office. It is all about using sex to climb the corporate ladder, both male and female. The talk turns to assistants using gay sex to get ahead. Wellick listens, face blank, mouth turned down at the corners and he says nothing. The viewer already knows that Tyrell bats for both sides in term of power plays. Suddenly he asks Dwight about his kids. The man replies that he has no idea as he sent them off to Lawrence (private school). Smiling, Tyrell says, “Lawrence? You’ll never be able to afford that tuition on unemployment.” Dwight says, “Sorry?”

“You’re fired,” Wellick screams. Dwight laughs nervously and Tyrell tells the three men that they are all fired. “What did we do,” one asks. “Nothing,” Tyrell replies with a sigh. This is hint number one that Wellick has not vented his rage over Scott Knowles, and his wife Sharon, besting him in the executive stakes. Apparently, Wellick could not find another bum willing to be attacked for money.

Mr Robot and Romero have a moment. The fsociety leader shows up at Romero’s who thinks that “one of those high schoolers who stole my ma’s chaise lounge” came back. He comes out armed with a revolver that he tosses on a table when he sees that Mr Robot is his visitor. Romero tells him that he is done, they tried and failed. He wants to focus on his THC body oil business. In prior episodes, Romero clearly is head and shoulders above the rest of the group…in his mind. Elliot points out that the man is a walking negative.

Romero is smart but not overly clever with reading people. When Mr Robot tells Romero that he is borderline pissing him off, Romero makes an aggressive move against the fsociety leader. Getting in the other man’s face, Romero asks just what Robot will do if he decides to cross that border. Mr Robot’s response is to ask the other man to look at his face, “We both know I’m crazy,” he says, “and not the cute kind either.” Knocking a vial of THC laced body lotion off the table, he pulls a gun, cocks it and puts the barrel on Romero’s forehead.

After telling Romero that he is “too crazy to say no to,” Mr Robot presses the gun tight to Romero’s forehead and yells, “Bang!” Laughing, Robot says, “Look on your face was priceless,” and he throws the gun on the table, “see you at the arcade,” he says on his way out.

Darlene and Cisco meet in the park and he is angry that she approached Whiterose using his “sh*t.” He then goes on to tell her that they are through. He also reveals that what Darlene did worked; Whiterose has agreed to meet.

Tyrell Wellick Moment Two:

At Evil Corp Scott Knowles is announced as the new CTO at a formal party and Tyrell, after getting a bit of encouragement from his wife, moves in on Sharon Knowles. After a bit of verbal sparring, he tells her to meet him on the roof, “take the back staircase,” Tyrell tells her adding that the cameras are out. The atmosphere between the two is full of sexual tension, unresolved and begging to be consummated.

A brief intermission shows Angela being told off by Gideon for her decision to testify and then it is back to that roof.

Sharon meets Tyrell and she plays the trump card. He calls her play and kisses her, hard. She responds and for a moment, when they sink to the aggregate roof, it appears that they will have sex. Tyrell, however, chooses throat squeezing over coitus. As Sharon desperately struggles, Wellick chokes the life out of the new CTO’s wife.

After he has killed her, Tyrell claps his hands over his mouth and begins to cry. He moves away from the body and then moves back taking what appears to be a wet wipe from his pocket. Leaning over Sharon’s face he wipes her lips, taking away any DNA evidence left over from their kissing prior to his choking her to death.

Ollie learns that Cisco is not done with him and Darlene talks Trenton into coming back to fsociety. Elliot goes to see Krista and “tells her the truth.” This consists of his telling Gordon all he has learned about her by hacking her and revealing that he watches her cry via her webcam. As the therapist sits in shock, Elliot ends his monologue saying “I want a way out of the loneliness, just like you. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

This week, Elliot and fsociety took the backseat and allowed American Psycho Wellick to take the kid gloves off and commit murder. No beating up unemployed down and out’s in the alley, but straight up strangling the life out of the man’s wife who took CTO from him. Oddly enough, Tyrell did not throw the body off the building but left Sharon’s lifeless corpse laying in the gravel on the roof.

Wellick may have wiped off his saliva from Sharon’s lips but he could still be caught, despite the camera’s being off, which may change the whole ballgame. If Wellick is gone, Elliot will have a lot less to worry about. While it looks like fsociety are back on track to take down, or at least headed that way, E Corp, Mr Robot’s show of lunacy has changed the face of what they are doing.

Christian Slater was brilliant in the Romero scene, full stop. This episode, however, was an equal share out between Portia Doubleday and Martin Wallström in the performance stakes. Doubleday has gone through a great character arc in minimal time and Wallström leapt forward in his journey proving that Tyrell has always had those homicidal urges it just took the right motivation to bring them out.

This week saw less of the computer side of things, although what was there was informatively humorous. The view code signs “I fear sex,” “I lie,” and so on were funny and once again gives the viewer an insight on how Elliot thinks. There was not much time spent mourning Shayla’s death, just enough to make it sting. Now that corporate murder has been added to the potential fsociety mayhem, versus the non-corporate killing of Shayla, the show has thrown down the gauntlet ready to take on all challengers, a bit like Mr Robot and Tyrell Wellick. Mr Robot airs Wednesdays on USA and it is moving forward at a rapid pace, don’t miss it.

Mr Robot: eps.1.5_br4ve-trave1er.asf (rec4p and rev1ew)

Elliot gives Angela a hug in Mr Robot
Last week’s episode ended with Shayla being kidnapped by Vera’s henchmen, Tyrell Wellick overstepped himself badly and the Steel Mountain plan was “killed” by the Dark Army pulling out at the last minute. In eps.1.5_br4ve-trave1er.asf Elliot is derailed and taken away from Mr Robot and fsociety by Vera’s interference. He must get Fernando out of prison or lose Shayla. The drug dealer’s brother and DJ stick to Alderson like glue while he fights to find a solution.

This USA show continues to surprise and show more layers of Elliot, while insuring that each episode cements the premise the Christian Slater’s Mr. Robot is a facet of Alderson’s schizophrenia. For example, in this segment of the show, how does the fsociety leader learn about the issue of Vera, DJ, Isaac and Darlene? When asked, Robot responds that it was Darlene who told him. Doubtful, but it could be so. Still he is ready to sacrifice “his” girl Darlene just as quickly as Shayla. “Let her become a memory,” the leader says and he finishes by telling Elliot that he is playing a zero sum game. It is a lose-lose despite what path Alderson chooses.

Later, when Elliot visits Fernando in the prison, he uses a hard-line approach when dealing with the drug dealer. He explains about hacking Isaac’s phone and gaining control of all his, Vera’s, assets. At one point he orders the thug to sit down, Vera does. This show of “force” is unlike Elliot, who is usually so hesitant.

When he works out how to get Fernando out of prison, Isaac takes Elliot for a walk, one that he is not intended to survive. Alderson then uses the zero sum talk on Vera’s little brother and unlike the result of his conversation with Mr. Robot Isaac is swayed and decides not to pull the trigger. He opts for the best of his lose-lose propositions.

Tyrell Wellick receives a broadside from his new CTO Scott Knowles when he attempts to interrupt the interview process. It turns out that Sharon Knowles told her husband about the bathroom visit during the dinner party. He goes on the attack and does not stop until he breaks the facade of Wellick’s careful composure.

Angela sets out on her own personal attack against E Corp. She pulls information from the data dump and goes to see the lawyer who handled her mother’s case, along with 40 others. The woman tells Angela that essentially she does not have a prayer. Angela replies that Nayar was the only one who returned her call. By the end of her visit with the lawyer, Angela has a new game plan, to “flip” Terry Colby.

As Elliot struggles to hack the prison’s system and get Vera out, Angela stops by to see him. She refuses to leave until he comes down to see her. Darlene is stuck in the apartment till he gets back. Later, Tyrell trashes the glassware in his two-bedroom Chelsea house’s kitchen while his wife calmly eats. She discusses his rage with Wellick and explains why he is so angry. She also points out that Sharon Knowles’ actions have told them what she wants. “What,” asks Tyrell. “To be wanted,” Tyrell’s wife says as she leaves the room.

Elliot realizes that Angela will not leave until he tells her what she wants to hear. Hugging his friend, Elliot tells her that she should follow what she believes is right. Mr Robot is waiting in the stairwell of Alderson’s apartment building and it is here that he gives Elliot the zero sum speech. He says that Shayla was always going to be a victim.

Throughout the episode, Elliot references the fight or flight option. He battles with the decision to do one or the other. However, each time he choses to fight. After Elliot finds his way into the prison’s security system, he has the zero sum talk with Isaac. Using Darlene, Alderson hacks the system via their 4G network.

Vera is released, as promised, and his first move is to have DJ shoot his treacherous little brother. He makes Elliot look at the body and tells him that he can do what ever he wants with his empire, Vera is getting out, becoming a brave wanderer and a spirit.

Before he leaves, Fernando gives Elliot keys to the car he has been traveling in all day. Shayla is in the trunk, dead.

Martin Wallström was, as always, impressive as the plotting exec who felt he had lost control. Carly Chaikin, as Darlene managed to get some of the best lines, the winner being “douche tools” when talking about Vera’s brother and DJ. Portia Doubleday gave us a new prospective on Angela and actually made her even more likable. Last week when she shafted the cheating Ollie, already made her a more empathetic character, and this moved her fully into the likable category.

In terms of just who walked off with the show this week, it was, hands down, Rami Malek. His bounce from panic to forceful assertiveness and back again was impressive. Nothing, however, came near his discovery of the dead Shayla. His entire countenance sold the viewer on the horror of her death before the camera ever moved in for a quick look.

Mr Robot continues to provide a paranoid look at the world of hacking and makes the viewer aware that no place is safe from someone who really wants to mess with your system. It also shows us that mental health issues can be overcome, even without snorting pharmaceuticals, if the desire is strong enough, at least in TV land. It also, reference the start of this week’s episode, manages to merge unreality with every day oddness masquerading as normalcy.

Malek’s voice over performance keeps us with him through the entire story. It shows us his thought process and reassures us that our records and lives are not safe from people like him. It is the perfect marriage between onscreen and off screen portrayal of a character. This actor should be getting a gong, or two, come award time for his compelling performance. Of course the high caliber of his colleagues on the show means that he will most likely have company. Mr Robot airs Wednesdays on USA.

Mr Robot: Eps 1.4_3xpl0its.wmv (r3c4p_r3vi3w)

Elliot in Steel Mountain in Mr Robot
Last week’s episode of Mr Robot had a “magical mystery tour” feel to it, Elliot going cold turkey and stopping the drugs, and in episode 1.4_3xpl0its.wmv he is infiltrating Evil Corp. This week it is all about flaws; human and system. Being aware that they exist, that everything and everyone has them, finding them and exploiting them. Fsociety “mount up” and ride to complete their mission while Darlene hits up the Dark Army and Angela lets Ollie know just how screwed he is as she walks out the door.

Before the team can get into Steel Mountain, there is the matter of Vera, aka Fernando, aka Shayla’s drug dealer/rapist, that Elliot turned in with enough paperwork and proof of the douchebag’s criminal activities to ensure he spends the rest of his born days in prison. As he learns of all the evidence against him, he glances at photographs brought in by his lawyer and sees a bottle of either morphine or Suboxone, a line of powder and a straw.

Vera has a lightbulb moment, pretty amazing since the man really is not the sharpest tool in the shed (neither is his baby brother a shining star in the heavens, it was his bruv’s idea to use social media to transmit their transactions, which included premeditated murder, “Do you know how much money we saved?”), regardless of his limited intelligence in some areas, he is smart enough to follow that trail of powder to Elliot and Shayla.

Meanwhile, Mr Robot gets an entry badge that the fsociety team can clone and they get into the Steel Mountain data security storage facility. Passing through the gate, Elliot points out that the company logo is “Impenetrable” something that is cause for concern but also not true. Nothing, Elliot points out, is impenetrable, because of those ever present flaws.

Once in, Elliot points out that he has no real problem hacking people, their flaws, he says, are there for all to see, like a neon sign. He goes through the flaws of each fsociety team member in the van. When he gets to Mr Robot, Elliot points out that his flaw is that Mr Robot is crazy. A man, Elliot asserts, that would jump off a bridge if a friend did, with no hesitation, just to prove something. Considering his pushing Elliot off the pier in an earlier episode, the diagnosis seems pretty spot on.

In the van, the team pick out the first weak link for Elliot to exploit. Once in, Elliot is Sam Sepiol (a billionaire data magnate as set up by Mobley) and he must shut down Bill Harper, a Level 1 cleared Evil Corp employee with staggering low self esteem, in order to get access to his supervisor Wendy Gallagher, who has Level 2 clearance, which Elliot needs so he can plant the Raspberry Pi.

Wendy’s partner is pregnant and due any minute, the team will send her a message about the baby, thus getting rid of her and leaving Elliot/Sam alone to put in the device. Unfortunately, the human flaws that Elliot has been talking about apply here and belatedly the team learn that Gallagher’s partner has already had the baby. After Elliot completely destroys Harper, the man is sniffling, Trudy Davis comes out, she has Level 2 clearance but also no personality and, according to the Internet, no life.

She does have a cell phone listed for her husband. Thinking quickly Mobley sends Trudy a spoof text from her husband saying he is at the doctor’s and it is as “they feared.” Davis crumples completely and leaves Elliot alone. The team direct him to a locked staircase, that he can pick open, and in his confusion he heads to the wrong one.

After learning that he needs to be on the other side of the hallway, Elliot leaves the stairwell and bumps into Tyrell Wellick, who recognized him. Shayla is learning how to earn a living without selling “pharmaceuticals” as a waitress, complete with a uniform that includes a cowboy hat.

Wellick being at Steel Mountain has freaked Elliot out and Tyrell asks why Allsafe sent him to the storage facility. He invites Elliot to lunch and as they stand in the entrance to the employee dining room, Mr Robot reminds him that Wellick’s flaw is his hubris. Elliot immediately gets Tyrell to take him to the executive dining area…on Level 2.

Tyrell shows how little he thinks of ordinary people, “cockroaches” and Elliot’s blood pressure hits new heights when two armed guards head to their table. He excuses himself, “I have to go to the bathroom,” and once inside, he throws up in a sink…twice. He blames the withdrawal but believes it may be the stress of Wellick turning up.

While in the washroom he notices an open door leading to a utility area. Entering the room, he installs the Pi partially, stopping as Tyrell comes in. Wellick reveals that he knows Elliot’s father died while working for E Corp and that he, Elliot, framed Colby. It allows Tyrell the privilege of feeling superior to Elliot, “Revenge, how average,” he says before taking his leave and telling Elliot that he will take a helicopter back to his place of work. After Wellick leaves Elliot finishes installing the Pi.

Back at the arcade, Darlene learns that the Dark Army has bailed and banned fsociety from the forum. Angela goes home, where her dad tells her that Ollie called asking him to plead on his behalf. She tells her dad that Ollie cheated and he responds by saying he is not surprised, because her former boyfriend was a “total douchebag.”

Wellick and his wife are heading to the dinner party with prospective CTO Scott Knowles and his wife and they discuss strategy. Darlene meets with her contact with the Dark Army in person and he tells her that “it’s over.” He explains that China pulled out before the team ever got to Steel Mountain and to “let it go.”

The meal, despite best efforts, is an awkward affair and the couple learn that Scott’s wife Sharon is a tough cookie and that Knowles is very suspicious about how Tyrell learned about his new job offer. Shayla and Elliot talk about their day and make plans to meet up later. Back at the meal, Tyrell’s wife makes a connection with Scott and when he tries to link up with Sharon, it goes badly.

He asks how she can stay married to Scott and not “blow her brains out.” She excuses herself to the toilet saying that she will treat the remark as a joke in poor taste. In the bathroom, she is sitting on the toilet urinating when Tyrell comes in. She calls out, “I’m in here” as he opens the door and then cooly asks, “Can I help you.” He says nothing and moves in front of Sharon, hands in pockets, and stares down at her.

She leans back on the seat and legs slightly spread. Tyrell continues to look down at her and says, “Thank you for a lovely evening.” He then smiles and leaves the bathroom, Sharon sighs as he closes the door, although it is not clear what she is feeling at that moment.

Fsociety come back to the arcade and Darlene tells the guys that everything is ready to go. She then admits that China bailed out on the whole thing and Mr Robot reacts badly. Elliot gets a call from Shayla, which he ignores. Darlene wants to go ahead with their part of the plan and Mr Robot explains that it will be mistake. It might hurt them, he says, but they do not want that, they want to kill them.

Mr Robot asks Elliot to stop her and as he stands next to Darlene, who is poised to hit execute, Elliot says nothing. She finally gives up. Elliot says that it is not over and they will find a way to make it happen. He invites a distraught Darlene back to his place to crash.

On the way home, he relates a childhood tale about coming back from the beach and getting sand in the floor. The moral of the story is that making big changes take time and that not everyone can do it. Angela goes through her father’s things and finds he owes big money to E Corp. Later she goes for a run and come to a fork in the road and Elliot returns home to find that Shayla has been targeted by Vera from the prison.

While the real star of this show is Rami Malek’s Elliot along with Christian Slater’s Mr Robot, Tyrell Wellick is becoming a very compelling character. Martin Wallström is infusing this ambitious and scheming executive with a Hannibal Lector-ish quality, albeit a more crude version of the murderous sophisticate. Wellick, one imagines, is a devotee of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, as is, apparently, Scott Knowles. “What would you have done” questions Knowles about the dinner party and Tyrell replies, “I would not have let me in.”

The theme of flaws with its focus on people being the most common one, as pointed out earlier by Elliot when the team were canvassing Steel Mountain “I see six flaws,” he says referring to the security guards in the pictures, runs throughout. The underlying theme of successful people exploiting these flaws to their advantage runs parallel to brilliant effect.

The tension in this episode was kept taut with the music, again, and the mood was dark, as was the lighting for the dinner scene. The thread of Vera, Shayla and Elliot looks to be interesting although it is questionable whether the criminally inclined mistreat would really be smart enough to make that connection.

Mr Robot could be called candy for the thinking man/woman. Each episode intricately weaves each set piece, character interaction, subplot and plot-thread together. Multiple meanings prevail and the scenes all add another facet to the show’s data base. More of Elliot’s backstory is revealed in each episode and his destruction of Harper early on was eye opening.

Mr Robot airs Wednesdays on USA Network. Television that makes one think should not be missed.

Mr Robot: eps.1.3_da3m0ns.mp4 (r3c4p and r3v1ew)

Elliot and Flipper in Mr Robot
Last week in eps1.2_d3bug.mkv Mr Robot showed how Tyrell Willick (played by Martin Wallström) was ready, willing and able to do anything to get ahead in Evil Corp and this week in eps.1.3_da3m0ns.mp4 Willick has been forgotten and left by the wayside as Elliot returns to fsociety.

Mr. Robot in this episode goes well and truly into the world of drug dependency, withdrawal; and all that entails, as well going deep into the mind of Elliot as his body strives to recover from the lack of his two addictions. Weird and wonderful, “da3m0ns” is like “Alice” falling through the looking glass darkly while holding Lucy’s hand (as in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) or at the very least like a scene from eXistenZ (although that could really just apply to the restaurant scene with Angela).

At the start of the episode the schizophrenic, drug addicted, super hacker is reflecting on his last line of morphine. After his self contemplation Elliot is showing the group how to destroy the tapes at Steel Mountain without having to blow up anything or kill anyone. He has worked out a way to alter the thermostats in the storage facility which will destroy all the tapes. No bloodshed or explosives required and Romero, from the group, is immediately skeptical and Mr Robot asks if Elliot is sure he doesn’t want to just blow it up.

Alderson is starting to go through withdrawal and he leaves the session after pointing out to “Doubting Romero” that he sees six security flaws; the guards pictured in surveillance photos that Romero trots out. Elliot leaves and returns home for that last line. After snorting the stuff up, Darlene knocks on his door and says that Romero has discovered something that needs Elliot’s complete attention.

Romero reveals the plans that Willick pointed out to Elliot earlier and after the former freaks out when he learns that Elliot is on a first name basis with the CTO of Evil Corp, he backs off, but only a little. Stating that Alderson may have the other’s fooled, but Romero knows that soon Elliot will be coming down hard and ready to do anything for another “fix.”

The team split up, leaving Trenton and Darlene behind to contact the Dark Army and set up the FTP. The guys head out and on the way Elliot crashes and vomits in the back of the SUV. They detour to Romero’s place and Elliot is shoved in bed. Drenched with sweat, he is ready to ride it out so they can strike at Steel Mountain before all the tapes are backed up and spread over five other facilities.

As they enter the room, both Romero and Elliot describe the symptoms of withdrawal ending with overwhelming depression. Meanwhile as Ollie sleeps, Angela takes his keycard and searches for the CD from Cisco. She drops the disc and her fiancee wakes up and Angela tells him that her father is buying her brunch. After a quick hug she rushes out to upload the virus at Allsafe.

Her first stop is Elliot’s place where she learns from Shayla, who is leaving to walk Flipper, that he is not there. She asks Angela if she wants to join them and Elliot’s best friend agrees. As Elliot lays sweating on the bed, Romero and Lloyd are watching Hackers and dissing the show’s premise. In one of the most amusing (Ironic?) moments in the show Romero says, “I’ll bet some writer right now is working on a TV show that will mess up this generation’s idea of hacker culture.”

Trenton updates the FTP and Darlene returns saying she could not find her Dark Army contact. As the two talk, she realizes that she was looking in the wrong place. Trenton decides to come along. Angela and Shayla go to the park and Elliot’s drug dealer girlfriend gives his best friend some E. After initially being uptight and refusing, Angela gives in and takes one.

Darlene and Trenton have problems reaching the Dark Army. Elliot hits rock bottom as Romero and Lloyd leave the room. Mr Robot sticks with Elliot. After saying he needs one line to ease things up a bit, and to hurry things along, Mr Robot takes him to a “den” where Alderson gets “shot up” in more ways than one.

It is this sequence that truly deviates from reality and leaps into madness and mayhem. While at the den, (Crack den?) a fight breaks out as the girl who injects Elliot begins to make out with him. There are gunshots, people are hit by flying bullets including the girl who was grinding on his lap and then Elliot catches one in the arm. Elliot lays on the floor watching the weather forecast on a flatscreen television on the wall. The weather report morphs into a message from the mask wearing spokesman for fsociety.

Alderson enters the fsociety broadcast and the spokesman removes his mask and gives it to Elliot. He tells him to “find your monster and turn the key.” The broadcast pauses for a few words from the “overlords” and a commercial for Evil Corp airs. Elliot is then walking down a street full of identical houses. He comes to a vacant lot which has a pole in it and on the pole is a piece of paper with “Error 404 Not Found” stapled to it. A little girl rides a scooter up, while humming a song off key, and stops in front of Elliot. He asks her what happened to the house and she asks him, “What’s your monster?” She hands him back the key.

Elliot goes into his house and cue the second weird and wonderful scene in the episode. He has a conversation with his pet beta fish, which ends with the talking fish bellowing that he wants to be moved to a “G**dam window!” Next is a restaurant scene with Angela where she is consuming something that looks revolting and somewhat otherworldly. Elliot says, “But Angela, he’s my friend.” She says, “I know.” As she offers him some he sees “young Elliot” being given some of “his friend” by his mother.

He shows Angela the key and she reacts as though it’s a ring, gushing and saying yes while the room applauds. The scene changes to her standing in front of what could be a giant caricature of Tyrell Willick, eyes wide with a rictus grin on his face. She tells Elliot that he will not change the world as he was only born “a month ago.” Angela then says that he’s afraid of his monster. She hands the key back and says it doesn’t fit. He asks why and tantalizingly she says, “Isn’t it obvious? You’re not Elliot you’re…” A sound of a switch cuts her morphed voice off and Elliot is in the dark as children laugh.

A light grows stronger and Elliot sees the fsociety mask. After putting it on his morphed voice says he’s alone. He wakes up in the room and Mr Robot tells Elliot he is not alone and that he will be with him to the end. None of what just occurred, from the crack den on, ever happened. Sheer epic brilliance.

Darlene and Trento find the Dark Army, after Darlene shouts out that she is a “menace to society.” The girls enter a limo with the “army” and have their cell phones dropped out the car’s window.

Angela and Shayla reveal their inner selves at a club and share a kiss, and like Katie Perry, Angela likes it. After their pressing of flesh, Shayla gives Angela a pep talk. Darlene finds Cisco and in the meantime, Romero is force-feeding a withdrawal concoction down Elliot’s throat. As Elliot goes over what daemons are again, Angela enters Ollie’s office and uploads the CD.

Elliot reveals that everyone one deals with their daemons alone and that “when we break through, we find a few familiar faces on the other side.” Everything about Mr Robot this week hummed and snapped. From the music, which had an addictive “earworm” quality (that was that catchy mix of early video game synth and electro beat) to the drug withdrawal weirdness that made up almost all of this episode this one hit new levels of excellence.

Hidden somewhere in all that brilliance was another clue about Elliot and Mr Robot and all the rest of the players in this schizophrenic hackers story. Not the monster, or the key, but just who Elliot really is…a mask. Take away the theories of Mr Robot being Elliot, this appears to be deeper and more complex than that. Could the entire fsociety be in one person’s head…like Angela’s for instance? She talks of playing games with Elliot when they were kids…was he an invisible friend?

Hmmmm.

Regardless of where the Mr Robot journey ends this season, and please Network Gods let there be a season two, this has been one heck of a ride and it is only the third episode. On a side note, kudos to Martin Wallström who has apparently become a bit of a sex symbol with his portrayal of Tyrell Wellick the Evil CTO. The show airs Wednesdays on USA. Do not miss this one.