Mr Robot: Python Part Two Season Finale – Wellick Is Not Elliot (Review)

 Mr. Robot - Season 2

So the second season of Mr. Robot boils down to Wellick and Elliot. The episode “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z” revealed a lot of things that have been bouncing about in the verse. For starters, that FBI flowchart shows Tyrell and Elliot as two distinct people.

(Although, unlike everyone else on that board, there is no line with an arrow pointing from one to the other. It is a direct line that ends on the picture. So what does that mean?)

In keeping with Sam Esmail’s mission of keeping the audience both on their toes and constantly second guessing, other things are revealed.

Angela, far from being a pawn of Darlene’s, seems to have struck a deal with Whiterose.  Either that or she has been an agent of the Dark Army for some time already.  Clearly she has been working with Tyrell as the phone call at the end of the episode seems to indicate.

This episode of Mr. Robot peeled back suppositions and replaced them with some interesting facts.  For instance, the flowchart and the inclusion of Mobley (sorry, Frederick) and Trenton at the very end as a teaser (The two of them are obviously in a witness protection scenario, presumably in Las Vegas.) shows that they both rolled over for the feds.

Dom reveals that Romero’s death was actually a freak accident and not the work of the Dark Army at all.  This episode also showed that the FBI uses “good cop/bad cop” as well, even going  so far as to use “Burn Notice” in a threatening manner.

A lot of little things became blazingly apparent in this episode.  For one, Elliot (Malek) does an excellent impression of Christian Slater. When Alderson “becomes” his late father without the imaginary persona, he copies the speech patterns of Mr. Robot perfectly.

Joanna Wellick can “turn on a dime” where emotions and behavior are concerned. Her face off with Knowles, who was sending the gifts, the phone and making those “breathy” phone calls, was shocking. Not because of how Scott reacted to the poisonous statements coming out of her mouth, but because of the statements themselves. This is one vicious woman.

It comes as no surprise to learn that she wants her bartender boyfriend to help set Knowles up for the murder of his wife.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Angela, like almost everyone else in this show, is shown to be a multifaceted character. As is Darlene, who protests her own self worth while still attempting to follow Elliot’s plan.

Dom also exhibits a duality. At home she is a lonely and slightly odd young woman (she talks to her Alexa like a friend) and at work she is the python, a predator patiently stalking its prey.

This entire season has been about illusion, even more than season one of Mr. Robot. It has thrown out twist and turns each week like so much mind confetti.  Last week’s episode was a good example of this confusing trail of clues that ultimately lead to a dead end.

It also seems to serve as a reminder, when placed against this episode of what may still be the final twist.

Esmail has shown that Tyrell Wellick is, or should we say was, a separate entity.  He was, until he was presumably shot by Mr. Robot in the arcade (and yes we still believe that happened) and went missing for most of season two.

However…

In this world, Elliot takes on the persona’s of dead people he has/had a close connection to.  His father, who died an undignified and horrible death has become a part of Elliot. The dead man is Elliot to a huge degree.

If, as Mr. Robot, Elliot killed Tyrell, who confesses on the phone that he “loves Elliot,” and since the two men had a powerful connection, it would make sense that Elliot is “being” Wellick.

This means that Elliot being shot never happened, like when Mr. Robot shot him in the head earlier in the season, it is all in his mind. Essentially, Robot and Tyrell are both manifestations of Elliot.

After all, the Arabic speaking cab driver never once acknowledged Tyrell’s presence in the car.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Esmail has continuously yanked the mask off of characters to reveal intricate hidden facets of each one.  If the clues are correct, even Darlene may be something she is not.

The looming presence of the Dark Army, represented by Leon in the closing moments of the show, makes it seem that, unlike Romero, Mobley and Trenton might just be two loose ends that will soon be tied up.

Back to the Wellick/Alderson conundrum, Esmail may  be dangling the possibility of Tyrell being the real leader which would then make Elliot a Mcguffin. Like Mr. Robot’s diversionary tactics in the abandoned warehouse, the creator has been leading us in an alternative direction to keep us off the scent.

Mr. Robot has been one hell of a ride this season.  As the lights went out in New York, after Angela finishes her conversation with Tyrell,  it seems to be a portent of things to come.  Esmail seems to be saying that the third season will be even darker.

 

CAST:

Guest starring Brian Stokes Mitchell as Scott Knowles

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:

Mr Robot: eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx – Dark Army (Recap/Review)

 Mr. Robot - Season 2

Dom must be getting pretty tired of being right all the time. In Mr Robot “eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx” she did tell her boss that distributing that picture would invite the Dark Army to interfere and it did.  Last week she played her hunches and this week Dom took a team of agents into Darlene’s hideout, missing both Elliot’s sister and Cisco.

Darlene:

We learn that it was indeed two people at the door in the previous episode. Cisco and a badly beaten Vincent (Anthony Jennings). He was the heavy breather on the other side of that whiter-than-white couch. 

Cisco and Darlene talk  about whether to take the unconscious member of  fsociety to the hospital.  Eventually, they opt to get Vincent medical treatment.

The couple have an argument. Initially it is about whether or not Vincent should be allowed to survive his beating. Later it turns into an assessment of Darlene’s ability to run fsociety.

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Darlene and Cisco

As they wait to see how badly injured Vincent is, Cisco’s picture is run  on the national news. The two go to eat and while they are gone the nurse who dealt with them calls the FBI hotline.

Darlene admits to Cisco at Lupe’s that she is not the leader Elliot is. She also tells a story about being abducted by an old lady with smeared pink lipstick when she was a child.  No doubt about it, those Alderson kids had a pretty screwed up childhood.

Elliot:

Joanna questions “Ollie” about where her husband is. He denies all knowledge and she shows him the mobile phone that Tyrell “sent” her. He has been calling her and Joanna asks Elliot to  track him down.

She tells Ollie about her cubic zirconia earrings that she made Tyrell get for her. They belonged to another woman and Wellick had to have sex with the woman for the earrings.

Mr. Robot warns Elliot about getting involved with Mrs. Wellick. He tells him that  she is dangerous, just like Tyrell was. Elliot decides to help and gets a lot of computer equipment so he can hack the phone.

At the store, Elliot is suddenly alone, Mr. Robot has disappeared. This happens immediately after the phone rings and Elliot answers. Amid the heavy breathing on the other end, he hears what sounds like Tyrell saying “no.”

This is when Mr. Robot vanishes and in fact the entire store looks deserted. This odd scene makes it seem that this could be another “interlude.” Later, Elliot gets the phone call triangulated, by impersonating a cop, and Joanna’s  bodyguard sees where calls are coming from.

He is clearly upset, or at least surprised. Before leaving the man tells Elliot that Tyrell would never call from that location. (A place that is roughly 12 meters away.)

Angela:

As Elliot tracks the phone’s signal, via pinging its IP, Angela calls him repeatedly. The visit from Dom has shaken her. When they meet on the subway, Angela tells Elliot that she is going to confess. She will admit to installing the equipment in the FBI offices.

Angela seems overwhelmed and not a little confused. She asks Elliot why he started fsociety.  As he goes to leave the subway car, they kiss.

Lupe’s:

Dom figures  out at the hospital that neither Darlene nor Cisco saw the news bulletin about his being wanted by the police.  The FBI agent starts looking for places nearby where they might be. She finds the two eating at Lupe’s.

She goes in the restaurant to question them. Outside a  motorcycle arrives with a passenger on the back of it. That man dismounts and takes what looks like an uzi with him to the eatery.

He hoses down the window and wall in front of the couple and Dom, who sees the man raise his gun. She takes cover. It appears that both Darlene and Cisco are shot.

Just like Hong Kong, Dom shoots the assassin and wounds him. The killer then shoots himself in the head.

Finally:

Joanna and Elliot are an interesting mix here. She is clearly as dangerous as Tyrell and her veiled threat,  “you don’t really want to tell me no, do you,” was bone chilling.

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Elliot, Joanna Wellick and the bodyguard

Her telling the bodyguard that if he had done his job, Elliot would not be a “problem” was also disturbing. What is interesting was the man’s reaction to the address where the calls were coming from.

He is adamant that Tyrell would not be calling from there.

So where is “there?” Thinking of the most unlikely  place leads to the conclusion that the calls are coming from the Scott Knowles’ residence.  It would be the last place on earth that one would expect Wellick to be.

Philip Price revealed much about himself in that conversation with E Corp scapegoat Terry Colby (Bruce Altman). A  megalomaniac and slight paranoiac it seems that Price will always be  looking behind his back while planting a knife in another. 

The question that is still up in the air is what Elliot’s “stage two” plan is.  Has it been instigated already? Is stage two killing off all those who pose a threat?

Another issue is why did Mr. Robot disappear when Tyrel’s voice is heard on the phone. Has he been lying all along?

Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays on USA. The season is rapidly coming to a close, tune in and see where Esmail takes the series this year.

CAST:

Guest starring  Michael Drayer as Cisco

Mr Robot: eps2.7_init_5.fve – Hello Ollie (Review)

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Mr. Robot is a tad repetitive this week. We learn what really happened to Elliot. What he was arrested for, ironically for the damned dog as well as hacking the therapist’s douche boyfriend, and what really happened behind bars. In some ways a bit of a redundant episode, in that respect.

There are many more revelations, as well as questions, in init5.  For one thing it appears that Elliot is going through some sort of meltdown. Perhaps due to the lack of morphine and other self medicating drugs he was taking before.

Dom follows her hunches, we learn, when she shows up at Angela’s with some takeaway and warnings couched as conversation.

The Snowden Treatment:

Angela learns the hard way that no one likes a whistleblower no matter how grand their intentions.  After showing her hacked information to the nuclear regulatory people, Angela notices the cameras are not working.

As she and the deputy director walk down a gloomy hall to a “meeting” Angela sees more inoperative cameras. The deputy director then reveals that she knows where Angela works. Spooked she leaves without accomplishing what she came for.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

When Is a Door Not a Door:

The mysteries of who is knocking at the door, is getting old. Repetition is not a good thing, unless one remembers playing the old Resident Evil games where opening doors signified moving into another level or challenge.

Darlene opens her door to what appears  to be at least two visitors. Her eyes move from left to right and back again.  However, the use of the knocking door is really just an “off camera” device to keep the mystery going.

When is a door not a door? When it is off camera. Cisco also has an off camera moment where, collecting the video tape, he hears labored panting and breathing from behind the couch (and the camera).

There have been a lot of “knocks on the door” in this season.

Come on Esmail, give it a rest.

Mr Robot:

There is a breaking down of the “relationship” between Elliot and his dead father.  Using an “out of body” experience Alderson sees Mr. Robot talking to an arguing Darlene and Cisco. Then Mr. Robot sees Elliot.  They then morph into Elliot.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Later, on the subway, Elliot sees Mr. Robot talking to Cisco in another car; one he cannot access.  There is an obvious splitting of the two. It is ironic that this has occurred after Elliot “accepted” his dead father in prison.

Mr. Robot insists that something is wrong. “It’s like we’re overheated,” he says.  He is the one who instigates Elliot’s leaving Darlene’s apartment and going home.

Stage Two:

Heading back to the theory that Elliot knows more than he thinks (“Who is Wellick“) it turns out that the information that he is so desperate to learn about is his own plan.  The Dark Army is puzzled that Elliot has approached them asking the question. It leads to the hacked phone being disconnected with the phrase, “he is a master,” proceeding the cutoff.

Brown Outs:

It could well be that  Elliot is imagining all this in his mind. There is no E Corp, with Chinese connections, and that either none of these people exist outside his mind, or that they do but not as they are seen in the show.

Are the brown outs significant not as a power issue but a brain malfunction? Is it a coincidence that the breakdown between Mr. Robot and Elliot started occurring at the same time the brown outs began?

There is still a tinge  “Fight Club” thematics going on here and much more to Elliot and his split personalities than meets the eye.

Hello Ollie:

Joanna Wellick waiting outside Elliot’s apartment building is interesting on many levels.  Sticking with the idea that Joanna knows Elliot from before their “initial” meeting, it is important to note that she got in touch soon after his release from prison.

When they spoke before, Mrs. Wellick seemed more bemused than anything else. She knew Elliot.  Her reaction to his name (Ollie) is odd. (This is the same scene where she, apparently, threatens Elliot saying if he hurt her husband he would pay – or something along those lines.)

It could even be a sort of in -joke or  have a hidden meaning.  Is Joanna’s line a take on the song “Hello Dolly?”  “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong,”  goes the second line of the song. Is Elliot back where he belongs?

Price and Whiterose:

These two were fascinating this week. From Whiterose urinating on Price’s predecessor’s headstone to Price practically foaming at the mouth “I will rain chaos,” their exchange spoke volumes about E Corp, the Chinese government and the Dark Army.

Finally:

Things are getting interesting. There is one thing, apart from those damned doors, that should be addressed. Everyone, it seems, has secrets.  This is fair enough, as it is representative of real life, but, when all the main players appear to be on the same line as Elliot it makes for a predictable end.

Making all the characters too interesting takes away from Elliot, unless the idea is that away from all the computer jiggery pokery , this really is the “Fight Club” and all the players merely extensions of Alderson after all.

Regardless of how this show turns out, the journey has been a cracking one and may it continue for a long time.

Mr.  Robot airs Wednesdays on USA.

 

CAST:

Guest starring  Michael Drayer as Cisco

Mr Robot: _h4ndshake.sme – Esmail’s Mind F**K (Review)

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Season two of Mr. Robot has all been about false realities. The previous episode gave plenty of clues that pointed out none of what we have been watching is the “real” Mr. Robot Universe. (These hints continued this week but with Angela. Two separate times, two different characters allude to her not “being Angela.” Her father and Dom point out that she is not who she thinks she is.) “Handshake.sme,” for all it reveals, was the ultimate Sam Esmail mind f**k.

Elliot has been in prison throughout the entire season. It all makes a sort of twisted sense if one looks at the episode back to front.  Many fans of the show were pretty sure he was in an institution or jail. The former was the most popular theory.  (The big question is why Alderson is in prison.)

Is he there because of Wellick?

But the “why” loses potency when the realization hits that everything dealing with Elliot has been an illusion.  The moment  Krista (Gloria Reuben) says to Elliot that he is not staying at his mother’s house, everything clicks. Even as the short montage  plays where each event or place morphs into a prison setting,  the puzzle pieces fall into place making this information  take precedence over all.

Other reveals, such as Leon working for Whiterose and that  Darlene and fscociety are  not bothered whether Angela gets caught or not, become more than secondary to the data overload of Elliot being behind bars.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

At the start of the episode, the focus is briefly on Joanna Welleck.  She has a flashback that is brought on by a pair of emerald earrings.  It includes the woman that Tyrell murdered in season one.  Then a comes a moment that can only be described as a signpost of what is to come.

Joanna is on the sidewalk with her baby and  pram when a woman comes up carrying a bucket, or pail. Welleck smiles at the woman who says “capitalist pig,” as she hurls the container full  of either red paint or blood all over Joanna.  The spattered woman screams her rage.  This can only be there to tell us, the audience, that we will have something thrown in our faces as well.

And so  Esmail manages to fling a shocking reveal at us that stuns and, in some cases, outrages our sensibilities. Can we trust anything that Elliot has been telling us?

Perhaps not, but in reality, we do not care. The story with its twists and turns and hidden secrets compels us to return  each week.  Esmail’s sucker punch ending of “Handshakes.me”  makes sense.  Even the smallest details from earlier episodes of Mr. Robot  point to Elliot’s reality being a lie.

When Darlene and Angela come to visit Alderson at his “mom’s” house they sit in the dining room in straight-back chairs. All the while the mother sits silently watching television. It felt wrong until one envisions the visits taking place in a prison visits room.

The spartan condition of Elliot’s room; a desk, chair and his single bed also points to a prison cell versus a bedroom. All of these things make perfect sense once this huge twist is revealed.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Looking at other character’s shows Angela getting dangerously overconfident in her dealings with Price.  She made a big mistake in not celebrating the old boy’s birthday with him.  He okays her lateral move but in a fit of pique tells her new boss to treat her as he wishes. (Which in his case, is not very well at all.)

Part of her problem could be that FBI hack that Darlene instigated. Angela helped fsociety pwn the law enforcement agency almost literally under Dom’s nose. This could explain Angela’s added burst of self confidence. Unfortunately it seems like Darlene may throw Elliot’s bestie under the bus if Dom gets too close.

The FBI agent already has Angela in her sights. She tells them to check Angela’s work space computer, and clearly suspects her of something, even if she does not know what, just yet.

Another highlight from last night’s episode (also diminished by that huge reveal) was Leon. Not his association with Whiterose but his samurai attack; complete with swishing blade sound effects, on those thugs who were going to rape Elliot.

Just as the tall bald supremacist was ready to act, rapid footsteps and those blade sounds turn this little party into a bloodbath.  What Leon does with his knife after the rapist moans is poetic justice.

Something else occurs in that alleyway (prison hallway). As Elliot is hit by the thugs to soften him up, he keeps changing into Mr. Robot.  This seems to indicate that the two are now completely interchangeable for better or worse.

Joanna filing for divorce from Tyrell seems like a calculated move. Earlier, after the paint scene, (Wellick looks quite terrifying there, all teeth and silent screams of rage with that blood on her face…) she is looking at a baby scan.

Is this a new one? Can this be why she suddenly decides to ditch Tyrell and go for her S&M boyfriend? Or was this another surprise from Tyrell, a gift from before?

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Dom seems to be “on the prod” after her boss’s “softly, softly” orders. She has homed in on Angela and seems to have guessed quite a lot.  It may well be that Agent DiPierro will be fsociety’s nemesis in the end.

Finally:  It is clear that Ray was a Corrections Officer with the K9 section, or a dog handler in HMPS parlance. (Hence the special connection with his dog.) He appears to be relieved that his business has been closed down and that he will be caught.

Ironically, even as Angela tells her father to take the money and run as E Corp may not last much longer, the corporation has managed to survive the attack by resorting to “E-Coin.” Looks like Elliot’s masterplan hardly slowed them down.

Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays on USA. Tune in and see what Esmail throws at us next. Could the garbage burning have something to do with the upcoming storyline?

CAST: