Mr Robot: Logic_B0mb.hc – Key Change (Review)

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Perhaps the most significant bit of dialogue in this episode of “Logic Bomb” came from the soon-to-be-murdered parking garage attendant in the cafe. Kareem (Kareem Savinontells Joanna that he cannot keep this up, he lied to the FBI and they know it.  He asks  if this is just to protect some “scrawny kid in a hoodie.”  Kareem  just described Elliot, not Tyrell.  Mr. Robot just underwent a key change, not only  with Elliot but with all the women of the verse.

There is, of course, Elliot’s uncomfortable cease-fire with his dead dad. Elliot is somewhat in control  now and his actions seem to be a mix of Mr. Robot and himself.  This side of his multi personality now serves, more or less,  as a guide.

There is a lot going on in this episode.  Despite the end where Ray has his thugs beat Elliott for looking at his website’s wares, “Logic Bomb” deals with the women.  Joanna Wellick, Angela, Dom  and Darlene are the focus this week.

Darlene is orchestrating some fsociety attack in Washington and she will use Angela to deliver a device to the FBI.  Joanna proves that Tyrell is not the only murderer in the Wellick family. Agent Dom DiPerro gets close to Whiterose, in his guise of State Security Minister of China, aka  Mr Zhang.

Call Me Dom:

The two talk in his “clock room” and play getting to know you.  The Jersey girl gives a little backstory and it is rather mundane, no Clarissa Starling here, and Zhang takes her on a tour.  He shows her his sister’s room and talks of alternative realities where 5/9 never happened and  the world is acting accordingly.

All this talk of other realties is a big hint to the FBI agent.  Zhang, like Elliot has different personalties. When he is doing Dark Army tasks he is the feminine Whiterose. As State Security Minister he is Mr. Zhang. The clear pleasure in his dress collection and his talk of alternate worlds is his confession of duality.

(Just as his statement moments earlier to Dom are a hint. “There’s more,” he says. Zhang then goes on to talk about Dom’s entry into the FBI. But the phrase itself is a hint to his split personalities.)

Later, as the FBI start to leave for their “tour” two gunmen enter and start shooting everyone. Dom moves quickly and hides behind the catering table. She grabs another agent’s gun and wounds one of the gunmen. He then shoots himself in the head.

Gunman number two then pins her down behind the table.  (Dom’s ear ringing is testament to how close at  least one of those rounds came to hitting her. This was a nice touch.)

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Grace Gummer as “Dom”

It is clear that this assault was orchestrated by Zhang/Whiterose. There was never any intention to share what information they had on the Dark Army.  This was a public relations exercise only.  Dom’s request for the hacking records generated  a death sentence.

Darlene and Angela:

All the women in the series step up.  Darlene pushes for Angela to be a part of their secondary  attack on E Corp.  She is also making a move on Washington.

Angela agrees to help Darlene. Her motives could be linked to Price’s refusing to promote her in the company.  This move is not necessarily retaliatory in nature. It could be down to reading things incorrectly.  If she has misinterpreted the lay of the land her planting the device at the FBI could be an escape route for her.

There is also the fact that Angela is covering her and Elliot’s tracks.  That CD she uploaded may have been covered up by her former douchebag boyfriend but, as they say, it pays be sure.

Joanna Wellick’s Lullaby:

Tyrell’s wife has turned out to be even more cold blooded than he ever dreamed of being. Sure he liked to beat up bums in alleys and murdered Mrs. Knowles but her never ordered the murder of anyone else. Of course it is not just the murder of Kareem that is disturbing but the manner of his death.

Given a paralyzing agent and forced to watch helplessly as first his apartment is ransacked by Joanna’s security man and then shot twice.  She says this was necessary to give Kareem closure. Otherwise, she says, we are “ruthless” murderers.”

This is so much store dressing. Given Joanna’s personality, it seems more likely that this was the added twist of the metaphorical knife. It must have been difficult to  listen to Kareem’s whining and bitching while paying out money she could ill afford.  This was her revenge.

As a final disturbing touch, she sings a Danish lullaby to the baby after her conversation with her “hitman.” Later  she gets the insert for the music box and a call. She believes it is Tyrell and clearly the caller is right outside her house.

Mr. Robot - Season 2

Elliot:

After getting the previous sys admin to show him the site, Elliot is in a quandary about what to do.  His Mr. Robot side tells him to let it go.  But the images that RT (Luke Robertson) gave Elliot access to have opened his eyes. He wants to believe that Ray is a good man but  has serious doubts. 

In the middle of the night, two of Ray’s men grab Elliot out of bed and drag him outside.  Elliot asks Ray what he is doing and the man’s answer is, “I told you not to look.” The thugs then beat Elliot to the sidewalk.

Despite a preview that shows Elliot injured and in bed, with Ray visiting, this could all be in his head. As one viewer mentioned on a recap: Why would they take Elliot out into the street to beat him. Where his cries of pain could  be heard and neighbors can call the cops…

Sidenote: The whole Ray storyline feels very “Bluebeard” in nature.  “Fix my site but do not look at it,” says Ray. Bluebeard tells his last wife that she has the run of the castle except for the one room with no key. He tells his new wife that she will not, of course, want to go in there…Like Elliot however, the curiosity is too great.  

At the end of Mr. Robot this week we have no idea if Dom has survived the gun attack or not.  Elliot is being beaten to a pulp and Angela has agreed to deliver the device to the FBI. Darlene is still using her “stolen” smart home as a base of operations.

A final thought on the Mr. Zhang/Whiterose issue.  Is Whiterose helping the minister of state security through the Dark Army. Is this all part of some plot to put the Chinese in charge of American finances? A type of world domination via the banking world? And is Elliot and his little team of fsociety hackers inadvertently helping?

Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays on USA.

CAST:

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.