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:

Queen of the South: Quinientos Mil – 500 Thousand & Brenda (Recap/Review)

Queen of the South - Season 1

Queen of the South this week intensifies the tension as Brenda and Theresa try to buy their freedom. Last week saw the two women learning about the coordinates in the book. “Quinientos Mil” has James getting the Jimenez man out of the DEA safe house and the book’s first location found in Mexico.

The election is not going well for Epifanio and Camila gathers her Colombian contacts for a meeting. It looks like Cesar may have been taken out of the equation. Camila kidnaps her own daughter to keep Epifanio from grabbing her first.

James and his men locate the man they will rescue as Theresa and Brenda open the entrance to a tunnel.  They find a lot of dead bodies and react accordingly.  The two stumble out of the tunnel and after vomiting are caught by two men from the house nearby.

At the DEA safe house, the men attack and kill everyone but the man they came to rescue.  Camila soothes the nerves of the Columbian’s by explaining her plans. She will take over her business and freeze Epifanio out. Whether he is elected governor or not, she says, there will be peace between the Jimenez and Vargas cartels.

Theresa and Brenda are taken captive and questioned by the local drug dealer. He wants to know where they learned of the tunnel and who else knows about it.

During their questioning, the man reveals he knows who owns the car they arrived in. It is Brenda’s cousin’s vehicle. He is looking after Tony and keeping him safe.  Threats are made, and the dealer says that the car’s owner will be killed.

The women manage to broker a deal.  Rather than the haggled price (Brenda insisted that they ask for $500,000 dollars) Theresa asks for $250,000 for their silence. The local dealer agrees and lets the women loose.

He pays them the money but as they start to leave, Brenda panics and asks if her cousin, and her son, will be safe. The dealer realizes he has leverage over the two and says so. Grabbing Brenda, he orders Theresa to stop.

She runs.

There is a prolonged car chase and the men shoot at Theresa while attempting to run her off the road.  After a long chase, crashes  and Theresa is caught.

The pace of Queen of the South picked up this week.  A higher body count ensued after the attack on the safe house and although it was short, the shoot out was handled very well.

This penultimate episode proved that Brenda is the weakest link in this partnership. Not because of a lack of intelligence, but because of her concern for Tony. It was the worry for her son that allowed the deal to fall apart.

Epifanio may still win the governorship but he will lose his hold on Camila.  Although his wife may have won the war for control Camila has  lost her daughter as a result. Isabella was not happy at being taken away in front of her friends.

It will be interesting to see if Brenda manages  to survive their “extortion” attempt. With Parra revealing the existence of Tony, they have lost their leverage. Clearly Theresa is safe but Brenda may have signed her own death warrant.

There is one episode left in season one of Queen of the South. It is safe to assume that next week’s finale will also end in a cliffhanger.

The series airs Thursdays on USA.  Next week is the season one finale and as season two has already been approved, it should be a no-brainer. Tune in and see what you have to look forward to next 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

Queen of the South: Punto Sin Retorno – Point of No Return (Recap/Review)

 Queen of the South - Season 1

Queen of the South “Punto Sin Retorno” takes up right after Camila’s decision to kill Birdman. Now that the man’s death has been ordered everyone scrambles to make deliveries and move from their current location. There will be reprisals and Camila knows this. She heads to Mexico and Theresa runs.

Camila:

Mrs. Vargas has moved against the Jimenez cartel by taking out the despised Eric, aka  Birdman.  Moving her people out of harm’s way is only a precaution as she knows Epifanio will be blamed for Eric’s death.

Camila attempts to make Theresa feel better about killing the Florida drug dealer.  She also reminds Mendoza that they are “family.” Theresa argues that Vargas is still in business “because of me.”

Later, after Birdman is dead, Camila talks to the Jimenez cartel leader. She explains about Eric and why she killed  him. She also promises to get one of his lieutenants out of custody. They are now friends.

Epifanio:

Senior Vargas made a critical mistake in his dealings with Camila.  He opened himself up to compromise when he opened up two “fronts.”  Declaring war on his wife while running for governor caused him to take his eye off the ball.

Epifanio also misjudged Camila forgetting that she is strong character who never does “as she is told.” It looks like Vargas may lose whatever momentum he gained running for governor.

James:

Camila’s right hand man takes out Eric. First, however, he tells Kim to hide as there will be reprisals. She refuses.  While James takes out Birdman’s guards, Brenda is inside the house trying to sell the book that Theresa was given by her boyfriend.

Queen of the South - Season 1
Peter Gadiot as James Valdez, Blair Bomar as Kim

After killing Birdman (who dies with a threat on his lips) James finds the two pages from the book that Brenda had shown Eric.  James heads to the trailer by the lake and finds that Kim is not there. He calls repeatedly until she arrives.

Somewhat amusingly, Kim rants about never knowing if he is dead or alive.  Concerns usually associated with a cop’s wife.

Theresa:

Mendoza goes on the run. She keeps all her coke rather than delivering it. Theresa uses it to pay for false passports for her and Brenda.  She and her  best friend cannot make out what the  ledgers’s contents mean.

Theresa decides to sell the ledger to Birdman and sends Brenda to his house with two pages from the book. Eric calls and asks the leader of the cartel about  Brenda Parra.

Parra calls Theresa to say that Eric wants to buy the book if  he can verify the information. Theresa hears Birdman’s birds going crazy and realizes that James is there to kill him. She tells Brenda to get out of the house.

Mendoza and Brenda later  learn that the “code” in the book is actually  longitude and latitude coordinates.  They decide to investigate and leave Tony to keep him safe.

Thoughts:

It appears that James is still interested Theresa, even though he does tell Camila that she did a runner.  Camila has  managed to increase her business prospects and hurt Epifanio.   Theresa has secured a false identity, although it will take months to be processed, and it will be interesting to see why she stops running and starts as the new Queen of the South.

This move by Camila to grow her business will keep her husband  busy trying to salvage his run for office. Will this latest betrayal by Theresa cause Camila to decide she has outlived her usefulness?

Queen of the South - Season 1
Joaquim de Almeida as Don Epifanio Vargas

And finally, what will Epifanio and Camila do when they realize that Theresa is selling information about their  cartel?

Brenda, played by Justina Machado, is becoming a firm favorite in this series. Machado, besides bringing a sort of desperate, and inborn, bravado to her performance,  adds beauty and strength to her character.

Queen of the South airs Thursdays on USA.  There are only two episodes left in season one  so keep watching to find out what Theresa does next.

CAST:

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