Season: 3 / Episode: 1 / USA
Mr. Robot is trying man. They tryna go down in history as one of the greatest. Yea, I said it. One of the best to ever do it! I mean, taking the perfection that is Season 1 off the table, we still have moments of sheer cinematic prowess seared into our memories for all the right reasons. The FBI vs Dark Army Matrix level gun battle that went down in China. The bullet hailstorm that rained down on Darlene and Cisco in Lupe’s Diner! With so many scenes done in beautifully sweeping single shot takes, you would think they had an HBO budget.
Angela getting snitch-napped and dropped off in that shutter inducing room with the faux abused child and ancient computer before meeting White Rose? The 90s sitcom episode of nostalgic, coping litness! Colby and Price’s absurdly powerful conversation about annexing the Congo to China, with that 1914 German caricature map of Europe behind Price..coupled with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand convo. Men in rooms making world-changing decisions, remember dat? The brass bull balls hurdling from space, crashing through the roof on Capitol Hill! Joanna, the beautiful monster’s vile words for a man grieving his wife (who was killed by Joanna’s hubby). The intensity that was Portia Doubleday’s Angela negotiating with Philip Price. It’s all been so insane and gratifying. I don’t know how Sam Esmail directed every episode of season 2, but I’m 100% in this world he has created.
Now onto season 3.
We get our first shot of this season’s biggest Emmy winning addition, Bobby Cannavale, in this quirky, NY car salesman cover role as the Dark Army fix-it guy, Irving. I’ve loved every scene I’ve watched Cannavale in. From the 2003 Station Agent that he and
Tyrion Lann Peter Dinklage starred in, to his phenomenal portrayal of Gyp Rosseti on Boardwalk Empire. Irving goes hard off the bat and I’m here for every second of it! Irving is masterful in his debut scene at the new BBQ joint, Red Wheelbarrow (which makes its Easter Egg return) debating the cashier on what technically counts as a “visit” to get your next free meal after punching all the holes in your loyalty card. And on some G shit, why the hell should I have to come back to use my free meal?
He has to accept his no-free-food-getting demise as Tyrell calls him to help out with Elliot, who… ya know, has a bullet in his gut! “When we lose our principles, we invite chaos.” are Irving’s final words for the cashier as he mic drops on out of there. Irving assesses that Elliot is kinda still alive, takes a pic, and calls an ambulance. He goes down to his ol’ convertible and someone on the phone has him write the name “Angela Moss” on his hand. Tyrell Wellick is a mess after shooting the partner who said they’d be Gods after Stage 2, and it’s so gratifying to finally see what happened on the flip side of this E Corp attack.
We flash forward to present day and the lights in the city are shutting down across the board. A tour guide at E Corp is gloating about their awesome backup generators, not having a clue when we get to see the mastermind behind it all. White Rose. She’s the one who gets that picture Irving took of Elliot laid out. We pan out in another perfected cinematic sweep and see that White Rose is looking at some gigantic Nuclear Power Plant or Hadron Collider ready to do some diabolical shit.
Elliot wakes up from his lead nap and thinks “none of it was real”. Yea, well Angela hits him with a real deal wake up call and tells him electricity has been out for a week now. He got dropped off yesterday, by the people he “works for”, but only recognized one person, Tyrell Wellick. The Dark Army stopped her before she could confess to the FBI. In that moment of clarity, in front of the only person he has ever loved and trusted his whole life, Elliot decides he has to find Tyrell. Elliot decides he has to stop Stage 2.
Sidebar: JOSH GROBAN LONG SLEEVE TEE sighting!
Elliot navigates some NYC backstreets, passes by Wayne Murder Alley, and gets to the warehouse hacker lair he was shot in, but the place is wiped clean. Elliot wonders if the bullet that struck him killed Mr. Robot and only left him standing, but we’ve heard this train of thought before (fool me once, ya know). George R.R. Martin makes a cameo as Elliot’s landlord, then the Alderson siblings get back together… but it’s not like old times. Darlene tells Elliot that Cisco is dead, thanks to the Dark Army pullin’ up on Suzukis and lettin’ oozies (uzis) go like super soakers at camp.
She asks if this is Stage 2. She wants answers. Elliot finally keeps it a buck. The Femtocell wasn’t just to spy on the FBI, it was always a backdoor into E Corp’s database. It gave them access to blow up their building HQ and backup data, crippling the company forever. Darlene goes off about all the things wrong with that plan and Elliot yells “It wasn’t ME!” In frustration. This ladies and gentlemen was one of the first times we’ve seen him be this vulnerable about the things he can’t control.
She says she knows where he can get what he needs to close the back door fuckin’ up the grid. The setting shifts from the powerless streets of NYC to a lit ass underground hacker party as they walk into some geeky reverse Speakeasy. The city is up there suffering like a scene out of The Day After Tomorrow meets Soylent Green, as these kids get their anarchy glory on. It’s tech madness down here. It’s like a human Joe’s Apartment with all these creatures fighting over computer time. Elliot starts his 4th wall breakdown swag then does something I’ve never seen done so beautifully. He mutes the whole damn room around him.
He gradually turns Darlene’s volume up notch by notch. It was phenomenal. After setting the room to his perfect volume, Elliot picks a dude and coaches him through a way to beat this hacker game they’re playing. Some bouncers notice them bein’ sick wit it and start playa hatin’ from the sidelines. Darlene notices them, starts hyperventilating and runs to the bathroom in an apparent anxiety/panic attack. Elliot da Hack GAWD sits down on some fuck all that happy to be here shit that ya want me onnnnnn and starts putting in that coding work! Dark Army bouncer #1 comes over to stop our boy as Dark Army bouncer #2 unplugs our friend before escorting the siblings off.
WAIT THAT WAS JUST THE INTRO?! 26 minutes of straight HEAT?! Bast save us!
Elliot and Darlene receive directions and instructions. Elliot, being the reckless man that he is, heads straight for it. Irving pulls up in a cab and picks them up. He tells them they have a tail and proceeds to take said tail out. He finesses a call to the NYPD and gets the cops off their surveillance duty. Red Wheelbarrow makes its return once again. Irving asks for the table, much to Darlene’s disgust, and tells Elliot he needs to slow down and, ya know, rest his wound. He tells Irv that he’s calling off this operation and closing the back door. Irv asks our boy if he’s sure he wants to do that then leaves, but not before threatening the Dark Army’s ability to put that bullet back where they took it out of. He debriefs Darlene that “they’re calling off stage 2”. She’s all like, “yea that’s cool and all, but I need answers fam.” He ain’t got none and tells her that they need to stick together, then just starts rattling off all their associates that are either dead or in hiding. Darlene tells him to kick rocks and bounces.
Elliot really thinks he stopped Stage 2 as he walks down the street contemplating his decisions. He starts dropping those classic Elliot woke beyond belief bars and the show re-visits its hallucinogenic elements. The visuals on the screen rival anything you could conjure up! Sam Esmail’s creation shines when it goes there. Elliot zeroes in on this generation choosing security over privacy, weakness over strength with campaigning Trump, foreign cash printing, conglomerate image parallels flashing across the screen. He struts through the bowels of the gritty city and finishes off by blaming our division on money, and more specifically, blaming us for letting it divide us. Then blames himself. Owns it. Shit was powerful.
He goes and tells Angela to get him a job at E Corp, then tells her to watch him, because she’s “the only one that can tell.” Then kisses her before she backs off. But Elliot expected this. He’s known her his whole life and knows that’s her “power saver mode”. She asks him what he would do, if he had the power, what he would sacrifice to stop it all from ever happening. She asks him to stay the night and goes to bed. In the middle of the night, Angela wakes up and Mr. Robot is chillin’ in the cut, waiting for her. She knows it’s him cuz his eyes never look away, unlike her best friend, then suits up. She reassures him that Elliot thinks he corrected his evil mistakes and that they must leave Darlene out of the plans since she helped him close the back door. She vows to find a way to get back on the network and we officially have ourselves the first OOOOHHHH SHIT! moment of the season! Angela is all in on the revenge-filled anarchy and I don’t know how the feeeeellllll!
Angela goes to speak with Irving in the sewers of Manhattan and I’m pretty sure I see Master Splinter in the background. She reassures him that she’s managing the Dark Army’s asset like they asked and Irving is like, “that asset standing right there that acted like he never saw me a day in his life?” Angela claps back like “I said what I said.” They switch gears and head to the warehouse lair and Tyrell basically grovels at Mr. Robot’s feet apologizing about shooting him, and Mr. Robot is like, “Ehhhh I asked you to do that shit. Good looks. Let’s get back to work.” Then he does work.
On the bus ride home, he asks Angela whats in it for her. She dubs him and tells him they ain’t friends, despite the fact that she is literally communicating with her best friend since birth. He tells her he needs her trust and asks why she’s doing all of this. “Evil Corp killed my mom.” she says plainly. She wants justice for mom dukes, but how do you bring justice to a billion dollar conglomerate like Evil Corp? She didn’t know, didn’t believe in the plan until she met White Rose. She showed Angela the way to undo the damage that has been done. Then the power turns back on and the city that never sleeps is illuminated once more.
Mr. Robot Reboot
Anybody else see White Rose’s lap dog so mad cuz he ain’t gettin’ no shine!? Hilarious.
White Rose revealed that Mr. Alderson was working on this project without even knowing it and now his son is on the same track.
Also revealed he’s gonna off Elliot once they’re through with him.
Lots of time travel theories on the Nuclear Plant/Collider scene with White Rose. Found some pretty info in a few Reddit threads created a couple years ago… like before or during the 1st season (Esmail you preemptive beast). Some select quotes are, “was going to create a new post but there’s a secret particle collider in NJ and I’ve heard a tale of some Animatrix shit going on there.”
“Def NJ. I said it was secret… as in not on Wikipedia. duh. my cuz works there. Only way I even know about it is he got HAMMMMMERED day after the blackout hit and spilled his guts (in more ways than one. dude can’t handle his liquor).”
“def a hadron collider. My cuz is an egghead science nerd and super smart. I believe him. Even drunk as he was he made me pull out the battery and sim card of my phone before he started talking about the place. Something going on there has him a paranoid android… can’t get more specific right now. Says there’s a real Gestapo vibe about the place. says ppl go missing all the time.”
Looks to be another boundary-pushing season for Mr. Robot. Cant wait.