The season 3 premiere of Mr. Robot managed to do something to me that it hasn’t in quite some time….make me pay attention. Through its up and down second season there seemed to be a feeling of necessity to up the stakes, story arc, characters, etc. in order to surpass the first season which the viewer slightly exhausted at all of the “Wait, what you saw isn’t really what you saw” moments. Season three already seems to be going differently by not pulling you along with what ifs, but instead diving headfirst into the major problem and showing just how the characters plan on climbing out. Even after only one episode, there is a sense of unpredictability that’s beginning to grow as you watch because you are constantly questioning where the plot thread will take you.
Synopsis: Elliot realizes his mission, and needs help from Angela; Darlene worries about them coming out clean. (IMDB)
Writer: Sam Esmail
Director: Sam Esmail
Running Time: 49mins
The premiere picks up shortly after the season two finale where we left Tyrell, in an effort to preserve STAGE 2 of the fsociety plan to overthrow Evil Corps, shooting Elliott in the stomach. He is rescued by The Dark Army and placed in Angela’s care as his handler with the sole purpose of getting him to continue cooperating with them. Power across the city has been out for over a week as a result of the Evil Corps crash which appears way more than Elliott or anyone else in his inner circle anticipated happening. This leads to a conflict of conscience with Elliott as the episode progresses and he begins to realize that all of these issues stem from him and could’ve been prevented. This sets him down a path of redemption to undo everything he originally set out to achieve towards Evil Corps and results in him closing the backdoor used to set up an attack on Evil Corps’ backup servers. His plan begins by telling The Dark Army, via their American representative and what looks to be my new favorite character on the show, Irving, played wonderfully by Bobby Cannavale, just exactly how he will stop what he’s already set in motion, spelling out in no uncertain terms just how he disregards the consequences that will most certainly fall upon him. This looks to be the groundwork of Elliott’s main story arc throughout the season.
It’s after Elliott’s epiphany that it felt like the show would begin to slip back into the realm of predictability and it was easy to start losing focus, but thankfully it was short-lived. It wasn’t until shortly after the scenes with The Dark Army where the show started to resemble the Mr. Robot of old. Most noticeably in one the episode’s most powerful scenes (and best use of lighting) between Angela and Mr. Robot (aka Elliott, but in “dad-mode?”). As his handler, she is tasked with continuing STAGE 2 with Mr. Robot and keeping it from Elliott, which as your mind comes to grips with what exactly that entails it starts to take on a incredibly complicated story arc that will be exciting to witness over this season. The scene is amazing to behold because what begins as a pleasant conversation between lifelong friends devolves over the course of the night into what Angela actually has planned with Mr. Robot, which is the continuation of STAGE 2. The rival to this scene would have to be the perfect use of Daft Punk’s, “Touch feat. Paul Williams” that serves as an undercurrent as Angela and Mr. Robot begin to express their true motivations as to why they are still going through with the plan.
Ultimately, this first episode felt like a step in the right direction. The second season was not bad by any means, however, it was a slight regression to the powerful and singular first season. That being said, Mr. Robot seems to be entering a place where it will raise more questions than provide answers and will most certainly aim to confuse its audience to the point of madness right up until we feel as if we cannot take anymore. Then everything will seemingly click into focus and we will understand how all of the pieces that we’ve been fed actually fit together. I long for that moment and know that the payoff will be well worth it. The journey from where we are currently to that aforementioned point will be a very entertaining and unpredictable ride, one that I’m fully ready to just experience and trust through well thought out storytelling that I’m in good hands.
Score: 7.5/ 10