If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Dom has a close call; Elliot chases himself with Darlene on the lookout. (IMDB)
Writer: Kyle Bradstreet
Director: Sam Esmail
“We passed weird a long time ago.” – Darlene
This was a line delivered by Darlene in last night’s episode that can easily serve as this season’s mantra. For faithful viewers of the show, this has been an accepted notion that has served as a driving force for wherever the story goes. However, this season seems to be stretching even that premise to its limits by taking what was once an internal struggle between Mr. Robot and Elliot to a more external place where it’s not just the dual personality fighting, but the supporting characters as well who seem to have taken sides in this fight. And while Mr. Robot has hit a very strong stride in its third season that has rewarded its viewer’s patience with answers to some of the major questions dating back to the first season, this episode served as more of a pivot and push in a different direction as the season finale gets closer.
We find Darlene reaching a breaking point in the beginning of this episode where she is compelled to admit to a complete stranger that she was a part of the 5/9 attacks and committed murder. Currently, she’s being used by the FBI to help spy on her brother in an effort to bring them closer to Tyrell Wellick. Later in the episode, Darlene has a great moment of dialogue with FBI Agent DiPierro where she states that after everything she’s been through she has nothing to show for it; no social interactions, no friends and pretty soon no family. She’s about to turn on the only person that cared for her, her brother. What struck me as odd in this exchange was her ability to still work with the FBI at the expense of her brother’s relationship with her. Immunity is a very valuable tool, but if family was truly that important to her, one would think that it would influence her decision making differently. We see where the 5/9 attacks and the subsequent fallout was something she underestimated and the result shook her to her core so in a small sense to rectify the wrong she had been a part of the cooperation with the FBI makes some sense.
Where the episode took an interesting turn was its focus on the struggle between Elliot and Mr. Robot. Viewers knew that this moment had building for some time as Mr. Robot was showing cracks in his control over Elliot’s lapses in time ever since the run in with the psychiatrist, but this episode allowed the curtain to fall down long enough for Elliot to see what was going on and who was involved. The audience had always known about Angela and Tyrell’s continuing of the Stage 2 plan under Mr. Robot’s direction and so we were simply waiting for Elliot to catch up. The moment in where he pieced it all together was the crux of the entire episode as he came to realize that Tyrell, in a panicked state, questioning the leader he had followed blindly, and Angela, the friend whom he trusted, we colluding with Mr. Robot in an effort to try and make sense of the recovery files debacle that Elliot had caused.
As more and more is revealed to Elliot, it is easy to almost feel bad for him. He’s being used similarly to Darlene just by different people and it has reached a level where there is no plausible way out of his current situation short of eliminating WhiteRose entirely. Tyrell seizes this opportunity to assume command of the Stage 2 operation and with the full power of The Dark Army at his disposal he embarks on righting all of the errors that Elliot has been allowed to create to thwart the plan from going further. The date has been set for September 29th, ten days from that moment to destroy the recovery files building. There was slight foreshadowing in Irving’s reference of WhiteRose’s strict timeline and Tyrell knowing the risks accepted full responsibility.
While this episode was still enjoyable despite its lack of answers or crazy moments, it still felt slightly confusing. This was an episode meant to set up certain storylines as we reach the latter half of the season, however, while I follow the show closely at times it isn’t clear what it’s building towards outside the destruction of the recovery files. The full intent of the show seems to want to cause you to feel as helpless as Elliot, seeing everything in motion and not fully understanding why or what is the purpose until the final moments where it clicks into focus and we are left in awe of what had been building throughout the entire season in full view without us even noticing.
Its ability to do execute this flawlessly, is what has kept Mr. Robot one of the most intriguing shows on TV and I’m not skeptical of it running out of luck with this mode of storytelling, but I do wonder how they will continue to keep this up. Last night’s episode seemed to mark the start of a new shift in the Stage 2 plan this season as Elliot assumes more control of his life and Tyrell assumes more control over Stage 2. But as if the recovery files cannot be the completed picture. There has to be something more that has not been revealed yet, something that fSociety, Angela, Tyrell, Elliot/Mr.Robot or the FBI haven’t seen coming, but WhiteRose has been planning all along. We will have to wait for it all to click into place.