Monkeys Fighting Robots

Welcome back, friend.

Yesterday marked the long-awaited return of USA’s Mr. Robot for a third season.  This article is a review and recap of “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h“.  It will contain spoilers, so don’t read any further than the end of this sentence unless you’ve watched the episode.

“When we lose our principles, we invite chaos.”

Irving

As anyone who watched the preview USA released a few days ago knows, Season 3 starts with new character Irving (Bobby Cannavale – Master of None, Ant-Man) in line at Red Wheelbarrow BBQ, dissecting the absurdity of corporate regulations when he gets a panicked phone call, which he answers with utmost calm.  It turns out the phone call was from Tyrell Wellick who, at the end of last season, shot Elliot to keep him from ruining Stage Two (the destruction of all E-Corp’s physical records).  Resolving a pseudo-cliffhanger, we quickly find out that Elliot is still alive.*

We are then taken to a nuclear power plant where a man giving a tour ponders the nature of reality “How many copies of ourselves exist and might our mental states be conjoined?”.  Walking past him is White Rose (BD Wong – Gotham, Law and Order: SVU), who reveals that Elliot’s father worked for The Dark Army (albeit without knowing that he was) before Elliot.  She also says that when the time comes, Elliot will die for them, just like his father.  Then, in a beautiful shot, the camera takes us down the tunnel of a massive apparatus of some kind (more on this below).

Awakenings

Elliot, who at this point thinks that Tyrell is an aspect of his own mind (and thus couldn’t have shot him), finds out when he wakes up in Angela’s apartment that Tyrell is indeed real, and so is the gunshot wound in his belly.  He can’t feel Mr. Robot in his head anymore and wonders if the bullet somehow killed him.  Then he sets out to stop Stage Two.  He gets to his apartment and finds Darlene, who tells him Cisco is dead, she was picked up by the FBI,  and she’s hiding out from the Dark Army.  She leads Elliot to an underground hacker area called 1984 and Elliot manages to close the ‘back door’ that would allow the Dark Army to destroy E-Corp’s physical storage facility, but before he can uninstall the malware, agents of the Dark Army stop him and escort him and Darlene out.

Upon leaving, the siblings are picked up in a cab by the mysterious Irving, who informs them that an FBI vehicle has been tailing them since they left Elliot’s apartment.  He makes a phone call on OnStar, referring to himself as “Detective Robert Abernathy” and says that the FBI vehicle is stolen and has OnStar shut down the engine remotely, allowing them to slip the pursuit.  He takes them to Red Wheelbarrow BBQ and this is where Elliot tells him he wants to call off Stage Two.  Irving gives the impression that White Rose will be disappointed, but that she believes “a plan lives or dies by its creator”, so Irving accepts.  When Elliot presses Irving for confirmation, Irving reminds Elliot how easily the Dark Army could kill him and Darlene.

Darlene finger

As Elliot leaves, he walks down streets devastated by the E-Corp hack and ponders what his revolution accomplished, and if he has done more harm than good.  Does E-Corp now have an even tighter hold over everyone’s lives?  Creator Sam Esmail utilizes a stock footage montage to show Elliot envisioning what the future could hold as a result of his actions, and it’s unsurprisingly bleak.

What if I told you we could make it like none of this ever happened?

He ends up back at Angela’s apartment and says he needs a job at E-Corp to fix what he’s done.  She tells him she’ll try, and asks him “What if I told you we could make it like none of this ever happened?”  Not just the 5/9 hack, but everything, including the deaths of Angela’s mother and Elliot’s father.  What would he sacrifice to make that happen?  He says that’s impossible and she plays it off like she was just tired.  When Elliot tries to kiss her, she tells him their prior kiss (at the end of last season) was a mistake.  Pained by this, Elliot says to himself that she never loves the ones that love her back.

Angela and Mr. Robot

After Elliot falls asleep on Angela’s couch, he wakes up as Mr. Robot, and we find that he and Angela have been working together, unbeknownst to Elliot.  Mr. Robot and Angela head to a bunker where they meet with Irving and Tyrell to move forward with Stage Two.  As the episode ends, Mr. Robot questions Angela’s motives and power is finally restored.

Questions/Theories:

What’s going on with Trenton and Mobley?  At the end of last season (if you missed it, I mean the very end, after the credits of the season finale) we saw Leon approach them outside the electronics store at which they now work and ask them for the time.  Was Leon sent by the Dark Army to kill them?  To recruit them?  Did he just want to talk about Seinfeld?

What is White Rose building?  It reminded me of images of the Large Hadron Collider.  Could this be some manner of time machine?  It seems a little far-fetched considering where the show has taken us so far, but with White Rose’s devotion to time, what else could it be?  And is this what Angela was talking about to Elliot, is this the way to make it like none of this ever happened?

What happened between Darlene and the FBI that we might have missed?  Has she been turned?  The Dark Army did kill Cisco, who seems to have meant more to her than she had admitted to herself.

What are Angela’s motivations?  Is she really doing this to get justice for her dead mother?  And what exactly did she and White Rose discuss?

 

*I say pseudo-cliffhanger because most people never thought there was a chance Elliot was really going to die, but a tiny sliver of my mind thought that if any show could figure out a way to kill its main character between seasons and still exist, it would be Mr. Robot.

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Josh is a writer and a lover of The Simpsons, Monty Python, The State, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, and Preacher. He spends probably too much time reading and has lately been attempting to eat the occasional vegetable, with limited success.
mr-robot-returns-with-eps3-0_power-saver-mode-hThe episode does a great job of setting up the new season. It features crisp dialogue, philosophical ponderings, and, as usual, some of the most adventurous visuals you'll find anywhere on television.