Mr. Robot: eps1.2_d3bug.mkv

“Now is not the time to be encumbered by the company’s tragic and shameful loss of our Chief Tech— TOO FORMAL! Goddamn it! Warm it up. Don’t be a cold robot. Again!”

We have seen inside of our awkward and affable hero, Elliot. Now in “D3bug” we get a freaky look inside of our mercurial and unsettling villain, Tyrell Wellick.

We learn that Tyrell is not the suave, collected, badass executive he has presented himself as in the last two episodes. We also learn that he is ruthlessly focused and determined to be the next CTO of Evil Corp. A position he is denied when Evil Corp’s CEO informs him that they have someone else in mind before he can even get a word in.

How does the sullen corporate bureaucrat vent his anger? By paying a homeless man to be a human punching bag for him, and not for the first time either. Though it was a scene played with horrible realism, the show doesn’t get much more symbolic than that.

After that lovely prelude, we find that Elliot did indeed survive Mr. Robot pushing him from the boardwalk. And, after eluding the hospital and those close to him, finds he is apparently back in fsociety’s loop if he wants. That’s to say, Elliot is fsociety’s loop. Without him, there is no plan, according to Mr. Robot.

Speaking of Mr. Robot, his explanation for why he pushed Elliot last episode is strange. He states that his resorting to violence was prompted by his inability to communicate to Elliot, and even suggests that Elliot’s father had done the same when he pushed him through a second-story window as a kid.

This comes as a huge relief to Elliot, who suddenly feels like he will attend a party at Gideon’s with his coworkers and that he’ll even try his hand at romance (albeit very awkward) with Shayla.

Truth and lies, deception and revelation, these elements are a big part of the show. This episode focuses on those elements heavily, specifically through the concept of debugging, which is the process of identifying and removing errors from computer hardware or software, flaws and weaknesses in a system that can be exploited.

We see the truths and revelations behind several characters, as well as their flaws and weaknesses.

Despite his constant loathing of society, we discover that part of Elliot would like to see the best in life and have meaningful relationships with people. Something he seems to embrace when he thinks he’s free from the hacker group’s chaotic revolution.

This is evident when he witnesses Shayla’s revelation: she doesn’t post her whole life online and is more than just some drug peddler. She has passions all of her own, which comes as a welcome surprise to Elliot. It also makes her vulnerability to men like the recently incarcerated Fernando Vera all the more tragic. After this revelation, I think he doesn’t just need her to be with him, he genuinely wants her to be with him.

Meanwhile, Angela sees through Ollie’s lies and forces him to reveal that not only has he been cheating on her, but he got them both hacked. The hacker is demanding they insert a corrupt disc into one of All-Safe’s computer servers, which could cost them their jobs and others quite a bit more. If they don’t, all of their credit card information will be sold to the highest bidder (including Angela’s father’s). Despite her shock and anger, Ollie is able to convince her not to break up with him, but they still have no way of getting out of this predicament cleanly.

This punch hits Angela right after she and Elliot find out that the recently jailed Terry Colby had a role in the Washington Township Toxic Waste Scandal, which led to not only the death of Elliot’s father, but the deaths of Angela’s mother and nearly thirty other people too. This revelation, one that was probably planned by Mr. Robot from the beginning, shatters Elliot’s dream of living a more normal life and successfully motivates him to rejoin fsociety.

The revelation about Terry Colby also prompts Gideon to reconsider the possibility of Elliot’s involvement in the recent Allsafe hacks. That’s probably going to come up again somewhere down the line.

Tyrell, for his part, operates almost exclusively in the realm of deception and lies, with truth only acting as a weapon to be used to further his agenda. For instance, having Anwar the Evil Corp assistant email him directly allowed Tyrell to hack him, letting him find out that he is homosexual, and use that truth to cold-bloodedly seduce him for the simple purpose of bugging his phone. This is likely so he can intercept any sensitive information that passes between him and the CEO.

We don’t know exactly where Tyrell or Elliot are going with their plans, and they may not either. But this episode, from start to finish, makes you want to find out.

Bits and Pieces

* We get a brief flashback of Elliot as a kid with his mother. It’s after his father has died, and his mother has no sympathy for her grieving son. She says that he was weak and a coward, and that Elliot is just as weak if he misses him. Growing up with this kind of bitterness, no wonder Elliot is so cynical.

* Kid Elliot was dressed exactly the same as adult Elliot. Hoodie included.

* Fsociety has already gained a lot of popularity within regular society after their last warning to Evil Corp. Their logo can be seen here and there now.

* Tyrell is like a more proactive and considerably less goofy version of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Especially in that whole opening “morning routine” montage.

* Love the scene in the hospital where Elliot explains how easily he can alter his medical records and manipulate other facets of the hospital’s computer system due to its poor cyber security. How the out-dated software, its one mediocre employee, and the hospital owners’ neglecting to pay for better security leaves them totally at the mercy of a good hacker.

* Darlene broke into Elliot’s apartment like it was no big deal again. For a guy as private and closed-off as Elliot, this is extra distressing. He clearly thinks she’s insane.

* Angela sees a man drop a wallet and races to return it to him, only to immediately be confronted by the woman whose purse and wallet that man just stole. When she tries to tell Ollie about it, he immediately cuts her off by schmoozing her, saying that she’s a good person “almost to a fault.” The thing is, he doesn’t seem to be wrong.

* Mr. Robot seems to be actively assuming a fatherly role over Elliot. He even calls him “kiddo.”

* At Gideon’s party, Lloyd was the only guy who really dressed for the occasion. I like Lloyd, he’s a small but funny character.

* Did Tyrell have sex with Anwar simply to hack the information on his phone or was he just mixing pleasure with his business? Do I even want to know?

* Angela looked about as happy about Elliot dating Shayla as she was when she walked in on Shayla naked in his bed. Is she worried about him? Does she just want him secure in the friend-zone? Or is it that, deep down, she’s actually in love with him? I’m banking on the latter.

* Perhaps the most striking part of the episode was the crazy Macbeth dynamic between Mr. and Mrs. Wellick. They speak to each other almost exclusively in Swedish, act more like partners in crime than husband and wife, and seem to respect each other as equals. In their first scene together, he coldly reminds her that their relationship and future is based solely on him. In their second scene, she is coldly advising him on how to handle his competition for CTO while commanding him to perform bondage sex on her. Which he does, despite worrying over her late-term pregnancy, which she does not. Like I said, crazy.

Quotes

Tyrell: You will be the next CTO of this company. You will be the next CTO of this company. You will be the next CTO of this company.
All work and no play makes Tyrell a dull boy.

Homeless man: Can I have three hundred this time?
Tyrell: (laughs) … Spoken like a true capitalist.

Elliot: Like I said, the most difficult thing about debugging isn’t fixing the bug. It’s all about finding the bug. For Evil Corp, Mr. Robot found their bug in me. I was the mistake that led to all of this.

Elliot: Leave.
Mr. Robot: Darlene said we need to talk.
Elliot: Leave. Now.
Mr. Robot: You’re right, we probably shouldn’t talk here. Let’s go to that bar next door.
Elliot: I’m not going anywhere with you.
Mr. Robot: Well, I’m not going anywhere until you do. So I can hang out here and create a scene or you can give me five minutes at the bar next door. Either way, I’m gonna have fun. Dealer’s choice.

Tyrell: Everything I do is for us.
Joanna: Us or you?
Tyrell: Us is me. (kisses her)

Shayla: You don’t actually know me. All you know is that—
Elliot: (narrating) Of course I know Shayla. I hacked her email as soon as she moved in next door. With a simple phishing scam, I hacked her password pretty easily—
Shayla: … I’m not talking about the stuff you can find online. I’m talking about the real me.

Elliot: (narrating) Shit! I’m gonna have to let him hug me, aren’t I?
Mr. Robot may aspire to be Elliot’s father figure, but I think Gideon’s the healthier choice.

Ollie: I know, I have a problem!
Angela: That’s my problem. I can’t be with someone who has your problem.

Anwar: You are a very strange creature!
Tyrell: I’m just a business man.
And I ask, what’s the difference?

This show just keeps getting more intriguing with every episode. Four out of four appletinis.

4 comments:

Raya said...

Great review, Logan!

I really like Elliot's relationship with Shayla. They're both equally sweet and messed up and in need of something better. Not sure if this kind of relationship is really healthy, but for the moment it's clearly what they both need (or maybe it's all they can get).

I find Tyrell fascinating. He's creepy and dangerous, but very interesting as a character.

"Kid Elliot was dressed exactly the same as adult Elliot. Hoodie included."
I noticed that, too. I wonder if it's how he actually looked as a child, or if it's what Elliot sees when he pictures himself as a child. Both options seem interesting to me.

I just noticed that the episode numbering is zero based. I love this show.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Great review! Please do all the episodes - I really enjoy the insights delivered here, it makes me se deeper into the episodes!

I should point out, though, that while Tyrell speaks swedish his wife speaks danish. Most danes/swedes understand each other, with a little patience and practice - as they would have.

On a side note, I love how I have to verify that I'm not a robot to be able to post this comment.

Billie Doux said...

This show is so complex that I really needed your review to help me stay on top of it, Logan -- thanks. :)

Tyrell, his extracurricular activities and his bizarre homelife, incredibly creepy and I think your American Psycho observation was right on point.

I was also wondering if, since we're seeing the world as Elliot sees it, if his mother was really like that, or if it is just how current Elliot chooses to remember her. Maybe that's what the hoodie on little Elliot meant.

I think Angela does love Elliot but they're in the straitjacket of being old childhood friends. I think he loves her back, too.

Heather said...

Logan,
Thanks for another great review. Did the little interviews with Sam Esmail air after everyone's watching of this show? They are pretty enlightening and help the viewer to see from a creative standpoint what the show is trying to do along the way here.