Mr. Robot: eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v

“Are you freaking out? Tell me the truth, were you in on this the whole time? WERE YOU?”

Before we get to the big, revelatory moments that capped off this episode, let’s get those pesky major plot developments out of the way.

Last we week, we saw Mr. Robot and Darlene reunite fsociety. Turns out, this was Elliot’s plan and he wants to make their vision of the future a reality. Soon.

We finally meet White Rose, the mysterious figurehead of The Dark Army. Our impression of The Dark Army so far has been either Darlene’s ex-hacker-flame Cisco or several ominous Asian men in black. With Elliot’s meeting with White Rose, we now know why The Dark Army has been so serious and unpredictable.

Because White Rose turns out to be B.D. Wong as a trans-woman who proves very quickly to be even more of a ruthless, idiosyncratic oddball than any of the fsociety folks. Even Elliot has a hard time keeping up with her. White Rose apparently has a “fixation” with time, and by the end of their meeting she lets Elliot know what he has to do to make their plans come to fruition and exactly how much time he has left to get it done.

Unfortunately, this leads to Elliot sabotaging Gideon, canceling out the honey-pot he had implemented to trick fsociety. This is just one of many problems Gideon faces; in order to hack his phone, Elliot had Darlene broadcast another fsociety viral video condemning Allsafe and Gideon. The hackers keep crashing his network and ruining his reputation. As sweet as the guy’s boyfriend is, I don’t know if that will be enough to save him from whatever breakdown this glorious revolution will likely bring about.

Gideon’s not the only one in danger of a breakdown. Tyrell Wellick is now a dangerous man in the middle of a breakdown. He spends most of the episode as an awkward, bumbling weirdo trying desperately to look normal while working to set-up a new endgame.

That endgame was apparently proposing an alliance with Mr. Robot, who immediately turns him down. I’ll come back to this in the Quotes section.

Well, Tyrell goes home, gets liquored up, and starts raving to his wife about his discovery of a tech (Elliot) and through him a way to “god.” The police show up to question Tyrell about the murder of Sharon Knowles. Just when it looks like he’s finally gonna fall apart, Joanna suddenly stumbles in the kitchen. There’s blood on the floor, and Tyrell thinks the baby’s coming. There’s also a bloody fork lying on the counter.

That’s right, Joanna forced a premature birth so her psycho husband wouldn’t get himself thrown in prison. That’s as cold as cold bitches get, I think. It’s clear at this point that, despite Tyrell’s crazy narcissism, Joanna is the one in control. And it seems she’s no longer going to be slowed down by pregnancy.

Back to Elliot, not only does he hurt his boss, his friend, and a common good man all in one with Gideon, but he also realizes how far he’s let friendship with Angela deteriorate. She doesn’t even know him anymore, and by the end of the episode Elliot isn’t even sure if he knows himself.

This comes about after he’s revealed to Darlene that their victory over Evil Corp is imminent and they share a tender moment. Everything seemed to be going nicely. Darlene suddenly tells Elliot how much she loves him. Elliot kisses her. Then Darlene freaks out. For a moment, I was as confused as Elliot. Until she started crying and asking him to tell her who he thinks she is.

By the time this scene came around, I had pretty much already forgotten about that weird opening scene where Darlene shows up at Angela’s ballet class. In hindsight it was beautiful case of misdirection: when Darlene walks toward Angela, the camera focuses on her backpack (containing the gun she stole), suggesting that Darlene might mean Angela harm. Then they start talking as if they’re good friends.

I guess by the time Elliot kissed Darlene I had taken that scene with Angela and assumed that she had simply ingratiated herself into Elliot’s life in the wake of Shayla’s murder, while also forgetting how bewildering it was.

The revelation that Darlene has been Elliot’s sister the whole time was a huge moment. It was very interesting watching the season a second time and paying close attention to all of Darlene’s interactions with Elliot in hindsight, like the way she looks at him when Mr. Robot is “introducing” Elliot to the fsociety members. Through this show’s powerful use of the unreliable narrator, we, like Elliot, thought Darlene was just a nutty hacker-girl who wouldn’t leave him alone when, in fact, she was simply a concerned sister. It was a good twist. More importantly, it was a twist I had not been expecting at all.

I can’t say the same for the second twist. I think we had all guessed by this point that Mr. Robot was some type of figment of Elliot’s imagination modeled after his dead father. While extremely well-executed in that closing scene revealing that Elliot deleted his own file from his computer and left it all on a blank disc, the various warning signs about Elliot’s sanity (or lack thereof) and the numerous allusions to Fight Club kind of gave it away.

Nevertheless, they are revelations that make us question everything, and will certainly be expanded upon in the penultimate episode.

Bits and Pieces:

* B.D. Wong is always a welcome addition. He can do a lot with that tranquil demeanor of his.

* When we first see Elliot in this episode he’s staring at a framed painting of what looks like a farm or a ranch. The camera focuses in on a silhouetted figure standing by the wooden fence in the foreground. It kind of looks like a little guy in a hoodie. Foreshadowing?

* Tyrell’s paranoid, heavy close-up in his first scene was as hilarious as it was disorienting.

* With Mr. Robot and House of Cards, it seems Michel Gill is good at playing a boss who is constantly getting undermined by his subordinates.

* I never realized until the reveal, but Elliot and Darlene look like they could be siblings, and they both look like they could be the children of Christian Slater and the woman who plays their mother. I love when actors who are cast as family members actually look as if they could be related; part of the reason I love Game of Thrones. Excellent casting for the Aldersons.

Quotes:

Darlene: Why can’t the world just take care of itself?
Rich guy: Because the world is full of stupid people, and I get paid a lot to be smart. Hey, there’s not just the rich and poor. There’s you, in the middle somewhere, the consummate survivor.
As smug and intolerable as some of these rich boys on this show are, this one does have a point. The world already thought of “taking care of itself” a long time ago, through systems of government. Now some work and some don’t at all, but either way we, the people, put them in power to essentially regulate our world. If the ones in power are corrupt or bad, it’s as much our fault as it is corporate bureaucrats or politicians. So the world can’t just take care of itself because not everybody in the world can be expected to be as proactive and uncompromising as the five or six weirdos in fsociety.

Elliot: (narrating) I hurt Krista. I don’t feel good about that. I hope you’re not mad at me. But you have to admit, she’s just like everyone else. Too afraid to peek over their walls for fear of what they might see.
While possibly staring at himself in a painting.

Joanna: We’ve worked hard to get to this point. Don’t unravel now.
Too late. Also, was she trying to clean blood off of Tyrell’s shirt?

Angela: God, say something!
Elliot: You’re right. We don’t talk anymore.
Angela: … It’s so strange. I really miss us.
Elliot: Why is that strange?
Angela: Because I never thought I’d have to.
Elliot: (narrating) Hackers. We inherently trust no one, including each other. I’ll never be able to tell her. There will always be this divide. My wall that she can’t look over. And she knows it.

White Rose: Sixty seconds and this meeting will be over.
Elliot: Wait.
White Rose: The concept of waiting bewilders me. There are always deadlines. There are always ticking clocks. That’s why you must manage your time.
Elliot: I’ll find a way to remove the honey-pot.
White Rose: Until sixteen seconds ago, you were not aware there was a honey-pot. This does not inspire confidence.
Elliot: Wait.
White Rose: There’s that word again.
Elliot: We’ll take care of it. You know, you could have told us about the honey-pot weeks ago.
White Rose: Every hacker has her fixation. You hack people, I hack time. So you should know, when I set a time-line, there’s a reason. You have fifty hours and twenty-three minutes. At that point, when all parties are ready, we will initiate the hack.
Elliot: We’ll do it. Maybe next time—
White Rose: Understand something, Mr. Alderson. After I leave, you will never see me again. There are very few people in my life that I have enough time to see more than once, and you are not one of them.

Tyrell: Aren’t you forgetting that I know your dirty little secret? There are people close to you who wouldn’t be happy if they knew what I know.
Mr. Robot: We’re both too smart to let pettiness dictate our actions, we’re better than that. Weigh the pros and cons, do what you need to do. As soon as the tabulations are over with, you’ll know that telling anyone about that does neither one of us any good. In fact, you’ll come to realize that the only thing to do in your position when it comes to me… is nothing.
This was another out of nowhere encounter. Tyrell had no interaction with Mr. Robot until this scene, and he initially speaks to him the same way he speaks to Elliot. You can tell Tyrell’s surprised at the way Mr. Robot’s talking to him, when he shouldn’t be, since Mr. Robot talks to everyone like that.

Tyrell: You’ve pushed me to this point.
Is it bad that I believe him?

Joanna: I will not let them take you. You will not leave us.
Bloody fork!

Elliot: (narrating) I avoid myself. Why? I’m afraid. Okay. Afraid of what? Finding too much, too little, nothing at all. Do I even exist? See me, Elliot Alderson. I am here. (punches out mirror) Now I’m gone.

Mr. Robot: … I think we should talk.
Indeed.

I’ve almost got the season wrapped up now. Four out of four bloody forks.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

Terrific episode. The Darlene reveal in particular was such a shock, and yet it made total sense. That's excellent writing there. And Madame Wellick is utterly bananasauce.