Mr. Robot: eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc

"How long are you gonna keep us in this analogue nightmare?"

Part 2 of Unmask finishes the job of setting the stage for the rest of the season. And we already have some pretty significant developments by the end.

First of all, Darlene's plan to get one over on Evil Corp works. Scott Knowles brought the $5.9 million to a public location near the towering Evil Corp building, where a courier delivers an fsociety mask with a message to put it on and burn the cash. He does so for all to see on the threat that they will permanently crash Evil Corp's banking networks. The scene makes fsociety's message clear. That they are still capable of controlling the folks at Evil Corp.

Price still is not taking any of this seriously, at least not publicly. He demands an enormous amount of government money to undo fsociety's machinations and blows off some White House reps who implore him to resign from his position as CEO. Price is apparently taking solace in the natural order in which the masses hold confidence in the important people in suits like him, and that so long as they remain confident they will continue buying into their lies and manipulations. He's grandiloquent about it, like all serious Evil Corp people, but he's also admitting, in his own way, that control really is an illusion.

It's an illusion many are willing to blindly accept, including Angela Moss. Having agreed to work for the conglomerate responsible for her mother's death out of financial necessity last season, Angela seems to have gone to the dark side completely. She is admittedly efficient and works hard as their PR Manager, but she's become an ice queen; not quite as bad as Joanna Wellick, but still pretty cold.

Where before Angela was on a personal crusade for justice, her main concern now seems to be raising her self-esteem by affirming how valuable she is. This seems to be her incentive for staying on at Evil Corp, personal gain or vanity. I can't fault Antara Nayar too much for suggesting Angela has no integrity.

But really, no one involved in this fsociety/Evil Corp war is innocent. This is literally true now that we've lost Gideon, the one who did everything he could to prevent all these destructive cyber-terrorist acts, for which he subsequently was blamed for and lost everything. He's approached at a bar by a man named Brock, who at first seemed like he was strongly flirting with him. That is until he pulls a gun and shoots Gideon through the neck, killing him. That sucks. He was such a decent guy and deserved none of this.

This Brock fellow is a strange case, since I can't tell exactly what his motive was. He seemed empathetic of Gideon's status as a great big patsy, but he might have been being mocking. His dialogue leaves it up in the air as to whether he's acting on behalf of Evil Corp or fsociety, and that's if he's not just some random crazy person.

Gideon's unfortunate death may not be in vain, though, since he was able to speak with the FBI beforehand. Though, it isn't revealed if he told them about Elliot or not. This, however, introduces us to Agent Dominique "Dom" DiPierro, one of our new leading characters. It'll be good to get a look inside the federal investigation in the Five-Nine attacks.

Meanwhile, our hero Elliot continues struggling against the ever-present Mr. Robot. His hopes of subduing his alter ego with a controlled regimen are shattered when he has a conversation with Ray, another new figure in Elliot's life. Elliot had previously flat-out refused to discuss the possibility of using his computer skills to help Ray in his business, but Ray later approaches Elliot again and is confused when Elliot maintains this stance. Because Mr. Robot spoke with him during a gap in Elliot's schedule.

Mr. Robot tries to gloat in his victory, proving once again that Elliot is under his control. Until Elliot has a strange epiphany. He gives in to a bout of laughter so insane it makes even Mr. Robot nervous, and takes it even further by reminding Mr. Robot that they are operating on a two-way street. Elliot rationalizes that if Mr. Robot can drive him insane with his constant torments, then he is just as capable of driving Mr. Robot insane with his stubborn inaction. This seems to work, since the next time Elliot blacks out, he awakens holding a phone. Tyrell Wellick is on the other line, sounding alive and well. Mr. Robot has given in to Elliot's demands. Maybe. We'll have to wait and see what Tyrell has to say.

Ones & Zeroes:

* Joanna is using some guy named Derek as a boy-toy. He's not entirely comfortable with the BDSM that she so prefers.

* Joanna also receives a package containing a music box and a cell phone. Near the end of the episode, a message is left on the phone. I'm assuming this is from Tyrell. The pattern on the gift box Joanna received was similar to something we saw from a close-up at the end of Elliot's flashback in Part 1.

* Elliot and Angela both have mic-drop moments here.

* Gideon's murder was especially jarring, considering the recent LGBT night club shootings.

* "Take Me Home" by Phil Collins

Quotes:

Price: That is the business model for this great nation of ours. Every day when that market bell rings, we con people into believing in something. The American Dream or Family Values, it could be Freedom Fries for all I care. It doesn't matter! As long as the con works and people buy and sell... whatever it is we want them to. If I resign, than any scrap of confidence the public is already clinging onto will be destroyed. And we all know a con doesn't work without the confidence. If this is the best idea you could come up with for a win, I shouldn't be the one resigning.
I like how the music here has this light, inspiring, almost presidential tone to it.

Ray: Look at these guys, what do you see? A lot of care and effort that amounts to a pretty shitty game. What does Maxine see? A bunch of dumb animals who can't think past getting a ball in a hoop. What do they want you to see? Badass homies, ready to kill if you step to them. The question is, which is the truth? Maybe all of them. Maybe none of them. Maybe truth don't even exist. Maybe what we think is all we got.

Angela: I have value. And even though you don't see it, they do.
Antara: They are barbarians in ten thousand dollar suits, but I can see your resolve. And I'm cutting my losses.

Mr. Robot: What do they see when they see you coming?
Elliot: (narrating) And this is why I'm different. Sometimes my mask takes over.
Elliot: Why did you talk to him?
Mr. Robot: Because I'm gonna make you realize.
Elliot: What? What will you make me realize?
Mr. Robot: That they see me.

Brock: It's obvious why they use you as their patsy. You give off a very honest, sympathetic vibe. You're the perfect vessel for their lies.
Gideon: Yeah well, I don't know what to say to that, but I will agree with you. It sure as hell feels like there's something bigger than me that's in control.

Tyrell: Bonsoir, Elliot.

This episode dropped some bombs, delivering one impactful scene after another. I couldn't be more locked in for this season than I am now. Four out of four fsociety masks.

3 comments:

Heather said...

Logan,
Great job sorting through the second part of this quasi-two-parter. There was so much there to sift through! The Gideon moment was very shocking. I also liked that scene at The Standard with Joanna. You don't see things like that often and it struck me as pretty original. Especially, for me, because I can't help thinking she's a new mom, too, which adds to the complexity. As aside, are you watching Hacking Mr. Robot? Just wondering your thoughts on it, if you are.

Mark Greig said...

I'm really not sure yet how I feel about this season, but I sure am loving the soundtrack. Sam Esmail clearly has a fantastic taste in music.

Logan Cox said...

Heather, I can't say that I have seen Hacking Mr. Robot or the Digital Aftershow. Though, I suppose I ought to sometime.

Mark, I agree wholeheartedly about Esmail's taste in music. A good soundtrack is something I always appreciate.