Mr. Robot: eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx

"Politics is for puppets."

Ohhh, 'twas another nitty gritty episode, h1dden-pr0cess was. This time on Mr. Robot, someone gets kissed and someone gets killed.

No, Elliot isn't kissed by Joanna. And no Joanna doesn't kill Elliot. However, that long-awaited confrontation was still pretty satisfying.

Joanna can still see through Elliot, and tells him that he's going to help her find out where Tyrell is. She gives him the phone, which she believes Tyrell is calling her on. Believing that he/Mr. Robot killed Tyrell and not really wanting to help Tyrell's scary wife discover that fact, Elliot tries to decline and leave. But Joanna, half-threatening and half-seductive, makes it clear that backing out is not an option.

Joanna is different from the last time we saw her. Whereas before she appeared ready to divorce Tyrell to be with Dererk, her guy on the side, she now speaks very highly of her husband and the things he's willing to do for her as her partner. Like, for instance, when she wanted a woman's earrings and told Tyrell to sleep with that woman and bring Joanna the earrings; they're her favorite and least expensive jewelry. So, I'm guessing Derek is on his way to getting the cold shoulder.

Anyway, Joanna wants Elliot to hack the phone she thinks Tyrell sent her. Elliot has no choice but to go along with Mr. Sutherland as his watchdog, despite Mr. Robot's reluctance. While shopping for his wares, hard and soft, the phone rings and Elliot answers. He hears the same heavy breathing Joanna heard, then nothing, followed by Mr. Robot disappearing.

At Elliot's apartment, he begins the process of hacking the phone. At the same time, he contemplates the vanished Mr. Robot's recent actions: his alter ego was eager to get back to the apartment, but he doesn't know why. Angela is also trying to get in contact with Elliot around this time.

While this is going on, Darlene has her own problem to deal with. The person Cisco found at Susan Jacobs's house was Vincent (Darlene's new henchman with the prosthetic leg), who he brings to Darlene half-dead and bleeding internally. We learn later that he and the other fsociety goons who pulled the Capitol Hill prank were involved in a car chase with police, and Vincent was the only one who got away. Darlene tries to coldly dismiss the idea of taking him to a hospital, but Cisco finally calls her out on her bullshit and makes her realize she is not in any way in control of the situation.

This breaks down Darlene's defenses and she opens up about herself to Cisco in the hospital waiting room. She tells the story of how she got separated from her family at a carnival when she was a little girl. She didn't mind being lost from them, and didn't even really mind when an older woman abducted her. She was rescued by police later the next day and brought back to her family. Darlene still wonders what her life would have been like if she'd stayed with that woman.

Unbeknownst to Darlene and Cisco, Dom DiPierro has begun tracking Cisco as her new lead in the case. This spirals into a public manhunt when she brings her findings to Santiago, much to Dom's chagrin. After Darlene and Cisco go to get something to eat at a diner, one of the nurses at the hospital recognizes Cisco's face on the TV and quickly leads the FBI there.

Elliot is able to manipulate the police into hacking the phone for him. Once they have the phone's location, Mr. Sutherland confirms that the caller is not Tyrell and leaves to deliver the news to Joanna. This allows Elliot to go meet Angela.

The last scenes are two confrontations beautifully intercut.

Elliot finds Angela on the train. She going to confess to her lawyer and the FBI in order to take herself out of the equation, feeling that they will never win in their struggles against the powers that be. She also talks about a past event where she found him raving in a museum about someone who wasn't there and asks if it was Mr. Robot or someone else he was seeing, but Elliot doesn't remember this. Angela tells him not to fool himself into thinking he can trust Mr. Robot. Completely torn over what he has done to the people he loves, Elliot leaves, hopefully on his way make things right. But not before he kisses Angela (finally!) for the first time. Before she can leave too, Angela is confronted by two ominous strangers.

With some snappy detective work, Dom is able to run down Darlene and Cisco at the diner. Unfortunately, we don't see this confrontation play out, since it is immediately followed by the arrival of a Dark Army gunman, who opens fire on all three. The shooter kills himself after being shot by Dom and surrounded by her backup. When Dom exits the diner, she is unharmed but her face is covered in blood. Someone's blood. Please don't let it be Darlene. I think the Alderson family has experienced quite enough tragedy.

So there you have it. Someone got kissed, and someone very likely got killed. Now, onto the two-part season finale.

Ones & Zeroes:

* The opening scene is centered on a meeting between Phillip Price and former CTO (and now celebrity) Terry Colby. Colby has apparently helped Price carry out a plan to persuade the President to allow China to annex the African Congo in exchange for a huge foreign bailout. Borders and politics mean as little to these men as ethics or decency. It's all just endless get-rich-quick schemes. The rest of the world be damned.

* Colby's got his own best-selling autobiography, "The Last Honest Man", an explicit spoof of Donald Trump's ghost-written best-seller "The Art of the Deal." Colby actually claims to have dirt on Trump, which he thinks he could use to worm his way into Trump's administration should he get elected. Oh joy.

* This opening is capped off with Price explaining to Colby his lifelong need to be the most powerful man in the world, an ambition which he feels he has pretty much fulfilled. Delusions of godhood certainly abound on this show. Colby even seems to be in awe of Price.

* Grade-A soundtrack dissonance with Joanna suiting up to harsh screamo music.

* I think Mr. Sutherland, the Wellicks' henchman, is an amusing character. Until this episode, he had hasn't much opportunity to show it this season, but he's kind of a dork. Playing video games in the store while Elliot is shopping, or randomly chattering to a disinterested Elliot about the weirdo clients he's had to work for.

* We get some viewer interaction in Elliot's apartment. When Elliot disconnects from his conversation with Sutherland to talk to us, he invites us to look for clues as to Mr. Robot's motivations. What could he be looking for in the apartment?

* Back to Darlene's childhood abduction story. Was she molested by that woman? Her wording made it sound as if she was ("I just looked at her and her smeared lipstick and let it happen"; the bed with the curtains), and there's a cut to Elliot's computer screen with the words "Sex Crimes Report" in the middle during her story. Darlene claims she didn't mind being taken from her messed-up family, saying she'd only miss Elliot. If she was molested, I guess that gives you an idea of how badly she was mistreated by her parents.

Quotes:

Terry Colby: You're trading countries like they're playing cards.
Phillip Price: Isn't that what history is all about? Politically, economically, geographically. Imaginary lines being drawn and redrawn, over and over again.

Joanna: Do you really want to say "no" to me?

Cisco: (to Darlene) You want to act like you're on top of things, but you're not. You're buried, way underneath. You're not a leader! You're not special! Yeah, you guys did the hack, but you fumbled your way into this ridiculous freak accident. That ain't leading! It's time to drop the charade, like this was all part of the plan, and wake the fuck up!
I hadn't really liked Cisco before this episode; what he did to Angela and Ollie last season was pretty slimy. Now it's kind of a shame if he's dead... which I'm kind of pulling for, since I want Darlene to live.

Elliot: (narrating) Is this the future I was fighting for? The system is hung, frozen in limbo. Did we lose the fight? Maybe wars aren't meant to be won, maybe they're meant to be continuous. Maybe Ray had it right all along.

Mr. Robot: These people are certifiable. We should be going home, not working with these whack-jobs.
This coming from the personification of a mental illness.

Elliot: (narrating) A cryptocurrency regulated by Evil Corp. The hypocrisy isn't surprising.
Mr. Robot: A special Evil Corp discount if we accept their new money. If you ever needed a sign that our work is not done, this is it.
This is in reference to E-Coin, which is rivaling the real-life Bitcoin.

Elliot: (narrating) How am I supposed to protect the ones I care about when every step I take puts them in greater danger. This was my plan, and I hid in a cage while everyone else took all the risk.

Three and a half out of four brownouts.

1 comment:

Thought Control said...

"Yeah, you guys did the hack, but you fumbled your way into this ridiculous freak accident"

This quote sparked something I've been reaching for, and not able to articulate until now. I like the way all the characters stumble (even the masterminds). Everyone seems to be rushing from one accident to another near miss to a fist in the head or their pants around their ankles. Sometimes a saviour turns up in the nick of time and sometimes they are blindsided by the totally unexpected (Elliot being brought down for dog-napping).

Really human reactions and no 'by the numbers' plot progressions that we are all so used to being fed. I'm binge watching the hell out of this.