Mr. Robot: eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z

Mind awake. Body asleep. Mind awake. Body asleep. Mind awake. Body asleep...

The season's penultimate episode is one of deep contemplation. And there is a lot to contemplate.

In the face of a mad world on the brink of disaster, everyone is swimming in disillusion. All of our characters realize, in one way or another, that they are at the mercy of forces much larger than can imagine.

Dom and the FBI

The one who is probably the most relatable when dealing with this is Dom DiPierro. She has survived two bloody assassination attempts by the Dark Army, and now must accept that there's barely any hope of seeing justice done for any of this. Her superior, Santiago, tells her about the two-trillion dollar no-interest loan from China to bail-out Evil Corp. Because this money will seemingly resolve the economic crisis in the United States, there's no way the FBI will be able to touch China or the Dark Army now.

Dom is forced to take a few hours to rest, but she is determined to interview the other survivor of the diner shooting. Though, of course, we are not told whether the survivor is Darlene or Cisco. It's probably Darlene, though. Just saying.

But Dom isn't the only attractive female down in the dumps about their lack of control.

Women of Time

Angela spends most of this episode completely helpless. The silent and imposing man and woman Angela encountered when last we saw her abducted her and subjected her to a rather Lynchian journey this episode.

She is locked in a van and driven around for hours until they arrive at a suburban home. In the house, all the faces on the family photos are obscured with stickers and she is then locked in a dimly lit room with a fish tank, old school computer station and motivational posters ("Hang in there, kitty!"). Most bizarre of all, a little girl enters and begins acting out some sort of procedure, almost robotically. She uses the computer to ask Angela all kinds of weird questions, saying that if Angela doesn't play along, the little girl will be beaten by whoever is holding them. Once she has answered the questions adequately, the little girl leaves and the one behind all this enters: it's Whiterose.

Turns out Whiterose captured Angela because she was intrigued to learn more about her. Apparently, Angela should have been killed months ago, but has somehow survived and remained determined to work her own angle; although, it probably has more to do with the way Angela's presence affects Whiterose's rival, Phillip Price.

The main goal, though, was to persuade Angela to end her attempts to expose the truth about the Washington Township plant. The plant is of great significance to Whiterose's "project", and bringing the plant's instability to light could ruin whatever scheme she has in mind. Whatever that is, it's an all encompassing idea that Whiterose has been nurturing for decades. She manages to spin the atrocity that killed Angela's mom, Elliot's dad and many others -- as well as nearly all the deaths and disasters we've seen throughout this story -- as being for the greater good. She believes everything she is doing is for the benefit of humanity's evolution.

I don't know about that, but Whiterose ultimately succeeds with Angela by relating to her: they are both fierce women who seek to change the world through their force of will. We don't see the full 28 minutes that Whiterose allotted, but she was apparently able to sway Angela to her side in that time. Near the end, Angela is driven to Antara Nayar's case and tells her to forget about Angela wanting to confess. She also discreetly tells Antara to not call her anymore. Angela might be easily impressionable, but she's even more indecisive. I'm betting she's still out for her own interests, even if she is now aligned with Whiterose. Doesn't bother me at all, since I would never trust a Whiterose.

Whiterose and Price

That this season has shed more light on the "people who play god without permission" is something I really dig.

The power players like Whiterose and Phillip Price aren't only aware of the factitiousness of control, they actively use it to their advantage. Whiterose capitalizing on catastrophes in such timely order has given her puppet master status over the vast majority of this show's characters. And Price's greed, ambition and ruthless drive has allowed him to make the flailing American politicians beholden to him.

In his one scene, Price is telling Jack, the White House rep who deals with Price and Evil Corp, that he has no choice but to convince the President to make E-Coin equal to one dollar. It's part of his plan to get the U.S. ahead of China (who are controlling Bitcoin, apparently) after China just got America out of the hole financially. He disregards the idea that this would be unconstitutional, stating that this was inevitable and hardly even makes an effort to hide the fact that he is basically seizing control of American currency from the federal government.

These really are individuals who act as if they can and will do anything they want, casually sentencing people to death and completely altering the state of the world and selfishly treating it all like a big game. They are total villains; Price lacks any morality and Whiterose dismisses Angela's need for justice as "silly".

Fortunately, this show has a hero.

The Silent Observers

Unfortunately, that hero is batshit insane.

Tired of being kept out of the loop and having no sense of control, Elliot aims to get to figure out what his split personality is up to. Through a meditative exercise used to induce lucid dreaming, Elliot is able to effectively switch places with Mr. Robot and spy on him as he controls his body. He becomes the silent observer, on the outside looking in. This was by far the coolest part of the episode, for me. There seems to be no limit to the creative things they can do with Elliot's POV.

Elliot sees his alter ego dig a hidden cipher from out of the trash in his apartment and decode it, giving him a phone number. Mr. Robot calls it and receives the name of a location. Elliot follows him, but doesn't notice until he reaches the destination that he has already reassumed control of his body. At the meeting place, he finds a taxi cab waiting for him. Elliot gets in, and then so does someone else. It's Tyrell Wellick, alive and well. Unable to trust the things he sees anymore, Elliot freaks and gets them both thrown out of the cab. Tyrell assures a confused Elliot that their mysterious plans are close to fruition. Stage 2 is about to begin.

And so is Part 2.

Ones and Zeroes:

* Joanna is pleased with the information Elliot and Mr. Sutherland obtained for her last episode. She's likely on her way to the location of the phone caller, who we now know is not Tyrell.

* The scene of Dom talking to the Amazon Alexa IPA in her apartment lets us know that she is all alone and that the Five/Nine case is all she really has in her life. Considering how poorly the case is going, that's quite depressing.

* According to Jack, there's an energy crisis across the eastern seaboard. Things just keep getting better and better.

* That Casablanca reference at the end was very strange. But I suppose that's fitting, because Tyrell Wellick is a very strange guy. Good to have him back.


Dom: We can't let them get away with this.
Santiago: They're going to get away with this. Two trillion dollars, Dom. That's the miracle the world's been waiting for.

Santiago: I'm not saying I'm walking away. I'm just saying, we need to start finding a way to walk in between the mines and not on them. Whatever happened, whoever did this, they mobilized quickly, created a narrative and before we even knew it this was all in the rearview mirror.
You can't say Whiterose doesn't make use of her time.

Jack: How long? How long have you been pressing this pedal, how long have been plotting against me?
Price: Oh come on, Jack. We've known each other for years, you know full-well that I don't give a shit about you. So please, don't hold a personal grudge just because you lost. Defeat can still be profitable.
It's clear from the way he speaks that this is all a game to Price. Jack's reaction is very appropriate.

Whiterose: (to Angela) If I told you that your mother and Elliot's father died for a reason, would it make a difference? That they were a trade, a sacrifice for the greater good, that they gave their lives to take humanity to the next level. And you are both who you are today because of that event. You would be a different person, you wouldn't be sitting in front of me right here. You are at the intersection of all of it.

Whiterose: I don't want your proof. I want your belief.
Angela: Belief in what?
Whiterose: ... Did you ever think that if you imagined or believed in something, it would come true, simply by will?
Angela: Yes, actually I did believe that. But I'm slowly having to admit that's just not the real world, even if I want it to be.
Whiterose: Well, I guess it all depends on what your definition of "real" is.

Elliot: (narrating) Now I'm the silent observer. Like him. Like you.

Elliot: (narrating) This is no longer a question of what am I seeing. No, we know that's not reliable. The real question is what am I not seeing.
I believe this realization is to our benefit as much as Elliot's.

Three out of four dead fish.

1 comment:

Heather said...

That scene with Angela and the little girl was among the gutsiest things I've ever seen attempted on TV. Thanks for the review, Logan. I've been curious to hear your thoughts on this 2 part finale! If you're interested, the Vulture TV podcast interviewed Sam Esmail recently and it was a great listen.