"Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord?" Eps 2.2_init_1.asec
Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord?
Have we finally resolved the conflict between Elliot and Edward Alderson?
Before we find out, Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord is my Mr. Robot weekly recap.
If you have not seen Eps 2.2 (or any of the episodes before Eps 2.2) stop reading now *Spoiler Alert *
People Have Got To Know That This Movie Exists
The last few weeks have been about revealing origins and resolving old business, so we can finally get to the business of the battle between the authorities, Evil Corps, fsociety, and the mysterious Dark Army (who are playing both sides, but to what purpose?).
So let's start with origins. Last week we learned that the f in fsociety stands for FUN. Now we learn the origin of the fsociety masks comes from a movie most people, including me, have probably never heard of.
I think "Careful Massacre Of The Bourgeoisie," the movie Darlene (Carly Chaiken) and Elliot (Rami Malek) are watching in a flashback scene that goes back to when he first revealed the kernel of his idea that would later blossom into the 5/9 hack to his sister, is a parody of an 80's slasher film not an actual movie. But, either way, what's the point?
Why does, "everyone need to see" this movie," as Darlene suggests during the flashback.
I suspect it is because the deep truth of the origins of what became fsociety was always as fake as this movie to Elliot, while to Darlene, it was real.
Darlene is the one that suggests that "everyone has to see" "Careful Massacre Of The Bourgeoisie," not Elliot. Oh, and because the movie is where they got the idea for the masks.
For Elliot, as we find out throughout the rest of the episode, the real dilemma that is holding him in stasis at his Mother's house is both a lack of motivation and a crisis of ethics.
He got his boss killed (or thinks he got his boss killed), he potentially got the fsociety team phreaker Romero killed (as he finds out later), real people's money has disappeared because of him, and he isn't sure that he wants to go on.
In the flashback scene, Elliot says that the key would be what happens after the hack (not before or during but after). But, ever since the hack, Elliot has been in stasis while Darlene has been taking full responsibility for the continuation of fsociety's hacker activities.
Why is the symbol of what they have done a mask from a bad slasher movie about killing the rich? Why doesn't Elliot identify with that particular mask? We know for Elliot he may wear the fsociety mask, but what he sees in the mirror is the face of his dead Father.
For Elliot, the hack was revenge for what E-Corps did to his Father.
He says it is about saving the world but we found out definitively tonight that has never been the case. The face that he has to put on in order to be able to do all of the things necessary to get revenge is his Fathers face.
We learn that Darlene barely knew Edward (Christian Slater aka Mr. Robot). She asks in the flashback, "what was he like?" She admits that she didn't really remember him very well and that most of her memories are of their Mom's hatred for him. For Darlene, 5/9 is about the Careful Massacre. She is a true believer.
For Elliot, actually enacting the revenge only forced him to confront his conflicted feelings about his Father and his own mental illness. But, to finally resolve those issues It takes Ray (Craig Robinson) telling him to go play chess with himself (after beating him), Edward (Christian Slater) challenging him to a winner-takes-all game of chess for total control of their personality, and Leon (Joey Bada$$) giving him a pep-talk to convince him to even play.
In fairness, it was a really good pep-talk (Joey Bada$$ has been a pleasant surprise so far).
I have suggested many times already this season that the battle between Elliot and Edward is not really a battle between one good person and one bad person stuck in the same head. As Elliot himself confirms again tonight, he knows that both Elliot and Edward are really him. He plays chess to three straight stalemates because, as I have been saying the entire time, it has always ALL been him.
Think of the conflict more as a negotiation between parts of a personality and less like a battle between different characters.
Anyway, Elliot also finds his mojo again. He finally, at the request of Leon, decides to dream a little dream. He imagines himself, his friends, and his family finding happiness. He decides that this is a dream worth investing in. Elliot is starting to come alive again. Not just one part of Elliot the unified Elliot.
He is dissociative. This is about reunification.
But ultimately, it is Darlene that finally creates the breakthrough that allows her brother Elliot to come back from the cyber-dead.
Be A Man And Let Me Be Upset, Okay?
Darlene is in trouble.
Through a series of events, Darlene finds out that the FBI is now on to her and the rest of her fsociety compatriots.
She is approached by her former Dark Army contact and he lets her in on her being at risk and lets her know both that the FBI found the Coney Island hangout and also that Romero was on to them and something called "Operation Berenstain (is it about the Bears?)."
Darlene asks Elliot for help and begs him to come back, at one point she even says she would prefer "the other guy" but ultimately says what she needs is Elliot. She says that she can't tell him what is actually happening until he logs back on using their special online chat location and the code which forms the name of this episode.
Once Elliot decides that his motivation is his family and friends, and once he learns that she and his friends are at risk, he goes to see Ray and let him know that he is ready to help him with that computer problem that he needed help with (the site migration with the bitcoin wallets).
I am not going to put another section together for Ray, but let me say this about Ray. I am starting to believe there is 100% something we don't understand about Elliot's situation. It doesn't make a tremendous amount of sense that Elliot's only access to a computer requires an agreement to work for Ray.
I still believe it is unlikely Elliot is incarcerated, at least not in the traditional sense. It is very possible Elliot has committed himself or is living in a mental health care facility on purpose.
It is a tell that Ray speaks an awful lot like a therapist throughout the episode (I know Elliot also goes to see Krista but Ray could be a social worker or someone who helps people reintegrate into society after commitment).
The entire sequence where Ray and Elliot play chess sounds very much like a therapy session and Ray's "office" looks much more like a therapist's office than it looks like a neighborhood "businessman's." Now, I have no idea why therapist Ray has a site migration problem that he needs for Elliot to fix, but something is still rotten in whatever the hell part of New York Elliot's "Mom" lives in.
Why can't Elliot go to say Leon's house and use his computer? Why can't Darlene bring him a secure laptop when she visits? I am not saying that they aren't working this artfully. I am just saying that something in this scenario doesn't follow.
New York is a big town, Elliot knows lots of people, heck he could even go buy a laptop at a used computer store.
My earlier supposition was that Elliot had committed himself to a voluntary mental health facility (you can look back at my articles and check it out and this episode had some confirmation as you will see below).
I may end up being wrong about what exactly is going on, but something is going on. Otherwise, Elliot would just go find and use a computer. He certainly would not have to do some crazy job for Ray to get access to a computer.
Is this a magical NYC neighborhood that has only one computer?
Oh, one more thing, shout out to the odd but cool music box and strings rendition of Green Day's "Basket Case." Which is a song from the perspective of....a person in a mental institution, Just saying.
"I'm Sorry, All Of This Is In Your Head"
About a week ago, this guy wrote a troll article complaining about the music of Mr. Robot. Of course, I wrote a response. But, one thing he questioned in the article was Sonic Youth being used with Angela (Portia Doubleday) in an earlier episode.
Let me explain that now, it is called juxtaposition.
Sonic Youth music accepts chaos as part of life, Sonic Youth music is built from feedback and balances melody with noise. Angela is constantly trying to calm her own existential insecurities (feedback) with self-improvement tapes (melody).
The music is how she feels inside (chaotic), the self-improvement sayings are representations of how she wants to feel (in control).
Anyway, Angela has finally figured out why she was invited to join Evil Corps, they are bribing her so she will help them with the class action lawsuit regarding cancer caused by E-Corps (that killed her parents and Edward "Mr. Robot" Alderson).
So, Angela confronts Evil Corps CEO Phillip Price (Michael Christofer) and tries to negotiate a better deal for herself (in a total betrayal of her lawyer friend who helped her find the chink in Evil Corps class-action armor). But Phillip Price pats her on the head, tells her she is awesome but totally wrong, tells her to go home and go to sleep as he drives away.
Poor Angela, let her have a win, even if her win is working for the worst person in the world.
The Whole Party Was On Social Media
Apparently, fsociety put the entire "end of the world party" on social media. So now, the FBI can literally do facial recognition matchup mania on the web until they figure out every single person who was at the post 5/9 gala.
Oy Vey! That's not so good for fsociety.
Oh, Dominique DiPierro (Grace Gummer) is a really good FBI agent and the other people on her crew are even dumber than dirt (whatever that means). I understand the need for her to be seen as uniquely smart but also have no idea how other special agents could be as dismissive and dumb as these agents seem to be.
They also found a bullet casing (remember we still don't really know what happened the night before 5/9 between Elliot and Tyrell Wellick).
I Promise You That You Are Safe
Lots of Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen) this episode (all three episodes this year have been at least movie length).
The short form is that she is almost out of money, she goes to see her husband's former boss and finds out that he is holding up Tyrell Wellick's severance package on purpose.
Oh right, because Tyrell Wellick killed his wife.
He also tells her that he doesn't care if a Tyrell Wellick baby eats either (or something like that).
Oh, and remember when Joanna was with the bartender a few weeks ago and paying him to dominate her then dismissing him.
Now, she tells him she loves him because he is just a bartender and can't buy her all the things she wants. She says that other men have bought all those things for her and it never made her happy. She says that he "makes her happy."
What? I don't know what the game is here, but we are missing something here. Joanna Wellick is no simple woman who wants to settle down with some bartender guy. This is the same character that almost made Elliot meltdown just by looking at him funny.
Now I am supposed to believe that all she wants now is quiet stability?
I will accept she is complex, but please don't make her pedestrian. Let me just say that I hope she is playing him to use him for a larger, more sinister, purpose. I hate to wish ill on even fictional characters, but Joanna Wellick should be scary.
It's who she is.
Time Is Of The Essence
Last but not least, Whiterose is back (dressed as a woman again and with a butler who seems also to maybe be her lover).
Whiterose (B. D. Wong) is talking to Phillip Price about Angela, but we don't really know yet what she is after. She also finds out about the FBI progress on the 5/9 hack and tells her Butler to get as much information as he can so that they are ahead of the curve.
We don't know enough yet, but obviously, the Dark Army is playing both sides. It is good to have one of the two most intriguing characters from season 1 back (Whiterose). Will we soon see the other (Tyrell Wellick)?
Pretty good, if long, episode. Thank God our television show about a hacker trying to take down the world's biggest corporation might finally have the hacker back.
Okay, well that is it for this week. more next week!
What did you think of Eps 2.2? Let me know, leave a comment!