Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord? eps 2.3_Logic_b0mb.hc #MrRobot
Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord (or Logic Bomb)?
So, do you believe in the Hallucination theory yet?
I know it doesn't all make sense yet, and my wheels are spinning big-time, but last week Sam Esmail confirmed part of what I was thinking and this week, the artist FKA whiterose confirmed that something much larger and much stranger is going on here.
By the way, this episode was absolutely bananas .
If you have not yet seen Logic Bomb, stop reading now * Spoiler Alert *
"The Ideal Package"
Okay, ideal package, "ideal copy," close enough. The point is Elliot (Rami Malek) feels "Ambitious" (plus any excuse to include the seminal post-punk band Wire is good enough for me).
Elliot goes through all the things that he needs to do to hack the FBI and find out (or destroy) everything they know about fsociety and the 5/9 hack. Elliot basically gets ready to prevent them from, as Darlene (Carly Chaikin) put it, being owned.
But really what is happening here is that Elliot is feeling powerful again.
He is feeling his oats. He is literally and figuratively reconnected.
Elliot is feeling ambitious. He talks about feeling the "rush" of the hack. This is also where he creates and implants the "logic bomb" mentioned in the title that will self-destruct any trace of his work on the 5/9 hack so that he and his allies are not implicated.
A "logic bomb" is a set of instructions that are built into a program initiated when a certain set of predetermined conditions are satisfied (they are self-executing).
This whole episode is a set of logic bombs. An episode full of nesting logic bombs.
Ray (Craig Robinson), set a condition on Elliot. He specifically told Elliot not to look into his business because his work (his online business is very important to him, he prefers discretion). He specifically told Elliot "not to look."
Elliot chooses to ignore Ray because hubris.
He is feeling his own power again.
Remember that Elliot has two sides, the ruthless Mr. Robot side that will bring down the entire US economy and the Elliot side who at least thinks he is Robin Hood (or assuages his guilt over being Mr. Robot through playing Robin Hood).
Knowing you are a good enough hacker to take down the entire US Economy using a heating system interface probably makes it hard to see around the corners of your own hubris.
Anyway, Elliot gets Ray to bring RT, the programmer who quit Ray because he couldn't migrate his site because of something to do with bitcoins. I am pretty sure Elliot doesn't need to meet RT for any other reason other than trying to figure out what Ray is up to.
Elliot has one other problem, for some reason, he needs some device physically implanted on the 23rd floor at Evil Corps headquarters where the FBI is doing forensic recovery in order to execute his hack of the FBI. This is one of those times where I have reached the outer limits of my understanding of how these things work. So, feel free to fill me in by leaving comments.
Elliot has left the task of planting the device to Darlene. Darlene wants to have Angela (Portia Doubleday) do it but both Angela and Elliot tell Darlene to find another way in.
Elliot is trying to deal with Ray himself, even though this is usually Mr. Robot territory (Christian Slater) and Mr. Robot is telling him to stay away from learning about Ray's business.
Remember, the whole point of the negotiation between Elliot and Edward aka Mr. Robot was only to allow Elliot to be present (not black out) during the times when bad things need to be done.
Like I said before, hubris. Elliot set up his interior defenses for a reason. If you have seen the movie Time Bandits, think of Elliot a bit like John Cleese's Robin Hood, full of himself and not exactly street smart.
"Dude Obviously Knows His Shit"
So, to make a long story shorter, Ray (despite obvious reservations) delivers a beat up RT to Elliot. Elliot knows from the coding that RT did not quit because he didn't have the ability to migrate Ray's site so he starts using what looks like notepad to ask RT questions while they sit and work together on the site.
RT resists at first but then he tells Elliot that Ray runs a hidden TOR site that is accessible by invitation only. He tells Elliot to figure it out himself.
Elliot persists, so RT literally logs Elliot into the site (using the password "Dread Pirate Roberts" familiar I hope to most fans of the movie "The Princess Bride"). The odd thing, given that Dread Pirate Roberts was the Screen name of the dude that was behind silk road is that RT the hacker who quit working for Ray has the login. And guess what our good friend Ray does for a living, he sells underage sex slaves, military hardware, and contract murder for hire (shouldn't he have been DPR?).
Be careful what you search for it might turn out to be a psychopathic sex trafficker with murder as a sideline.
Well, after finding out all of this information, Elliot heads home and starts fantasizing about how he could quickly ruin Ray, Mr. Robot looks at him like he is literally insane (which I guess is kind of true).
Next time we see Elliot Ray's goons grab him and take him to Ray where it becomes clear that RT is now dead directly as a result of Elliot's hubris. Elliot also finds out exactly how not nice Ray is. Ray tells Elliot that he told Elliot not to snoop and precedes to have his goons beat the hell out of Elliot. Oh, and the goons appear to be Russian mob FYI.
Apparently, Elliot is now owned in the physical world. We will see what he can do in a world where he is both needed for his computer expertise but not at all trusted by the people holding his leash (as well as his only access to a computer).
I think I understand more of Elliot's situation now (more on that in a second) but it is still not entirely clear who Ray is or why Ray's computer is the only computer available to Elliot. But I do have some clearer thoughts on it now. This is a very complicated show and even things that are true are possibly both true and not true at the same time (also more on that in a few minutes).
I am also still a bit confused about why Ray doesn't have Russian hackers helping him (why would he need to reach out to people outside of his organization or other criminals)?
"I Promise You, Everything Will Be Okay"
We learn several very important things in this episode of Mr. Robot. One of those things is that it is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) if there is still a TW) and Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliusson) who were responsible for Elliot's move underground.
If you remember a week ago there was a guy who was promising to rat out Joanna about some secret. It turns out now that the secret they are protecting is some "skinny kid in a hoodie."
Still not 100% sure about this, but there is a decent chance that the knock on the door was Joanna and this nervous underling fellow. Anyway, this guy decides to unburden himself to Joanna about his current paranoia about being followed (and remember he already told her that he would rat her out rather than go back to prison).
After hearing his feats, Joanna turns to him, thanks him for sharing the information with her and tells him not to worry and that everything will be okay.
I am pretty much 100% sure everything is NOT going to be okay for this guy.
So earlier, Joanna received a call she hopes is from Tyrell and some mail with a baby rattle that probably is also from Tyrell. Later we see her rocking the baby to sleep singing it a lullaby as her security chief is leaving.
She asks him about our friend the rat. The security guy explains that he gave the rat a strong paralytic and then shot him in the chest and the head and made his apartment look like a break-in and left the rat dead or dying.
He asks Joanna why he had to use the paralytic, why not just shoot him and forget the other stuff.
Joanna responds, cool as a cucumber, that what separates them from cold-blooded murderers is that, through using the paralytic, they allow men to make sense of the reasons for their respective murders before they depart this mortal coil.
Joanna then goes right back to singing her lullaby to her baby.
I am telling you, Joanna Wellick terrifies me more than anyone else on the entire show. She is like a brilliant but cold boss of an alien species.
The important things about Joanna this week:
1. She is getting mysterious calls and gifts that we have to assume are from Tyrell
2. She was specifically involved in whatever has been happening to Elliot
3. She is terrifying.
"This Food Is Not Sanitary"
I love that line from Full Metal Jacket, "the duality of man, the Jungian thing Sir!"
Full Metal Jacket is an amazing movie. It is one of those movies that you will always learn something new every time that you watch it.
Back to Mr. Robot.
Dominique "Dom" DiPierro experiences the "duality of man" tonight.
Dom (Grace Gummer) starts out by nosing around E-Corps Stone Mountain facility walking right up to the heating interface (the weak link that allowed the 5/9 hack, where Elliot used the Raspberry Pi device to hack the HVAC system). In other news, we later find out that the someone else confounded any post-hack forensics by leaving fingerprints on the Raspberry Pi device).
Soon after this scene she and an FBI friend (she has friends?) find out that they are heading to China as part of an FBI team to find information on the E-Corps backup systems in China.
During the trip, they are supposed to meet with the Chinese Minister of State Security.
The Chinese Minister for State Security is the male version of whiterose.
During the initial meet, Dom steps on the discussion between her boss and Mr. whiterose with a question about the Dark Army (which, as we know, is also run by the female version of whiterose).
I think it would be safe to say that whiterose takes immediate notice of Dom (and not just because of her rude interruption at the meeting) and is much more interested in her than he is in her boss Mr. Santiago.
Sam Esmail says this relationship develops and deepens because of a "shared sadness" that they find in meeting each other.
Later, at a State dinner at Mr. whiterose's residence, she wanders into his room full of clocks (the clock fetish has been referenced several times in previous episodes). He explains that he is obsessed with time because it is finite and he has many things that he needs to accomplish.
He tells her he wants to show her something and he shows her a painting which I assume is a reference to the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. The comment that Dom makes after she sees the picture is that "revolutionaries make such beautiful art."
The idea of revolutionary art being displayed by the leader of the state security apparatus makes me think of one of my favorite scenes in the entire Matrix series. The scene is known as "the Architect Scene" generally and is about the dual nature of saviors and heroes (note also that the architect looks a bit like E-Corps CEO Phillip Price).
Whiterose asks Dom to explain how she became an FBI agent and she replies that she is both "disgusted" and "fascinated" by all of the brutality in the world. She concludes that the FBI is the perfect place for her to explore the tension between those conflicting feelings.
Whiterose shows her his secret collection of Qing Dynasty gowns. He asks Dom to touch one and she says it is the most beautiful thing she has ever felt. He replies that he feels that way everytime he touches the gowns. Sadness.
I partially suspect that what happens later in the lobby of the hotel might be because whiterose, in retrospect, let Dom see too much of his secret life.
whiterose says that the gowns belong to his sister, but as Dom mentions later, Mr. whiterose doesn't have a sister (unless you consider him and Ms. whiterose to be separate entities entirely).
So whiterose is both the Chinese Minister of State Security (I could not hear the name clearly) as a man and whiterose when he is a woman. He is also both the head of Chinese State Security and the head of the Dark Army.
Okay and here is the part that really makes my head spin.
If you have been following my Mr. Robot writing over the last week, you know that Sam Esmail confirmed to me in a Tweet last week the influence that the David Lynch movie "Mulholland Drive" has had on him.
This Tweet was in reference to my claim that in Mr. Robot's second season he might be following a Mulholland Drive-like arc, where a single character (in this case Elliot) experiences two separate but real timelines that are connected together by a single plot device (in MD it is a blue box).
I was pretty amazed the writer, director, and creator of a show I greatly admire responded to my query in the first place, but compared to this scene, that was window dressing
Whiterose tells Dom what she thinks the world would look like right now if the 5/9 hack had never happened.
Then he suggests that many alternative realities could be playing out right now and that the lives the characters are leading "right now" could be playing out along alternative timelines.
He concludes that contemplation about this moves him very deeply.
Here is a literal transcript of what he said:
I suspect that contemplation about this has been moving me very deeply as well for several weeks." Some believe there are alternate realities playing out that very scenario, with other lives we're leading?"
That is some crazy Sam Esmail breaking the fourth wall sh*t.
Cogitate on that for a few moments. I will come back to this.
"Look, Josh Groban Night"
When Darlene tells Elliot that she approached Angela only to be rebuffed, Elliot orders her to find a different way to get the physical hacking device embedded at Evil Corps.
But Darlene didn't give up. Somehow, I think, she gets Ollie (Angela's ex who is played by Ben Rappaport) together with Angela. Ollie, as you might remember, is pretty much a total DB and basically is the person who got Angela potentially implicated in the 5/9 hack.
At first, Ollie is just talking about the good old days when they were still together but then he starts working his way to trying to get her to talk, fairly obviously, about the disc they were blackmailed into placing into the AllSafe computers.
Angela being a smart person immediately figures out that he is trying to record her implicating herself on his cell phone.
Yup, still a douche.
And he still likes Josh Groban (sigh).
So, anyway, she asks him if he has talked to the FBI, he finally admits that he has, and now Angela knows she has to help Darlene and Elliot hack the FBI.
There is also a scene where Darlene agrees to give one of her underlings a raise and she puts him in charge of their upcoming DC operation (even though she doesn't seem to be too impressed with him (I kind of made the assumption that he was responsible for working Ollie into getting Angela on board but could be wrong).
Don't Insult the General Tso's Chicken on #MrRobot
We know that whiterose was deeply interested in Dom. We know she mentioned the Dark Army and seems to be, by far, the smartest apple in the FBI bushel.
We also now know that whiterose runs both Chinese Security and the Dark Army. He might be drawn to her but also be worried about her, because...
As Dom and the rest of the FBI team (minus the boss) are assembling in the lobby of the hotel two masked gunmen attack them (they seem headed right for Dom). She manages to survive as her companions get shot dead all around her. Dom manages to wound one of the attackers and once he is wounded he shoots himself in the head.
As the episode goes to black we have no idea how this scene concludes, we only know that Dom is still alive and that there is still at least one active shooter.
I am assuming that these are Dark Army folks.
Given what whiterose said about alternative realities. I want to suggest some theories of what could be going on:
1. Everything is straight, Tyrell Wellick helped Elliot go into hiding and potentially hooked him up with Frank and the Russians. It still doesn't make sense why Elliot couldn't just buy a computer, borrow someone else's, or have Darlene bring him one.
2. Everything Elliot is experiencing is an illusion. He is in some kind of institutional situation and the only thing that is real is when he is communicating with Darlene and/or Angela at his "Mother's house." In this world, Ray, and Ray's Tor site are not real or at least are something else that Elliot is translating into things that he can actually communicate.
3. Elliot has actually escaped into an alternate reality and connects to his other reality through Ray's computer (The Mulholland Drive scenario) and through his "Mother's House." Everything else he is experiencing is an alternate timeline created by the knock on his door at the end of Season One.
4. Most likely, in my mind, is a hybrid of 2 & 3. I think Elliot might have had a break which Tyrell Wellick helped him recover and relocate from. He is not interpreting and translating everything that happens through the means that make sense to him. Ray works there and the Russians are white coats at the facility. His connection to his former life happens when people visit him (wherever he is) or when he is on Ray's computer. Ray is probably evil, but not the way Elliot is translating it to us currently (unreliable narrator).
Let me also explain something else from the perspective of someone who has both struggled with generalized depression and panic disorder. People with mental illness are often trying to make confusing stimulus fit into the world as they think it should be. In other words, it would be very easy for Elliot to take what he sees and try to fit it into frameworks that would seem logical to a so-called sane person (or to what he thinks a sane person would think made sense).
If Elliot, for instance, were being abused in a mental hospital by what seemed to him to be demons, given his hacking background he might call the leader of those demons "Ray" and explain their evil through the lens of an illicit Tor site etc.
We call people unreliable narrators, but usually we mean by that that they are misleading us either intentionally or unintentionally. In the case of someone with a mental illness, it is possible that the narration is rendered unreliable because the author is attempting to explain the things that they are experiencing through a lens that they think will make sense to us.
It is also possible there is just no way to make what he is experiencing rational to us without putting it in a context of the "sane" world as he remembers it.
Before you laugh all of this off, remember that this was not the first time Elliot has told us that he was grabbed by sinister figures. In fact, this was not even the first time this season that Elliot told us he has been grabbed by sinister figures.
You might remember that instead of telling us exactly what he was feeling during his Adderal overdose Elliot explained what he was feeling through a parable of being abducted by shadowy government figures.
We have seen this play out before.
Anyway, there is one other important possibility, magical powers.
Remember in the Kernel Panic episode when Ray talked about people who have voices in their head being divine? So far we have the following potentially magic or divine folks:
and possibly also Dom and Angela
Not sure what I think about this, it is far-fetched, but it is a possibility.
Finally, Zhang (whiterose's name as Minister) said what he said in the context of the same characters living out alternate realities counterfactually (as if 5/9 had never happened). I am still trying to figure out what this means (since Elliot often refers to the 5/9 hack this can't be him). Will have to think on this a bit more.
One thing is for sure, it is going to be an interesting season from here on out.
That's all I have for tonight. It is 3:33 a.m.
What did you think of eps 2.3_Logic_b0mb? Let me know, leave a comment!