Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I write about urban roots music, television, and occasionally politics. 

My motto is Explore, Enjoy, and Share new Music! Enjoy!

Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord? eps 2.6_succ3ss0r.p12

Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord? eps 2.6_succ3ss0r.p12

Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord?

What happens when an episode has no appearances from Elliot (Rami Malek) or Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). In my opinion, greatness!

Who Mr. Robot's Landlord is the name of my weekly recap of the show Mr. Robot.

If you have not seen eps 2.6_succ3ss0r.p12 stop reading now *Spoiler Alert*

"Let's Keep This Friendly"

Many people will most likely complain that there was no Elliot in eps 2.6. I think that is crazy, this was an outstanding episode.

The women of the show, all extremely interesting and capable, dominate.

One of the things that I loved most about this episode is it filled in a theory I have had of Sam Esmail's approach to character development for the two-year run of the series. I have long suggested that he looks at every character, and probably most people, as capable of both great good and great evil. 

I have suggested that as in life, most people do not have any idea the heights or depths that they are capable of reaching until they are placed in a situation they don't know how to deal with. I always go back to reading Stephen Crane's classic book "The Red Badge of Courage" as a kid and of course watching Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies) in Saving Private Ryan as an adult (basically the same story).

More on that in a second.

Anyway, Succ3ss0r starts with a flashback to when Mobley (Azhar Kahn) met Trenton (Sunita Mani). Mobley walks by her at a coffee house and asks her if she is a "revolutionary" because of the kind of milk she adds to her coffee. Of course, he immediately realizes she might think he said that because she is Muslim and gets appropriately awkward.

They end up sitting next to each other and Mobley finds out Trenton has an Apple and wants to prove his phone is faster. She suggests they use a site she knows (you would think Mobley would know better). And of course, she hacks his phone while he thinks he has won some idiotic phone "speed contest."

I remember getting played in much the same way in a month long game of Diplomacy. One of the people playing was a woman who came to me for advice on how best to handle her turn (playing to my male ego). Next thing I knew, I was virtually out of the game after she had used everything I told her against me.

Brutal.

Luckily for Mobley, before Trenton had time to take him to the cleaners, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) showed up and introduced them to each other. Turns out Elliot was supposed to show to butt did not. Darlene reads Elliot's 1% of the 1% speech to them and apparently this is how the core members of fsociety first met (aside from Romero, and we learned how he was recruited by Mobley earlier in the season).

The flashback ends and we are transported back to Mobley, Trenton, Darlene, and Cisco (Michael Drayer) sitting around the table in Susan Jacobs apartment. They are working on reaping the benefits of Elliot's logic bomb and Angela's femtocell when they discover that there is an FBI conference call upcoming about Operation Berenstain. 

They record the conversation, which turns out to be a call between a number of highly ranked FBI agents who are conspiring with 23 corporations to listen to and track the phone conversations of over 3 million people under the theory that they could possibly be connected to the 5/9 hack. During the course of the conversation, the FBI also mention that they have specific surveillance on 16 people and then correct themselves and say it is 15 people because one of the suspects died. The last thing they mention is that all of this has been done without the permission of Director Comey.

They upload a new fsociety video of Darlene in the mask of the Gentleman describing the FBI call and then playing it to Vimeo and they release it into the wild. Just as they are debating what to do about this new information about being surveilled.

Mobley seems particularly freaked out and ready to cash it in. Cisco says that if Mobley gets caught by the FBI he might as well just kill himself before the Dark Army finds him.

And then, out of the blue, Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt) walks in. Remember her? Madam Executioner? It is her apartment that fsociety took over (she is basically just coming home at the worst possible time).

Next thing we know, they are zip tying Susan to her pool ladder. 

They try to leave her there, but she keeps on screaming and Darlene tells Trenton to shut her up. Susan begs Trenton to let her go to the bathroom and while Trenton is starting to cut her loose Susan makes some anti-Islamic statements then starts to scuffle with Trenton. Trenton ends up knocking her head against the wall and knocking her out cold. She goes to get Darlene.

Darlene says that they can't take Susan to a hospital until they "own her." The team gets to hacking Susan and finding everything they can to try to blackmail her. Ultimately, they do turn up some information on Susan and Darlene goes in alone to work her.

"I'm Happy To Get To Look You In The Eye"

Way back in the episode that had the conversation between Darlene and Elliot as they watch "the Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie" I commented that Darlene had two motivations, a naive and almost cartoonish relationship to the idea of "revolution" and also a strong anger about the death of her Father that she barely knew.

Some of that anger is explained now.

Darlene tells Susan that she remembers her from when she was four and watched Susan laughing at the plaintiffs after she got E-Corp cleared of all charges in the criminal version of the Cancer litigation (Angela resolved the Civil version of that litigation on last week's episode) She tells Susan that they have proof she has been fraternizing with judges several judges who had handled cases that she was involved with.

And here is where it gets crazy.

Susan agrees to go along and work or Darlene. And as Darlene is cutting her lose, she just reaches out and shocks her with a handheld stun gun, right directly in the chest.

Susan falls right into the pool water dead as a doornail.

When the rest of the crew comes down, Darlene acts like there had been a struggle and that she had used the stun gun to calm her down.

But then Mobley asks, rhetorically almost, how she had missed all of the stuff in her emails that they had just hacked about her heart condition, all of the Doctors notes etc.

Everyone looks at Darlene like she might be a murderer (with justification).

Darlene tells Mobley and Trenton to leave and that she and Cisco will clean everything up.

One of the first things that she says to Cisco (during a mission to dispose of the body at the pet crematorium from S1) is that she "Didn't know" that she could "do that." And when he tries to suggest that it might get better she says:

"No, that's the thing, I don't feel bad."

"I thought when the time came that something would stop me, but it didn't."

People often have no idea what they are capable of until the moment they are put into a crazy situation.

In case you are wondering, the last time they went to the crematorium (to burn all of the 5/9 computer materials) they let all the animals free. As a result, the employee requires more money this time and Darlene pays him in E Coins from Susan's hacked account. There was a visible QR Code, so I suspect that is another easter egg.

Darlene now knows she is capable of murder. Susan was a terrible person, who probably caused or covered up E-Corps complicity in many deaths. But Darlene definitely murdered her.

Apparently, however, Cisco wasn't really listening.

After they dispose of Susan's body Darlene stays at Cisco's place. In the morning, while he is in the shower, she decides to check his computer. 

Turns out that Darlene can read Chinese characters, and she sees that Cisco had a camera on her and had told the Dark Army that he had her with him. They confirmed that they have a backdoor into her FBI hack from Cisco's delivery of the femtocell device (we knew this) and that they want him to keep tabs on her until phase 2 of their operation begins (I think this probably means that they were about to clean house or something similar).

Cisco gets out of the shower and finds his computer smashed on the floor. When he turns around, there is Darlene swinging a bat right at his head.

When the time came, nothing stopped her.

Darlene 2, DA or FBI 1 (Romero)?

Everybody Want's To Rule The World

Most of the action during this episode happens on the 4th of July. Angela (Portia Doubleday) has decided to celebrate at a Karaoke bar with the guy she picked up at the bar and slept with several weeks ago (he doesn't have a name on the show, IMDB lists him as 'inconspicuous man' and his real name appears to be Deshane Granger).

She seems to be relatively drunk.

Angela tells 'Inconspicuous Man' that she needs to get a drink and on her way to the bar she runs into one of the people who knows her Father. He calls her out for working for E-Corps and suggests that it must be awesome for her Father to know she is working for the company that killed her Mother. 

He finishes by saying, "Who do you think you are.?"

After looking very upset for a few seconds she walks up and tells the guy that he is 60 all he has ever done with his life is clean up shit (he is a janitor) and that she is 27 and makes six-figures working for the biggest company in the world. She concludes that she is just getting started and that is, "who the hell she is."

The Next time we see her, she is singing her song which is a particularly sad version of Tears for Fears, "Everybody wants to rule the World" from their Songs from the Big Chair album.

I know this immediately because, and I am embarrassed to admit this, I had a very short Tears for Fears fanboy period in high school. So much so, that my parents still shudder whenever the song "Shout" is mentioned.

Even worse, in order to impress a woman in college, I got tickets and took her to see Tears for Fears dance around and hit a few keyboard buttons. 

All my hard-won music credibility out the window with just one admission.

Sigh.

Anyway, Tears for Fears is a really interesting way to think about Angela in general.

Her version of the song is very sad and oddly beautiful. 

She seems to always be walking a thin line between broken and ferocious.

I was on Reddit a few days ago and tried to open a discussion about what Angela's game would finally turn out to be.

Does she repeat affirmations to herself because she is inherently insecure and needs help to be successful at work and in life?

Or does she repeat affirmations to herself because she is trying to pull off something massive at E-Corps and is terrified that she will be found out before she makes it happen?

Her character is such a mix of insecurity and confidence, I suggested before that the reason they have used the music of Sonic Youth in relation to her is because Sonic Youth's music is the same strange balance of meticulous timing followed by chaos and feedback.

I still have no idea what her endgame is.

Finally, we see Angela sitting at the bar hitting on an older man (who I think was Mark Moses who you might remember was Duck from Mad Men). No idea how she got rid of Inconspicuous Man but she did. They joke about him being twice her age. But Angela makes it clear she wants to go home with him.

I speculated earlier in the season that Angela seemed oddly excited about her dinner with Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) and strangely broken up when it turned out it was a dinner for four. 

I am kind of baffled by this, I won't lie to you.

But it does raise another possibility that is often present in the case of PTSD, trauma, or abuse. It is possible that what is motivating Angela is a drive to "Mastery." What I mean by that is that she is trying to take control of what traumatized her by taking control of it and living it out herself. 

If she were insecure, for instance, about an incident of gun violence in her youth, she might become obsessed with guns. In this case, since she was traumatized by "Masters of the Universe" she might be trying to become a "Master of the Universe" to protect herself from her feelings of trauma and insecurity. In other words, she could be saying, one way to ensure that they never hurt me again is to become as powerful as they are.

This mental coping mechanism is very common, but rarely works. 

Anyway, I hope that I am wrong about that one.

I kind of love that this episode is mostly about the really strong women characters on Mr. Robot. I am also thrilled that they are so complex that they frequently baffle me. Not in just the sense that I can't always tell where the story is taking them but also in the sense that they are constantly surprising characters.

This is a show absurdly rich in great characters and great actors. An embarassment of riches.

"Immunity is on the Table"

The first time that we see Dom she is questioning the businessman Dom hooked up with in Season 1. As you may recall, he was the owner of the gun that got transferred by Darlene into the popcorn machine at the original fsociety headquarters that Elliot used to shoot Tyrell. 

You may also remember that when Dominique "Dom" Dipierro (Grace Gummer) found fsociety headquarters she found a spent casing from that gun. Well, now she has traced it back to the businessman (no I have no idea what his name was) and they are questioning him.

For what crime, you might ask? 

Do you remember when New York Jet Plaxico Burress was arrested for having a handgun (and shooting himself with it) in NYC? 

That is what they have him on.

Dom, says that she will give him immunity from prosecution if she just gives her a name. 

I suspect that the name he knows is "Darlene."

Meanwhile, Mobley is on the run after the debacle at Susan's house.

First, he has a discussion with Trenton and advises her to leave town. She says that she can't leave her family. He says that she should never have gotten involved with fsociety if she couldn't leave. They split up.

He hires someone to make sure his house is clear of agents, but almost the minute he gets inside and starts to pack there is a knock on his door, he looks out the window and there are a ton of FBI vehicles.

The next time that we see Mobley, Dom walks in and starts questioning him (after holding him all night in the interrogation room) and seems not to know that he is Mobley (not his real name which apparently is "Markash" or something like that. She confronts him with the flier for the end of the world party and tries to make it seem like she has something on him.

She tries to leverage him into giving her information on Tyrell Wellick (which must really convince him that she doesn't know much at all about what is happening on his side of the street).

When he sees that Dom doesn't really know what is going on (maybe for the first time ever) he lawyers up.

Dom talks to her boss Santiago (Omar Metwally) and he orders her to cut Markash (Mobley) loose. He says that the release of the Berenstain conversation has gotten almost everyone above her on the Bureau task force fired. He says that holding someone without evidence is impossible in the resulting poisonous political environment.

Dom doesn't really know much about fsociety, but I suspect she is now onto Darlene (because of the businessman).

After he is released, Mobley sends Trenton a text saying that they are burned and for her to meet him at the coffee house where they first me and then he wipes and dumps his phone. That is figuratively and perhaps literally the last we see of Mobley.

The episode actually ends with Trenton sitting in the coffee house wondering where he is. It seems that he is two hours late. 

Part two of the DA plan seems like it has been initiated, I am guessing that Mobley was the first casualty.

We also just learned that Dom's favorite movie is Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. That is pretty funny. 

One other quick aside, it turns out that the person I referred to as "Inconspicuous Man" is working for Dom and that she had him ingratiating himself with Angela Moss. 

Lots left to resolve and that is without even seeing Elliot or Joanna Wellick at all this week.

Well, that was a pretty intense hour of television. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

What do you think about the new sociopathic Darlene?

What is the ethical difference between carrying out the hack and ruining people's lives and physically ruining people's lives face to face (Susan)? If any.

What is your theory of Angela Moss?

Did you think it was a good episode too, or did you dislike it? 

Have You Heard This (Yet)? Vince Staples + The Raincoats

Have You Heard This (Yet)? Vince Staples + The Raincoats

The "Cold Maniac Maps" #Spotify Playlist (#OPS Transmission #21)

The "Cold Maniac Maps" #Spotify Playlist (#OPS Transmission #21)