Are You Ready for a New Sensation? Mr. Robot, ‘eps3.1_undo.gz’

So, I forgot to mention it last week but how in the hell did Darlene get away from the Feds?!

Elliot is going to his new job at Evil Corp, INXS on the soundtrack as he makes his way through the city and into his office building. It’s his chance to hit ‘Undo’ and try and stop what we’re still all calling the Dark Army hack when lets just own this shit and call it the Whiterose Masterplan. Because this show is so smart, after his ‘I’m the bad guy’ realisation last week, Elliot appears to be growing out of … well, Angry College Kid years, and maybe Evil Corp’s just some big dumb business, and maybe he’s just growing up.

Even as we montage him signing his contract, buying office friendly clothes, popping a few Zoloft to keep himself on the level … we realise he’s just as bitter and removed. On his subway trip, the riders are all just Emoji Heads, but so is Elliot, and it turns out he might not be that bitter. He might be okay with this.

He talks about just joining society, as the Human Resources training video he watches talks about ‘Your Role At E(vil) Corp!’. Elliot can’t fix everything, not the encrypted data, but since he’s gotten himself a job in the recovery team he can defend the fort and fix as much as he’s able.

He learns, incidentally, The Tower is now entirely filled with those easily-flammable, all important paper records so he has a plan. The montage switches to his efforts; repeated meetings with managers suggesting they have the documents digitised on location, rather than shipping them to New York, to protect against any kind of single point failure. When managers dismiss him, he hacks them, finds cause to get them not merely fired, but arrested by the feds — and then he’ll move on to the next manager.

In the meantime he gets into the shipping databases and in contrast to Price’s RAINS of Chaos, Elliot gently drizzles chaos by screwing with the deliveries and in essence, making it look like the records arrive in New York, but really having all the outstanding documents shipped back and forth and back and forth between depots while the drivers and depot managers get angrier and angrier at each other. In a nice nod to how well-trained we are by the structures of society, both shipping men just cling to whatever his own direct instructions tell him to do, neither one seeming to think they should just call someone to clear it up.

Elliot acknowledges this is risky; the more managers who ignore him, the longer he has to keep stalling, while also making it look to Tyrell and anyone paying attention that documents are still arriving in The Tower. Elliot talks about how easily the servers could be turned into bombs but the non-Elliot people protecting it are incompetent mooks. Elliot is in his third meeting with a manager who is, to our collective shock … paying attention. And she loves the idea, and sets up the next meeting. Elliot literally doesn’t know how to react. Hehe.

Elliot is content his mission is well underway, so spends his time purging Evil Corp of all the bad apples, the embezzlers, sexual harassers, Ponzi schemers … More and more Evil Corp execs are scooped up by the FBI. To Elliot’s mind, once Evil Corp gets back on its feet, it’ll will be pure and good!

He reasons that fixing the world doesn’t have to mean tearing it down, you can try and make it better, which of course, is true. Elliot declares he feels great! The explosion on the soundtrack suggests he should worry. He arrives at work one day and tries to log in, and something happens. Elliot admits the truth. Fine. He’s not okay. The loneliness, that wretched monster from season one that would leave him weeping in the corner of his room, has come back, worse than ever. Elliot sobs in front of his TV in his dark, empty, little apartment. He’s back in his corner, wondering to himself and to us why he feels so empty. Even the drugs don’t help, and he doesn’t know what to do.

He goes to see Krista who explains her landlord let her see patients at home so that they can both, you know, earn a damned penny and stay alive. She tells Elliot this … quite pointedly.

Krista tells Elliot it’s his birthday; he totally forgot. She mentions their last session, where they discussed Darlene and why Elliot hasn’t seen her. Elliot says Darlene is one of the reasons Robot comes out, and he hasn’t seen Darlene in a while  — and no Robot — so … She hits Elliot with ‘How does that make you feel’ and Elliot non-answers until she pins him down.

They acknowledge he misses Robot, or for Elliot being part of something important; that meant something. Elliot goes somewhere in his head then, a memory playing out across his face because Rami Malek is wonderful. He talks of a time they were kids, and he and Darlene spent a snow day together and bonding over their shared beloved film Home Alone. He’s laughing about the memory! Laughing! It’s beautiful! He says they planned to take a picture of a snowman they built, and Krista asks what they saw when they went back with the camera?

They didn’t go back. Because that was the day of Elliot’s ‘accident’, when his father pushed him out of that window. Krista … did not know this, turns out. Elliot thought he had told her, remembers it, in fact. He’s certain he did. (Maybe you did in a different timeline and you just keep remembering the wrong ones, bro, just throwin’ it out there.) To Elliot, it’s just a story but Krista wants to know what made him think it just now? Elliot, after a long (award winning Rami Malek) pause … does not know.

That was just … such a good scene. Hot damn.

And then we’re with JOANNA! BELOVED! DARK QUEEN! She’s on the in-show talk show with that Frank Cody fella. He tells the audience that true to Joanna’s scheming, Scott Knowles faces charges for murdering his own wife (Sharon), after supposedly confessing to Joanna while he was battering her. And, her goofy boyfriend apparently managed to sell his side. She pulled it off. I mean of course she did, but … Guys, I know what she’s done is unimaginably wrong, to falsely accuse an innocent man. But, also you can’t help but be in fucking awe of this woman. Holy SHIT, Joanna.

Cody is very sympathetic and supportive and of course he is, because Joanna has turned everything up to Eleven and OWNS the interview. She calls filing for divorce from Tyrell a moment of weakness, and swears faithful love to her husband. She gets emotional about how much she loves him, and it’s the only honest moment of the interview. She and the baby are driven home by her murderous bodyguard.

Fsociety released another video and way too clearly hints that they are going to blow something up. It is not the the smart videos of Elliot/Robot. It’s being watched by … yep, Darlene and her new Frenemy, Agent Dom and yep, Darlene is now their inside source, and damn damn damn. She calls the video out as fast as I do, though it’s the same Vimeo account as the others came from. She figures Cisco gave Dark Army access, and they reveal they STILL think Tyrell is the heart of this thing. WHY. THO?

Okay I have to pause for a second because Captain Cindy and I spent hours on this last week. I’ll try and keep this brief, though but; Why is Tyrell so important? According to ‘established’ ‘facts’ (and we all know that means bugger all on this show) Tyrell met Elliot at MOST six months ago. The show thus far would have us believe that’s when they met, and then for some reason (and don’t give me the passed over for promotion thing cos I don’t buy that was enough, Tyrell just went 100000000% in on Elliot and the whole damned scheme. WHY? We were debating this back in season one, who is Tyrell? Was he Fsociety all along? Several of his scenes suggest he’s not at all, but his relationship with Elliot constantly seems to suggest at a much longer history than their onscreen one. I don’t buy that Robot called Tyrell from prison (on unsafe phones);  they clearly have longer history an Tyrell is the centre of everything.

Case in point; Last week meeting Irving, Elliot wondered if he got ‘Red Wheelbarrow’ from ‘Them’, Dark Army, I guess, or the other way around. Here’s the kicker; Elliot got Red Wheelbarrow … from Tyrell. Or rather, Robot did. What does that mean?

Anyway, Darlene tells the feds Elliot and Tyrell aren’t speaking since five weeks ago, and invites them to just fucking ask Elliot. They don’t want to spook his relationship with Tyrell, to which Darlene insists, there is no such relationship, to which I say, see above, Darlene, because girl … Also, Darlene doesn’t actually know Elliot and Tyrell know each other. Wait, what?
There is, by the way, a fourth person in the room, out of sight a little bit. Dom brings up an audio file of Elliot’s call to Tyrell in the prison. Darlene’s jaw drops.

Back in Joanna’s car the bodyguard, Sutherland, notices they’re being followed (sidebar; I love this Sutherland who takes his work soincrediblyseriouslytothepointofmurder). Sutherland pulls over and confronts their tail, hauling him out of the car. It’s Joanna’s goofy ass ex-Derek, drunk and sad and so, so dumb. Aaw bb. He threatens to admit to his lie, so for his trouble his solar plexus is entirely crushed, and while he tries not to be sucked into the black hole Sutherland just punched into his belly, he’s given a simple warning; retract your statement and you will die.

He’s told he’ll never see Joanna again. Sutherland gets back into the car, thinking them safe, but Derek has a gun, and shoots Sutherland. Joanna grabs for his gun, but then … oh what, wait. What?

Wait, what?


What just happened?

He shot her. He shot Joanna.

She’s just … dead.

Derek Motherfucker lines up to, I assume, kill the damned baby too, but Sutherland is somehow alive and kills that motherfucker dead.

I … guys ,did that just happen? Is this real?

And then because we’re not in shock enough we cut to Joanna’s exposed skull and peeled back scalp. ERM. THANKS, NO THANKS.

Obvious Double Agent Santiago is just a shitty, shitty shit about sending baby Wellick to foster care, and keeping Joanna’s horrific murder a secret so they can still get Tyrell. Dude, trust, if you announce that he’ll come right to you. Dom believes Darlene about the video, even though Darlene didn’t know about Tyrell, and still thinks the Dark Army are involved. Santiago worries about Darlene running off but Dom, who is always both so smart and so oblivious, thinks she’s fine.

Darlene is at Coney Island meeting Elliot, and she’s sort of mean about him remembering her anger at him from last week. He shrinks a little, and aaaw, Elliot. She lies she wants to say Happy Birthday, and he knows that’s not it. He calls her his ‘trigger’ and she’s angry, and rightfully calls him out on thinking he’s the only one whose childhood was shitty. She wishes their dad was there and Elliot’s eyes widen like ‘THIS IS KIND OF MY POINT’.

Darlene is, in fact, leaving (HA!) and just wanted him to know. She says for her, the last year was not about the mission but about being close with Elliot. This is so sad. I want these two to be happy siblings. He talks to her about their snowman, and because Darlene knows What That Means she asks if he wants to talk about ‘it’. He asks her to stay with him that night because he’s afraid to be alone. Aaaw you kids!

Satan Incarnate, Philip Price gives a talk at G20 talk to a room full of very rich people about the success of the Ecoin project. At this point, by the way, anytime you see a purchase made on screen is via peoples’ phones and the Ecoin digital currency, it’s a very clever thing. Price though, is mad, because despite China giving them that trillion dollar loan which allowed Evil Corp to save the economy in the first place, they’ve begun using Bitcoin as their own common currency, in direct competition with Ecoin. In the audience, Zhang looks somewhere between furious and quietly delighted, as Price’s ire. Price is rolling with it and calls this an act of currency war.

Zhang, (in full Zhang mode) raging, visits with Price. Price won’t even let Zhang finish, and demands Zhang make China sign the accord to, oh yeah, ANNEX THE CONGO. Which, is a thing they can just do. Price wants the currency war to end, as the world needs China to embrace Ecoin. Other countries may pull out. Zhang puts it as simply as possible ‘Your success will always follow mine. I don’t give a fuck about your accord. Until I get my UN vote, forget about your accord’.

BUT, Price is not done. He’ll pull the UN vote he’s worked so hard to secure. Zhang turns back, smiles. Calls it an empty threat and then decides to ‘remember’ to finally tell Price about meeting Angela after she smuggled documents out of Evil Corp. Did …Zhang just throw Acolyte Angela under the bus, just to get a dig in? Holy Fucking Shit, Whiterose. Stone fucking cold. Zhang smiles, and talks about the urge to shoot Angela’s eyes out if they weren’t just so hypnotising, and heavily suggests, to Price of course, that they went to bed together. Zhang warns Price not to mistake Zhang’s generosity for generosity, and leaves on a dark look. Price looks like he’s he needs new underwear.

At Elliot’s, he sleeps while Darlene has been on his computer, and is going to sneak out. She pauses to look at that photo of their day on the beach. Elliot is awake and knows she was doing something, and won’t let her leave. Is … is it Elliot? He’s intense, intimidating, wont believe any of her (admittedly easily dismissed) claims about having to catch a train or bus. She dodges around him, and he grabs her and slams her into a wall, demanding to know why she’s there. Oh. This is not Elliot. She realises who it is as an amazingly clever camera trick turns Elliot into Robot just out of frame. He rages and shakes her,and she shoves him off and runs away, calling him a psycho. As she leaves, it’s Elliot left standing there.

A repeat of the opening montage only darker and angrier as he travels to work. Then he’s back at Krista’s and wants her to talk to Robot. She realises he came back. They think it could help so she starts trying to bring Robot out. There’s a split second blur on her face as she begins talking, a pixelation like the simulation lagged. Elliot focuses, and his hearing goes foggy and he opens his eyes and he sinisterly leans forward, and it’s Robot and OH MY GOD RAMI MALEK, DO YOU MIND I am trying to live my life. You can’t just be that good. Krista’s a goddamned pro though, and just says it’s nice to meet him. Robot is angry that he and Elliot are fractured because he can’t just come and go any more. Robot tries to push Krista’s buttons but again, she’s a professional. Krista asks for his actual name and turns out it’s not Mr. Robot.

Robot quotes Freud, though he wont let Krista shrink on him, thinks she wants to destroy him. She wants to understand him. As good as Slater is right now (and he’s so good), I’d give anything to have seen Rami do this scene. Robot says he’s ‘compromised’ because of ‘her’, and Elliot didn’t’ see it. Krista asks what he means. He leans in to tell her and it’s terrifying, but he just says he’s done talking. Krista slumps with relief and looks back to Elliot on the couch, who asks when they’re going to start.

On the train home, Elliot is freaking out, asking us what we heard or saw. A poster behind him and all over the carriage advertises a play called Separation Anxiety. Krista has told Elliot what Robot said, and he wonders what it all means and panics more. He wonders if ‘us means’ Robot and Tyrell. He wonders if he really shut down Stage 2. He wonders why he feels so alive.

When he gets home, Krista’s douchebag ex-boyfriend is there, and HE HAS FLIPPER! FLIPPER! The guy angrily asks how Elliot can ‘sit pretty’ when everything else goes to shit. He’s giving Elliot to Flipper because she’s sick, shitting all over the place BECAUSE OF THE MEMORY CARD SHE ATE, I KNEW YOU’D DO RIGHT BY ME ESMAIL, YOU MAJESTIC CREATURE!
Elliot gives Flipper water and goes to his computer. He hesitates, but then boots and runs through a series of checks. We see Darlene did plant something, and Dom has a mirror of his screen, watching everything he’s doing. She congratulates Darlene on a job well done and Darlene goes, and looks sad.

Zhang tells that beautiful aide that Stage 2 has to happen on the day of the UN vote. The aide looks sick. The UN vote is everything. They intend to move their ‘operation’ to a mine in the Congo (can you just move a particle accelerator? Do UPS have special prices for that?). Enacting Stage 2 now could compromise everything. Why, why would Zhang want to take that risk now?Turns out, Zhang just hates Price that fucking much.

Dom arrives at the FBI surveillance house, set up in the house above Darlene’s basement apartment, and is suspicious about a ‘Comet Electrical’ truck parked outside. Inside, she and another agent discuss what, if anything, they have from Elliot’s computer but all he’s sent is an encrypted email with a link. They’re distracted by a noise and on their cameras see someone trying to break into Darlene’s place. Dom looks at the screen and realises Elliot’s email was a trap. On the cameras, Elliot walks into view in Darlene’s apartment.

And, it ends there? Are you KIDDING ME?

Well … so much happened that I’m not even sure where to begin. First of all, I feel like Rami Malek just killed the concept of awards shows. Why have any shows anymore? Why even vote? Save time, send every award for everything, ever, to Rami, from now on.

Oh, and, look, I hate to be this guy (I don’t, at all, I love it), but I’m right again, aren’t I? Flipper is sick because of the SD card she swallowed in season one, right? Has to be. My thinking is what ever is on that SD card will shed light on how long Robot and Tyrell have known each other.

I am delighted and fascinated by the Feds being so close, being always … just on the cusp, but because of their fixation on Tyrell, just missing the one big glaring clue right in their face. But as I said above, what about that fixation? What is it? Why is this all about Tyrell? Because, kids, it is. It always has been I just don’t know why yet.

Speaking of my favourite family … I will be wearing mourning garments for some time. That was just heart-wrenching, shocking and honestly, totally unexpected. I just never even considered it a possibility. There’s some twisted genius in the fact it was … just that guy. It wasn’t Dom or Darlene. She could never have predicted this; none of us could. There is, I think, an amazing amount of commentary in that scene and what it means and for that, I love this show all the more.

But for taking her from me? I don’t know if I can ever be okay again.

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life. Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident. Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor. She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90's fashion die.

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