Mr. Robot: Eps3.4runtime-error.r00
November 9, 2017 2:46 PM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Elliot tries to remember his weekend; Darlene tries to help. Darlene gets things done.

‘Mr. Robot’ Season 3, Episode 5: Taking the Long Way Around (Jeremy Egner for New York Times)
The long take has a special mystique, the most famous examples (“Touch of Evil,” “Goodfellas”) being among the most celebrated moments in movie history. But as with any ostentatious technique, the challenge is to incorporate it alongside the other elements without breaking the spell of the story.

“Mr. Robot” solved that dilemma this week by making a take seemingly last an entire episode — there were camouflaged edits throughout — in effect making its spell and the story’s one in the same. From the opening moments with Elliot and Angela in the elevator to the final one when they reunited, after a very busy 43 minutes or so for each of them, the camera tracked an unbroken path through an E Corp headquarters thick with skulduggery, rioting and panic. The result was one of the year’s most electric episodes of television.
Another take: Mr. Robot Recap: Contingency Plans (Vikram Murthi for Vulture)
For better or worse, “eps3.4_runtime-error.r00” showcases Mr. Robot at its best — a taut cyberthriller that foregrounds suspense and removes any remaining slack. Credited writers Kor Adana and Randolph Leon craft a real-time episode that covers the day when the Dark Army launches Stage 2. Elliot, still feeling the aftereffects of Angela’s knockout serum, arrives to work at E Corp with no memory of the previous weekend. He has no idea that Angela arranged for him to be fired, and that she, Mr. Robot, and Tyrell have worked “behind his back” to engineer Stage 2 on the day of the U.N. vote to allow China to annex the Congo. Elliot is a blank slate running on autopilot, suffering from a runtime error that he can’t quite fix. But as soon as he sits at his cubicle, he figures out the score and must stop the Dark Army terror plot before it’s too late. It’s the best episode of the season so far.

And it would be even better if it weren’t edited to look like one long continuous shot.
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Runtime Error -- Chaos erupts - glorious, beautiful chaos - on one of the best episodes of Mr. Robot ever (Alec Bojalad for Den of Geek)

Watch episode 5 of the Mr. Robot Digital After Show, with creator Sam Esmail (direct YouTube link)
posted by filthy light thief (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW, I was kind of distracted, so I totally missed the fact this was a one-take (type) episode.

Either way, a good episode, though a bit of a cliffhanger on a few fronts (Elliot's relationship with Darlene, what happens to the backup facility, and what's in Angela's white paper bag).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on November 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite moments in this episode was when Elliot said something utterly scathing to another character, and then his voice-over said something like "Oh shit, that was meant to be for you."

He's confusing his audience (which we are, but who are we in his mind?) with his real world. Has he done this before?
posted by hippybear at 8:24 PM on November 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Holy shit this episode was great. I've been really on the fence this season; I barely understand the plot and a lot of the beats have been missing me. But then this episode, so so good. The huge long scene with Angela running the op in the office, I think I didn't breathe the whole time. Very compelling.

Also I loves me some Einstein on the Beach. It's perfect music for this episode and show. Mechanical, compulsive, and operatically over the top. Also the Moxie Marlinspike reference was hilarious.
posted by Nelson at 9:38 PM on November 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

The Einstein On The Beach use gave me goosebumps in a way that I don't think it would many others. I, of course, expect Nelson to be one of them.
posted by hippybear at 10:01 PM on November 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I also loved the use of a cutaway building to show both Angela inside and the protest outside. That whole scene (about 32 minutes in) is pretty amazing camera work. The camera starts at normal level, then pulls up like a crane shot, then flies over several rooms (over cutaway walls), gives us that peek outside, then cranes back down to level to focus on Angela hacking. It makes for a very effective transition as we go from the larger world of protests and rioters to Angela's intense and stressful solo hacking.

Mr. Robot has always had great cinematography but usually it's much more stylized and formal. Lots of slow symmetry or radically off-center shots. This long take episode felt more like the famous hallway fight in Daredevil in how dynamic and active it was.
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on November 10, 2017 [6 favorites]

Also the Moxie Marlinspike reference was hilarious.

Moxie invented the two word key verification protocol built into Signal, which they're presumably using to make the call. It's kind of a hackerish double entendre Easter egg, having his own name show up as the halves of the key in the protocol he invented.

There's also another namedrop when Elliot's hiding out in the conference room; he says he's Dave Kennedy, aka @hackingdave, who runs the DerbyCon hacker con that just happened a couple months ago.
posted by scalefree at 5:13 PM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

It felt so stressful to watch this. When the camera starts to travel through the riot, I started feeling panicky because it was so close with the crowd pressing in. And, it didn't feel like a departure from the show. It was a wonderfully realized vision, and I'm so glad it was shown without commercial breaks.

Irving's line on the phone, "We lit the fuse; we don't control the explosion," is one of the most sinister things I've heard on this show.
posted by gladly at 8:01 PM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I can think of parallels with real world consequences to which that apply. Wahhabism chief among them.
posted by hippybear at 8:08 PM on November 10, 2017

Please no real derail, just an observation. There are many others.
posted by hippybear at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2017

That was an awesome episode. The elevators giving breathing room every once in a while, just excellent all around.
posted by monocultured at 2:49 PM on November 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank goodness Darlene mentioned that she gave Flipper to the landlord, or else I would've been worried about him forever.

Yeesh, that was tense. Since there weren't any commercials, I didn't expect it to be over when it was. I had to shake my head to clear it after the last scene. What a good episode.
posted by minsies at 5:09 PM on November 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

Two things from the Verge after show with Sam Esmail: first, he lurks in the Mr. Robot subreddit, and second, there's a twist that they've been hinting at in this season that has not yet been identified completely, though some on Reddit are apparently starting to piece things together. (Remember, last season's big twist was figured out in the first two episodes.)

Also, Sam was inspired to create an ARG by watching Lost. On the Mr. Robot ARG, here's a synopsis of discoveries to (almost) to date -- there is information from Season 3 Episode 4, but not Episode 5 yet.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on November 14, 2017

A couple of tidbits on a rewatch.

At the very start a guy in the elevator says (in German) "Aller Anfang ist schwer. Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst" or roughly "Every beginning is hard. Beginning is easy, persistence an art". I thought maybe that was some more meaningful thing but according to this producer interview it was just to set a disorienting tone.

I loved the bit where Elliot looks for a person's computer to borrow and picks the older woman huffing liquid eraser as an easy target. Only for her to drop shibboleet on him and he realizes she's expert. Maybe he'll go back and recruit her later.
posted by Nelson at 2:32 PM on November 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

what's in Angela's white paper bag

I got this one! A barbecue pork sandwich from Red Wheelbarrow! Did I get it right?!
posted by nequalsone at 6:31 AM on November 16, 2017

The bit of German in the elevator is basically reading two entries from the A page of a list of German proverbs, but they purposely choose two that mean the opposite of each other.

The news reporter catching that the protesters were atypical (each one with a different motivation for showing up) was nice in contrast with the opinion-hustler's Trump-sell later on.

The always-munching delivery man is also a fun fixture.

There are such intense performances on this show, Darlene, Tyrell and Irving in the last ep, Elliot in the meeting, and Angela so close to the brink in this one...

The only narrative question mark for me here was why Darlene decides to come clean with Elliot.
posted by progosk at 3:10 PM on November 18, 2017

That was one of the best episodes of any television show I've seen all year.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:02 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm on my third rewatch of this series (which is some of the most literary television ever), and this episode is such a standout. Entirely poetic even while full of conflict. It's a glorious chapter in a magnificent novel.
posted by hippybear at 10:11 PM on March 6, 2020

What's interesting about this episode is that Angela has gone from "I can't make her a hacker in 24 hours" to being confident enough in herself to pull off the hack in this episode with only basic instructions and her own smarts. In only a month or two, she's grown into something she wasn't before.
posted by hippybear at 8:28 PM on July 4, 2020

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