Mr. Robot: 401 Unauthorized
October 6, 2019 8:25 PM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

During the Christmas season, Elliot and Mr. Robot make their return. Darlene deals with real trouble. Tyrell is bored. Dom becomes paranoid.
posted by roolya_boolya (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"Jake Busey doing a spot-on coked-out asshole" indeed -- is this typecasting him? I only recognize him as the asshole boss in the 3rd season of Stranger Things.

I wonder if Al Safe cy erse rity means anything -- later in the episode, it read as AI Safe instead (2 screencaps on Imgur).

Another screencap: SHIFT+CONTROL, a NBC poster on the subway. Subtle message about the season?

Bonus link: Ars Technica's review of the episode includes an embedded 7 minute video with creator Sam Esmail recapping what has happened so far for anyone coming into S4 after an extended Mr. Robot break.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]

Man, I need that recap! Two years is a long time to keep all the threads in one’s head.
posted by mwhybark at 9:47 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]

I noted and enjoyed some formal aspects of the episode, in particular the single-frame cut to what is presumably the picture of Angela’s corpse referred to in dialog (I didn't try to grab it, thank yew) and the excellent directorial choice to have Elliot cross out on camera while Mr. Robot steps in to act as interlocutor with Darlene. I realize these are directorial choices that may not be carried over the season but I would love to see the show carry forward with cinematic formality as a primary objective of this season.
posted by mwhybark at 9:52 AM on October 8

Oh, and I suppose it needs to be mentioned in-thread: the unnamed character in the penultimate scene who says a phrase including the word “friend” to Elliot is played by Sam Esmail, series creator and show runner.
posted by mwhybark at 9:55 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]

the single-frame cut to what is presumably the picture of Angela’s corpse

Here it is on Reddit, and is mildly graphic -- an image of Angela, shot in the head. As far as gore goes, it looks like a good makeup job. I think that making it a brief cut is a bit of "showing, but not shown," to imply greater violence or let your mind expand what it thinks happened.

And Sam Esmail said "Good-bye, friend," mirroring the first line in the first episode, which was titled --
Hello, friend.

"Hello, friend?" That's lame. Maybe I should give you a name. But that's a slippery slope. You're only in my head. We have to remember that.

Shit. It's actually happened. I'm talking to an imaginary person.

What I'm about to tell you is top secret. A conspiracy bigger than all of us.
But one of the people with Esmail's character administers Narcan, and Philip Price is there, too. So was this all "a reminder of what's at stake," to prevent future interference? Price is good as owned by Whiterose, from what we saw in the earlier heart-to-heart with his daughter he had while wired, before she was killed. Apparently he's a velvet glove on the iron fist of the Dark Army?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:33 AM on October 8

I love this show and think it's one of the most consistently great things on TV and I thought this was a great episode but it's really disappointing that they have now fridged 3 female characters (Angela, Joanna and Shayla).
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:46 PM on October 8 [5 favorites]

Yeah, Esmail isn't great with female characters. While there's a diverse cast, and a number of women in significant roles, it seems like the women are more disposable, even those who are built up to seem like more central figures.

Meanwhile, Elliot is killed, only to be brought back. Was that modification of Christ imagery intended, or something that's hard to do (that is, use the ability to kill someone, only to bring them back, as a threat) without looking like they're invoking Christ imagery?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:36 PM on October 8

I was impressed by the technical aspects of this episode but it left me cold and confused. I honestly have no idea what’s going on in this show any more, and yes, I did watch the recap at the start of the ep. So many of the plot lines have been spun out for far too long.
posted by adrianhon at 3:37 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

I’m looking forward to the whole season.

I found the Freddy blackmail tape really offputting. Of course, we were supposed to but I mean something different —- I’m tired of shows and movies using the exploitation of women and children and showing some of it, to get across the point that someone is a terrible person. There’s something about it that feels like it’s playing right into the exploitation.
posted by CMcG at 6:19 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

Not sure how I feel about having Rami Malek shouting the name "Freddy." If that was accidental, fine, but if that was intended to be meta...ugh. Particularly since that's a character we hadn't seen before so it's not like they had to have that name.
posted by acidnova at 6:34 PM on October 8

CMcG, I also found the Freddy blackmail video disturbing, and I'm not defending the decision to make that Freddy's pressure point, but I see that it's a book-end to the first episode, where Elliot is taking down the pedophilia ring, hosted by a coffee shop owner, who also tried to offer Elliot cash to prevent the cops from coming.

There, Elliot was something of a grey-hat hacker, a vigilante of sorts. And this is Elliot on his own again, instead of being part of (or the leader of) F Society. But now he's trying to use his information to get more access, instead of shutting down a child porn server. And it backfires on him, terribly. Or continues to backfire.

Everything between that first episode and now had lead to the death of his friends and colleagues, with E-Corp becoming even more powerful in the process. (I forget if he was really able to wipe out everyone's debts, which would be one positive in all this chaos and death.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:19 PM on October 8

CMcG, I also found the Freddy blackmail video disturbing, and I'm not defending the decision to make that Freddy's pressure point, but I see that it's a book-end to the first episode, where Elliot is taking down the pedophilia ring, hosted by a coffee shop owner, who also tried to offer Elliot cash to prevent the cops from coming.

On the other hand the first episode managed the story telling without showing (fictional) child porn.
posted by roolya_boolya at 9:48 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]

Just reading the Charisma Carpenter thread on the blue and had the sad thought that we might one day look back on Esmail like we now do on Whedon. I sincerely hope he goes on to be use his talents more wisely.
posted by roolya_boolya at 10:59 AM on October 9

The Angela picture.... doesn't look like an exit wound. We saw her being shot from the back, which would leave a gaping wound in the front of the head. I don't know if the show chose to sanitize the image or if it's an indication that the picture is doctored and Angela is still alive...
posted by Pendragon at 1:42 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]

I'm glad to see folks so engaged with the show. I got pretty alienated the last season and even though I thought the conclusion was satisfying, I wasn't enthusiastic about this season. This episode didn't draw me in. It's so, so grim. The child porn, the drug abuse, the suicide. There's none of the fun wackiness that made the first season stay entertaining. I'll try to watch a couple more episodes but I may be out.
posted by Nelson at 9:40 AM on October 10

Looks like heroin is the drug-of-choice for Season 4, replacing morphine (Season 1, c/o Shayla), adderall (Season 2, c/o Leon) and Zoloft (Season 3, c/o whoever). I guess it's relevant and all. Then again, between the "goodbye friend" and the appearance of the show's creator to administer the dose, I think that scene felt pretty final, like a solid ending to the series--on some level I'm just waiting for the reveal that he really did die there, and the "rest of this season" will turn out to have been just some elaborate hallucination during his final moments. Something to look forward to, or not.

filthy light thief: This may go without saying, but Elliot has set up shop in Allsafe, the cybersecurity firm he worked for slash infiltrated back in Season 1. It's not a bad choice, what with Gideon gone and the Dark Army constantly sending people to Elliot's apartment. Hit me right in the feels too. Much poignant.

Nelson: I can only imagine they think this is 'realistic' for the life of a hacker who's pissed off this many people, and I guess I can believe it. Doesn't make for good watching, though.

Apropos of nothing, we still have Darlene and Dominique (and, well, Whiterose). Body count by gender has been more or less evenly distributed so far; I count four dead guys and four dead gals (names on request because spoilers).

My download of this from the Apple store came with a five-minute clip of Leon, of all people, giving his recap of events so far. 10/10 would recommend; kinda necessary at this point.

Predictions: Angela to return as a phantom for someone else, a la Mr. Robot w.r.t. Elliot. Whiterose's mysterious machine to be revealed as the cause of all this (a machine that allows you to think you're talking to dead people?). Tyrell to learn exactly nothing from gaining his heart's desire and finding it empty. Dom to do something stupid.
posted by queen anne's remorse at 8:23 PM on October 11

I am on team "Angela is probably dead but whatever evidence Whiterose sent to Elliot to prove that she was dead was not from her actual death (unless The Machine changes dead people [replacing forehead exit wounds for back of head exit wounds] or makes the phantoms or something)."

Either that or Elliot's ability to process that picture was impaired, which wouldn't surprise me at all.

I need to find that Leon recap, because he is my absolute favorite.

Also, I'm still trying to figure out Elliot's use of pronouns for Whiterose. Usually, it's "she", but he uses "he" sometimes. I'm not sure if the latter happens only when Mr Robot is speaking. In any case, Elliot isn't consistent and I'm not sure what it means, but it feels like it should be significant.
posted by minsies at 7:06 AM on October 13

I believe this is the Leon recap.

BTW, it ends with "Mr. Robot the Final Season". Is that right?! I thought they had 6-7 seasons planned. Perhaps not financed though.
posted by Nelson at 8:54 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]

This is definitely the final season.
posted by adrianhon at 9:26 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]

"I thought they had 6-7 seasons planned. Perhaps not financed though."

That's crazy if it was ever the case, four seems like it will be a fine number but also maybe thy could have just done 2 or 3. A fifth season seems like it would be waaaaay stretching it. As long as this season doesn't end with some boring twist like "it's all in his drug addicted mind" I think it will be a good payoff.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:21 AM on October 14

I vaguely recall there were plans for five seasons but two things have interfered. Firstly, everyone involved has gotten famous and become more in demand. Secondly, notwithstanding that, the show hasn’t had amazing ratings so there isn’t any Game of Thrones-style push to keep it going forever.
posted by adrianhon at 1:02 PM on October 14

I thought it was interesting that AV Club's review said this: "“Unauthorized” isn’t just the first episode in the show’s history to not have its title formatted in the form of a computer file or program..." but then didn't mention that the shows title is the 401 error message.

Here are all the 4xx errors:
posted by CMcG at 4:54 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]

It's a shame the series won't be 18 episodes long. HTTP_418
posted by entity447b at 2:56 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]

Also, I'm still trying to figure out Elliot's use of pronouns for Whiterose. Usually, it's "she", but he uses "he" sometimes.

I think he uses "she" for Whiterose and "he" for Minister Zhu Zhang.
posted by rue72 at 7:46 PM on October 16

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