Mr. Robot: 402 Payment Required
October 13, 2019 10:57 PM - Season 4, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Elliot and darlene come together. Dom gets dark army vibes. Price has answers.
posted by roolya_boolya (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This show has me so confused on who to root for throughout the seasons. Undoing the hack seems both implausible and unwelcome, bringing everyone's debt back just sucks, even if I can understand why he thought it a good idea. My dissonance with what he ends up doing though makes me think even more that we as the viewer are the third personality, though simply knowing there is a third makes me suspicious that everyone is that third, including Darlene!

It was nice to see White Rose finally unsettled, they've been top dog mastermind-puppetmaster for a loooong time now with barely a hiccup. Getting all of the world's most evil people in a room is super tantalizing but I have no hopes they're going to just blow em all up, which is what I'd want, and another thing that maybe indicates me/us as a third personality trying to influence him into doing what we want rather than what might be best for him. Then again, I don't know if everyone is as classist as I am and maybe what the show expects the audience to feel or react is different than mine and so I'm just way off target.
posted by GoblinHoney at 7:49 AM on October 14, 2019

Well, I'm willing to concede that my theory of White Rose building an ACTUAL time machine that could undo everything EvilCorp has undertaken all the way back to Angela and Elliot's parents dying of cancer isn't going to come to fruition this season.

Bummer; it would've been cool to see this series take a totally bizarre turn during the final act. Guess I better quit fantasizing about Joanna Wellick coming back from the dead this season, too.

Dom, you better watch out, honey. May be better off getting the hell away from your mom for now, since her well-meaning attempt at matchmaking got a Dark Army operative at your dinner table.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:34 AM on October 14, 2019

So White Roses plan has never been explicitly spelled out? I finished Season 3 a few days ago but it had been a long time since I saw season 2. From Angela's behaviour and some other comments I was thinking Whiteroses plan was basically to build a big VR Matrix. If so, that's a sweet idea that could do a lot of good for the world (our environemtn would last a lot longer if we all lived in a VR world and were fed exactly what nutrition we need rather than throwing away so much) but also seems inevitably easily exploited for evil.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:42 AM on October 14, 2019

It's entirely possible we are already existing within some sort of Matrix or simulation. I don't think human civilization and life is particularly sweet, but most people would prefer living in it over being dead, and an appropriately good VR reality would be indistinguishable from what we have now (though... hopefully they'd do better than what we have done).
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:34 PM on October 14, 2019

Whiterose's plans, whatever she's shipping, and whatever The Machine does have not been explained from what I remember.

I'm not sure about the third being the audience/the viewer - wouldn't Mr Robot at least have an idea that he'd handed off to the person he was always talking to?

Darlene in her mom's coat was fantastic.

I don't know where this is going; all I want is some kind of satisfying conclusion. Leon promised me no snowglobes, no Newhart. Please, Leon, don't let me down.

Also, no Tyrell. I guess he's the obvious choice for CEO?
posted by minsies at 3:42 PM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm wondering if Darlene wearing her mother's coat is going to signal the mother's appearance the way Eliot wearing their dad's jacket did.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:43 PM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Amused by the Koyannisqatsi reference/recap (or was it Powaqqatsi?).

Also amused, maybe a bit puzzled, by the repeated over-the-top dialog references to the possibility that Elliott is dead, implying that this season is an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.
posted by mwhybark at 10:11 PM on October 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

I appreciated the giant Basil Exposition section in the beginning introducing the Deus Group and explaining the whole master plan behind Evil Corp, Whiterose, etc. Now if they'd only provide such direct clarity about what Whiterose is intending with the machine. I know, the whole point of the show is oblique narrative stuff, hints and shadows. But given how many questions there are here about "Wtf is going on" it'd be nice for the show to take mercy on us and just explain it clearly.

I hate the idea that Philip is now a good guy but, well, here we are. I'm glad to see Darlene engaged and functional again, maybe re-engaging f-Society. Boo to whoever set up a massive heroin overdose last episode and then was just like "psyche, forget about that" this time. I'm also unclear why Dom is in the show at all.

Also yet another personality influencing Eliot? Really? They talk about it as a third, but the third is introduced in conversation with a fourth; Eliot as a boy. Complete with a table for them all to sit around.

As noted in the past week's discussion, the episode titles this season seem to be a tour of HTTP 4xx error codes. That means we'll be ending the show on "413 Payload Too Large", if indeed they stick to the pattern.
posted by Nelson at 7:38 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nelson: Now if they'd only provide such direct clarity about what Whiterose is intending with the machine.

In the arc of this movie-as-a-series, this final season feels like the general period where all is made (mostly) clear. I assume that'll we'll see more details of that project in the near future.

It'll be interesting to see how much is left obscured and vague at the end, for fans to discuss and debate (and possibly be elaborated upon in spin-off comics and a movie -- but that's just me applying Star Wars and Star Trek expanding universe templates to this world and making wild guesses about what could come later).

IRL: Facebook's eCoin recently lost some serious backers. Facebook launches Libra Association—and says 180 companies could join -- Twenty-one organizations formally became Libra members on Monday. (Ar Technica, Oct. 15, 2019)
Facebook has said that it hopes to expand the organization's membership to more than 100 organizations by the time the Libra payment network launches in 2020.

On Monday, the Libra Association claimed that 1,500 organizations have expressed interest in joining. The group claims that around 180 of those companies meet the Libra Association's criteria for membership. These criteria vary depending on the type of organization, but factors include a company's market value (for businesses), the amount of financial deposits (for financial institutions), and annual budget (for non-profits).

The Libra Association is on the prowl for new members after some of its most prominent supporters backed out ahead of Monday's meeting. The defecting companies were Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Stripe, eBay, and Mercado Pago. Booking Holdings—the parent company of Priceline, Kayak, OpenTable, and other online reservation services, backed out of the Libra Association just before Monday's meeting.
As you'll note, those those are some major players who aren't (currently) backing Facebook's bitcoin-like platform. PayU is the only conventional payment company to stay in the Libra Association after the departure of better-known payment providers like Visa and Mastercard. And don't worry, Libra is trying to appease U.S. congressional committees, who didn't like the idea that "the core network would be beyond the reach of regulators." (Ars Technica, July 18, 2019)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on October 16, 2019

I'm more interested in Darlene and Elliot's mom than in this new person/personality the show keeps hinting at. Why introduce yet another when their mom is still such a mystery?

Good catch on Darlene wearing their mom's jacket a la Elliot wearing Mr Robot's, though. What's funny about Elliot's "alternate personalities" is that they were once all living, breathing people who Elliot knew (or Elliot himself). They're more like ghosts who possess Elliot from time to time than "traditional" personalities, it seems like? So Darlene putting on their dead mother's jacket just seemed like her asking to be possessed, too.

I actually don't care about the Dark Army stuff. I don't really understand what's going on, and the plots all seem too Bond Villain and hokey to me. Evil Corp exploiting everything and everyone possible in order to make money made sense to me back in the early days of the series. But the stuff with Whiterose now all seems kind of forced and irrelevant. I know they're trying to make it relevant with data mining but eh. Unexpectedly, this is one of those shows that seems so dated post-2016. Something about it seems so Obama-era to me even though most of it has been made in the years since.

I like Dom, the actress who plays her is really engaging to watch, but I don't get why she's on the show. I guess because she's a Dark Army operative and this is all about the Dark Army now? That doesn't really seem like enough, without another genuine emotional connection between her and the other characters. And the stuff with the taxidermist and Bureau agents getting thrown off of buildings seems too Grand Guignol for this show.

I also find it weird that the Aldersons casually talk about Price as Angela's dad when they grew up with Mr. Moss. Honestly, I don't remember what all that's about.

For a show about hackers, this episode was also very light on tech. It also did feel like Elliot was dead, the way he was just sort of floating around ineffectually -- although if we're not going to go with "he was dead the whole time" or "it was all a coma dream" or whatever than that kind of can't be the case.

I like Elliot and Darlene a lot, and it was fun watching them get thrown together, but this episode was also dissatisfying. Maybe it's just that I can't really get a handle on the plot. I'm more interested in the Alderson family dynamics at this point anyway. If there's not going to be much hacking and there's really just Darlene and Elliot left as main characters, then I feel like their emotional arcs need to have more meat. Price talking with Whiterose or whatever isn't going to cut it, I don't care about them -- or about Tyrell or even about Dom, frankly. After the other members of f-society were murdered it just became impossible for me to invest in new "friendly" characters, and for me, the supercilious rich villain characters aren't interesting or endearing enough to carry much of the show.

I am 100% down for a twist where Whiterose actually does have a time machine, though. Always up for some time travel.
posted by rue72 at 10:24 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

rue72: For a show about hackers, this episode was also very light on tech.

Now that Darlene is back on board, maybe they'll get more into hacking, and the details of those hacks? Then again, Dark Army is supposed to be the real pro team, so it might be easier to talk about "getting around two-factor authentication" without getting into details.

I also find it weird that the Aldersons casually talk about Price as Angela's dad when they grew up with Mr. Moss. Honestly, I don't remember what all that's about.

The Mr. Robot Fandom/Wikia doesn't cite episodes but states "Angela was born on February 27, 1988, in New Jersey to Phillip Price and Emily Moss, but Emily refused to be with Phillip, instead choosing to marry Donald Moss, who became her adopted father." Oddly, the general Villains Fandom/Wikia identifies that it's the season 3 finale where Price tells Angela that he's her dad (rough show transcript), where Price says, about Angela's mother "When she told me she was pregnant, she was very emphatic that her child wasn't going to be raised by a monster, as she put it. Sometime after that she met and then she married your father. Who agreed to raise you as his own."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:35 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Did anyone else find the imagery of Elliott standing in front of a cross as he takes on the burden of knowing Darlene killed someone and chooses to press on with his mission to be a bit hammy and heavy handed?

Are we really supposed to be viewing Elliot as a Christ like figure?

I think it’s a huge issue that we don’t really know the stakes this season:
- revenge seems to be mr robot’s theory about what’s driving Elliot, but E denies this and is too closed off/emotionless/focused to engage the audience with this
- stop Whiterose. Well but from doing what? It’s evil but that’s really all we know
- right past wrongs? That was last season and this Elliot doesn’t look back
posted by CMcG at 6:51 AM on October 18, 2019

Boo to whoever set up a massive heroin overdose last episode and then was just like "psyche, forget about that" this time.

Nelson, if you get a chance, go back and watch last week's ending again; it continued after the fade to black of the overdose.

My favorite parts:

More Philip Glass! This time from Koyaanisqatsi.

Janice the taxidermist listening to Hardcore History.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:41 PM on October 22, 2019

Thanks mabelstreet, I'd missed the post-credits bit. Eliot gets the OD, the bad men leave. He thrashes around awhile and tries to get to his (rotary dial) telephone. Then he has a vision of his family / alter-egos, Mr. Robot and young Eliot and his mom (I think?). Then a quick flashback montage to earlier clips from the show, then he dies.

And then credits. Then after the credits we have a brief scene of Eliot coming back to life with a gasp, the bad men standing over him. Then Philip strolls in, which segues immediately to this episode, episode 2, which starts with Philip.

Still seems like a pretty frustrating plot device to me, but at least they didn't leave us hanging at the end of episode 1 thinking Eliot was dead. Well not anyone who watched it to the end at least, unlike me :-P
posted by Nelson at 6:34 AM on October 23, 2019

I dont know how it showed for you but the "post-credits" scene happened after like maybe 2 names on the credits. I know it was too fast for me to get to the remote to push stop.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:23 AM on October 23, 2019

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