Mr. Robot: 406 Not Acceptable
November 13, 2019 8:09 AM - Season 4, Episode 6 - Subscribe

(Waited for a few days, and since anyone else didn't post this, thought I'd go ahead. Apologies for any toes onto which I have stepped!)


I hated this. All of it. Most especially Vera.

I'm considering not watching the show any longer, because I am not sure I can sit through any other scenes with Vera. I am not at all interested in whatever kind of confrontation he's going to have with Elliot. Just spit Elliot out the other side of that, please.

Also, Elliot is a fucking idiot. Olivia showed him the razor blade. (Although I'm not sure he did actually put Oxy in her mocha. He wouldn't have needed to get what he wanted; having her think he did was enough.)

Also also, maybe Janice is menacing, I guess, in the threats department. What's she doing herself, though? She's operating a messenger service, and has nothing on axe-wielding Irving.
posted by minsies at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Well that was a whole episode of women being abused. Krista, Darlene, Dom, Olivia.

I didn't hate the episode but after what seemed like a return to form last week I'm back to being disappointed in the season so far. I'll see it through to the end but with low expectations.

Like you minsies I was waiting for someone to post and I'm glad you did because I couldn't muster the enthusiasm.
posted by roolya_boolya at 9:56 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Geeze that was an unpleasant and stressful episode. I didn't enjoy it at all.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Although I'm not sure he did actually put Oxy in her mocha. He wouldn't have needed to get what he wanted; having her think he did was enough.)

I was really hoping for that to be the case, as well. Unfortunately it was pointed out to me they went through the trouble of showing him acquiring the drugs, so we are left to just grapple with the fact that our protagonist is just an evil person. Elliot's done harm before, but this was a tipping point for me. I sincerely hope he dies or is thrown in jail after this. Totally unacceptable in my eyes, especially in service of what just seems like an incredibly stupid plan that really snaps my suspension of disbelief.

I'm also sick of Vera, still don't see any good purpose for his re-introduction, and at this point I have to figure it's probably going to be something real stupid. I get the feeling this Vera thing is just going to pan out in a way that non-Elliot people are needlessly harmed and at best Vera's gang will be used in some kind of firefight type confrontation with the dark army or whoever.

I am hoping Dom & Darlene get to kill the Dark Army goons by the end of this. I want some non-Elliot characters to have a good/not-totally-bad-or-dead endings.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:08 PM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thank you for the post, minsies!

+1 on the dislike of Vera. I’m sure GoblinHoney is right that he’s being used as a plot device to increase the threat against Elliot and inject some chaos into the confrontation with the DA, which is fine except for the show’s seeming obsession with him.

Mr. Robot is a show of contrasts, and no mistake. What a difference from last week!
posted by adrianhon at 12:17 PM on November 13, 2019

Unfortunately it was pointed out to me they went through the trouble of showing him acquiring the drugs

Aw, hell. I forgot that was why Leon showed up.
posted by minsies at 12:18 PM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

"What I'm about to tell you is top-secret."

"A conspiracy bigger than all of us. There's a powerful group of people out there that are secretly running the world. I'm talking about the guys no one knows about--the guys that are invisible. The top one percent of the top one percent, the guys that play god without permission."

"And now I think I'm following them."
posted by queen anne's remorse at 9:50 PM on November 13, 2019

I actually did like this episode and I've liked the whole season, though it feels rushed (especially because this whole season so far has only been what 2 days? maybe 3?)

Vera is interesting to me, but I do feel like its a last minute thought throwing him in at the end here. Just to increase chaos and be the wrench in the plans. Predicting right now that it all works out for Elliot because it will be Vera & Gang vs the Dark Army.

Because it is the last season, the suspense over whether Darlene was going to be killed was very intense. I soooo thought Dom was going to pull the trigger. Also, big fail Darlene by not killing the Dark Army goons when they came in the door.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:40 PM on November 13, 2019

One advantage of not having Vera in this season is that the no-dialogue episode could have started with Elliot getting in the car with Darlene and her saying "We don't have to talk" and ended with Elliot rolling down the hill and getting in the car with Darlene and her saying "We have to talk." I, for one, would have liked that.
posted by nequalsone at 8:14 AM on November 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

I didn't like the way things played out with Krista, not because I don't think Elliot should do things that are bad but because I don't understand why Elliot is doing things that are bad. I think they set up Elliot as a character who has compassion but who is also alienated from his feelings and intellectualizes his interactions with people because he is either not in touch with or doesn't trust his emotions. So, I think it is in character for him to do bad things with good intentions, but "we're running out of time" is the laziest excuse. It's like every action movie, cop show, high school-level political debate, etc., that tries to justify torture. Why couldn't he have spent an hour explaining things to her? Maybe it wouldn't work. Then he could tell her he drugged her without actually doing it. I thought maybe they were playing around a little with the sound and visuals to indicate she was feeling some effects of the oxy, so maybe she needed that physical confirmation before she would have done what Elliot wanted? It could also have been panic that was altering her perceptions... The one thing Elliot is good at is solving puzzles, and this solution seemed weak or maybe ham-fisted (and didn't account for Chekhov's razor blade).

The bigger question is why is the show focusing on a change in Elliot's ethical stance right now? Why has the semi-integration of Elliot and Mr. Robot meant that they have swapped ethical stances? Why is Mr. Robot following Elliot around impotently, mostly making his arguments to the audience instead of to Elliot?

For that matter, why did Elliot think the 5/9 hack was good and then decide it was bad? His reversal there always seemed a bit random to me. Of course there were negative consequences of the hack, mostly predictable ones. But Elliot in the beginning, presumably when he wasn't as directly influenced by the Mr. Robot persona, which was operating in parallel with him, thought the ends justified the means. And when he changed his mind, why did he jump to the conclusion that reversing the hack and bringing back the old, bad order was the right thing to do?

It feels a little like the hero must go down the wrong path and have their character tested in order for their win in the end to feel like a victory. OK, maybe there is some truth to that. But if the story AND character development don't justify really well why the protagonist goes down a specific path, it just feels random and time-wasting.

Also, it was super disappointing that the scene with Leon was so short and boring and the scenes with Vera were so interminable. And the scene at the very end with Dom and Darlene was heartbreaking.
posted by nequalsone at 8:52 AM on November 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

Last comment: If Elliot and Mr. Robot know or strongly suspect there is a third persona, why aren't they doing more to figure that out, or at least thinking a lot about what that means? Or maybe they fully understand the situation now and are just keeping that from the audience to heighten the suspense? Or they figured it out and it doesn't really impact how they see things, how they think they should proceed? In which case, why add this element?
posted by nequalsone at 8:55 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is my favorite reviewer of the show (YouTube). His videos are insightful; highly recommend.
posted by CMcG at 5:19 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

The only bright spot for me in the entire episode was Leon. And only because I'm hoping that he's Chekhov's Freelancer...
posted by mabelstreet at 3:43 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I didn't like the way things played out with Krista, not because I don't think Elliot should do things that are bad but because I don't understand why Elliot is doing things that are bad.

That's my problem with this episode too.

If you compare it to, say, "24" -- a lesser show by most measures -- Jack Bauer does terrible things. Sometimes he'll torture an innocent, or mostly innocent person, or even shoot someone in the leg, to get what he needs to complete his mission. But his mission is always clear: Someone is going to kill the President, or bomb Los Angeles, if he doesn't stop them.

Elliot's motivations are cloudy at best. I know he wants to stop the Dark Army, but stop them from doing what? Just having power in general? Does he want everything to go back to how it was pre-five-nine, and if so how does this accomplish that? Are millions of people in mortal danger because of Whiterose's mysterious device, or is it just harmless, or snake oil?

It's fine for Elliot to have to make the tough decisions and maybe he knows why they're necessary... but I'd like to know too.
posted by mmoncur at 6:33 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Someone on the Youtube comments for the insightful review CmcG mentioned said "What if Vera is the 3rd personality"?

I don't think that idea holds up to scrutiny AT ALL, but man, it would have made for a far more interesting show this season.
posted by mmoncur at 6:41 PM on November 17, 2019

I'm with all y'all hating this episode. So violent, so grim. Not Acceptable indeed.

Vera feels like a really stupid plot. Why bring back some forgotten violent character and spend so much time on him? He's not compelling in any way. I'd much rather have Joanna Wellick than this. Or Tyrell, even, I guess he's really gone?

The one thing I did like was the thematic echoing between the plots. Specifically how both Eliot and Dominique are making horrible violent wrong decisions solely because they feel too pressed for time. They both give little monologues about this, "I have to do this because there's no time to figure out something else". Almost wish they'd matched that to a shot of Whiterose and her clocks, although lately they've been downplaying that particular Bond villain trait.
posted by Nelson at 8:21 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I missed the edit window by, uh, a lot, but when I wrote Krista in this comment, I meant Olivia.
posted by nequalsone at 7:57 AM on January 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I'm on my fourth time through this whole journey, and so much of this that feels so difficult right now becomes so necessary. It's a brilliant novel of a show, each season a different volume with a different focus. It's worth getting through to the end, really.
posted by hippybear at 8:31 PM on July 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

That was one of the worst pieces of television I’ve ever seen.
posted by johnasdf at 5:18 PM on May 6, 2022

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