Mr. Robot: eps1.2_d3bug.mkv
July 10, 2015 1:07 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Elliot decides to live a more normal life after his fall, but Mr. Robot reels him back in. Tyrell Wellick does some dirty deeds.
posted by Small Dollar (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is the episode that won me over from "ok, this is interesting enough to keep checking" to "ok, this is a playful, intelligent, sharply filmed show with a lot of promise." (The hot gay anal sex scene certainly helped. Seriously, did anyone else's jaw drop at how explicit it was for non-premium cable? When they actually took a moment to show Tyrell reaching down to slowly pull his dick out of his partner's butt and then clean up the santorum? Seemed like a new world of realistic sex on TV to me, anyway.)

Elliot is finally being given some agency in the main story instead of being buffeted around by it. Yay! He's a better actor when they give him something to act besides brooding. I liked the reveal that he'd already hacked the hospital to set it up as his primary care place for the future, and his childhood BFF got to show some complexity for a change instead of being just Concerned Gal. Not a whole lot of development for any of the female characters so far - the show's biggest early disappointment. That even the news calls Evil Corp "Evil Corp" adds to the dreamlike unreliability thing, which is keeping me curious to see where they go with that.

I laughed at the Starbucks "I'm gonna be normal now" scene, not least for the (brave?) dig at "those stupid Marvel movies." The goofy way that scene was shot (yeah, sure, Fight Club) was a breath of fresh air and I hope the show gets funnier as it ramps up. World's in the shitter but that doesn't mean we can't laugh as the handbasket hurtles down.

Can't speak to the realism of the HackerStuff but would love to hear what real people have to say about how the show does each week on that front. Surely somewhere there's a geek-centric site that's doing reports on that front?
posted by mediareport at 3:01 AM on July 11, 2015

The software Tyrell uses to own Anwar's phone (missed that his hookup was the secretary who plans appointments for Tyrell's boss) is apparently based on a real product called FlexiSPY:

What Is The Surprisingly Commercial Android “Backdoor” Depicted In Mr. Robot?

Vulture's recap says it's based on the CoolReaper backdoor that enables almost total remote control of the phone.
posted by mediareport at 3:27 AM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed the first episode, was a bit bemused by the second, but this one has plunged the harpoon of addiction right through me. It's wearing its influences proudly - there's no (obvious) need for Tyrell to be Swedish except to make you think of Scandi thrillers, and particularly The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Elliot's reality hacking makes us think of Fight Club, and even if Christian Slater isn't Tyler Durden, he's still Tyler Durden. Then again, it's punching far above its weight in cynicism, black humor and actual menace - you could almost hear the creative team cackling with glee over the 'Steal My Sunshine'-everything's-gonna-be-OK sequence (I fucken hate that movie. Go was the pox of 90s movies.)

Small Dollar noted last week that Elliot's white-knighting is creepy - I think it's meant to be. I don't think we're supposed to like or trust him. When he discovers Shayla's bug is her textile work, and she doesn't put it online, he can't comprehend it. The scene with his mother, and her anger at his father, leads me to think Elliot isn't trying to save these girls from something but find himself in their affections so that they will make him whole. Yes, it's an uncomfortable trait for the protagonist to have, but I'm not sure the writing is telling us that it's laudable. This will not, as they say around here, wend ell.

On a different note, I am utterly bewitched by the pace. This isn't an airport technothriller, it's something bleaker and nastier and slowwwwwwwwer - I don't know what the equivalent fiction would be (suggestions on the back of a postcard) but it reminds me a lot of the late and much-lamented (at least by me) Rubicon, and I wonder how that show might have fared in the wake of slow-burn storytelling like Breaking Bad and True Detective...
posted by prismatic7 at 5:29 AM on July 11, 2015 [9 favorites]

I wonder if Angela is scheming now. That was a pretty quick turnaround for her when Ollie told her what was up with the CD. First she wanted to break up, then she realized that her financial records were on the hook and very quickly was back to "Oh I forgive you". I wonder if she's going to try to infect AllSafe herself?

And why couldn't she find some way to protect her financial assets and report the hacks? Seems like she was afraid of losing her life savings, but hacking your company doesn't seem like a very good way to get any more life savings, right? Maybe she's going to set Ollie up?
posted by natteringnabob at 10:45 AM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

This was definitely a set-up episode. lots of exposition rather than action like the first 2 eps.

Wellick is, at least, a real, independent character, and so, possibly, are the MiB that drive him around.
Shocked and bemused at the graphic anal sex. it really is 2015 isn't it.

Angela's turn-about definitely surprised me. surely she has it in for Ollie, and is just setting him up for the fall. I don't get how reporting the ID theft is worse than taking down your own company, but the writers have been clever enough so far to give me hope she's got agency in this plotline.

I wonder how many Appletini's have been ordered this weekend???
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2015

I'm a bit bummed out at how much the show is veering into the Tyler Durden scenario, though I'm still enjoying it. Like, it's pretty obvious now that Christian Slater isn't real, right? None of the characters except for Elliot and the fsociety crew ever interact with him, the bartender doesn't seem as if he seems him, and it seems doubtful that he could just waltz right into AllSafe and start just sort of hanging out by Elliot's desk there.
posted by whir at 1:15 PM on July 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm hoping the writers have fun playing with Slater being not real but go for something a bit more interesting (and less obvious at this point) than a straight Tyler Durden-esque reveal.
posted by mediareport at 10:35 PM on July 12, 2015

I've watched a few of the episodes back-to-back, so I don't remember if it was this episode or the one before where Elliot is in the fsociety HQ where one of the other members is so stoked to meet him or something, and it was super clear that C.Slate wasn't there at all. Then there was the scene where C.Slate just drops into the office and talks at a normal volume, talking about the redhead and the shit office and no one says anything, followed by the bar scene, where I figured talking to yourself while ordering an appletini in the middle of the day was just something that kind of happened in many bars, so the bartender wouldn't bat an eye at that. And in that scene, C. Slate even said "without you, there is no plan."

Really? You're going that subtle? Damnit, it's totally Fight Club, complete with the self-inflicted wounds. But I still really like it.

Ollie is the dumbest ever, and/or the production team was trying just a shade too hard with the CD. The label: "ISPY" with a shady black-hatted figure, set as the focal point of the scene for a few beats - we get it, bad hackers made this to spy on him. (But in retrospect, the street rapper's hype was pretty amusing -- "Yo, please buy my CD.
Only cost you 20 likes. Yo, it'll give you the feels, y'all, I swear. The CD's free. All's I ask is you Tweet. Help my social media outreach."

But I agree with others that there's a pacing and character development that makes this all more interesting. There is no perfect, good character. Angela is developing a bit, and clearly has a plan. Elliot is a mess, even when he's "doing good." It's all his own justifications for things. Sadly, Slickback is too much the stereotypical villain, beating up a bum to vent instead of taking it out on a punching bag, banging the (male) secretary to get company secrets that will allow him and his wife (who is distinctly more impressive this episode, not being a doormat as I feared from last episode) to blackmail/coerce the incoming CTO into passing on the position or giving him more power.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:42 PM on July 18, 2015

Yeah, I think the final proofs that Slater isn't real were the office scene and the bar scene. Not only how loud he talks in the office saying shit that should've had heads turning around him, but also what kind of cyber security firm itself has such lax security that a random dude dressed barely better than a homeless bum can just waltz right in? Then at the bar, when Eliot orders the appletini, the bartender reacts as if no one has asked for one of those in his bar, like, ever, and how would he have that reaction since Slater is sitting right there having ordered one apparently just minutes ago?

Seriously, did anyone else's jaw drop at how explicit it was for non-premium cable?

Yeah. That was about Game of Thrones level for man-on-man action, yet this isn't even HBO.

The Angela/Ollie thing - do we know who is setting them up? (I feel like I lose track of things easily on these kinds of shows lately, maybe I missed something...)
posted by dnash at 2:58 PM on July 19, 2015

do we know who is setting them up?

I think its f.society? I'm just starting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:11 PM on November 10, 2017

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