Mr. Robot: eps1.8m1rr0r1ng.qt
August 20, 2015 1:04 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

A mysterious figure from Elliot’s past jeopardizes the Evil Corp hack...

Regarding the description above: Variations on that were all I could find in USA's schedule listings or anywhere else for that matter. A better one hadn't been added to imdb or anything and I'm not sure how to boil it down better without getting into spoilers. That one feels incredibly misleading, but it does have the upside of being incredibly spoiler-free. I decided not to try writing a better one myself.

AV Club review.
Alan Sepinwall's review.
posted by sparkletone (33 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This was a nice follow up to last week for the most part, I think. Elliot deals with last week's revelation. We get some more about Darlene and Angela's past both with regard to each other and dealing with Elliot. Tyrell's collapse continues apace and pushes him to a really interesting move in the end (more on that scene in a bit). Angela gets a really gross job offer that I'm afraid she'll take for none of the right reasons. Gideon gets closer to the truth while continuing to be flummoxed at every turn. Was I the only one that figured that Mr. Robot was going to walk into Elliot's apartment at the end and not Tyrell?

My only major complaint was the choice of music for the final scene, a piano rendition of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" It's just like. Look, show, I know you wear your Fincher on your sleeve and there's no more dancing around the fact that these two characters are the same person, but that is the absolute last song you should've picked. This goes past turning into the skid and into aiming yourself right at a tree. It took me way, way out of what was otherwise an incredibly interesting scene between Elliot and Tyrell.

Otherwise, great episode! Looking forward to the finale.
posted by sparkletone at 1:09 AM on August 20, 2015


I was looking for a better description as well, Sparkletone. It kind of is a hard episode to summarize. That's what led me to the summary up on wikipedia. I'd totally forgotten that Darlene hid the gun in the popcorn machine. (Near the beginning of last episode, after the scene in front of the "Intergalactic Planetary" video game.

At least the music wasn't a sappy cover of "Mad World", right?

So you've got a gun, the song from fight club. Sam Esmail knows exactly what he's doing.

My SO thinks that Tyrell is an aspect of Elliot as well, though I've dropped my 'that person doesn't exist (excepting Mr Robot)' theories as of last week. I mean, Elliot just can't be in both places at once, though that totally explains every scene Tyrell and he have had together.

But what if the general idea for this show -- which Esmail has said was conceived as a movie, with this first season being act one -- was "what happens in Fight Club after the buildings fall?"
posted by Catblack at 1:59 AM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


It kind of is a hard episode to summarize. That's what led me to the summary up on wikipedia.

Those are usually quite good synopses, but I don't like them for Fanfare purposes because they're kind of over-long and too detailed to have showing up on the main Fanfare page for people without episode descriptions turned off. Usually the 2-3 vague sentences that end up in TV listings or on IMDB are pretty usable though, but tonight we were let down.

"what happens in Fight Club after the buildings fall?"

Yeah, that he has said this season is basically exposition and the fact we've never had to worry about renewal has me super, super interested in what the next steps are from here. I'm kind of guessing Angela will take the job intending to ~take down the bad guys from the inside~ ... But that will work out a lot like it did on Angel and she and Elliot will end up in conflict? I have no idea.

I also completely reject the idea that Tyrell is a literal aspect of Elliot the way Mr. Robot is. Tyrell is a separate person. There's no way Elliot could have that whole life, a wife, a child, speak freaking Swedish in his state. Certainly not without Angela or Darlene or anyone finding out. I don't expect strict realism from this show, especially given its hallucinatory nature due to being pretty tightly held to Elliot's headspace, but that is just waaayyyyy too far a stretch. Tyrell turning on everything he's known as this total snake who's lost everything is so much more interesting to me.
posted by sparkletone at 2:56 AM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't know what to make of Tyrell just walking into Elliot's apartment, and I certainly don't see a guy who has recently thrown himself out of a window, bowing to the threat of violence. he negotiated his way out of dying at Vera's brother's hand, so why would he suddenly sell out the coney island hideout to Tyrell ?
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:15 AM on August 20, 2015


Also...I am still betting on Angela fumbling her testimony, and simultaneously taking Colby down (cause some grudges are worth holding) and saving Allsafe. Now that she knows that the lawsuit isn't going sting Ecorp very much, she can still at least have Colby by his big hairy balls.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:21 AM on August 20, 2015


I liked the "You knew all along, didn't you" line to the audience, because a clever audience always figures things out.
posted by Pendragon at 8:22 AM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Past Elliot persuades his dad to see Pulp Fiction... current Elliot quotes Pulp Fiction: 'I'm pretty far from okay'

Bit meta this show
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:30 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


a clever audience always figures things out.

At least he didn't get mad and throw us on the ground, cracking our lense, like last time.
posted by sparkletone at 2:35 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Le Petit Morte is indeed cute.

Everything else: Holy shit, y'all.

Hurry up next week!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:47 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems to me like Tyrell's angle might be to use the hack to somehow implicate nemesis Scott, as he's the new EvilCorp CTO? If Tyrell can do that, then pinning his wife's murder on the guy equally plausible. If he can do that, Joanna will stay with him and he gets everything he wanted, which is seriously Nietzsche of him and seemingly in character.

And hey, maybe that was the plan all along. The original goal was for Tyrell to become the CTO. That would've given Fsociety the in they needed to pull off the hack originally, and if Tyrell was taking his sweet time nailing down the CTO position AND was secretly working with Elliott on the hack before he turned to working with "Mr. Robot" instead (stopped taking his meds), then... that would explain why the two of them are suddenly so familiar.

Because they were all along, we just didn't see it. It was happening off-camera.

Further, if Wellick has some kind of mental illness like Elliott does, it's possible they were treated by the same therapist or at the same hospital when they were much, much younger. Krista talked to him as though he were completing a year-long rehab type requirement for therapy; if he'd been held on a 5150 or similar after some erratic behavior and legal woes (think: Amanda Bynes), that would make sense.

I'm just spitballing here, but it makes some of the "what the hell are they so chummy for all of a sudden, unless they're the same guy?" theories seem less plausible to me.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:59 PM on August 20, 2015


If you were wondering, here are the release dates for the three movies mentioned in the beginning:
Timecop: September 16, 1994
Stargate: October 28, 1994
Pulp Fiction: October 14, 1994

I think Angela was written a bit too naively in the scene with Colby at her father's house. She would recognize that the MegaUniversal EvilCorp wouldn't really be bothered by a 75-100 million dollar settlement. Billion, yes, but 100 million? They make everything in this fictional world.

It's interesting to see Elliot and Tyrell face (personal) world-shaking events at the same time. We know Elliot is delusional, but Tyrell is really crazy (remember the bit where he told his wife they were looking in the wrong direction when plotting their ascent of the corporate latter, and he pretty much called Elliot god?).

Dark thought: it was interesting to see Colby talk about the power of E Corp, brushing aside the deaths of a few people and the 100 million dollar settlement, then compared to Tyrell talking about the "power" you have when you kill a single person. But then again, we saw that when Tyrell flipped out and fired those three corporate bros - everyone is a cog in a mega corporation, so individual lives don't really matter.

Questions: why wasn't Darlene in any of the old photos of Dad and Elliot? Was that collection specifically because they were all of his dad and him?

And why can't Gideon see Scott Knowles? Did Tyrell do something more than threaten legal action?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 AM on August 21, 2015


OHenryPacey: I don't know what to make of Tyrell just walking into Elliot's apartment, and I certainly don't see a guy who has recently thrown himself out of a window, bowing to the threat of violence.

I'm not sure he threw himself out of that window, or if he just broke it open in his imagined battle with Mr. Robot/Dad. When Darlene and Angela went to the old Alderson house, they focused on the broken window, and didn't look for where a body might have landed. I thought Elliot could have gotten cuts from breaking the glass, and they didn't look all that serious. And even if he did throw himself out of a window, he has harmed himself before, not trying to kill himself, but playing out some scene in his mind, whereas Tyrell talked clearly of killing Elliot with his bare hands. He even had his boxing gloves on, so I was actually surprised to see Elliot looking no worse than when Tyrell first came into his apartment.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 AM on August 21, 2015


Timecop: September 16, 1994
Stargate: October 28, 1994
Pulp Fiction: October 14, 1994


Given the initial choice, even in adulthood and as someone with a fondness for bad JCvD movies... Stargate is definitely the better choice if you're not allowed to pick the third one.

And why can't Gideon see Scott Knowles?

What? His wife was just murdered. That's the name of the wine-lover CTO replacement guy. Dude is sure as hell not at work that day and not in any shape to take even urgent work meetings.
posted by sparkletone at 8:37 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, thanks. I forgot his name, and thought they was talking about the older guy who fired Tyrell.

Also, this Vulture review says one of the photos Elliot came across was a family photo, with his mom, dad, Darlene and himself. Two questions down, so here's a new one:

Where is that giant model room, where Angela and Elliot used to go to escape? I've searched online for a reference to that scene, and I have found nothing.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:10 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where is that giant model room, where Angela and Elliot used to go to escape?

I was wondering about that too. It's very striking visually.
posted by sparkletone at 9:29 AM on August 21, 2015


Where is that giant model room, where Angela and Elliot used to go to escape?

I was wondering about that too. It's very striking visually.


A little bit of internet detective work suggests to me that it is the Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum.
posted by mstokes650 at 2:31 PM on August 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Timecop: September 16, 1994
Stargate: October 28, 1994
Pulp Fiction: October 14, 1994


Sadly, I don't think there's a Christian Slater film that crosses over (though may be films would stay longer in the cinema than now? - I think they did in the UK still)

Interview with the Vampire premiered Nov 11 in US
Jimmy Hollywood was back in March

Slater was appeared on SNL on the 10th Dec according to IMDB (but is uncredited)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:28 PM on August 21, 2015


So this is interesting.
posted by natteringnabob at 7:44 PM on August 21, 2015


Sorry to be a bummer, but this was the first episode of this show that didn't have me breathless with excitement. Every previous episode has been building up this convoluted story. This episode was the first half of the denouement, unwinding the convolutions, taking it to its logical conclusion. Well "logical" is a bit too far to go, but its inevitable conclusion. I'm also uncomfortable with using schizophrenia or related mental illnesses as the fulcrum for entertainment. Elliot's a strong enough character it doesn't feel exploitative exactly, but it does feel a little unsympathetic.

Complaints aside I'm still super-excited to see where the show ends up next week. Particularly hopeful to see the Tyrell / Elliot duality carried to conclusion. There's something complicated going on there.

I liked the scene with Gideon and his boyfriend Harry, acted by Randy Harrison. Harrison was one of the stars of the 00's show Queer as Folk. He's a hell of a good actor, or was in that show, and while I'm a bit bummed to see him typecast as another gay character, paying work is paying work. If they bring him back for a second season maybe we'll see him doing more than just humanizing Gideon. He'd make a great counterpoint for Tyrell's wife Joanna.
posted by Nelson at 8:35 PM on August 21, 2015


Nelson, I have to say that I was expecting this penultimate episode to be a setup for the finale, so the lack of breathless didn't surprise me.
I am very glad that the season didn't end with the scene at the cemetery, a place where a lesser show would have taken things.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:28 PM on August 21, 2015


I thought the previous episode was terrific so this was a little of a letdown. My two questions are 1) why didn't Angela and Darlene take Elliot to the hospital and 2) now a huge multi billion dollar technology corporation has no acting CTO?
posted by kat518 at 7:28 PM on August 22, 2015


1) why didn't Angela and Darlene take Elliot to the hospital and 2) now a huge multi billion dollar technology corporation has no acting CTO?

My answer to number 1 is a different question: why is Angela bothering trying to get him on some meds now when they have a countdown clock to take down EVILCORP - plenty of time for mental health once the world is on fire, no?

As for 2, I assume he's taking a couple of mental health days - he'll be back being CTO after that; or be called back to work once EVIL CORP starts burning.
posted by el io at 10:23 PM on August 23, 2015


why is Angela bothering trying to get him on some meds now when they have a countdown clock to take down EVILCORP - plenty of time for mental health once the world is on fire, no?

Angela doesn't know what he and Darlene have been doing with fsociety unless Darlene spilled the beans and there's no indication that she has. Angela clearly thinks something is up with Elliot (see various "what's going on with you, don't lie" conversations) but I don't think she suspects anything like fsociety.
posted by sparkletone at 12:01 AM on August 24, 2015


Oh wow!! This show!! Finished binge watching it last night.... Now I get to go back and read all the fan fare posts for each episode (the best part!!). I have to admit, I didn't see the Mr Robot reveal coming.... It was a true 6th sense moment for me. That is good because those OMG!! moments are so rare these days but I also feel like I was watching too fast and not paying attention. I guess that is justification enough to binge it again!!
posted by pearlybob at 4:38 AM on August 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Noo, Angela! Don't do it! Oh, please don't join them, no matter what flattery Colby is manipulating you with...

The cemetery scene was amazing - you can see in Elliot's eyes and face the confusion of realizing Mr. Robot isn't real, and how scared he is, and how he's trying to make sense of it all. It was heartbreaking. Particularly the Angela/Elliot hug at the station almost made me cry - Mr. "I don't touch people" finally hugging her back like she was a life raft.

I'm also happy they didn't end it at the cemetery; I'm sure a lesser show would have put that "Mr. Robot isn't real" reveal as the season-ending cliffhanger. Just makes me more antsy for this week's ep.

Also, I thought that Darlene was trying to get him back on his meds so that he will be lucid enough to do the hack without freaking out and ruining anything. I really feel like she's the driving force behind fsociety, not Elliot, despite what she said about him thinking it up. They started it while he was on his meds (he fell of the wagon, hence the breakdown he's experiencing, and why he forgot who she is), so getting him back on them will bring him back to the original plan, maybe.
posted by gemmy at 8:14 AM on August 25, 2015




In the mean time, Sonya Saraiya wrote a nice piece today about how well the show understand the internet. It was put up before the delay was announced, but has since been updated to take that into account.
posted by sparkletone at 3:06 PM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


SPOILER:

There's been a couple of people on reddit who claim to have seen review copies, and they say the episode features someone getting shot while giving an interview on live TV.
posted by Catblack at 4:58 PM on August 26, 2015


Every single TV critic person I saw posting about the delay said it was the right move and even with only vague details to go on, I'm inclined to agree. Other shows have done similar things in the past and it's always better to err on the side of caution. FWIW, both Sepinwall and Saraiya said that revealing that this event occurs is a spoiler perhaps, but that the finale has plenty of other surprises so knowing that it happens but not who or why is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
posted by sparkletone at 2:11 AM on August 27, 2015


I 100% agree that the show's social media team has their shit together. The Mr Robot FB page is a masterpiece of fanbase interaction with the "show" as persona, and I love it.

Good call on delaying the finale as well -- they disseminated that news directly to the show's fans, and interacted directly with people distressed about waiting to view it.

Good job, show!!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:30 PM on August 27, 2015


Vulture examines just how Mr. Robot ended up on USA.
posted by sparkletone at 8:32 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


A peak inside Mr. Robot's toolbox (WIRED review of the tech and tools used up through Episode 8).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:41 AM on August 28, 2015


So glad these pages are here as I re-watch the series before digging in to season 4.

Having the subdued, piano version of Where Is My Mind felt perfect to me. I smiled as soon as it started. It's playing in the calm before the storm, in contrast to the original playing just as the shit goes down in Fight Club. Particularly in an episode with two Pulp Fiction references, it just felt right.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:23 AM on October 14


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