Mr. Robot: eps2.7_init_5.fve
August 31, 2016 11:09 PM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Angela wants more from E Corp than they want to give; and Elliot and Darlene seek answers.
posted by Pendragon (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I loved the music choices in that first ten minute segment explaining Elliott's time in prison.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:15 PM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sepinwall's on vacation this week, but AV Club's review is up.
posted by sparkletone at 1:19 AM on September 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Something I've been real confused about, why does Elliot believe Tyrell is dead if he heard his voice on the phone in the premiere? Tyrell was the male voice who was saying "Bonsoir, Elliot", right? Or am I totally mistaken or misremembering?
posted by ariadne's threadspinner at 2:48 AM on September 1, 2016

Mr. Robot told Elliot that he shot Tyrell in the episode where we found out Elliot's been in prison (eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme). I can't really believe that Tyrell is dead, but I'm not sure if Mr. Robot was lying or if Tyrell survived the shooting.

The scene at the nuclear regulatory commission was amazingly scary for what was actually happening. The long darkening hallway and the deputy director were the most sinister thing we've seen in Angela's world so far. I love that the show can raise expectations with that setup and then have Angela get out of it just by turning and leaving.

I'm slightly confused about what's happening with Elliot/Mr. Robot and the Dark Army. Since Elliot is too, I'm hoping that I'm not too far behind.
posted by gladly at 6:09 AM on September 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

This episode was wonderfully tense.

The opening line set up so much "Every relationship's a power struggle. Some of us need to be controlled." And then the summary at the end of the "real world" jail experience that was supposed to set us on solid ground: "That's how it happened. That's all you missed. That's everything."

I'm slightly confused about what's happening with Elliot/Mr. Robot and the Dark Army. Since Elliot is too, I'm hoping that I'm not too far behind.

Yup, we're now in the same place he is. He's creating mental partitions for himself.

Then Angela's situation ... I don't even know what to think. The deputy director and upper management in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is in the pocket of E Corp? Deputy Director Phelps, Office of Investigations, was wonderfully off-putting. Angela gets the rubber ducky and gets all the passwords, only to find the whole system is rotten. But surely she made a copy of her USB drive, right? Insurance and all that.

Here's The Verge's Hack Report for this episode, which covers the ducky and the Pwn Phone. And here's the music: * The video is taken from Hardware, a 1990 British-American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:46 AM on September 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

Dom was doing some serious channeling Lt. Columbo in this episode. She barged into Angela's apartment, uninvited, acted eccentric and was all, My, this is quite the fancy place, wow, let me sit here and grab a bite of this gyro in a brown paper bag, whilst sitting at this fancy, spotless table. All she needed to do after that was turn around before she left, to ask one last question. (Also, the lollipop thing would appear to be a tip of the hat to "Kojak.")
posted by raysmj at 10:15 AM on September 1, 2016 [9 favorites]

Good call on the Columbo likeness. I love Columbo, and I love Dom. I wonder if she is still going rogue on this (and as a reminder, Tyrell is still Suspect #1 for the FBI). She has a team (or is it just Dom) tailing Angela.

A question of colors: Whiterose's umbrella is a semi-transparent grey, while Phillip Price's umbrella was a solid black, to the point that it cast a shadow over him. Is this implying that Whiterose is self-focused but neutral, while Price is an evil-oriented merc?

Last episode, Elliot was not present. This time, didn't see or hear from Trenton or Mobley. I'm more worried for Mobley, and I think Trenton just left after he didn't show up at a meeting he requested. Also, Cisco is probably doomed, right? He survived a baseball bat to the head, but the Dark Army is not so kind, assuming that's the heavy breathing of a Dark Army soldier off-screen. Maybe an injured one, someone hurt to send a message to Cisco? Could it be Xun?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:43 AM on September 1, 2016

Like the AV Club reviewer, I didn't quite like the amount of "everyone opens a door and sees something but you won't know what for a week." I'm sure it'll play fine in a more binge-y watching though, especially since the episode started with that unresolved knock on Elliot's door from the end of last season.

Using the minor charges related to that asshole his therapist was seeing's terrible-seeming dog to lay low for a while is simultaneously stupid and genius in the way I usually like from this sort of thriller. I also liked that little comment from Elliot of "there, now you've definitely seen everything," just before he himself gets into a bunch of dodgy situations because (to our perception) he's being kept out of situations Mr. Robot is having with other people. But then Mr. Robot doesn't seem to know what's going on either and was just speaking up since Elliot seemed to have checked out? I'm not sure I buy that after how angry he seemed on the screen in the court room. I really loved how surreal the scene with Elliot locked in the other train car felt though, even if I'm not sure what to make of him and Mr. Robot glitching out a few times.

Whiterose's peeing on a grave seemed kind of pointlessly transgressive, but at least did a good job of making clear how she feels about Angela's boss before their meeting.

Angela kind of stole the show for me once more though. Everything from the ease with which she tricks her boss' assistant to her expression when she's mistaken for same to the increasing sense that something is very wrong at her meeting with the regulatory people, all great. Especially that last part with the dark hallway and that incredibly chilling Deputy Director. I don't think Angela's going to go to Elliot or Darlene with what she's stolen, the authorities clearly aren't going to help her. Will she try to leak it herself and end up compromising everything? I'm not sure how I think that will go at the moment.

Lastly, I need to just give up and admit I have a crush on Dom? Saying the scene where she barges into Angela's apartment was Columbo-esque is just right. I don't think Angela can turn to her though with what she's got. Dom would definitely try to do the right thing with it, but it would make everything else SO much worse, and I don't think Angela can keep everything compartmentalized enough for it not to ruin everything.

I ... wouldn't quite call my reaction to finding out "Stage 2" is Elliot's plan surprise after the sketchiness with Mr. Robot and Tyrell's current state and that scene in the subway train car. But I probably took it better than Darlene did, assuming that's not the FBI at her door or worse.

I think of all the stuff still up in the air, I'm hoping we get some definitive info about Tyrell next week the most. It's maybe not the most interesting thread, but it's the one that needs attention more than the others at the moment given how pointed a question mark that's been and for how long.
posted by sparkletone at 2:13 PM on September 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sam Esmail was the guest on This week's Nerdist Writer's Panel. It's stuff he's talked about before, but generally dug into more by the host. Stuff like how the idea germinated as a feature but was fleshed out into a TV project later, the thing he's said a bunch of times about how the first season kind of acts as the first act of the film, etc, etc.

It's spoiler free for everything we've seen up to this episode (a few before actually). Like way less spoilery than I expected going in (I figured if it had anything about the final two episodes, Ben would've just held the interview).

There's a scene with Dom from the first couple episodes that's mentioned with some specificity (not the lonely-sexy times one), and I think an episode title or two. But at one point Ben asks what the sign posts were for this season compared to the first and Esmail balks at answering even after being reassured that the interview won't go up before the week of the finale if they talk about the end at all. Esmail instead goes back and gives the first season guide posts ("Elliot decides to join fsociety," the break in failing, the revelation with Darlene, the hack in the finale).

There's a really interesting bit about how they got an economics consultant for the second season and Esmail was pleased to learn that the economic downturn the hack sets in motion wouldn't be all that immediate, so they wouldn't need to just jump to "cannibals roaming the streets" or anything. They could explore the details in a more drawn out way. There's another good bit about to what degree Elliot's values/concerns such as they are are his. Esmail clearly likes Elliot as a character but also feels that He Can Be A Bit Muchâ„¢ and that they take care to try to have some self-awareness about what light they're showing Elliot or his actions in. The rant about god from the other week comes up as an example of Elliot being extreme/juvenile and that that shouldn't be taken at face value to be "the show's" values or Esmail's.

It's not the most "must listen" thing but it is interesting to get some deeper answers than just what some few hundred word blurb in EW, or 5 minute skype call with Sepinwall will get. Esmail comes off as really thoughtful and not someone who is too precious about his show or takes it over-seriously (just the right amount of seriously, I'd say). I'm sure someone or other, or maybe a more in-depth podcast episode like they do sometimes, will come out at some point after the show's wrapped up for the year though.
posted by sparkletone at 7:04 PM on September 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

I love how the economy is collapsing, every other character on the show is ready to have a cow at this point, but Dom is just so fucking chill about it all.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:51 AM on September 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

So losing their father and having a terrible mother really did do a number on those kids who grew up to be murdering hackers.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:26 PM on September 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Naw, filthy light thief, naw naw naw, Walking In My Shoes was released in '93. Songs of Faith and Devotion. Depeche Mode's weird industrial-rock, long-haired-Dave-Gahan phase.
posted by duffell at 2:30 PM on September 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ah, you're right - I mis-read Wikipedia in my rush to summarize there.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:01 AM on September 6, 2016

sparkletone: It's not the most "must listen" thing but it is interesting to get some deeper answers than just what some few hundred word blurb in EW, or 5 minute skype call with Sepinwall will get. Esmail comes off as really thoughtful and not someone who is too precious about his show or takes it over-seriously (just the right amount of seriously, I'd say). I'm sure someone or other, or maybe a more in-depth podcast episode like they do sometimes, will come out at some point after the show's wrapped up for the year though.

After listening to the Better Call Saul podcasts, I got spoiled by long talks on a variety of details about a detailed show. I would buy Mr. Robot DVDs or Blu Ray specifically to get commentary. I feel like Esmail has put so much into this show, and I'm interested to know how much of this is a one-man show, and how much is built by a larger group and/or influenced by the actors, like BCS.

If you're looking for more "long-thought" Esmail, USA's Hacking Robot 101 was a one-off thing they did at the beginning of this season, in the same style as HBO's post-show chat for Game of Thrones called After the Thrones, in part because they also had Andy Greenwald lead the discussions. I was really hoping that would be something they would do after each episode, but no such luck.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on September 6, 2016

Is Angela going for the long con here? I expected her to spend much longer being seduced by the Dark Side before acting on her information. All her self-brainwashing with positive, vaguely New-Age/Capitalist mantras made me think she was really trying to become her corporate persona, but then again she did pull the tasty cold revenge on Season 1 boyfriend, so maybe I shouldn't have been surprised.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:14 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

This show is so frustrating. I hated this episode, loved last week's, seriously hated the week before - long before the big reveal - and thought the one before was the best of both seasons.

My major gripe is with how Esmail is directing Angela's character, with all the countless long beats where she just stares at people without blinking, and no one thinks this is off. I know I'm in the minority here, but it takes me completely out of the story every single time.

Current theory: Elliot has a third personality that he and Mr. Robot are unaware of.

Nagging questions: If Elliot had his face bashed in in prison, why is he suddenly scar free? Also, wasn't the dark army contact the same guy who Darlene bashed with a bat at the end of last week's episode? Or am I confusing my white boys?

Nagging worry: We're in Lost territory, and Esmail is losing control of the side plots.
posted by kanewai at 1:29 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

How many people watching the series at this point have clued in that the actress playing Dom is Meryl Streep's daughter?
posted by hippybear at 9:31 PM on July 3, 2020

I remember figuring out the Streep connection at some point during this season; I'd thought I'd learned it from these fanfare threads, but re-watching it now (after my previous watch in 2019), I don't see that, so maybe I just googled her. Streep also has another daughter (at least one more) who's an actor, who I saw in something else more recently, but I can't recall what it was.
posted by mabelstreet at 10:21 AM on November 26, 2023

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