Mr. Robot: eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z
September 21, 2016 9:08 PM - Season 2, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Angela makes an unexpected acquaintance; Darlene realizes she's in deep; and an old friend reveals all to Elliot.

WELL. THEN.

Sepinwall felt it was slightly anticlimactic. So did the AV Club.

I'm still picking everything apart in my head and should probably just go rewatch it together with the first part now.
posted by sparkletone (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
So Elliot is kind of like Joshua/WOPR, complete with the daddy issues?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 PM on September 21, 2016


I have to admit that while I'm still enjoying the show, which I've come to see as a sort of present-day Neuromancer, this season really frustrated me with it's seemingly endless succession of cliff-hangers. It's the same thing here, we don't really find out what stage 2 is (apart from the plot to blow up what is apparently the AT&T Long Lines Building) and there's no word on the warehouses or whatever in Angela's home town that seem to be the driving force behind everything.

It seems a little far-fetched that after an incident in which multiple backups were destroyed via someone hacking into physical facility hardware, E-Corp would decide to consolidate all of their paper records in a single location (versus, say, embarking on a distributed digitization project over an airgapped network).

I guess I've accepted now that Tyrell is an actual physical person distinct from Elliot, but another Neuromancer parallel came to me tonight: what if Elliot is Colonel Willis Corto? In this scenario Mr Robot is not a fragment of his own mind, but rather a malevolent AI which is somehow inside his head, messing with his perception and trying to manipulate him for its own purposes. There is a decent amount of textual evidence that hints at this - Mr Robot's name, the chess match between them (a direct reference to WarGames, if Mr Robot is an AI), the flickering effect that he goes through in the last scenes here, Mr Robot's frustration with Elliot sending himself to prison, his ability to take over Elliot's perception in order to spare him from the brunt of the beating, etc.

Mr Robot appearing to Elliot as his father would then be a sort of double ruse. The one thing that doesn't seem quite explainable is the physical process by which this would be possible, especially in a fairly realistic technological world like that of the show. I suppose a Matrix type scenario is possible where Elliot is just in some VR world or is a brain in a bottle, but that would seem pretty unsatisfying to me (though the show has also dropped hints in that direction).
posted by whir at 10:48 PM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, my half-assed prediction from the last episode's discussion was correct.

Anyhow, yeah, I can only take so many cliffhangers and "no, no, it's cool BECAUSE you don't know!" crap. It can still be bad writing if it's revealed slowly.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:59 PM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, like everyone else, I was really frustrated that we didn't get more answers. It felt like the one big reveal we were building towards was just punted to the next season. Season 1 ended with the huge bang of the entire economy collapsing. It felt like we were in for something just as huge here, but instead it kind of just simmered the entire time. I do think that the finale would have played better if aired all at once.

Note, for those who missed it: Just like with season 1's finale, this episode had a pretty cool post-credits scene.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:24 PM on September 21, 2016


we don't really find out what stage 2 is (apart from the plot to blow up what is apparently the AT&T Long Lines Building)

Hmm? We find out exactly what stage 2 is. Wiping out the digital data has caused E Corp to consolidate all/most of their paper copies of everything (which were mentioned in the 'previously on' at the start) in a single location. That the femtocell and stuff has given them the means to wipe out too. That's stage 2. We've known all season that the 5/9 hack wasn't enough to really kill E Corp. The next step is to wipe out the paper back up of the digital information they've already gotten rid of. Elliot figures it out and freaks and gets himself shot.

The only major question I had left hanging is what White Rose's long term plan here is and just what exactly Angela is doing shifting her "am I evil or FIGHTING THEM FROM WITHIN" thing to Dark Army. We got basically nothing there, which surprised me given how out there (even for this show) the scenes with her last week were.

As for pointless cliffhangers, both the ... car wreck sound? Or something? After she walks out of her apartment and the post-credits scene with Leon seemed gratuitous. But otherwise, this was enough answers for me at least in terms hanging S2 questions answered. I think a rewatch might put me kind of where Sepinwall's at in terms of enjoyment of the answers we got, but we'll see.
posted by sparkletone at 11:44 PM on September 21, 2016


The only major question I had left hanging is what White Rose's long term plan here is

Yeah, sorry, that's really what I meant by "stage 2." We did find out the Elliot/fsociety angle on it, but I was hoping to learn more about what Whiterose and Mr Robot's motivations were for setting the whole thing in motion in the first place.

The more I think about this Mr Robot as external AI idea, the more it makes sense to me. It almost makes me want to go back and rewatch the show with that in mind.

One thing I'd like to see is a sort of timeline for the show, a lot of things have been presented to us out of chronological order and I have a bit of trouble remembering the sequence of some events.
posted by whir at 11:56 PM on September 21, 2016




great show, i liked the big reveal to darlene, about her being special
posted by eustatic at 3:25 AM on September 22, 2016


Does anyone know who is performing Amy Mann's "The Moth" when Dominique shows Darlene the Bureau's map of the 5/9 conspirators? Such a terrific song put to such good use.
posted by hwestiii at 3:40 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


The person whose story advanced the most this year—Angela—was nowhere to be seen this episode, save for a brief coda in which we learn she may have known this was going to happen to Elliot.

but that one scene is all we needed to see! there's so much plot in that one scene, it s all end and all beginning, just like last season, and so much of Angela. whatever, I thought it was a powerful way to resolve the previous episode. love that character.
posted by eustatic at 3:46 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Loved the digs at USA network.

“...you are not on some TV show. This isn’t ‘Burn Notice’. There are no blue skies for you out there. Characters like you are not welcome here.”
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:11 AM on September 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


As much as I liked some of the Big Reveals with the FBI, Operation Python, Angela, and Tyrell, overall I felt this was the first genuinely bad episode of the series. The pacing was off, the dialogue was Matrix Reloaded levels of cringeworthy, and the arty direction got in the way of the story. Add this to the dozens of dead-end plot lines & I'm left feeling really dissatisfied with the season.
posted by kanewai at 6:18 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to parse everything, so I'm writing down what I understand and what I'm guessing from the information provided to date.

With this episode, we found out that:
  • Tyrell is alive, and not a figment of Elliot's imagination
  • Joanna had a plan, or at least thought on her feet and created a new plan to clear Tyrell's name
  • Mr. Robot's Stage 2 is to really and truly finish the job, destroying all records of debts, loans and property ownership held by E-Corp, and Mr. Robot is still the "big boom" style of file destroyer, but he didn't give Elliot a chance to work out a Plan B this time
  • Angela is alive and well, so the Dark Army wasn't targeting her - she may indeed be more special than she realizes, previously because she knew some of the work the Dark Army had planned, and doubly so now that she knows even more of the FBI's "python" plan
  • Trenton and Mobley (I mean Frederick) are still alive and safe, for now, but they're far from New York City, as they're somewhere with "no more bad winters" and it "hardly rains" (apparently the Fry's in Phoenix, AZ (Reddit discussion)
  • Leon (Joey Bada$$) is out of jail, and is currently in Phoenix, too
  • Angela knows more than we specifically were told before, and she has a larger role, if Tyrell is looking to her for direction and support with Elliot
Theories:
  • Whiterose's test for Angela last episode was to see if Angela would be a good Dark Army agent, and maybe she is (thus Angela directing Tyrell)
  • E Corp runs a significant portion of the power grid, so they are involved with the brownouts, which force the document archive site to use UPSs, and that's their role
  • Destroying the paper records won't kill E-Corp, but put an end to the financial systems everyone and everything relies on, forcing everyone to use E-Coins for all transactions, and the Chinese government can give E Corp more low-to-zero interest loans to back it all
  • Mobley and Trenton are fine, because Leon didn't kill them on the spot, as was Cisco's end; so Leon is just watching over them, possibly monitoring their efforts to undo the 5/9 hack (Reddit discussion), in case it might undo the machinations between DA and E Corp
Fun details and Easter eggs:
posted by filthy light thief at 8:52 AM on September 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


One question on the dialog and details:

Tyrell: I believe in fate. There's a reason we met. There's something between us. I can see it.
Elliot: You're only seeing what's in front of you. You're not seeing what's above you.

Above them was a cloudy, grey sky with thunder rumbling, seagulls flying, and the Steeplechase rollercoaster (POV ride-through), which is inspired by obstacle-style horse races of the same name.

So what above him/them should we be seeing?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


If I remember correctly, after that shot the camera cut away, and then cut back to the same shot of the sky, with the show's title superimposed over it. It might be kind of goofy, but Elliot may be referring to the title screen when he says that. He does, after all, break the fourth wall on a regular basis.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:36 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know who is performing Amy Mann's "The Moth" when Dominique shows Darlene the Bureau's map of the 5/9 conspirators? Such a terrific song put to such good use.

The Moth & The Flame - Les Deux Love Orchestra - Mr. Robot S02E12
posted by Pendragon at 10:12 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought this episode was OK, in that it told the story and gave some conclusions and set up another season. But somehow I had in my head the show was planned from the beginning to have three seasons total, and that this was the middle act. I'm kind of ready for this story to finish itself. But apparently that's not soon? A year ago Esmail was saying there's be "40 or 50 episodes", which suggests 4 or 5 seasons. He implies he has Elliot's story all laid out, so that's good, but I sure hope he tells it a bit more precisely in season 3.

My favorite part of this episode was Dom and Darlene dueling, cutting through all the good cop crap and going straight to the reveal of the Big Board. I think Dom may be the best thing to happen this season. I also liked them toying with whether Tyrell was real, with the gun calling back to the early episodes of Mr. Robot shooting Elliot. Also pleased to see the show raise the possibility of undoing the original hack; it always felt suspicious to me the Big Hack was encrypting the data, not erasing it entirely.

My least favorite part was watching Joanna get brutally beaten. I mean come the fuck on, we don't need to see women beaten for our entertainment. Also her whole story this season is just dumb. Is she a badass who's in control of her life in a brutal way? Or is she a broken widow grovelling for payments and spinning out some crazy "I'll let them beat me to convince my bartender boyfriend to lie to the police" plot? If they'd written her and Scott Knowles out of the show entirely I wouldn't miss them. Maybe they'll end up being relevant eventually?

You know what would be fabulous? If all of Season 3 were set in China, acted by Chinese actors, with only occasional callbacks to the New York characters. Give the Dark Army a season.
posted by Nelson at 11:28 AM on September 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Filthy Light Thief: I don't know what it means but the " You're only seeing what's in front of you. You're not seeing what's above you." line was used in the first season as well. (Re: Mefi's discussion of last year's finale)
posted by hoodrich at 12:29 PM on September 22, 2016


He implies he has Elliot's story all laid out, so that's good, but I sure hope he tells it a bit more precisely in season 3.

As far as I know he's been very consistent on the "4 or 5" thing, and also that even if not all the individual details are worked out to the last detail (because come on), he knows the major milestone points he wants them to hit every season.

The more I've thought about it today, the more I think that maybe the show should stick to 10 per season. Not "10" meaning "12" where the premiere is two parts, but they air the finale split in two. That might mean losing or severely truncating some of the delightfully weird flights of fancy like the extended sitcom pastiche but I think overall the season might've been better off for it.

But mostly nothing I saw last night has me feeling less excited about next season.
posted by sparkletone at 12:50 PM on September 22, 2016


" You're only seeing what's in front of you. You're not seeing what's above you."

I took it as a "look outside yourself at the bigger picture" sort of thing, but maybe I'm misinterpreting.

On a related side note: Oh, man, seeing Rami Malek in his Christian Slater Impression mode is a delight. More of that please.
posted by sparkletone at 12:53 PM on September 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


You know what would be fabulous? If all of Season 3 were set in China, acted by Chinese actors, with only occasional callbacks to the New York characters. Give the Dark Army a season.

During the after credits scene, and before the zoom was close enough to see who was talking, I was almost thinking we were about to see a bit of a reboot with new characters. I'm fine with waiting until next year; that finale left me a bit tepid and also gave me the familiar flavor of being burnt out with a particular story. But I'm sure I'll have fun looking through "Elliot's notebook" when it hits the torrent.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:58 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


A couple Vox people had a chat about the second season as a whole.
posted by sparkletone at 2:05 PM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


This episode and maybe the entire season needs a rewatch because I felt like it raised more questions and we didn't get all the answers I was hoping for. I did love the roller-coaster up and down of this season though. I like that this show takes risks with its story structure and the way it presents itself to the audience. We need more television to do this.
posted by Fizz at 4:53 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is obvious, but, something I've been pondering all season: if "everyone" is after Tyrell this whole time... shouldn't there be a giant squadron of somebody constantly watching/hovering in front of Joanna's (same?) apartment/condo thing? I would think she'd at least have moved herself to somewhere else. I mean, I know that Dom mentions the efforts of the FBI in manpower scope (whether they are legit or not), but even if she was exaggerating, I'd expect us to see sommmmmebody. Even if the somebody was just regular people who are hating on her.
posted by bitterkitten at 7:29 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


"I think Dom may be the best thing to happen this season."

Absolutely. I find her character gives a needed ... I don't know, vitality ... to every scene she's in. We've had so many enjoyable but mopey sad downer weirdos so far that Dom is just a breath of fresh air in a stale dim room.

I know it works because she's not the focus of the whole thing, she's just a counterpoint, but right now I'll say that I'd gladly watch a spinoff that's all about her pre-5/9. Or post-. I don't really care which.
posted by komara at 8:17 AM on September 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


"I think Dom may be the best thing to happen this season."

Absolutely and entirely agree. I don't think this is how things will go at all really, but I would be SO DOWN for Dom + Darlene vs Whiterose + Angela tug of war over Elliot.
posted by sparkletone at 9:45 AM on September 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I need to rewatch the last few. I thought I was on top of it but I am losing track of too much of it. Half this ep. just did not make basic sense to me.
posted by scalefree at 3:33 PM on October 14, 2016




misc thoughts at the end of my two-season bingethrough:

The multiple-universe thing better be a headfake, because, come on, that is some time-travel hokery right there. I fully tolerate it on the show Man in the High Castle because that book and PKD essentially pioneered the trope. That said, as shows, Mr. Robot is definitely a cut above Man in the High Castle despite recent real world events.

How can Dark Army motivate its' gunsels to suicide as we are shown? Certainly suicide can play a role in the kinds of activities we see here but the strange precison of the anonymous killers' deaths to me suggests something odd, especially if Dark Army is neither governmental or apparently religious.

A pretty handwavy, tinfoil hattish theory: Eliott's ability to dissociatively hallucinate is something that can be invoked in others as well, and the gunsels are somehow motivated to suicide via a means that relates to this. This leans pretty heavily on the no-less-hokey mutant factory hypothesis, in which Whiterose's project in Washington Township produced at least two preternatually gifted people (Elliott and Angela) and possibly others as well.

I saw nothing in s02 to present concrete evidence that any of the events connected with s01's prison break arc were real except for the apparent death of Chayla. Elliott remains my primary suspect. We have not yet, that I recall, seen any acknowledgment of her death in the context of police activity at her old apartment or anything indicating discovery of her body. I am willing to accept Elliott's reaction to discovering her body as a real event, but possibly in another location. It seems somewhat unlikely that Chayla's death will return to the plot but not out of the question based on her and Fernando's apparent early prominence in the apparent character-name schema (see my other comment here).

In that thread I just noticed I spelled Chayla's name as Shayla in an earlier comment. I suppose I should try to see which is correct.

Not a fan of the police procedural stuff. I eyerolled so hard at the stringboard. How is that supposed to motivate Darlene to cooperate? How does it communicate that she is special? The primary plot point that was conveyed is that now Darlene knows the cops think Willach is their Big Bad, something that Darlene seems likely to go along with.
posted by mwhybark at 12:30 AM on February 1, 2017


The character's name is Shayla. Another theory shot all to hell.

I do note that Red Hat guy (RIP) is named in show as Francis Shaw, and that Shayla's actress is Frankie Shaw. I kinda want to know more about that guy, too. Where did he learn Chinese? He was a librarian!
posted by mwhybark at 12:36 AM on February 1, 2017


Teaser trailer: season_3.0.
posted by Nelson at 7:42 AM on August 5, 2017


Another clip from season 3 was posted on the show's twitter a couple of days ago: Prepare yourself, friend. This clip is just the beginning.
posted by progosk at 4:22 AM on August 22, 2017


Mr. Robot Season 2 Recap. Tightly edited 7 minutes from the official YouTube account. Season 3 starts October 11.
posted by Nelson at 8:35 AM on September 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


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