I know I just did a Mr. Robot recap, but I'm within grasp of catching up and I couldn't resist. Especially since we might actually find out the pivotal question of season two thus far: Where Is Tyrell Wellick? As opposed to season one's big conundrum: Who Is Mr. Robot? Rolling S2:E3 after the break!
Mobley and Romero (Ron Cephas Jones) are back on the boardwalk at Christmas time. Why is Romero trying to find an arcade, Mobely wants to know. I want to know how someone pried Romero away from his lucrative weed business! Mobely just doesn't LISTEN, complains Romero, that's the problem with his whole generation.
Ah hold on, this is going back, this is Before, this is how fsociety got set up in these fancy digs. Long story short (too late!), Romero's cellie was the last in a long line of cursed owners of the Coney Island arcade we came to know and love in season one of Mr. Robot. Mobely looks a bit lost; does Romero buy into any of that? Hell no, Romero's too broke to be superstitious. Truer words, my friend.
Ah and Romero wasn't part of fsociety in the beginning, this is a recruiting mission and Romero is the best freaker in the game (I remember a certain part of a club in Spokane, WA called Swakhammers where freaking meant something else entirely).
I love that we get to hear Mobely's take on Elliot (I swear, I am fully aware these are fictional characters) because I really only have my own opinion and I'm a coding moron. Elliot's a "little weird" *cough cough*, got a thing for Coney Island (he went there with his dad when he was little when his dad wasn't pushing him out windows), genius, best coder Mobely knows and he wants to meet Romero.
I could not say how much I love Romero's face; it's as though it's been carved out of teak, a combination of Leonard Cohen and and Egyptian god. He has a face like a knife; see what I mean?
Romero closes up the El Dorado Arcade without committing; F..Society is all that's left of the sign and that's a story for another time. We are at credits and does anyone else think the music on here is very Quentin Tarantino-esque? As in lots of obscure or forgotten 80s music and if Sam Esmail has I've Been To Paradise inserted in any episode I will light a candle at a small shrine I will build out of leavings from the local zoo. I mean it!
Elliot's fighting panic and fear now, brought on by Mr. Robot's nocturnal transmission with Ray and his un-remembered dialing of Tyrell Wellick. When things start to devolve, Elliot goes into flight mode faster than most.
Elliot still on the phone with Tyrell, he wants to know where Tyrell is, "not where I'm supposed to be. Not yet. Soon" is the helpful answer. Elliot's PsychoMama watches TV in the background while Elliot pries for information. Tyrell doesn't think that's a good idea and just a quick reality check: Elliot is the one who put Tyrell where he is, because Elliot is Mr. Robot. To be close pals with Elliot, you have to have a super strong ability to handle a metric tonne of weird behaviour, like your brother trying to kiss you. As a heads up.
Tyrell won't fess up, though, he wishes it was safe to do so, oh how he wishes that. And he loves to think about that night, the night they became gods and technically, I think Tyrell just watched. Elliot's getting extry starey so Mr. Robot hangs up for him. He roughs Elliot up a bit, he's much more aggressive this season, I can see how he ended up with Elliot's PsychoMama now. Elliot doesn't want to be held hostage by his paranoia any more, but as far as Mr. Robot's concerned, he kept up his end of the bargain, letting Elliot talk to Tyrell and now he wants his party time! PARTY TIME, ELLIOT! There's a revolution to lead! Elliot's trying to fight back and the only part of that scene that didn't work for me was the best part "You talked to him!" "I talk to you too!" Elliot just wants the panic to subside.
Elliot stops arguing with himself in time to hear the news of Gideon's death; that was terrible. That guy never had a chance and I loved his gentle arse.
Romero's mom Nell (Dorothi Fox) is cutting up her debit card and complaining to the bank on the phone, how is she supposed to pay bills?! Mobely knocks on the door, to be directed downstairs while Nell sucks on a lit joint end. She doesn't seem very mellow for someone on the reefer.
And now! Now Romero has his weed industry or I should say HAD because he's been murdered. There's a phone next to his hand and brain matter and splatters of a white substance everywhere. Oh man, come ON. How come everyone I like is dying?? Okay, fine, I don't like anyone any more, no.body. Got it? And who killed Romero and Gideon? I immediately thought Phillip for Romero, but Gideon..hmmm
Ray had mentioned his wife before, but he didn't say anything about her undergoing chemo for cancer. It's good that he talks so much, he doesn't seem to need any back and forth, like Leon. Ohhhhh honestly, I'm sorry, I'm assuming a lot in this episode and not getting much right. Ray is talking to himself, which must mean his wife is dead, and it may not be a chemotherapy, because he's eating normally, but rather maybe a dialysis machine.
Incidentally, the removal of the credit industry has REALLY fcuked everything up. Did Elliot and gang think this through? Everyone is on a $50 / day allowance, shops are closing because no trucking, nobody can pay bills, nobody can prove they own anything, what replaces it? Is fsociety just expecting a New World Order to just magically manifest?
So there's another answer; Elliot knows Leon because Leon is his dealer. I still don't know why they spent practically every waking moment together, but it looks as though Leon is Shayla's replacement. He tells Elliot to be careful with that dose, Elliot must be trying to drug away Mr. Robot, and his grief over Gideon's death. Elliot's not taking morphine as he was before, but rather Adderall, and ALL of it, which seems...self-destructive.
Elliot thinks od-ing on Adderall, or causing his own Internal Fatal Error is the only way to get rid of Mr. Robot. Just then he's stopped by a Creepy Man (Tom Knutson) in an ill-fitting hat before being hooded and dragged into a large black SUV.
A beggar sings opera while Mobley stares at his feet instead of all the cops that just got on his train; they all stare at him and that's weird, right? Darlene gets on as the cops get off, she starts in without preamble. She and Elliot told him that Romero was a liability, he sold drugs. She frowns into the air a hundred yards away; she's all angles and exaggerated features like a Picasso painting.
Did anyone see him? Well, Nell did and I guess Darlene's frown means he should have killed her? "Fcuk Darlene. What did we do?" and what did they do? Why Romero?
Elliot is taken to a dark, wet place and shackled to a chair; a wheelbarrow is rolled over and he watches them mix concrete. What's that for, we want to know?? It's for pouring down his throat, through a giant funnel and finally Elliot comes round and makes himself throw up all that Adderall he took earlier as Mr. Robot watches and soothes from the sidelines.
When Elliot's done vomiting up everything from the past two days, Mr. Robot fills him in on the 411. He OWNS Elliot, he's burrowed deep into his brain, he's nested there and just when I thought it couldn't get any gribblier, Elliot starts picking half-digested Adderall tablets out of his spew, chewing and swallowing them again. I've seen abuse pron that is less disturbing. Okay, nothing is more disturbing than abuse pron, but at least that's someone ELSE being a disgusting human being, not you mind-humping yourself while picking through stomach bile. Elliot is defiant while Mr. Robot and I are just grossed the fcuk out: Elliot will not be owned.
That was the grossest fcuking thing ever.
Phillip's called Angela to his office to offer his condolences for the loss of her former boss Gideon; veery unfortunate when bad things happen to good people. Thank you she says (complete deadpan), she's been really broken up about it.
He doesn't like how she's set up the interview, however, he wants Fox, not Bloomberg and no pre-interview. She agrees, but stops when leaving and argues. He tells her to sit down; has she ever had dinner at Fidelios? One of the nicest restaurants in the city now, he knows the chef. He'll have his assistant make a reservation for her blah blah semi-fredo blah. "Ooohkay" she says, great, he'll have a car sent for her on Saturday a 8 pm. And she's right, Bloomberg is more appropriate. Was that a test and she just passed? Is she going to have to sleep with his husky-voiced aged arse?
She looks at a framed article on leaving. He's noticed that she always does this when exiting his office. Perhaps she's as captivated as he is by Franz Ferdinand's assassination, or how a man can change the whole world with a bullet in the right place.
Dominique is in bed reading about Gideon's murder while a man proposes in Times Square on the TV beyond; it's 4 am. I'm guessing insomniac. Several cups of coffee, makeup and The Highwayman later, she looks kinda awake. Time for work!
Her, other cops and another FBI agent who can't stop sneezing are swarming all over Romero's house; this must be a bit later on as there's a smell now. They've found three pages of FBI agent contact details, including hers, but there was a leak a while back and every hacker has this stuff. She asks what they're doing to Romero's computer, oh it was unlocked and that means RUN. Nobody leaves their computers unlocked. I remember the first time someone at work used the old CTRL-ALT-DLTE on their computer, it was more than 15 years ago and we were all just happy one manager couldn't get into anyone's computers to send homophobic insults around any more.
It could be worse, Romero's computer just sends a flame jet out the back, no biggie. Shoulda checked those modified ports! She craps on the sniffly detective and leaves.
Darlene and Mobely are visiting Trenton (Sunita Mani), woot! We're getting to see everyone this week! I don't like Trenton, for the record, nope, not even a little bit because she was different and very well spoken.
Trenton's freaked out and Mobely thinks the Dark Army is picking them off one at a time. Huh. I hadn't considered Whiterose and the Dark Army being involved, but that would make sense with Gideon at least. At the end of season one, we saw Whiterose (B.D Wong) meeting with Phillip Price, so I could see some kind of collusion there, since the Dark Army was crucial to pulling off five / nine. But. If the Dark Army helped pull off the hack, why would they be picking off fsociety after?
Mobely reminds Darlene: she wasn't the only point of contact and we all know Elliot's a little...*hand teeter-totter motion* but don't even say it! He wouldn't and she's oot. Stop spazzing. And be cool. SURE. Let's do THAT
Mobely doesn't trust Darlene OR Elliot, he thinks he and Trenton are next on the To Do list.
Ray's just the best; he's a mob enforcer with a heart. He's explaining to a young man who's been severely beaten that he needs the site back up and running (with Bitcoins) and all will be well. The terrified young man just doesn't have the knowledge to do what is needed, though, which means that Elliot should have just felt a cold sliver press against his heart.
Elliot hasn't slept in 3 days, y'all. His eyes are bloodshot, but he's happy! Mr. Robot is gone, baby, gone! He feels so focused! He even has his hoodie off as he takes more and more Adderall. He can even talk now! But like, really fast and Leon doesn't like the interruption. Elliot finds basketball AND god.
It crashes around day five of not sleeping, hallucination and pixelation and Elliot's internal system failure comes to a head.
By day 6 the scream in his head is coming back.
Angela's getting ready for her "date" with Phillip, practicing her affirmations in the mirror then heading to the restaurant for dinner. Her party is already there, but it's not just Phillip as she expected, two other men are there as well. He watches her face as he asks her colleagues to introduce themselves. We have Saul Weinberg (Craig Wroe), managing director of operations and Jim (Kevin Hogan), SVP of BA. Phillip calls himself Master of the Universe; then is interrupted by restaurant staff: they have to pay up front now since five / nine. Here's to new relationships leading to new opportunities!
Speaking of new relationships, Dominique is communing with happyhardonhenry806 (which I hear is a nod to Christian Slater's role in Pump Up The Volume) in a completely unrealistic way; nobody gets off while looking as though they're trying to rub four layers of paint off a '67 Buick. Like. Nobody. It doesn't help anyway, so she asks Alexa (her OS) when the end of the world is. When the sun swells into a red giant, and I like the specificity!
She's put her work cell phone in the safe where her gun is, she unlocks it to scroll through the list of contacts with her name on it.
Elliot's been coding by pencil in his journal; he stares at it during his church group while thinking about the spiral of madness that Mr. Robot has taken him on. Mr. Robot is his god and that's what they do. One of the group members is telling a story about beating up an Indian shopkeeper; I've never seen anything look as equally bored, high and over it as Elliot does right now. Man does religion ever freak me out; I get how it's a great source of comfort for a lot of people and I wouldn't poop on that parade but it just makes me want to shower when people start to go on about it. They get to Elliot and that's when this happens.
Ohhhh thank you Elliot and whoever wrote this speech, I think it rivals the "F... Society" one from season one. In it's entirety: "Is that what God does? He helps? Tell me, why didn't God help my innocent friend who died for no reason while the guilty roam free? Okay, fine. Forget the one-offs. How about the countless wars declared in his name? Okay, fine. Let's skip the random, meaningless murder for a second, shall we? How about the racist, sexist, phobia soup we've all been drowning in because of him? And I'm not just talking about Jesus. I'm talking about all organized religion... exclusive groups created to manage control, a dealer getting people hooked on the drug of hope, his followers nothing but addicts who want their hit of bullshit to keep their... their dopamine of ignorance, addicts afraid to believe the truth... that there is no order, there's no power, that all religions are just metastasizing mind worms meant to divide us so it's easier to rule us by the charlatans that want to run us. All we are to them are paying fanboys of their poorly written sci-fi franchise. If I don't listen to my imaginary friend, why the f... should I listen to yours? People think their worship's some key to happiness. That's just how he owns you. Even I'm not crazy enough to believe that distortion of reality. So f... God. He's not a good enough scapegoat for me. "
Oh shite, Elliot's worried: did he just say that out loud? He did. Allll of it. He walks out, throwing away his journal full of coding.
Phillip and the dudes are having a grand old time, but he notices Angela's boredom and lack of involvement and shoos everyone away. He and Angela are going to have one more drink. They leave immediately and Angela transforms into a warm human being all of a sudden He monologues about the backgrounds of the two men, blah blah something blah grandkids blah, but oh, they have something else in common. They also colluded to cover up that toxic waste dumping that killed Angela's mother and he watches as her face goes from coquettish to vengeful in a blink. Ordinary men, he says, capable of extraordinary things. Phillip goes on to tell her that Saul and Jim have been engaged in insider trading for awhile and hands her a disk with the evidence. So. What will she do? Will she take the opportunity to move forward with her influential and important new friends that killed her mother so many years ago, or will she turn them in? She doesn't trust him, so he comes over and cuddles up nice and close, which is the only time he's been anywhere near her. Once she removes emotion from the equation, the answer will be quite clear.
I can't quite believe this story line, but I think I'm taking it too literally. Angela is a symbol of everything corrupt in society. She's gone from an avenging Angel-a to someone bought and paid for by ECorp and until she makes the right decision, she'll be tortured by choices at every turn, betraying her mother afresh each time. This is how it happens to some people; selling their souls to The Man for a delish semi-fredo and wealth and influence. I've learned that managing my expectations works much better, but then I'm really good at delayed gratification.
Ray's no longer taking no for an answer from Elliot, even as a Positive Reinforcement Guy as he called himself earlier, this time he has a few enforcers with him. They must really need that site up and migrated. Ray's heard about Elliot's night, and he's even rescued Elliot's coding book from the trash. You know, in case he needs it down the road.
5 years, seven months, three weeks and two days ago, Ray's wife passed away. He leaves a pause for Elliot to say something, but our Elliot isn't really known for his small talk or following societal conventions. Ray was locked in his grief until he started to talk to his wife out loud at the table during dialysis, it's what got him through. He thinks Elliot and he are more alike than he knows. Nothing happens with the scary dudes glaring at Elliot after Ray walked in, I dunno man.
Dominique's in to see Nell at the crack of dawn, she gains access by offering to roll joints for her; arthritis has made it difficult. Awww right then! Romero didn't have any friend or hobbies, except for computers, and that one chubby guy. Nell's been packing to move, but what she's using for packing material is more pages of FBI agent contact information and a flyer for Darlene's End of the World Party. Whoops!
Ray asks Elliot why he started writing that journal anyway? He thought it was the way to control his life and we all do, don't we? Follow rules, however arbitrary, do right, and does it mean anything? Ray tells the story of the day of his wife's death; she was a rule follower and a perfect driver and one day it just didn't matter. "Control is as real as a one-legged unicorn taking a leak at the end of double rainbow."
Then what do we have?
Ray rejects the parable about getting up when you fall, the whole THING is a fall and all you can do is keep stumbling forward in the right direction. But what if you don't know what the right direction is?
Ray can tell that whomever Elliot was writing about means a lot to him, does he still see him? Does he still take over sometimes? Elliot cannot deal with someone knowing that much; he tries to leave, but Ray calms him down, how about some chess? He moves to grab a board and there's Mr. Robot, watching Elliot from the window. Elliot wonders if it's not about falling and crashing but setting a breakpoint, stopping and fixing the code and moving forward to the next. So. That means dealing with your issues, not hiding from them (slipping into Mr. Robot's skin), trying to control them (the regimen) or giving up completely (the Adderall overdose); moving a small step forward at a time and not rejecting parts of you that you wish weren't there. And now you have it: the Mr. Robot self-help guide.
We're out to Dominique staring at the F. Society sign on the arcade in Coney Island; how many days without sleep is she on now? I hear the sixth is a bear.
Until next time, Script Kiddies, keep your imaginary friend nice and close and your coding journal handy, we're going to a party!