Mr. Robot: season 2 episode 11 review – eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z
The two-part Mr. Robot season 2 finale was supposed to air all at once this week. But USA Network decided to split it into two weeks, so this time we only got half of the climax of this season, with the other half to air on the 21st. It means that a lot of questions are still left lingering and the knots of the many storylines are still not tied up. However, this week’s episode delivered a compelling and unique hour of mystery and suspense. Below is our detailed and spoiler-heavy review.
The way I have always seen it, the structure and narrative of Mr. Robot operate on three levels: there’s the show’s reality, where all the actual events take place and all the characters live; then there’s Elliot’s mind, where Mr. Robot lives and where fake realities and Elliot’s delusions are built; and finally, there’s the level behind the fourth wall where we live, the passive observers whom Elliot addresses from time to time. The show has always played around with these three levels, but in the recent episodes, and especially this one, the lines between these realities became so blurred as to become almost nonexistent. As Whiterose put it, “It all depends on your definition of what real is” and it couldn’t be more true in this episode. Our characters find themselves in surreal, dream logic-based situations and Sam Esmail thrives on directing them. The episode feels slow but doesn’t suffer for it – it embraces the dreamy atmosphere and makes it its own, and we can all but enjoy the ride.
Angela’s surrealist experience comes from her being captured by the Dark Army and being brought to an unknown, mysterious location. She meets a little girl there and is forced to answer a series of question that seemingly have nothing to do with her or anything that’s happening. All she knows is that if she doesn’t answer them, the girl will be punished and the fish in the tank will die. The first is but a lie implemented to test Angela’s compassion, but the second does happen. The plot line culminates with Angela finally meeting Whiterose from whom she learns that it had all been her ploy to convince Angela to not give in to the FBI and confess about the hack. The scene drags on for a very long time but gains even more power because of it, as Portia Doubleday and B.D. Wong deliver fantastic performances and complement each other in fascinating ways. An interesting point being made in the exchange is that Angela’s mother and Elliot’s father supposedly died for a reason, for a higher cause. It could well only be Whiterose’s attempt to convince Angela, but one has to question if there is, in fact, something more behind it. The next we see Angela, she’s visiting her lawyer and seems strangely happy and content, which leaves us with more questions.
DiPierro continues to develop as a quite interesting character this week again, and we see more of her lonely life while she has an uncomfortable conversation with Alexa, her Amazon Echo device. It gives insight into her personality, which helps to understand how she feels about herself and about her job – she is a woman that’s succumbed into loneliness, and her FBI job is one of the only comforts that she gets in life. Grace Gummer’s performance during her conversation with Alexa also stands out this week.
Finally, we turn to Elliot whose grasp on reality loosens even more this time, and Mr. Robot becomes the dominating player in the chess game between his split personalities. He opens up the episode with a mantra that is supposed to help him lucidly dream by repeating “mind awake, body asleep”. These words envelop the main theme of the episode which surrounds other characters, as well as Elliot himself. He finds himself lucidly awakening to Mr. Robot deciphering a message he got. Elliot’s reality mixes with Mr. Robot’s reality as he goes to take a cab in the city as told by someone on the phone. That someone, as it turns out, is no other but Tyrell Wellick, who’d been MIA for the entirety of the season. If he comes bearing answers and solutions we’ll have to see next week, but for now all we know is that, in his words, “they did it” and “it worked”, and that he’s a fan of Casablanca. Or, he might not even be real and it’s all in Elliot’s head once again. You can’t know with this show anymore.
There are no news of the fate of Darlene and Cisco this week, but DiPierro did have blood on her that wasn’t her own. Whose blood was it then? Was it Darlene’s? Cisco’s? Or someone else’s entirely? The thread keeps on hanging until next Wednesday for now.
In general, this episode served the purpose of establishing the emotional core of the finale, while we can but hope that the next half of it will deliver action and answers-wise. The plotlines had done a good job at connecting last week already, so all that’s left now is to deliver at tying up the season. With Tyrell finally (hopefully) back, perhaps we will get some long-awaited answers.
Image credit: USA Network