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Mr. Robot - eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h - Review: "Things Get Even More Complicated"

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Delivering its third season premiere last night - a good three months later in the year than its previous two seasons did, was USA's acclaimed thriller, Mr. Robot. Things got even more complicated in this premiere episode, and as usual left me scratching my head over a few things, however nothing can depose the sublime cinematography orchestrated by creator/writer/director Sam Esmail.

The first seven minutes of the premiere was released via Twitter a couple of days ago. Though the actual episode included a mammoth 135 second long season 2 recap, the first seven minutes introduced us to what I think is the season's best new character thus far. Irving, played by Bobby Cannavale, first appeared at a fast food joint where he debated the principles of a loyalty scheme which allowed him a free milkshake on his next visit. This was way more entertaining to watch than it sounds on paper, and props to the outstanding actress who played the checkout operator, who toed the line between a cheerful customer-oriented character, and a slightly annoyed and concerned character when Irving answered a phone call on his bluetooth earpiece. This was a fantastic way to open the season.

Said phone call was from a panicked Tyrell Wellick, who was calling for Irving's assistance in providing aid to Elliot, who he shot in last season's finale, and next we saw Irving arrive on the scene in a nonchalant manner and calling in others with more in the way of expertise to help Elliot.

Irving would appear again later, but what this episode was essentially about was Elliot coming to the realization that he no longer believed completely destroying Evil Corp beyond any chance of recovery was the right thing to do. The problem with that was that Elliot and Darlene - who had endured the loss of Cisco last season - were the only people to hold this opinion, while Angela and Mr. Robot, along with a few other invested parties, wanted to see the destruction of Evil Corp, better known as Stage 2, continue.

Angela first appears in this new season in her apartment, where Elliot wakes up from a coma a week after being shot. He was brought to her apartment by the Dark Army, but left as soon as he could, reuniting with Darlene at his apartment, who was less than impressed with him (to her knowledge) going off the radar.

Mr. Robot didn't make an appearance alongside Elliot at all in this hour, so it's safe enough to assume that the planning and orchestration of Stage 2 was done by Mr. Robot, and not by Elliot. The trouble is, Mr. Robot still exists, and so to continue his mission to destroy Evil Corp, he partnered with Angela instead. More on that later.

It's times like these where I wish I had a mute button for life.

Because of the rolling blackouts and limited internet access thanks to the Evil Corp collapse, to shut down Stage 2, Elliot needed to disable the back door into the Evil Corp headquarters that he created late last season. One of the only locations in the city with a working fiber connection and electricity was an underground hackathon tournament. This whole scene - set design in particular - was very well done. Elliot's antisocial ways still remain, with a fantastic narration sequence leading to an actual muting of the sound everyone else was making. Only Elliot's own footsteps could be heard. The volume adjuster, based on the OS X version, was an impressive and simple addition to the scene too.

To shut down the back door, Elliot managed to take over another hacker's computer under the guise of helping them out. The Dark Army were closing in, however, so while Elliot was getting the job done, Darlene retired to a bathroom where she had a panic attack. Carly Chaikin portrayed this unbelievably well. Just before Elliot could complete the shutdown, him and Darlene were marched out of the hackathon by Dark Army members.

What followed next was another stellar appearance by Irving. Posing as a taxi driver, he picked Elliot and Darlene up, and bluffed his way into having a tailing FBI vehicle shut down remotely. In the fast food joint we saw at the top of the hour, Elliot and Irving talked.

The hour's most impressive moment came next, where Elliot walked among a bunch of rough sleepers. In a spectacular monologue that has to be seen to be believed, Elliot came to the conclusion that even though Evil Corp had been crippled, the world's citizens weren't taking advantage of the circumstances to create a new, fairer and better world. The 'In Memoriam' wall he came to was littered with the faces of people we've previously seen during the series, but who fell victim as a result of Elliot's actions.

What if I told you we could make it like none of this ever happened?

Following the episode's best moment was the episode's most confusing moment. Elliot and Angela had a deep, intimate conversation where Elliot asked Angela to tell him when it was Mr. Robot acting in his place. Elliot kissed Angela, but it wasn't well received. Then, Angela hinted at an emerging time travel theme, asking Elliot what he would sacrifice to scrub everything - including the deaths of their parents - and return to 'normal'. How this could be done wasn't covered, and Elliot didn't probe the issue further.

Then, during the night, while Elliot was also sleeping over at Angela's place, Angela was woken up, and entered the living room to find Mr. Robot standing there. This is the moment where it appears Angela is in charge of everything now, including Irving. Mr. Robot doesn't know that Elliot closed the back door - something he should have known if he was acting through Elliot. Because Darlene helped Elliot close the back door, Angela didn't want her to be a part of what happens next.

How can you tell that it's me? How do you know that you're not talking to him right now?
Your eyes. You're never trying to look away.

A short time later, Angela is talking with Irving, with Mr. Robot standing in the distance. Angela repeats to Irving that he brought her in to manage what I'm assuming is Elliot. They both talk with the impression someone else - a female - is in charge. Tyrell Wellick appears again, and interacts with Mr. Robot.

On a subway, Angela and Mr. Robot talk some more. The consensus appears to be that they both acknowledge Elliot started the process of taking down Evil Corp, and they're just helping them finish it. Angela justifies her actions to Mr. Robot by saying she's doing it to bring justice to Evil Corp for the death of her mother, and confirms that Whiterose is essentially in charge of things, harking back to an interaction they had in Episode 11 of last season.

The only time Whiterose appears in this episode is in those opening seven minutes I discussed earlier. We see Whiterose and one of his assistants walking the halls of an Evil Corp nuclear power plant, which would likely have a role to play in the power outages being experienced by the city currently. A tour guide mentions a parallel universe. Whiterose refers to Elliot's father having worked on a project, and now it seems Whiterose is in control, and is aware of Elliot's plans, but what he is going to do about them remains unclear

Time presented Mr. Alderson when we needed him, therefore his will must be our guide.

I actually don't know where to go from here. Whiterose's dialog and Angela's interactions with Mr. Robot are obviously very important, but how they connect is not apparent to me at this stage. Things really are getting complicated.

I think that's about enough for now. I'm curious enough about the pieces I'm missing that I'll be spending some time over the next week reading a few theories and subreddits in an attempt to clear up some of the confusion. As for whether a parallel universe exists, along with time travel, I'm not sure what to think about those possibilities. I guess I'll just go along for the ride.

Thanks for reading my review of the Mr. Robot season premiere. If you have any thoughts or theories to add, please make them known in the comments below. See you all back here next week!

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