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Mr. Robot - eps3.6_fredrick&tanya.chk - Review: "Cleaning House"

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The superb third season of USA's Mr. Robot continued last night with another solid episode detailing the events following the 5/9 attack on Evil Corp. The flow between storylines was rather jarring at times, but a long-unanswered question was finally resolved. eps3.6_fredrick&tanya.chk was written by Adam Penn, with showrunner Sam Esmail directing.

The episode began with Trenton and Mobley, two characters who haven't been seen since the Season 2 finale, where the post-credit long take scene saw them on their break outside a department store they worked at, when Leon, a Dark Army member, approached them and asked for the time.

In a nutshell, Trenton and Mobley didn't make it out alive, and though portrayed slowly and with little visible aggression, the way they died was brutal in its own way. Though we didn't see what happened in the time between Leon's first contact with them and when the pair were tied up in their own house, it seemed Leon had complete control over them, armed with nothing else but a knife and bicycle locks.

A trip to the desert with their dead roommate in the trunk followed, and though Trenton managed to free her hands from her bicycle lock, she wasn't a competent driver and ended up crashing the car into a rock. Though the pair would have likely been recaptured and killed anyway, their one shot at freedom was foiled by the inability to drive a car with a manual transmission.

We saw why Whiterose had requested that the 5/9 hack and fsociety be attributed to Israel. Both Mobley and Trenton could pass as Israelis appearance-wise, and a staged room was enough to all but sell the majority of the FBI, with Dom perhaps the exception here. A SWAT team found Mobley and Trenton dead in their garage with a staged plan in front of them which involved interfering with FAA air traffic control systems.

I'm sad to see Mobley and Trenton depart the series. They played a smaller part in both seasons, and I'm surprised that the first time we would see them this season is this late, and also for the last time. Their deaths effectively wrap up fsociety, though it will still be used a plot device for pointing the blame from the Dark Army and FBI perspectives.

Surprisingly, none of the major characters spent time together in this hour aside from Angela and Darlene. Angela's mood since the reports broke of the 71 Evil Corp buildings being destroyed has changed dramatically. We see her sitting on the floor in front of the TV rewinding news footage of a building collapsing, trying to explain that the buildings are all OK now, as they appear untouched once their demolition is rewound. I didn't expect Angela to get this delusional or emotional at all, and though this new mood may not be a new default, said default will certainly have shifted, and is probably altered for good.

Elliot and Mr. Robot, meanwhile, provided a more normalized level of confusion about their behavior and interactions, with therapist Krista being the next person to interact with them both. Krista was Elliot's first stop upon hearing the news of the widespread 5/9 damage, and Mr. Robot eventually broke out of Elliot with a sort of counter-argument to how the event was supposed to unfold. The dialog here didn't make as much sense to me as it needed to, but it was further confirmation that Elliot and Mr. Robot operate in different minds but compete for airtime in the same physical being. From Krista's perspective, neither Elliot nor Mr. Robot gave her enough to justify breaching doctor/patient confidentiality and dob them into the authorities.

The intense interactions between Whiterose and Evil Corp CEO Phillip Price were taken to another level in this episode as well. Whiterose provided some answers as to why he was masterminding the downfall of Evil Corp, with the scene in this hour in the large gala dinner following on from the scene last week in the same setting.

E-Corp is the very definition of 'too big to fail'. Trust me, it will survive.

We saw a couple of nice flashbacks to the Season 1 finale to help provide clarity here. Whiterose was seeking revenge for Price's failure to cease Angela's lawsuit against Evil Corp, and this was further exacerbated by her later promotion - something Price was portrayed to have done because he is a leery old man.

Do not forget, I installed you as CEO only to protect my plant.

Whiterose then effectively turned Angela into a weapon against Price from then on. She was the one who laid some of the groundwork for the 5/9 hack. We also see that Whiterose has far more power and control over Price and Evil Corp as a whole than anyone realized. I had long perceived Whiterose as a threat to Price, but I never saw him as someone with that much more power over him - so much so that Price is effectively a puppet, despite his continuous attempts to get back to a level playing field.

I had to ask you twice.

In FBI land, Dom's instincts were again quashed by her superior, Dark Army affiliate Santiago. With Tyrell Wellick in custody, Santiago had to ensure that the leads that appeared from him were shut down, hence the deaths of Mobley and Trenton. Tyrell learned via Santiago that his wife was dead and had been for a fortnight as a result of a lover's quarrel, while his son was in foster care and his welfare now leverage against Tyrell causing any trouble. This was brutal to watch. Dom's action at the end of the episode to mark Mobley and Trenton as dead on her board was another telling moment. She is the only legal entity in the series which hasn't been corrupted, but with everything working against her, she appears on the verge of throwing in the towel, and at this point, who could blame her?

In all, this episode of Mr. Robot was more or less back to normal after the last two episodes which were out of this world. This hour was a bit harder to track with the multitude of subplots being progressed, and the rather jarring transitions between them. The elevated emotional aspects of this episode worked very well, however, with Angela's breakdown and the deaths of Mobley and Trenton of particular note.

Let me know what you thought of this episode of Mr. Robot in the comments below. Thanks as always for reading, and see you back here next week!

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