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Mr. Robot - 408 Request Timeout - Review: "Ding Dong, The Bitch Is Dead"

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Last night's episode of Mr. Robot was a spectacular follow-up to last week's hour. Finalizing the single storyline featured last week was carried out superbly, and the unexpected turn of events that saw Dom and Darlene successfully ward off Janice was riveting to say the least. "408 Request Timeout" was written by Robbie Pickering, with Sam Esmail directing.

Firstly, Vera's death was confirmed. There was no coming back for him after Kirsta caught him napping with a knife to his back. Elliot and Krista managed to escape before Vera's henchmen finally decided to check on him. On the way to the police station, Krista tried to provide some comfort to Elliot, but it was pretty clear that she wasn't able to get through to him. Working through what had just happened, and coming to terms with his issues with Mr. Robot was Elliot's storyline for this hour, and a very good one at that.

Seeing Angela in the recap before the episode kicked into gear was a nice surprise, and it led into a 1995 flashback where her and Elliot were playing hide and seek in the Queens Museum. We see a young Elliot hide something in a gap in the wall of a store room. In present day, when Elliot followed his younger self back to the museum, he found the object he hid all those years ago. It turned out to be his fathers' key to his bedroom, which he took so he could lock his door and be safe from his father's abuse. This was Elliot's way of fighting back, and once he rediscovered the key, he proved to himself that he did fight back, which was something that was questioned of him last week.

You're the father I needed, not the father I had.
The hour's final and emotion-filled scene saw Mr. Robot return, and a much clearer explanation of Mr. Robot's being inside Elliot's mind was uncovered. Elliot explained that Mr. Robot was essentially a vision of what he wanted in a father, as opposed to the one that existed in reality, though they shared the same appearance. Mr. Robot was apologetic for not being able to protect Elliot, though it's worth remembering that he couldn't physically do anything. With this reconciliation now complete, Elliot is now in a much better position to complete his work on taking down the Deus Group - the meeting is now an hour away. I can't think of any television show where such a large number of consecutive episodes have been spent on Christmas Day.

As good as this storyline was, the showdown featuring Darlene, Dom and Janice was my favorite part of this episode. Kicking things off with what I think most people expected to be a Dark Army raid on Dom's mother's house. There were a couple of beautiful long takes just before and during this saga.

Then it was over to Janice, and it was very clear right from the get-go that she was in charge, and not complying simply wasn't an option. She began by outing Dom's sexual fantasies for Darlene, which was cringeworthy, but the right kind of cringeworthy that I imagine you're gunning for when you're a showrunner.

Things took a much darker turn when Janice stabbed Dom in the chest, however. This upped the ante considerably, especially now that Darlene was aware that Dom had at least some feelings for her. The threat of Dom dying wasn't enough to force Darlene into revealing the prized whereabouts of Elliot, but when Janice threatened Dom's family, that predictably changed.
I fucking killed 'em, dear.
The real fun came when Janice tried calling her accomplices to order some of the family members be killed. She couldn't get through, and when Dom provoked her into checking her phone, Janice was greeted by a hilarious Irish accent on the other end, confirming that Dom's prearranged rescue by Deegan and the Irish mob was successful, along with the information that the rescue had resulted in the deaths of some of Janice's accomplices. Dom then somehow found the strength to trip up one of the guards helping Janice control her and Darlene, then used his gun to shoot and kill them and Janice. 'Ding dong, the bitch is dead', I may have exclaimed in glee. That was one of the more satisfying villain deaths I've witnessed, even if it was a bit of a stretch from a realism standpoint.
You wanna help me? Go find Elliot, and take them down.
What remains to be seen is, of course, whether Dom survives her injuries. She called for help before sending Darlene away to find her brother and continue their work to take down the Dark Army. Also of note will be whether Dom has managed to wiggle out from under the Dark Army's thumb now that her handler is dead. Given how this series tends to work, I don't like the chances of that, but she's certainly in a better position now than she was - provided her family remains out of harm's way.

All up, this was a fantastic follow-up to last week's event. It answered a lot of questions I had, and moved the Darlene/Dom storyline along in a way that didn't feel like it had had a week off. I thought Elliot coming to terms with Mr. Robot's being was really important, and also really well done, with simplicity and elegance the key words there. Cinematography was fantastic as always, with highlights being the DiPierro family abduction, and also the rotating camera as Dom, Darlene and Janice exchanged dialog. There was some wonderful set design in the museum as well.

As always I'd love to hear your thought and theories on this episode so drop them in the comments below, and I'll see you right back here next week. Bring on the Deus Group meeting, finally!

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