And she said, “Close your eyes.”
The second episode of Mr. Robot‘s third season, “eps3.1_undo.gz” begins with Elliot (Rami Malek) repeating a familiar pattern. As he did at the top of the first and second seasons, Elliot is attempting to form healthier habits with intense repetition, this time through Zoloft and Trunk Club, along with his new job working for E-Corp. That’s right, Elliot now works for the company he has spent more than 20 episodes trying to destroy. He’s repeating more patterns from seasons past: rooting out the true evil guys at E-Corp by hacking into their accounts and turning them over to the Feds one by one. Elliot justifies his move, telling the viewers “this doesn’t mean I’m selling out, just growing up.”
Elliot is in a difficult place. He’s lost both his father — or at least the disordered psychological representation of his father — and his revolution. His attempt to save hundreds of people by preventing F-Society from blowing up the recovery facility has left him crippled by loneliness, reduced to a sad emoji face sobbing while watching Dancing With The Stars on his new flat screen TV.
Complicating things even further, Elliot remembers telling his therapist about his father pushing him out of a window as a child… but she doesn’t. Could this be an allusion to Angela’s S3.0 strange comments regarding “fixing the past”, the nuclear plant workers reference to the many worlds theory, or White Rose’s obsession with time? Avid Mr. Robot fans from Reddit have convinced outlets like TV Guide and EW to consider the idea that time travel and the multiverse may end up playing a role in the series.
Despite Elliot’s efforts against it, F-Society released a video boasting an impending explosion. This likely means that Stage Two — blowing up E-Corp’s Recovery Facility — will be moving forward, despite Elliot’s best efforts to shore up E-Corps security. White Rose (BD Wong) further confirms the plan will move ahead in the episode’s final moments. ECoin is quickly becoming the new world currency, with only China keeping E-Corp from total economic domination via its new currency. “Don’t mistake my generosity for generosity,” White Rose tells the head of E-Corp Philip Price, who has declared China’s reluctance to accept ECoin a currency war.
Elliot hasn’t been talking to his sister Darlene (Carly Chaikin) this whole time because he believes she is the trigger that turns him into Mr. Robot. That turns out to be fortunate for him as we learn Darlene is now working undercover for the FBI, trying to get information from Elliot about Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom). Publicly, it seems all charges against Wellick have been dropped, but clearly, the investigation is still ongoing, and favorite FBI tough gal Dom (Grace Gummer) is back leading the charge. Unfortunately for Dom, Elliot uses his hacker skills to track down her safe house by the end of the episode.
Tyrell’s wife Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) returns in this episode too, but not for long. Her ex-lover shoots her in the head shortly before getting shot himself. Only her and Tyrell’s newborn baby survive the massacre, a child who will surely make a very appealing hostage for whomever’s hands he ends up in. A particularly gory scene confirms that Joanna is definitely dead, her skull sawed into as part of an autopsy — perhaps a metaphor that audience will soon learn her secrets.
Finally, Elliot asks his therapist to talk to Mr. Robot. This is the first time Elliot has tried to control his switching back and forth between the two personalities. There’s still a disconnect between Elliot and Mr. Robot — Elliot can’t remember the things Mr. Robot does and experiences. Elliot sits under a poster that reads “Separation Anxiety” on the way home. The divide between himself and Mr. Robot continues to grow, and for the first time, Director/writer Sam Esmail is showing various other characters interacting with both Mr. Robot and Elliot.
Mr. Robot is notorious for mind-bending twists. By placing its audience within the story as Elliot’s “imaginary friend”, viewers can never really trust his perception of the world, which has so frequently revealed itself to be a distorted hallucination of actual events. But now in its third season, viewers are accustomed to the program’s major reveals and twist endings. In Season Three, the audience is conditioned to be extra vigilant about what may or may not be real in the world of our unreliable narrator. Will the anticipation of a glitch in the matrix increase the show’s suspense? Or will the lack of credibility spell system failure for these hackers?
Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday
Mr. Robot, written and directed by Sam Esmail, continues its 10 episode season Wednesday nights on USA at 10 p.m. ET.
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