I’m a huge TV junkie. I have a list of shows in Notes on my phone that is approaching 30 shows that I either currently watch or want to watch throughout the year. One of my favorite and most underrated shows is Mr. Robot on USA which follows a young hacker who by day works for a cyber security firm but by night becomes a vigilante, helping lock up all kinds of creeps and scumbags in his neighborhood. Eventually, our protagonist joins a hacker group with a plan to “reset” society. I won’t give away any more of the plot, but if you want to watch Seasons 1 and 2, they are on Amazon (if you have Prime) or just stream them somewhere.
With the return of Mr. Robot Season 3, I figured it would be a good time to start writing more about TV–doing episode recaps, sharing thoughts, theories, etc. I realize this isn’t the most popular show on TV right but my hope is to get started here with a show I’m super passionate about, maybe boost Mr. Robot’s viewership, and then do other shows as well. I missed the premiere of Season 3 so I watched episodes 1 & 2 back to back last night. I’ll do Episode 1 now and then do Episode 2 later today. So without further ado, Mr. Robot S3, E1….
–SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT–
This season opens up with probably one of my favorite scenes with a favorite new character…this guy:
We know the Red Wheelbarrow is significant somehow–when Elliot decoded the message from Mr. Robot, it was on a Red Wheelbarrow menu, Tyrell mentioned a red wheelbarrow when reciting the quote from his father, and now Season 3 opens at the actual restaurant. The guy (whose name is apparently “Irving” according to IMDb) at the counter gives an all time rant (albeit, not raising his voice, but saying his lines in a matter-of-fact way) about using punch cards, getting a reward your next visit and what actually constitutes a visit. I was in love with this guy from that moment on.
Irving is obviously someone important and as we later find out, has some connection to law enforcement. But in any case, he’s the guy that gets Elliot patched up and back on his feet. After a brief conversation between Whiterose and his dude at the E Corp Power Plant (power…get it?), we find Elliot in his apartment being taken care of by Angela, who has now been roped in thanks to pressure (or maybe just good old fashion persuasion) by Whiterose. Elliot thinks that he imagined everything, including the gun shot I guess (?) and thinks that he is now in control. But that goes out the window when Angela mentions that it was Tyrell who called her about Elliot. Realizing that Tyrell was real and so was Stage 2, Elliot rushes to try and stop it.
After finding the old base of operations empty and wiped clean, Elliot heads back to his apartment to find Darlene there. Darlene agrees to help Elliot and takes him to an underground hack-a-thon, one of the only places in the city that still has power and an internet connection. Elliot manages to close the backdoor into E-Corp but is interrupted by two members of the Dark Army who take the two of them to a cab driven by none other than our boy Irving.
This is where we find out that Irving has some insane connections, as he uses a DMV lookup tool combined with On-Star to stop the FBI tail in place for Darlene (that rat!). Irving takes them to his favorite BBQ Restaurant, The Red Wheelbarrow(!). Elliot tells him that the operation is off and since Elliot is the mastermind, Irving accepts that, or so we think. Elliot demands confirmation from Whiterose, only to have Irving tell him that they can put that bullet back in his chest as easily as they took it out. Elliot is content with his small victory.
As Elliot wanders around town, he realizes that the hack didn’t begin a revolution, it just made the people of the world more docile and more reliant on the people in power, the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. We go through an entire montage of the 2016 Election and Donald Trump (a bit preachy if you ask me) before Elliot realizes that he has to undo the hack to restore everything. He asks Angela to get him a job at E-Corp (more irony) so he can do it from the inside. She agrees and stays with him for the night. But in the middle of the night, she gets up and sees none other than Mr. Robot in the living room. Woo! He’s back! Mr. Robot and Angela meet with the coolest character in the show, Irving, to tell him Stage 2 is still on and at the end of the episode, we finally see the lights come on and power is restored.
All in all, it was an okay premiere. We got to see most of the main characters in action and we dove a lot deeper into Elliot in terms of what he saw for the hack vs what it really became. We also see Mr. Robot kind of shift into a new way of being–no longer is he there alongside Elliot, but either Elliot is present or Mr. Robot is present. This is definitely going to create a lot more problems for Elliot, as he seems to blackout and not remember anything when Mr. Robot takes over. Irving stole the show for me though. His weird 70s cop get-up and attitude are just what this show needs for some comic relief. Plus, his position (whatever that is) seems to come in handy quite a bit.
The thing I really enjoy about Mr. Robot is that you aren’t sure who to root for. Sure, in the first season you rooted for Elliot and fsociety because they were going to take down big business and all the corporate execs who steal from the middle class, etc. And when the hack went through, we all kind of celebrated. But now in the third season, who do we root for? Are we still on the side of the hack and Stage 2, even though that means blowing up a building, destroying vital economic records, and killing people in the process? Or are we on Elliot’s side who, while this all was his plan, seems like an innocent victim in this whole thing? I honestly don’t know and I find myself going back and forth throughout the episodes. One minute I’m firmly with Elliot, wanting him to hurry up and close the back door but then Mr. Robot appears and I’m like “awwww yeaaaahhh let’s go!”
I think that is what makes Mr. Robot such a special show–its not like GoT where you root for the good guys or Breaking Bad where you root for the anti-hero. Both sides make great cases and you get attached to the different characters so much that making a decision of who you side with is actually really hard. For me, the jury is still out.
Stay tuned for Episode 2 coming out later today.