We’ve got ourselves a flashback episode, folks, and boy is it loooooong overdue! Finally, after an entire season going by, we get to find out exactly what happened the night of the hack and the events that have led us to where we are now. Let’s do this.
The episode opens back inside the fsociety HQ arcade as Mr. Robot has just initiated the hack with Tyrell by his side. Being forever paranoid, Mr Robot gets the gun that has been hidden inside the popcorn maker (what up Chekov’s Gun) and fires it at Tyrell. Only problem is, the gun jams, which Tyrell takes as a sign that both he and Mr. Robot are gods. Tyrell convinces Mr. Robot that he needs him in order to implement Stage 2.
A nice, happy, sociopathic relationship is born until ya boy Irving barges in with his two Chinese dragon goons to bust up the party. He basically tells Tyrell and Mr. Robot that they fucked up and Gideon ratted to the FBI. We kind of get the feeling here that not only is ya boy Irving some sort of cleaner a la Mike from Breaking Bad, but he also appears to be in charge of the U.S. implementation of the Dark Army’s plan.
He informs Tyrell that he will be the most wanted man since Bin Laden and convinces him to go with him to a cabin in the woods while shit blows over. Meanwhile, Elliot drops Tyrell’s car off at the parking lot (as we’ve seen) and then gets arrested for stealing that dog. On some random island, Whiterose discusses Elliot’s arrest and instructs his main boy there to not only learn English from Rosetta Stone, but to have Leon (who we find out enjoys killing Neo-Nazis) be Elliot’s guide on the inside. He also has some PR guy that he tells to make sure Tyrell stays in a positive light and, here’s the worst part about the entire episode, get Donald Trump elected president.
Quick aside here, I’m not a Trump guy but I think the fact that TV shows keep looping him into storylines is dumb as shit. American Horror Story built their entire new season around it and now Mr. Robot keeps making reference to it. Just give it a rest, Hollywood. We know its not an ideal situation, but quit giving it more and more attention–that only makes shit worse.
Alright back to the show. Tyrell wakes up after four days in the cabin to find the two aforementioned Chinese dragon goons sitting on the couch and Vizzini from Princess Bride standing in the kitchen looking suspiciously like the guy from the fsociety mask.
Vizzini’s job is to break Tyrell and get him to pledge loyalty and boy after about 10 minutes, Tyrell completely cracks. He confesses to banging other chicks while married, hating his father, and even murdering Sharon Knowles. Forget Guantanamo, if we need info from terrorists, apparently all you need is a Sicilian, the same six questions and a boiling tea kettle. Tyrell says he is not loyal to the Dark Army, but he is loyal to Elliot and Vizzini takes that as good enough. He goes back to not getting involved in land wars in Asia (just cyber ones).
As Tyrell begins to go even crazier, ya boy Irving suggests he chops wood to “stay balanced.” Truth be told, I think ya boy Irving just needs more firewood and doesn’t want to do it himself. Also, I think we might have a Chekov’s Axe here. Not saying that specific axe will be used, but I can see Tyrell chopping off some guy’s head with the skills he gained at the cabin.
Back in the city, Darlene gives the device used to hack the FBI to Cisco, who monologues about just wanting a normal life. I actually truly felt bad for Cisco here. Guy just wants to go apple picking and drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Instead, he is involved in the biggest hack the world has ever known and winds up getting killed as a result. Cisco delivers the device to ya boy Irving (again, he is everywhere and most likely the head Dark Army guy in the US) and ya boy Irving basically foreshadows Cisco’s death.
Tyrell, dismayed by the news that his wife might be banging another dude (spoiler: she is) and that she files for divorce, decides enough is enough. He puts on an awesome disguise of a hat and sunglasses straight out of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego and sets off.
Quick sidenote: was it just me or did Tyrell look a lot like Mr. Robot with that disguise on? Accidental? Probably not.
Tyrell is eventually seen by a local West Bumblefuck cop who arrests him and calls the FBI. In the back of the car, Tyrell proves he’s a ride or die chick and begins to break his fucking thumb in order to get out of the handcuffs. However, before he can escape, an FBI car rolls up, the local cop gets his head blown off, and who peaks his head in the car but the asshole FBI agent that we’ve seen working alongside Dom (apparently his name is Santiago)! This mothafucka is dirty!
Santiago rants to ya boy Irving about how sloppy the day was and that ya boy Irving fucked up, yada yada yada. Ya boy Irving just plays it cool and dismisses the guy. He then feeds Tyrell some bullshit about his kids (which he doesn’t have) and holding on to hope to one day be the hero his kids (which he doesn’t have) can look up to. He relates this to Tyrell and Joanna/his new son. Ya boy Irving then goes to the used car lot that he owns (shocker) where he tells one of his employees that he needs to relate to customers more which is why he carries around a “#1 Dad” mug, even though he doesn’t have kids. This scene basically was just to tell us that ya boy Irving is a manipulative con man and just pulled one over on Tyrell. We also see that he has a who cupboard full of mugs with cheesy sayings on them, presumably to relate to all sorts of different people and earn their trust. Oh and he’s writing a novel called “Beach Towel.” Can’t wait to get the audiobook.
The last part of the episode focuses on closing the gap between what we saw at the end of season 1 and the end of season 2. Ya boy Irving takes Tyrell back to the city where he shows him the warehouse they’ll be using for the hack, checks Tyrell into a fancy hotel, and instructs him on what is going to happen. Irving also gives Tyrell the gun from the popcorn maker. He mentions that it was jammed and that “the next shot would have blown your head off”. I want to focus on this for just a sec. Did Mr. Robot know this when he was going to shoot Tyrell again in the arcade? Did Tyrell know this when he asked Mr. Robot to shoot him and “whatever happens happens”? Did Mr. Robot know it when he gave the gun to Tyrell, hoping that Tyrell would use it and kill himself? I’m not sure why, but that little detail really stuck out to me as something that Mr. Robot would have been aware of and use to his advantage. Okay back to the recap.
Tyrell, dressed like a bum and with a pretty nice beard, requests his suit and gets all dolled up/clean shaven. He gets a call and looks out the window to see Elliot arguing with the cab driver (the scene we saw at the end of season 2). Tyrell does as he was instructed and hops in the cab with Elliot. We then fast forward to Elliot’s exposed fucking organs as Tyrell is freaking out. Angela tells him to calm the fuck down and informs Tyrell that Elliot is, in fact, two different people. When Elliot opens his eyes, he sees Tyrell but we know its not actually Elliot because the first thing Elliot remembers is waking up in his apartment with Angela. Which means that the guy who woke up was none other than Mr. Robot.
I know a lot of times people aren’t huge fans of flashback episodes or prequel type shit. But in all honesty, this show really needed that. I think a lot of the reason season 2 wasn’t great was because everyone was confused about where we were in the timeline and what the fuck happened after the hack. This episode finally gives us closure on that and we are able to understand, finally, what is going on.
The episode also gives us a lot more insight into Tyrell. We see how obsessive he is, how loyal he is to Elliot, how much he really wants Stage 2 and his partnership with Elliot to succeed. It’s almost as is he a fanboy of Elliot/Mr. Robot and just wants to be accepted. I originally thought the breaking of his thumb was a stupid scene because he gets saved anyway. But then I realized that it shows his commitment to the cause–he’s willing to cause himself bodily harm so that Elliot and Stage 2 can succeed.
We also learn more about ya boy Irving and his importance. As I’ve said, I think he is really the liaison between the Dark Army and the United States and is the head guy in charge over here. We also learn that he is not directly involved in law enforcement, as previously thought, but is just a used car salesman, which is hilarious. This makes me think that the credentials he used to shake the FBI tail in the first episode were actually Santiago’s or maybe someone that Santiago works with/set up. Oh and we find out ya boy Irving LOVES to make Swedish Fish jokes to Tyrell. Classic.
Finally, and I know this is very small, but Red Wheelbarrow mystery finally comes together. While at the cabin, ya boy Irving tells Tyrell that the name of the operation is “Red Wheelbarrow” and that it was Elliot’s idea. Presumably, Elliot took this from the quote that Tyrell said to him and might be Elliot’s way of telling Tyrell that everything is okay–the op is legit. But now it makes sense why the restaurant (obviously a front now) is named Red Wheelbarrow and why that menu was used to communicate with Mr. Robot. Damn this show is awesome.
So next week, I assume we get back to real-time events as Elliot struggles to control Mr. Robot and the fate of Stage 2 hangs in the balance. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, keep your head down and your hood up.