Do not read on unless you’ve seen “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z,” the eleventh episode of the second season of “Mr. Robot.”
The week before its season two finale, “Mr. Robot” decided to get strange. Kidding! It’s been a dislocating and odd trip all season long, sometimes in a great way (I watched the sitcom version of the show again the other day, just for grins), and sometimes in a “I don’t know what’s happening but I’m going to go with it, I think?” way.
There’s no doubt that whatever you expected the second-to-last episode to be, it was probably not this. We did not find out what happened to Darlene and Cisco after last week’s shoot-out, and the one semi-expected event was the re-appearance of Tyrell Wellick — finally. It was about time. Having held him in reserve for so long, it seemed logical to assume “Mr. Robot” would haul him out for the last one or two episodes. The show took its time when it came to bringing the shifty former executive back, and I missed Martin Wallstrom on the show, but it’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out next week. In any event, I’m sure you have as many questions as I do about what his short and appropriately jarring appearance means.
I have so many questions! And I don’t have time to write a proper review, so let’s just dive into this “Jeopardy!” style and put each thought into the form of a question:
- Was Tyrell Wellick really in that taxi with Elliot? I don’t know. I’m sure there are subreddits devoted to what the taxi driver was saying when he was not speaking English; hit me up on Twitter if you have clues as to whether the driver indicated that really did see Wellick and we’re all not just sharing a hallucination. (Update: Thanks to folks who informed me of what the cab driver was saying, here and here. )
- Where has Wellick been this whole time? Tie-shopping? Because true to form, he looked like a million bucks. Or maybe two trillion bucks in Ecoin. I wonder if he secretly controls that money or has some access to the kind of E Corp resources that allowed him to hide in style. But seriously, where was he? Is he even real or another projection of Elliot’s mind?
- Why did Angela seem happy and serene when she visited her lawyer?
- What did Whiterose say to Angela to convince her to drop her lawsuit and everything involving the Washington Township documents? (Sidebar: This may be B.D. Wong’s best episode yet. Whiterose has so much presence and there is so much intelligence and even amusement behind her eyes. She’s really one of the best things about this show. It’s telling that Whiterose asked Angela about willing something into being with one’s mind. Whiterose willed herself into being, and look at how far her belief in herself and her intellect has gotten her.)
- What did her mother and Elliot’s father die for? Whiterose made their deaths sound noble, as if those lives and others had been exchanged for some higher cause. What cause could possibly be worth so much suffering?
- Are Dom and Alexa now a couple?
- What is Stage 2, which we’ve heard so much about? It would appear that E Corp is poised to make a killing from Ecoin, turning this global cataclysm to its advantage. And the cataclysm sounds like it was merely a blip on the road that E Corp wanted to take anyway — and because the government can’t dole out any more bailout money, the deal with the Chinese is a fait accompli. It sounds like the Chinese entities in this game have drawn E Corp (and to some degree, the American and/or world economy) into a trap, but Philip Price seems confident that he can outwit whatever Whiterose and the Chinese/Dark Army have planned. Could Stage 2 be something that defeats E Corp for good? Or is it something that will somehow take down or subjugate E Corp and the Dark Army, Whiterose and the Chinese? Obviously the D.A. and Whiterose know about aspects of Stage 2, having orchestrated it — but within that mysterious plan, could there be a hidden agenda that will put Elliot and/or Tyrell (and Mr. Robot) in ultimate control of whatever comes next?
- Do I need to buy a corkboard and string to figure out how all of this is connected? I think I need to buy a corkboard and string and a lot of thumbtacks. Also markers and three-by-five cards in different colors. Hope I have enough Ecoin to buy it all!
- How completely bizarre but fascinating was the game that Angela played with that little girl? And that was mirrored by yet another woman (Dom) asking a series of questions that, on the surface, didn’t have much to do with pushing forward the narrative, but which, in their affecting and dislocating presentations, got at the show’s themes about alienation and the difficulty of real connection.
- How perfect — and perfectly — bizarre was it that the episode ended with Tyrell Wellick quoting one of the classic lines from “Casablanca”? It’s worth noting that it’s a movie in which the good guys pulled one over on the bad guys, but not without some major sacrifices along the way. What an excellently weird end to this episode, which, for all its odd segues, was a great reminder that “Mr. Robot” is not even remotely like anything else on TV at the moment. That’s such a good thing.
- Bonus question: What did the fish ever do to anyone?