With only one episode left in season two (and what was originally intended as the second half of a two-part season finale), we probably shouldn’t have expected Mr. Robot to answer all of its lingering questions and tie up each of its loose ends. But what’s been a frustrating, slow-burning mind trip of a season did provide some meat to chew on, even if the finale, “pyth0n-pt2.p7z,” left us wanting more.
Perhaps the most important question that was finally answered is that Tyrell Wellick is indeed alive and has been working to carry out “Stage 2” of the fsociety and Dark Army attack on Evil Corp. The plan involves destroying all of the paper backups containing the conglomerate’s financial information, making it impossible for Evil Corp to recover and rebuild itself again. But after Tyrell explains the scheme to him and he fills in some blanks himself, Elliot realizes that the hack won’t just destroy the documents, but will blow up Evil Corp’s building and likely kill many people. He wants no part of it. Yet… wasn’t this idea to begin with? That’s what Tyrell keeps telling him.
But this was all Mr. Robot’s doing, and Elliot is trying to quickly get up to speed before Tyrell loads in the code that’s going to set off the second attack. Tyrell, by the way, doesn’t seem aware of Elliot’s two distinct personalities, which is sort of amusing. It was also fun at the beginning of the episode to see Rami Malek act as Mr. Robot, much wordier and more confident than we’re accustomed to seeing from Elliot. Though it couldn’t have been intended, the scene with Elliot and Tyrell in his car was kind of a nice nod to his Emmy Awards win on Sunday.
Trying to stop Tyrell from executing Stage 2, Elliot takes a significant risk. He sees both Tyrell and Mr. Robot in front of him, and knows that one of those people isn’t real. So what if they’re both not real? Is Tyrell really there or is he yet another personality, another aspect of Elliot’s warped imagination? Tyrell points a gun at Elliot when he threatens to delete the code that will set Stage 2 in motion and blow up the Evil Corp building. Is a gun actually being pointed at him? Is Elliot actually in jeopardy of being shot? He takes the chance that Tyrell isn’t real and makes a move for the keyboard to send the final command. Tyrell then shoots him, and it’s very real. He’s bleeding and collapses.
Something else we learned is that Tyrell is surprisingly not the one who’s been calling his wife Joanna and sending her gifts. Upon Elliot getting a cell phone provider to trace where the mysterious calls were coming from, an address Joanna’s bodyguard Mr. Sutherland doesn’t quite believe can be true, she visits the address from where the calls originated. We could have figured that Joanna wasn’t visiting Tyrell since he was with Elliot (unless we shared Elliot’s suspicion that Tyrell wasn’t real), and quickly see that the calls and gifts have been coming from Scott Knowles, the man who beat Tyrell out for the Chief Technical Officer position at Evil Corp.
Though he can’t prove it, Knowles knows that Tyrell (or Joanna) killed his wife. Adding another layer to the tragedy and Knowles’ deep sense of loss was that his wife was pregnant at the time she was murdered. He learned of this on the very same day he was told he would be Evil Corp’s new CTO, making for what should have been the best day of his life. Instead, his wife was soon killed and the 5/9 Attack brought Evil Corp to its knees, reducing Knowles to a sad, broken man who finds little solace drinking the bottles of wine he proudly collected. For revenge, he attempted to convince Joanna her missing husband was still alive with the phone calls and gifts. Perhaps he also tried to remind Joanna that she and Tyrell had a child together by sending her a sonogram. (As it turns out, that was the sonogram of Knowles’ baby.)
All of this was intended to give Joanna some hope, and then cause her deep pain by taking that hope away from her — much like Knowles had all of his hopes taken from him when his wife was murdered. But if Knowles thought he would get some sympathy from Joanna, well, he just doesn’t know the woman very well. If there’s one person no one should cry in front of, to whom showing any sort of emotion is a terrible idea, it’s Joanna Wellick. That woman is cold-blooded. She taunts Knowles for crying and mourning a woman who was cheating on him with Tyrell. She cruelly says she’s glad his wife and their unborn baby is dead, which compels Knowles to attack and beat her. Just before he goes too far and possibly kills her, however, he stops and calls the police.
How Knowles explained Joanna’s injuries to the police wasn’t revealed, but letting her get away probably wasn’t a good idea — even if it was the human, compassionate thing to do. Joanna goes to her boy toy, Derek, who’s ready to retaliate by beating and perhaps killing Knowles. But she talks Derek down and gives him a story to tell the police. At the party where Knowles’s wife was killed (and where Joanna met her boyfriend, as it turns out), Derek saw him come from upstairs, looking disheveled and concerned, and quickly leave.
No, it’s not true. But if Derek tells the police that, along with admitting that he was previously afraid to come forward, Knowles will be arrested. (Maybe Joanna has some other evidence to plant which can incriminate him.) Don’t mess with Joanna. Wait until she finds out that Tyrell really is still alive.
The question of whether or not Darlene survived the Dark Army hit on Lupe’s was also answered (and that cliffhanger really should have been addressed earlier, though the previous episode and the finale were originally intended to be one episode). She’s alive! Unfotunately, Cisco didn’t survive the machine gun attack on the Mexican diner and his blood is on Darlene’s clothes as she’s being interviewed by Agent DiPierro and her supervisor, Agent Santiago.
Despite the trauma of seeing her boyfriend killed in front of her while the diner was being riddled with machine gun fire, Darlene isn’t answering any questions about what she knows about Cisco or the Dark Army, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights. That leads Santiago to respond with the best line of the episode: “This isn’t Burn Notice.” Ouch! Burn at a fellow USA Network show, Sam Esmail? Or just a friendly zinger at one of USA’s most popular shows. In other words, Darlene’s arrest won’t go like what she’s seen on TV. There’s not going to be a happy ending (or blue skies) at the end of this.
However, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Darlene isn’t budging. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about her this season — and really, over two seasons — it’s that she can shut herself off from the emotions that most of us would typically feel. Mobley and Trenton freak out about the Dark Army closing in? Suck it up and remember the plan. Murder Susan Jacobs? Hey, she felt nothing. Watch Cisco’s head get blown out by machine gun fire? She invokes her Fifth Amendment rights. We have seen some cracks in Darlene’s deadpan demeanor, particularly as she realizes that she’s not really a leader. She even admits as much to DiPierro, while the FBI agent admits that her lack of a life has made her singularly focused on this case.
DiPierro shows Darlene some of the evidence the FBI confiscated from Cisco’s apartment, such as the VHS camera used to record the fsociety videos. Yet Darlene surely knows that the evidence is circumstantial. Yes, those cameras were probably used to make the videos. And Darlene’s DNA will probably be found on some of that equipment. But unless the agents found any tapes or actual footage — which they won’t — that won’t be enough to convict Darlene of anything or prove she’s with fsociety. DiPierro does mention, however, that the other fsociety operatives who accompanied Vincent to Washington D.C. to drop those brass bull balls on Congress said Darlene was the ringleader of the whole operation.
Then she shows Darlene everything the FBI has put together on the case, all of the players and connections they’ve made on who was behind the 5/9 Attack. Cisco’s picture is on the board. Mobley and Trenton are there. So is Angela. Darlene is there. And Elliot, of course. But then Darlene sees who all the lines point to in the middle. Who’s the mastermind? The FBI think Wellick is behind the 5/9 Attack. So does Darlene now think so too, led to believe that Elliot was working with him all along? Or does she realize that the FBI actually doesn’t know everything?
Esmail leaves us to two other questions to ponder as season two ends. What is Angela’s involvement now with the Dark Army and Stage 2? Presumably, Whiterose brought her into the fold, if for no other reason than to get her to back off the Washington Township plant lawsuit. But Tyrell calls her at the end of the episode to tell him that Elliot is with him. The Dark Army apparently knew it would come to Tyrell having to shoot Elliot to prevent him from thwarting Stage 2. Angela says she’ll join them so that she’s the first person Elliot sees when he wakes up. As she leaves her apartment, New York is hit with a blackout. Stage 2 is happening.
After the credits, we find out where Mobley and Trenton (or “Frederick” and “Tonya”) went when they fled New York. They’re apparently in California, working at a Fry’s Electronics store and living in an apartment with a third roommate who Trenton finds creepy. Mobley wants them to maintain their cover and just try to keep getting as far away from this as possible. But Trenton has apparently discovered something that would allow her to undo the 5/9 Attack. At that moment, someone who’s been watching them from a car reveals himself. It’s Leon, Elliot’s buddy from prison who was put there by the Dark Army to protect him. Is he there to protect Mobley and Trenton? Or is he assigned to take them out and clip off two loose ends?
That’s not a bad way to get us anticipating season three when most viewers couldn’t wait for this deliberate, methodical season two to end.
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