TV Recap: Mr. Robot: Season 3, Episode 3
As much as I love this show, I’ve been getting frustrated by its insistence to keep barreling through even though there are so many unanswered questions. Tonight, though, a majority of those questions were answered. We still don’t know quite what Whiterose’s motivations or ultimate plans are or any new details of the mysterious Stage 2, but we have been given insight into one of Elliot’s biggest blackout periods. Shortly after Elliot reached for the gun hidden in the fsociety arcade’s popcorn machine he blacked out and woke up in Tyrell Wellick’s car with no knowledge of how he got there. Episode three of this season let us know exactly what happened during that time.
Elliot grabbed the gun and aimed it at the back of Tyrell’s head. Tyrell noticed and pleaded with him, but Mr. Robot pulled the trigger. The gun jammed (it had been sitting in buttery popcorn for quite some time) and Tyrell took the opportunity to further his god complex and pledged loyalty, going so far as to place the barrel of the gun on his head and encouraged Mr. Robot to fire. He didn’t, and the two embraced to their new partnership and immediately got to work on planning Stage 2. Not too long after, Irving and some Dark Army goons arrived. They ordered Elliot to take Tyrell’s car to a specific location and they took Tyrell away. They arrived at an abandoned cabin out in the middle of nowhere. Irving set Tyrell up with a few groceries, assured his safety and remoteness, and said he’d check back in.
Whiterose is informed of Elliot’s arrest at her compound. She’s unpleased but doesn’t seem all that bothered as she laughs it off. Right-wing TV host Frank Cody (Erik Jensen), who up to this point we’ve seen give various reports on 5/9 and interview Joanna Wellick just before her death, shows up and is instructed where to point his viewership. He’s to spend his time reshaping the public’s view of fsociety by cleaning up Tyrell’s image and saying they were operating out of Iraq. He also needs to officially endorse Donald Trump for President, an idea so ludicrous Cody laughs it off, saying it can’t be done, but Whiterose is sure.
Tyrell is woken up in the middle of the night by rustling downstairs and finds a kind, unassuming man (Wallace Shawn) boiling tea in the kitchen. He introduces himself as Mr. Williams, a representative of the Dark Army, and immediately launches into a set of pointed questions to determine his loyalty to the cause. He fires off question after question, “Did you kill Sharon Knowles? Will you be loyal to me? Did you hate your father? Did you murder Sharon Knowles? Have you cheated on your wife? Will you be loyal to me?”, etc. He allows no downtime, each question getting belted out fiercer and fiercer when Tyrell hesitates. They have the information they need and leave him with the tools he needs to begin planning Stage 2 and sets him up to call to Elliot in prison.
The next day, Irving notices that Tyrell seems furious about how Elliot acted on the phone and gives him a new pastime to keep his head straight; chopping wood. To the tune of Gordon Lightfoot, Tyrell plans the attack, watches his child through a webcam, and chops a whole lot of wood. He also grows a pretty nice beard.
Later, Tyrell packs up and takes off. It’s tough to describe what exactly he was planning to do, but it doesn’t matter. He hikes through the woods for a while and happens upon a general store, gaining the attention of a local police officer. He sprints into the woods but is arrested. The cop reports his finding and is told to take Tyrell to an out-of-the-way location for pickup. It’s fairly obvious to us what’s about to happen, but not to Tyrell, who gruesomely dislocates his thumb and slides his hand out of the cuffs. This proves worthless, as the FBI agent blow the cop’s head off and takes Tyrell back to his cabin.
Then, Irving shows up to tell Tyrell the news he’s been waiting to hear. Elliot’s being released and their work is about to relocate. He’s introduced to the warehouse we find him in at the end of Season 2 and then taken to a heavily guarded Dark Army hotel. He’s been waiting a long time to see Elliot again. Tyrell shaves his woodcutting beard, cleans up, and puts on his nice suit to look his Patrick Bateman-best for the meeting in the back of the taxi cab.
We flash forward to shortly after the shooting. Elliot is being operated on and Tyrell is in shambles, ashamed and confused as to why Elliot was acting so differently. Angela’s there, and she calms him down by filling him in on Elliot’s mental issues.
In general, I’m wary of these sorts of flashback episodes. Plot is rarely advanced in any meaningful way, and while adding a little color to the world is always nice, I usually end up feeling that it’s a waste of an episode. But, this one is different. Elliot’s blackouts are a device used to remind us that we can never trust our hero. They succeed in that regard, but being left too much in the dark can turn one away quick. Having the most key blind spot filled in is fulfilling, and it’s only a bonus that so much of the episode was focused on Martin Wallström’s insanely compelling role.