Despite having what was arguably the single biggest reveal of the season, Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 11 was one of the least action-packed installments we've had in a while.
As is now the usual for Mr. Robot, "Python" was an artistic dream, but it was super, super slow – especially after the tense cliffhanger we left off on and especially since this is part one of the two-part season finale.
I'm sure we all remember the stellar closing sequence at the end of Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 10.
All at once, we had: a shootout at the restaurant, endangering Dom, Darlene, and Cisco's lives, Angela being confronted by two mystery figures on the subway, and Elliot having potentially figured out Tyrell Wellick's location. It was a lot to handle all at once, but the interweaving scenes flowed perfectly, leading to a spectacular denouement.
Admittedly, the penultimate installment was less exciting, aside from one truly great, captivating scene between Angela and Whiterose.
Frustratingly, we did not learn the fates of Cisco and Darlene after the restaurant shoot-out. Whether they were alive or dead is not explicitly mentioned, and yet, we have enough time for one "character-building scene" for Dom. (If you can't tell by my persnickety tone, I wasn't thrilled with that choice.)
When we next saw Dom after the shootout, near the beginning of "Python," she looked rough was but physically uninjured. I'm not sure how it's even possible for Dom to have not a scratch on her after not one but TWO separate assassination attempts, but whatever. She's a magical, bullet-proof unicorn. Fine.
OK, she's not a unicorn. What Dom really is is a machine – a robot. This theme has been an undercurrent of all of her scenes throughout the season and was triple-underscored in that Alexa-conversation scene.
Functionally, Dom is a fantastic FBI agent. She can read people's motivations (their guilt particularly), with minimal hesitation. She's good with a gun. She knows her shit. But on an interpersonal level, she's not nearly as skilled.
She's like intelligent AI that can be programmed to operate at optimal FBI agent levels but can't fully comprehend human relationships. Thus, she's alone, with only her Amazon Echo speaker to talk to.
Dom: ALEXA, wake me up at, um --
ALEXA: Sorry, I didn't understand the question you were asking.
Dom: That's because I wasn't asking a question, you dumb bitch.
Dom was unnecessarily cruel to Alexa, but then she broke down, apparently totally drained after her near death experience at the restaurant, asking Alexa whether she was alone, or happy, or whether the voice service loved her. (She did not, but at least Alexa let Dom down gently...)
The scene was very well-acted by Grace Gummer, but I simply don't care about Dom. I just don't. Who do I care about? Darlene. And also Cisco.
I couldn't fully take Dom's scene seriously because I was like, "Is this really what we're getting instead of confirmation that those two are dead or alive?"
I'd hazard a guess that they're not dead – people did die, but Dom, when she angrily accused her superior of being at fault for releasing Cisco's sketch, did not name anyone. If their two prime suspects had died, I feel like she would've outright mentioned it, y'know?
Astute commenters have suggested that Dom's superior Santiago may be a double agent, working with Dark Army somehow, given how ineffective he's been in combating them. In fact, he's been an active roadblock in Dom's investigation. This is a great theory.
Santiago also broke the news to Dom that, as Price demanded earlier in the season, Whiterose came through and had China deliver a multi-trillion dollar no-interest loan – just in time for Price to pitch his own company's variation on bitcoin. Price is going hard to push "e coin loans" through the American government.
Obviously, since it's non-physical currency, he's gotten tons of pushback from the government. This also gave him a real gem of an opportunity to get super sassy with Jack.
Jack: How long have you been pressing this pedal? How long have you been plotting against me?
Price: Oh, come on, Jack. We've known each other for years, you know full well, I don't give a shit about you. So please, don't hold a personal grudge just because you lost. Defeats can still be profitable.
Earlier in the season, I wondered when and why Price turned against Whiterose. "Python" explicitly addressed this question in the confrontation between Angela and Whiterose – and, according to the Dark Army leader, Price's reason is Angela herself.
Now, this is just Whiterose's take on the situation, so who know if it's even accurate.
Let's back up. The entire Angela section of this installment was like something out of Twin Peaks. The red rotary phone (a callback to Elliot's own prison wall phone), the leaking fish tank, the soon-dead fish, the lone copy of Lolita – all iconic, memorable, surrealist images.
Also, Angela herself said it best:
What the fuck is going on?Angela
When we caught up with her, she'd been tossed in the back of a van. Driven to a random houses, she was put in a room, alone, with a leaking fish tank. A little girl joined her to ask weird, random, and super invasive questions.
Finally, once Angela had passed that "test," Whiterose met with her.
Angela's fear during the meeting was palpable.
Portia Doubleday gave a stellar performance (one of her best ever, if not the single greatest). BD Wong was, as always, a terrifying, powerful force as Whiterose worked on convincing Angela to give up her revenge quest against Evil Corp and the Washington Township Plant (which we now know is Whiterose's pet project).
What the hell is going on at that plant?
Whiterose told Angela that her need for justice and revenge was irrelevant. Whiterose was insistent that Angela's mother and Elliot's father were necessary sacrifices – they died so that humanity could advance.
Now, Whiterose doesn't even want Angela's Washington Township files – she wants Angela's belief in, I suppose, whatever it is Whiterose is working on.
And it seems, now, that Whiterose got just that. Angela went to her lawyer and told her to stay away, in no uncertain terms. Angela looked a little brainwashed. It was scary. What on earth did Whiterose tell her (or show her) between the end of what we saw of their meeting, and Angela's visit to the lawyer?
The language surrounding the mysterious work on the plant is heavily leaning towards some kind of eventual metaphysical (or even science fiction-y) reveal.
I could say that something of that caliber would be jumping the shark, for me, but honestly, I'll go wherever this show takes me, at this point.
Meanwhile, Elliot played a relatively small part throughout "Python," though he got the "big moment" in the end.
Elliot's scenes bookended this installment. In the beginning, he lulled himself into a lucid dream state in order to "spy" on Mr. Robot. When that (apparently) worked, near the installment's end, he followed his hallucination after Mr. Robot decoded an increasingly encoded secret message on a restaurant menu.
And who did he find at the end of that rainbow? None other than an apparently alive Tyrell Wellick.
Elliot, like us, was hesitant to believe that Tyrell was truly there, truly alive. They seemed to purposely be keeping that vague – the non-native English speaker cabbie wasn't able (or willing) to confirm to Elliot that he also saw Tyrell sitting in the backseat of that illicit cab.
Regardless of whether he was real or not, Tyrell seemed set to reveal to Elliot (and us) what, exactly, Phase 2 is all about. Finally!
Gosh, I missed Tyrell. I hope he's not actually a second hallucination of Elliot's right now.
- I was getting super Lyanna Mormont vibes from that little girl who interrogated Angela for that "test." Game of Thrones reference!
- Speaking of which: that entire test scene was surreal and confusing, but the passage Angela quoted to pass the test was a line from Lolita – "The key was in my fist, my first was in my pocket."
- What is Joanna up to? Why did seeing Tyrell's apparent address make her state that "this" was the best thing he'd ever gifted her.
What did you think of "Python"? Watch Mr. Robot online here at TV Fanatic, and leave me a comment with your thoughts below!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.