It never ceases to amaze me just how much this show can accomplish in only an hour.
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 2 was chock-full of forward plot momentum, memorable scenes, and incredible performances. Oh, and also one shocking death that I legitimately didn't see coming.
To begin, I have to applaud the phenomenal opening montage, showing Elliot in his seemingly never-ending cycle of attempting to clean up his mess while working at Evil Corp.
It's hilarious watching Elliot give his same speech over and over again, only to be blown off and later by the same ousted the corrupt leaders who dismissed his concerns about a security breach and his suggestion to have everything digitized, rather than moved to New York (where it would easily be blown up by Mr. Robot and Tyrell).
I appreciated that the executive he finally got through to was a woman. That felt like a subtle but pointed choice.
Interestingly, Elliot is doing a lot while at Evil Corp. He's actively trying to repair the 5/9 Hack damage to the company, working hard to prevent Stage 2 from falling into place, and returning to his vigilante ways to take down those bad eggs who put the evil in Evil Corp.
All in all, it's a tall order, and I'm not entirely sure Elliot will continue to maintain this delicate balancing act – mounds of Zoloft or not.
Leave it to Mr. Robot to slip in a major character death midway through the second episode of the season.
That's right, folks – Joanna Wellick is no longer of this world. I, for one, am sad about it – but also kind of excited, because it opens up so many exciting avenues for Tyrell's plot.
Joanna's role in Mr. Robot Season 2 largely involved plotting and scheming on her husband's behalf. By the Mr. Robot Season 2 finale, she'd successfully accomplished the goal she set out for herself when Tyrell vanished at the end of the first season: she got her husband cleared of the murder of Sharon Knowles.
Of course, we know that it was all bullshit.
Joanna manipulated Derek, her secret bartender boyfriend, into coming forward to suggest that Scott, not Tyrell, killed his wife.
By goading Scott into viciously beating her at the end of the last season, the diabolical late Mrs. Wellick managed a twofer – she "proved" that Scott is capable of great violence and gave Derek a reason to agree to the shocking and very illegal and sketchy thing she asked of him.
It all went off relatively flawlessly. So, naturally, the other shoe needed to drop. And in this case, said shoe was a drunken and betrayed Derek shooting both his former lover and her bodyguard in their car.
Both Joanna and her bodyguard (who survived and was also given a pretty epic monologue moment when he told Derek to stay away from her) severely underestimated Derek, which was the whole issue.
When the bodyguard got back in the car, it was obvious he thought the situation was taken care of. And I was fully convinced, too! Up to this point, Derek has been nothing more than a gullible lame duck. I didn't think he was capable of straight-up murder. But in retrospect, it fits, and I totally bought it.
The autopsy of Joanna's body immediately following her death scene was certainly shocking. That gory moment, where her skull is literally being cracked open, felt like it was purely for shock value, much like the visual of Baby Wellick covered in his mother's blood and wailing after the shooting.
As much as I'll miss Stephanie Corneliussen's terrific performance as Joanna, it made sense to "trim the fat," so to speak.
The Sharon Knowles murder was a holdover from Mr. Robot Season 1 that had no place in the larger story at this juncture. It was its own, independent thing, outside of Whiterose, Evil Corp, and 5/9 Hack storylines.
With Joanna's success at clearing Tyrell of the charges, her death, and Derek's death, the book is pretty firmly closed on all that. Poor Scott is stuck behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, and that's that.
Perhaps when Tyrell finally goes down for all of his other transgressions, the truth will come out. But I'm not holding my breath.
Meanwhile, we were given a closer look at the chilling way that Elliot switches back and forth between his personas – and how terrifying it is for the people who experience it.
This was done in two different scenes, arguably the best moments of the entire hour: one confrontation between Darlene and Mr. Robot at Elliot's apartment, and a therapy session where Krista broke through and spoke to Elliot's alter.
Both were legitimately horrifying and filmed incredibly well. The trick they use it to first show Elliot-as-Elliot (but in his Mr. Robot frame of mind), then to pull back so Elliot is out of frame. When the camera refocuses on Elliot, he's Christian Slater (portraying Mr. Robot).
It's brilliant – so subtle, and not at all cheesy.
Elliot waking up suddenly as Mr. Robot and confronting Darlene – rightly, as it turns out since she was bugging his computer on the FBI's behalf – was like something out of a horror movie.
He silently snuck up on her, then roughed her up as his paranoia mounted. The audience, along with Darlene, simultaneously came to the sickening, gradual realization that this man before us wasn't Elliot at all.
Darlene may not be Elliot's trigger like he thinks, but she's also not as quick as Angela to recognize Elliot's personality shifts.
Elliot's sister seems to be doing her best to stop Dom and her FBI brethren from realizing that Elliot is truly at the center of this whole thing. Unfortunately, since the FBI have the taped call from Tyrell (who they believe to be the true mastermind) to Elliot while in jail, that's not going to work for very long.
Especially since Elliot managed to one-up the FBI and track down Darlene's safehouse in the hour's final moments.
It was also a welcome return for Krista.
Gloria Reuben did a great job facing off with Christian Slater. She was believably professional but clearly perturbed at all of his ramblings.
Elliot never told me how attractive you are. You know, for a shrink, you're pretty foxy.Mr. Robot
How creepy was it to hear Mr. Robot hit on Krista? So creepy.
The final section of this installment dealt with Philip Price and Whiterose, who are now decidedly at odds with one another.
Price delivered a speech about the benefits of ECoin, Evil Corp's currency, which China is refusing to accept. China refuses to sign the accord, with Whiterose contemptuously firing back that all she's concerned about is the U.N. voting to allow China to annex the Congo.
Why, exactly, does Whiterose want the Congo so badly? What is it about moving the operation there that's so important? I supposed we'll find out soon enough.
It's time Philip Price's hand got slapped.Whiterose
Unfortunately for Price, it doesn't matter whether or not Whiterose gets the U.N. vote to go her way. The Chinese mastermind told her assistant to execute Stage 2 – blowing up Evil Corp and killing thousands – whether or not the U.N. vote passes.
It's ruthless and cruel. Even the assistant is taken aback by this seemingly irrational act of violence. Now it appears to be a race against time for Elliot to prevent Stage 2 from happening at all.
- Gotta love those fake commercials for E-coin embedded among other, real commercials. This show is nuts.
- With so many characters in its ever-growing ensemble cast, it's no wonder that we need to leave out certain ones each week in order to fit in the stories of others. This time around, Angela, Tyrell, and Irving were absent, in exchange for the reintroduction of Krista, Dom, and (briefly) Joanna.
- Elliot joined Trunk Club, thereby embracing the ultimate millennial hipster lifestyle.
- I'll have to rewatch for a closer look, but did anyone else catch that faux movie poster behind Elliot's head? I think it was a fake film called "Separation Anxiety," starring Will Ferrell and Judi Dench – so delightfully bizarre.
- Elliot got the dog he stole back! Yay!
What did you think of "Undo"?
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Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.