Previously on Mr. Robot, “eps2.7_init_5.fve“
Mr. Robot – S2E10 – eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx | Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, Martin Wallström, Grace Gummer | Writers: Kor Adana & Randolph Leon | Director: Sam Esmail
Process n. COMPUTING: An instance of a computer program that is being executed. It contains the program code and its current activity. Depending on the operating system (OS), a process may be made up of multiple threads of execution that execute instructions concurrently.
Stunning. Simply stunning. In an extraordinarily profound episode, writers Kor Adana and Randolph Leon drew upon the depths of every leads’ inner fears and desires among an increasingly unstable world. Possibly season two’s most impressive outing, “h1dden-pr0cess” plays out like an overclocked motherboard, taking Elliot and crew to their limits, resulting in sensational performances all around.
The hidden process has been executed, killing instructions that are no longer relevant and re-initializing the program towards its new purpose. The path has been set and some elements that have been critical to the operation – and that viewers have been accustomed to seeing each week – may no longer be useful.
“Is there a pocket of the world that you don’t have your hand in?”
You know “h1dden-pr0cess” was going to be all kinds of horrible (in a good way) with it beginning in the audacious environs of E Corp CEO Phillip Price. Terry Colby (Bruce Altman) was summoned from his personal circle of hell at Price’s behest, who demanded Colby use his Obama Administration contacts to force abstention at a critical vote. Never to lose a deal, Price had it in mind to practically hand Congo to the Chinese in exchange for a substantial bailout. Even Colby is flabbergasted by Price’s demand yet begrudgingly obeyed. Like all of us, he’s compelled to know why Price would go so far to change the sociopolitical landscape of the entire planet for a few hundred billion.
Yes, E Corp may be faltering, but they aren’t exactly dying on the vine. Phillip is already wealthy beyond measure. E Coin is essentially worth more than any currency in the world. Price humors his associate by revealing that he must always feel like the most powerful person in any room. Save for perhaps two buildings, Phillip has accomplished that feat yet must continue to preserve his inflated sense of self by any means necessary. As Gnossienne #1 plays on, Phillip concluded that he intends to “leave a legacy… a standard of which that was set by God when he created the earth and man after his own image. Anything less is not worth mentioning”. Well, damn.
Price’s contempt for humanity at large is evident with the antique map that adorns his accent wall. Translated from German, this “Humorous Map of Europe in 1914” depicts the various powers of yore at their absolute worst, proudly displaying the stereotypes associated with their nations. In case one doesn’t recall, 1914 was also the year the world went to war for the first time.
With every passing episode, it’s become more clear that fsociety was nothing more than a patsy for E Corp’s wicked designs. Although Whiterose seemed to have the upper hand on Price last episode, the old man had more tricks up his sleeve than all of us realized. How can one even fight an institution so pervasive, and a man who believes he’s above all?
“Do you really want to say no to me?”
Price may be a preening, egomaniacal son of a bitch of the highest order, but his singular vision to achieve a type of godhood pales in comparison to the unshakable confidence and raw lethality of one Joanna Wellick. It’s been some time since we’ve witnessed Joanna in her true form and she’s more frightening than ever. Even at her most vulnerable, Wellick exudes strength and purpose while slinking into one of her designer dresses. Her sensuality is her weapon, and it’s a finely sharpened blade at that. The scene is capped with thrashcore band Bleach 03 wildly blaring as Joanna’s war cry while she applied a subtle touch of ‘Lady Danger’ MAC lipstick. Vicious.
To watch Ms. Wellick is akin to viewing a tiger or Great White in their natural habitat: unrestrained, fully empowered, and quite aware of their place atop the food chain. Like Price, Joanna also had to wax nostalgic in regards to her dedication to Tyrell. After sharing her story about the length she and her husband would go for each other, it’s hard to say whether she sees her spouse. Is Tyrell her equal or a practiced, in-expendable tool she can wield with precision, unlike Mr. Sutherland, Derek, Kareem, etc? Joanna does love him in her own special way, otherwise she wouldn’t have gone the length she did in creating a pleasing lure for “Ollie”. Elliot knew better to deny Joanna, even if his freedom wasn’t guaranteed in the end.
While Mr. Sutherland (Jeremy Holm) has kept an air of professionalism around his sole client, he too let loose in Elliot’s presence (poor guy is hearing all kinds of sob stories he doesn’t care about this week) about his reservations and fears while under Joanna’s employ. Elliot handily completed the task forced upon him and discovered the phone’s coordinates lead for a location nearby, one Mr. Sutherland knows and dreads. Wherever the mobile is, Sutherland is certain Tyrell isn’t hiding there. Either way, this news could make Joanna lose the calm exterior that’s tempered her brimming rage all season.
“Is this the future I was fighting for?”
The confessions continued to pour out of every character as Elliot, Darlene, and Angela spilled their guts before each of them suddenly crashed back into the harsh reality they’re responsible for creating.
Darlene’s revelation about being kidnapped at a young age and wanting to stay with her abductor was equally disturbing and heartbreaking. The Alderson family would never be mistaken for the Cleavers, but how traumatizing must life be if you don’t mind being taken away by a complete stranger? The only drawback for her in that situation was Elliot would be out of her life, alluding to him being the lone source of happiness in her troubled youth. A blessing Darlene would return by becoming Elliot’s rock in his later years. Darlene isn’t wrong: Elliot is special. A master above all others when it comes to ones and zeros. Try as she has to emulate his skill and passion to change the world, his path cannot be her own and it had nearly cost Darlene her empathy towards others. Thankfully, Cisco was able to bring her back from oblivion. Whether one or both of them will see the light of another day is anyone’s guess.
The same goes for Angela, who was ill-prepared at the start of season two yet eventually found the resolve to avenge her mother’s death. In spite of everything she had accomplished for fsociety and her own secret agenda, the pressure and paranoia in uncovering E Corp’s atrocities became insurmountable. Perhaps her final encounter with Elliot ever, Angela informed him that she knew Alderson started fsociety and she’s only a few stops away from meeting her lawyer before spilling the beans to the FBI.
In one of the rare moments on Mr. Robot, Elliot exhibits profound emotion, regretting that he placed all the people he loves in great harm. Alderson comforted Angela before her big admission and kissed her goodbye. Naturally, after viewing Elliot’s peculiarities for nearly a full two seasons, his actions during this scene appear a tad suspect. Could the person who planted one on Angela be the other persona who designed 5/9? Moss herself mentioned events that Elliot had no recollection of happening. It could also account for the mysterious pair that confronted Angela after Elliot exited the train. Given the look on her face, Moss immediately knew her life went from worse to shitshow.
The tension that has been building throughout “h1dden-pr0cess” came to a climax when Dominique DiPierro (Grace Gummer) did practically all of the FBI’s work and found their prime suspect eating Darlene’s fries off her plate. For all her intensity and nonchalant attitude towards bending or straight up ignoring FBI regulations and civil liberties, DiPierro has endured severe tunnel vision from the moment she stepped on the scene. Every time she nearly has her man, something tragic happens… then she carries on and never attempts to adjust her approach. So, so frustrating! Not to mention there are strong hints her supervisor Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) may have been attempting to throw her off-course from the start. Dom can’t thoroughly interview persons of interests if they’re suddenly taken out of the picture.
In any case, “h1dden-pr0cess” concluded with a static shot of Agent DiPierro entering a late night diner to confront Darlene and Cisco, only to be targeted by the Dark Army yet again – along with a handful of innocent patrons. It was a shocking ending to write the least, leaving us with a frenzy of questions that will have to swirl in our heads until they can be answered next Wednesday.
Elliot wanted to make a difference, but not in this fashion. Now there is blood on everyone’s hands as the world goes black and Mr. Robot remains silent. With no support and options limited, Elliot – or Mr. Robot or “Tyrell” or whomever else – must push forward to control the system and restore balance, possibly by his lonesome.
I’d start worrying, friend.
Mr. Robot S2E10