Previously on Mr. Robot “eps2.9_pyth0n_pt1.p7z”
Mr. Robot – S2E12 – eps2.9_pyth0n_pt2.p7z | Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, Martin Wallström, Grace Gummer, Azhar Khan, Sunita Mani, Omar Metwally | Writer and Director: Sam Esmail
So much depends upon / a red wheel barrow / glazed with rain water / beside the white chickens
– William Carlos Williams
It may not have been a flashy ending, but the second season of Mr. Robot proved the breakout hit of 2015 wasn’t a fluke but a full fledged thriller that’s willing to go deeper in the rabbit hole than any series in recent television history. Easily one of the top shows of 2016, creator and showrunner Sam Esmail worked his magic in providing perpetually sharp writing and astute direction, ensuring every morsel of screen time was essential to the labyrinthine conspiracy Elliot Alderson simultaneously leads and resists.
No Price and Whiterose in sight? No problem! “Pyth0n_pt2” capped Mr. Robot’s ambitious second season with Stage 2 all but assured. Nearly every insidious plot was tied up with subtle yet thoroughly lasting effect. While so much occurred in regards to the more pressing questions we’ve had all season, the actions – or lack thereof – made by the leads in their respective scenes gave us more answers than we anticipated, giving us greater insight into their shadowy motivations and exciting portents of what will decidedly be a hyperactive third season.
“All the way…”
Per Esmail’s Daedalian vision, everything seen and heard had purpose in “_pt2”. The question that Elliot pondered to himself – can the things we experience, the stimulus that’s interpreted through our imperfect senses, be trusted – is a query we’ve racked for practically the entire season. As Elliot’s supposed friends, we’ve come to trust nothing. And now, when the obvious is right in our face, we still can’t believe it. Thanks a lot for making us question reality, Esmail.
Although there were red herrings scattered all across season two, the possibility of an additional personality lurking inside Elliot was proven false, confirming Mr. Robot’s mastery over everyone including his weaker, erratic side. The presence of Tyrell alone was most likely the beginning of the end for Elliot, at least the version we’ve known all this time. A number of carefully laid traps were finally sprung in the finale, the crux being Mr. Robot’s insurance plan in deterring if not eliminating “Elliot” before Stage 2 was enacted.
Objectively, it was an act of amazing calculation. In laying the seeds of doubt in Elliot, Mr. Robot was able to suppress practically every crucial development and secret meeting with Tyrell and Whiterose. Elliot was already putting great effort into keeping his delusion active in prison, so when Mr. Robot also told Alderson that he killed Tyrell, that was all “Dad” needed to keep him distracted indefinitely.
By the time Alderson encountered Wellick, coupled with the knowledge of Stage 2’s objective, both Tyrell and Elliot were lured into a no-win scenario that Mr. Robot orchestrated months ago. So much for gaining control! Hell, the tagline for season two is “Control is an illusion”. We all presumed ‘control’ was an abstraction within a grander context. It wasn’t until Alderson was bleeding on a dirty floor that we realized season two’s catchphrase had more personal meaning.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
It generally takes a lot to surprise the morose Alderson siblings and both were dealt with massive blows to their ego and mental health. Within their respective tête-à-têtes with Tyrell and Dominique, both learned their original plan has been warped beyond recognition.
Just as Tyrell and Elliot/Mr. Robot’s relationship was revealed to be more than a partnership between unique, single-minded individuals, Darlene may have potentially found her double in Dominque. As mentioned earlier, there is nothing that should be taken for granted in Mr. Robot and it especially goes for Mac Quayle’s choice in music. “_pt2” was truly a Hall of Mirrors for dear brother and sister as they faced the actions of their recent past along with the consequences for not only their present and future, but the entire world’s.
Which brings us back to the Red Wheelbarrow. “_pt2” opened with an alternate view of a scene from “eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt” when Tyrell and Mr. Robot discussed the finer points of their tenuous alliance. Desperate to find some meaning in a world that’s unraveling around him, Tyrell tearfully shared his father’s favorite poem with Elliot. Williams’ poem – published in 1923 – has been analyzed profoundly for the last 90+ years and nearly every time, reputed scholars are able find new meaning in its 16 words. The poem has become the quintessential example of Imagism, which centered on the use of brief, clear language to craft precise visual imagery. Whether Tyrell’s distaste for the poem is simply due to the troubled relationship with his father or speaks about his desire to find meaning beyond the aesthetic, Mr. Robot found a student in Wellick when he succinctly explained: “You’re only seeing what’s in front of you. You’re not seeing what’s above you.”
Meanwhile, the red wheelbarrow continued to be a through-line in season two, especially during Elliot’s already-solved-but-let’s-keep-it-in-play prison delusion. From the red rotary phone, the pyro who burned things in a Radio Flyer wagon, the take home menu and the journal that was incinerated, Tyrell was always present and concerned for his partner, his friend. While viewers have faced a number of illusions this year, the one that was most effective was our attachment to Elliot who is basically a shadow of the man everyone within his world knows. We happen to take him as our lead because that’s all we knew at the time. Who’s to say if all those confident moments involving Alderson was Mr. Robot briefly taking the reins.
As for Darlene, her and DiPierro’s sparring perfectly mirrored (pun!) Tyrell and Elliot’s tirade, with ample amounts of stonewalling, stare-offs and the occasional sardonic, profanity-laden retort. Knowing her “we’re alike you and I” spiel wasn’t going to cut it, Dom shifted gears and became deliberate in her actions. Dumping heaps upon heaps of evidence, Darlene eventually knew DiPierro wasn’t as slow to her role as we suspected but playing the long game like a python. Again, there is double meaning in the finale; Python is the preferred programming language of Elliot and Darlene, and DiPierro boasted about employing a tactic that emulates the ambush instinct used by the predator.
With 6,332 agents at her and Santiago’s disposal, they were able to collect an innumerable amount of data on prime suspects and their associates. Although Dom was laying the hammer on Darlene, DiPierro still plied a soft hand by giving her access to the task force’s whiteboard. While Darlene didn’t believe herself to be special, Dom knew otherwise and chances are the coddling of her ego – and knowing the truth about 5/9 – will make Darlene an invaluable asset for the FBI next season.
“Of all the gifts you’ve been sending me, I’ve gotta say — this one got me the wettest.”
Between these intense moments was Joanna Wellick’s confrontation with “Tyrell” aka Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell), the author behind the gifts she received throughout the season. The revelation wasn’t surprising so much as the outcome with Knowles choking then pounding Joanna’s face into hamburger. Without question it was a startling moment, and in spite of getting the left side of her face repeatedly bashed, Mrs. Wellick appeared to be in complete control. Stephanie Corneliussen may not be on Mr. Robot as much as some of us may like but every time she graces our screens we’ll always be treated to a venomous lashing that puts fear into us.
Imagine a beautiful, vexatious woman gently caressing your face during an extremely vulnerable moment. You expect to be comforted with soothing words and instead hear this:
“You PUSSY. You PIECE of SHIT. I hope you rot in hell like your wife. You’re mourning a woman, who after she found out she was pregnant, was gonna fuck my husband’s brains out. I’m glad she’s dead. Fuck her and her fetus corpse.”
Joanna knows how to push the right buttons at the perfect moment, but that was a soul-stealing scene. Knowles reacted as she anticipated, giving Wellick the opportunity to compel her dense boy-toy Derek (Chris Conroy) to lie about Scott’s whereabouts the night of his wife’s murder. And there it is, the ultimate goal of Joanna’s ruthless plan. We all should have known she wasn’t going to give up on Tyrell but she her sociopathy is that convincing. Wellick probably knew early on it was Knowles and played along in order to get everything and everyone in place. Once Derek’s usefulness has been spent, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Joanna goes Dark Army and ties up all her loose ends before reuniting with Tyrell. Cue Mr. Sutherland and his uncanny ability to stage botched home invasions…
But wait… there’s more!
In “_pt2”’s after credits scene, we’re transported to a nondescript location somewhere in the Southwest with Mobley and Trenton alive, under new aliases, and working at Fry’s Electronics. Surely, it is a new circle of hell even Dante Alighieri couldn’t have imagined. Again Mac Quayle’s earns his paycheck by selecting to end season two with “We’ve Got Tonight,” sung by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton. An unusual choice to be sure, but like every song used in a particular scene… check the lyrics.
I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
It reads like Mobley and Trenton avoiding hazards to a T.
Though all of us are pleased to see the duo above ground and seemingly out of harm’s way, Trenton cannot stand her new digs – and her creepy roommate for that matter. Mobley continued to assuage Trenton about going back and risking her life for the sake of seeing her family again. What concerns him most is her rooting around and discovering a means to reverse the damage they caused during 5/9.
The prospect of correcting the world is slightly intriguing to Mobley but he’d rather live in obscurity knowing the Dark Army is out there waiting for either one of them to slip up. It may be too late for the last members of fsociety with DA’s top man Leon (Joey Bada$$) casually strolling up asking for the time. Not good. Not good at all.
Now that the lights are out, what do we do now, Friend? Has our intrepid narrator slipped into oblivion or will he return renewed? Either way, the world is hanging by the thread. The battle for control may be over (for now) but the war to shape a new reality has only begun.
What was your opinion on the finale? Complaints? Queries? Predictions for season three? Comment below and we’ll read your feedback for “pyth0n_pt2” on Podcast Fandom!
Mr. Robot S2E12