Data within data that describes how, when and by whom a particular set of data was collected, and how the data is formatted.
Probably the most straightforward episode of Mr. Robot since the early days of season one, “m3tadata.par2” throttles back on the feints and lofty stratagem readily devised by its portentous cast of players for a grounded, dangerously candid installment that shines a harsh light on the mental anguish every lead is experiencing as all comes to a head for the arrival of Stage 2.
It’s been a good while since Darlene was front and center and in the opening minutes, she proved herself to be in a helluva compromised state as Alderson vomited out her misdeeds to a jittery pickpocket. Darlene’s guilt continued to boil over throughout the episode, beginning with Elliot grilling her in the FBI safe house, to their prolonged conversation about seeing Stage 2 pass. Add to the fact that her brother tasks her to follow Mr. Robot when he awakes at night – only to discover Angela is now waist deep in the conspiracy – and the FBI are bungling their protection detail, knowing her brother is a master hacker.
Inspired by one of Cisco’s introspective conversations about giving up the life of a digital terrorist, Darlene finally threw in the towel and left her brother for the sake of her sanity.
As for the small band of conspirators, things are quickly falling apart. Angela may appear to be a loyal soldier for Whiterose but she is not a reliable facilitator. In the weeks Elliot worked at E Corp as a lowly programmer in “undo.gz”, Moss never once suspected Alderson was ridding the company of its middle management, delaying the arrival of the paper files to New York, or had meetings with E Corp higher-ups about improved data protection. Apparently her ability to read her best friend is severely weakened, perhaps out of guilt after Elliot admitted his love for Angela yet again later in that episode.
In any case, Alderson’s tactics have thoroughly disrupted Mr. Robot and Wellick’s plans, to the extreme ire of his Swedish partner. Fully aware of Elliot’s condition, who Tyrell once regarded as a god is nothing more than a pretender in his eyes. How can a being with such incredible vision and unyielding purpose be shut out by himself?“My point is, I think anything is possible.” #MrRobot Click To Tweet
For the most part, “m3tadata.par2” felt more like a epilogue for last week’s excellent “legacy.so” despite the episode being a flashback about Tyrell’s journey for its entire running time. Now that all the loose ends from seasons past have been tied, a part of the mystique associated with Wellick, the Dark Army and even Moss has diminished, albeit very slightly. The battle of wills between Elliot and Mr. Robot has taken its toll among his allies – namely Wellick. Alderson’s “eccentricity”, once a manageable sleight under Whiterose’s thumb, is now grown more confident and assured under Angela’s stead. Elliot has already done more damage in his five weeks at E Corp than any detractor who was remotely aware of the Dark Army’s agenda.
In spite of Elliot’s resistance, Angela’s growing incompetence and Tyrell’s bluster, Whiterose is ready to accelerate Stage 2, likely due to the trio becoming increasingly unreliable. It also provides the Irving some cover when it comes to Wellick’s demands to be reunited with his wife and son after Stage 2 is complete. By shortening the timetable to finish their work, he won’t have any time to sift through the net and find the smallest clue about Joanna’s death. Furthermore, Angela had to call in her one and only favor with Phillip Price to fire Elliot from E Corp immediately. Essentially, they’ve all run out of options and have no recourse but to follow through.
Granted, Moss is a true believer and Wellick a mad genius but their survival still hinges on the inner strife churning through Elliot. Now that Darlene is M.I.A. and the comforting yet monotonous routine at E Corp is removed, and his best friend is intentionally suppressing his personality, what’s Elliot to do in trying times such as these?