Well, that was unexpected!
Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 3 threw more than a few curve-balls our way, revealing much more than we might have expected about certain supporting characters and weaving a few more threads into this already very tangled web. ('Web,' get it? ... I'll show myself out.)
I've mentioned in previous reviews that we weren't getting very much information about characters other than Elliot, which was surprising because Mr. Robot actually features a fairly large ensemble cast. This episode made that up to us in spades.
Homeless Man: You think I could have $300 this time?
Tyrell: Hah! Spoken like a true capitalist.
The most obvious place to start would be with Tyrell Wellick. The moments of focus on Tyrell in "d3bug.mkv" ("Debug") were many, and they jam-packed more surprising reveals than most shows would dole out over the course of an entire season. It seems like we learned so much about him, and yet he's still a mystery!
Martin Wallstrom is a veritable powerhouse. I've yet to see him in any other roles, but it truly seems as though he was made to play this character, much in the way that I can't imagine anyone else but Rami Malek as Elliot.
The opening scene was incredibly well directed, scripted and filmed. After last week's really strong opening, this is becoming a bit of a great pattern.
Anwar: You're a strange creature.
Tyrell: I'm just a businessman.
It's hard to determine what the most shocking development was regarding Tyrell. He has a standing deal with a homeless man to take out his aggression on him (one-sided latex-gloved fisticuffs!), he manipulates others using sex, he is possibly bisexual (though who knows exactly how much of that Anwar-Tyrell encounter was "purely business"?), and he and his pregnant wife practice BDSM.
Yeah. It was a lot.
I particularly appreciated the suggestion that Tyrell's wife may not be the cheated-on, naive and innocent woman that it initially appeared she was. The conversation between the two, near the end of the episode, turned their earlier conversation in the closet completely on its toes. Whereas earlier in the episode, she expressed concern over where Tyrell was going and what he was doing, by the end, during that fabulous tie-me-up scene, she was actively participating in the planning for his climb up the corporate ladder.
A ruthless, diabolical man is always that much more intriguing with an equally-scheming woman by his side. A Lady Macbeth to Tyrell's Macbeth, if you will. While it's definitely not urgent, I really hope we get more info about Tyrell's wife at some point. Also the fact that Tyrell has a wife is pretty much the only thing keeping him from being a straight up Swedish Patrick Bateman.
Meanwhile, signs are pointing more and more towards the fact that Mr. Robot may be a hallucination (or, more accurately, a projection of Elliot himself).
The scene where Mr. Robot showed up at Allsafe to harass Elliot, after that boardwalk railing push-off, was very suspicious -- he was speaking very loudly (and crassly, to Elliot's coworker), so it's odd that he didn't garner more of a reaction from anyone.
Mr. Robot also didn't get acknowledged at the bar, if I remember correctly. And he was drinking an appletini! Talk about conspicuous.
I hope this isn't the case. That kind of twist was novel and cool when it was first introduced, but at this point it's become too much of a thing. I'm hoping for something less obvious form the writers. Fingers crossed this is a purposeful misdirect.
Ollie continues to be the worst. His lame, almost verbal tic-like lines that he chucked at Angela when he wanted to distract her were so painfully annoying ("You're too good for the world"? Really?) The moment where he came clean to Angela about Stella B. and the situation with the CD hackers was excellent -- or, at least, it started off that way.
Angela had a few great moments this episode. Her reaction to realizing she had accidentally aided in a man stealing a woman's wallet was a fantastic, small character-building moment.
Reminiscing with Elliot about their childhood was sweet, and great for developing their friendship. I also liked the reveal that she and Elliot were friends to begin with because her mother also died of leukemia thanks to the E Corp toxic leak. It nicely explained why they have such a close bond despite being so different.
What I definitely did not love was Angela forgiving Ollie in the last moments of their scene together. I was cheering her on as she told him she wanted to break up. When she broke down and did a total 180, I cringed. The turnaround was suspicious enough that I have at least some hope she's playing Ollie and that their reconciliation isn't real.
I don't find the Angela/Ollie CD-hacker dilemma to be particularly engaging and hope that too much time isn't devoted to it (unless, of course, it winds up tying in more directly to Elliot-fsociety-E Corp).
Gideon is edging closer to the truth about Elliot and fsociety. Elliot's protectiveness of Gideon -- his desire to keep the older man from being ensnared in the viper's nest of the E Corp-fsociety debacle -- was very sweet, much like Elliot's protectiveness of Krista.
Gideon's dinner party was fantastically awkward. Angela's obvious discomfort at Elliot's new relationship with Shayla was so telling. However, I admittedly have a very low tolerance for characters who remain stubbornly self-unaware when it comes to their romantic feelings, so I'm not sure how long I can deal with her being willfully unaware of her obvious love for Elliot.
Shayla is nice, but I'm not particularly into the Shayla-Elliot (Shelliot?) pairing. It's clear that he initiated their relationship only to keep his "normalcy" and "perfect maze" intact, and because he imagines a kindred spirit in her (someone else desiring normalcy, but relegated to the outer fringe). So far, we only know that Shayla (1) really likes Elliot, (2) deals drugs, and (3) creates art. That's not really enough to garner any kind of emotional investment in seeing their relationship work.
I actually prefer Elliot's chemistry with Darlene the most, out of the three female leads. Something about the way she irks him seems very promising for a romantic connection down the road.
My perfect maze... crumbling before my eyes. There's nothing to hide behind. I didn't think it existed, but there it is... Mr. Robot finally found my bug.Elliot
The "theme" of the week was debugging/bugs. In short: everyone has a bug -- a glitch. Elliot's, as Mr. Robot uncovered, is the death of his father. Tyrell may be a notch or two away from Patrick Bateman on the sociopath ladder, but Mr. Robot is something of an evil genius himself. His pointed targeting of Elliot's weakness led Elliot directly back into fsociety's arms. It was brilliant.
Elliot's return to fsociety -- amidst a beautiful classical score and Darlene playing skeeball -- was wonderfully done. This show has such a weird, unique cadence, and it continues to impress from week to week. This episode was stronger than last week's very good episode, and the show seems to be picking up steam from its "slow burn" beginning.
All in all: definitely looking forward to next week's follow up, Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 4, for more on Elliot's plan for Evil Corp and exploration of group dynamics within fsociety, the (hopefully more interesting) development of Angela and Ollie's own hacker situation, the consequences of Gideon investigating fsociety, and more of Tyrell doing... well, just about anything!
Be sure to watch Mr. Robot online (or re-watch... it was complicated!) and let us know your thoughts on this very busy episode in the comments below!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.