It consistently amazes me how well Mr. Robot manages to keep up its fantastic momentum without each episode seeming overstuffed.
Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 7 was no exception. In the wake of Shayla's upsetting death, I had erroneously assumed that there would be a slower, more introspective hour of the show to follow that high-tension in Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 6. And it certainly was relatively slower. Until, you know, that whole murder thing in the last third.
This week was particularly light on the Elliot side of things, so that might be an easy place to start.
Aside from some shorter scenes scattered throughout the body of the episode (taking Flipper to the vet, terminating his therapy sessions with Krista, filing Shayla away on a CD, and being counseled by Gideon), Elliot's two major moments book-ended this installment.
Those two scenes were the meeting Shayla flashback opener and the startling admission to Krista in the closing moments.
The Shayla flashback was a great way for us to bid a gentler farewell to that character. Shayla was such a sweet, innocent figure and it absolutely would not have sat well with me if the last we saw of her was as a bloodied corpse shoved in a trunk.
Their introduction was perfectly Shayla, too. Open to a fault, enthusiastic, and warm, Shayla barged into Elliot's life and made herself comfortable, kind of barreling him over in the process. Frankie Shaw made a great character out of one that could have easily faded into the sidelines, lost and adrift among Mr. Robot's many other far more complex figures.
You know, I do know of a guy who sells Suboxone. He's supposed to be a fucking psychopath, but if you want, I can call him. You might be worth a psychopath, I don't know, maybe. Oh, and keep the fish, you filthy animal.Shayla
Of course, since this is Mr. Robot, they needed to throw in that foreshadowing gut wrench about Fernando Vera because, of course, we can't have anything nice.
The closing scene was equally gut punch-y. Elliot's heartfelt speech to Krista about finding a way out of his loneliness was particularly moving after Elliot's all too brief foray into companionship with Shayla prior to her death.
I kept waiting for the reveal that Elliot's speech was in his mind, that he wasn't actually baring his soul to Krista. But nope; seems this one was real. He hacked Krista right down to the very bottom of her essential self (view-sourcing her, basically).
How entirely unnerving for him to have just laid her bare like that (figuratively of course – I don't think Elliot needs another love interest just yet). It was yet another great example of what a flawed person Elliot is, to see that this was his attempt at making a much needed connection with another person.
I have no idea how Krista will react next. Half of me thinks she'll flip out and banish him from her office, and the other half thinks she'll sympathize and give him a hug, becoming drawn further into the oh-so-tangled web that Elliot keeps on weaving.
I was glad to see Gideon again, but his character just makes me sad. He honestly cares about his employees. He is such a legitimately nice person (much like Shayla) who is being kept out of the loop by everyone – and what's worse, he knows he's being lied to.
I understand Angela's motivations, I really do. Her scenes confronting Terry Colby were also fantastic ones, and Portia Doubleday really conveyed just how deeply affected the character had been by her mother's senseless death. Her reactions to Colby's horrible sexual comment were perfectly performed.
Angela: So... you were drunk, eating shrimp cocktail, and it was raining when you decided my mother would die? That's why. So people like you won't keep sitting in rooms together. Did any of it ever give you or anyone pause? When you made those decisions?
Terry Colby: Yeah... yeah. Sure. But then you go home and you have dinner and you wake up the next morning.
Colby is such a stereotypical self-centered corporate type, so it was really easy to fully empathize with Angela. We were not made to empathize with Colby in the slightest (shrimp cocktails and board meetings, what a tough life).
That said, it was hard not to still feel as angry at Angela as Gideon was. He's right; her actions will tank Allsafe, costing many people their livelihoods.
Martin Wallstrom has a particularly expressive face, which comes in handy when we're watching Tyrell do things like, oh say, strangle a woman to death in a fit of passion.
This was the big moment this week, and I have so many questions about it.
Was this all a part of Tyrell's larger plan? It certainly didn't seem to be. No, it absolutely appeared that Tyrell, insulted by Scott Knowles last week and by Sharon Knowles this week, just snapped and killed her in a fit of rage.
I mentioned in the last review that Scott Knowles is a very pleasant surprise of a character. It would have been easy for Knowles to have been a one-note dupe, but nothing about this show is easy, and I love that.
Mrs. Knowles was equally, if not more complex. She knew Tyrell's game, she was aware that his moves were all part of said game, and she played it anyway (for a few brief moments, at least).
Tyrell's murder of Sharon Knowles was interesting. I can say that I equally did and did not see it coming. I did see it coming because, of course, we have seen Tyrell's short temper and his violent outbursts time and again (the homeless man beat-a-thon, the tantrum in his kitchen). I didn't see it coming because Tyrell has above all been calculating – we haven't seen his rage overtake him without warning and without his express permission in the past.
Also, that was a pretty clever trick with cueing up the sexy song as they began kissing – it definitely set the tone and expectation that it would be just an illicit hookup. It was definitely not "I'm going to strangle you" music. The abrupt cut to silence when we pulled away to see Sharon's dead body was wonderfully jarring, too.
I want to see what Tyrell's wife makes of this move that wasn't quite a move, if he does divulge what happened. I don't see how Tyrell can possibly get away with this murder, but I also don't see him being carted off to jail.
The fsociety scenes felt a bit redundant to me. I understand the idea that the group, which has been split apart, needs to be brought back together. I just thought it could have been handled more engagingly.
The Romero-Mr. Robot scene, particularly, was pretty weak. We know that Mr. Robot is crazy. We've seen that now in a few different ways. I don't feel I got anything else out of that scene.
Ditto the Darlene/Cisco scene. It rehashed the Darlene-is-a-user note, though it did get us closer to the successful completion of the fsociety E. Corp hack by way of the Dark Army team-up.
A few lingering questions:
- What does Cisco want Ollie to do? Does it have to be Ollie? Can Ollie be less terrible now that it looks like he's sticking around?
- Is Elliot ever going to make time for a conversation with Angela? Some best friend he is.
- In that vein: does Angela know Shayla is dead? I assume she does. She was at Allsafe, speaking to Gideon. I'm surprised we didn't get any amount of Angela comforting Elliot.
What did you all think of this week's episode? Sound off in the comments below and remember that you can watch Mr. Robot online right here if you need to catch up or re-watch before Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 8.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.