"So much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens."
So goes "The Red Wheelbarrow," a very short "silly little" poem by William Carlos Williams quoted by Tyrell Wellick in the opening flashback scene of Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 12. It's either straightforwardly simple or deceptively complex – as good an analogy for this show as any.
"Python Pt. 2" was a great finale. The first half was quite slow, and they purposefully didn't wrap up every single plot line, but I actually feel satisfied with where we left off.
I totally get that many viewers might not feel the same way. Some people really like closure, especially when we're due to wait nearly a full year for any new episodes. For me, the answers we got were enough, and I wasn't overly frustrated with the things left dangling.
First things first: once and for all, the show put to an end all speculation that Tyrell was not actually alive, i.e., a figment of Elliot's imagination like Mr. Robot.
Tyrell is, in fact, quite real, and fully capable of shooting Elliot in the stomach. Angela also spoke with Tyrell on the phone, so this isn't some Elliot-shot-himself-in-the-stomach weirdness either.
Who was more surprised – us viewers or Elliot? Elliot was certainly not expecting to actually get shot.
Of all of the developments that were unveiled throughout the finale, I'll confess that I'm shakiest on the dynamics of Phase 2. It was either a tad too technologically-worded or I'm more tired than I thought.
Anyway, the gist of it appeared to be that Elliot (in his Mr. Robot persona) devised a plan to wipe out Evil Corp's paper records – hence the callback to the bank teller explaining to the angry customer that people have been forging paper records in the opening recap sequence.
In order to wipe out the records, Tyrell, Mr. Robot/Elliot, and the Dark Army were going to literally blow up the building, using malware of some kind (again, shaky on the details). The important part is, they were going to kill a bunch of people, and Elliot was 100% not down with that.
The relationship between Tyrell and Elliot has developed brilliantly, from pseudo-antagonistic to this legitimately deep bond (on Tyrell's side, anyway). Tyrell is utterly enraptured by this strange young hacker – something that was flat-out confirmed when Tyrell told Angela, after shooting Elliot, that he loves him – and yet he has no idea that Elliot has this split personality issue.
They all think it's me. They all think I'm the ringleader. The one in charge. And I have no idea what it is.Elliot
For Tyrell, Elliot's confusion was both frustrating and alarming. Tyrell had literally no idea what had come over Elliot, because he doesn't know that Mr. Robot and Elliot are two separate entities within one man (for all intents and purposes).
It progressed from the moment that they reunited in the taxi at the end of Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 11 until the moment Tyrell, in tears, shot Elliot to stop him from ending the hack.
And because Tyrell is, well, a little unhinged, he reacted accordingly – busting out a gun.
Martin Wallstrom portrayed Tyrell's heartbreak and frustration perfectly. He looked like he was in physical pain over the idea of shooting Elliot but, of course, he did it anyway.
As Mr. Robot confessed, he couldn't allow anyone (even himself) to get in the way of Phase 2. Mr. Robot gave Tyrell the gun with explicit instructions not to let anyone get in the way.
This is where we get into trouble. You're meant to know only as much as you can handle. When you wander outside of your realm is when we end up fighting.Mr. Robot
The idea that Mr. Robot would be so nonchalant about blowing up a building full of people in order to destroy Evil Corp has its roots in the show's earlier episodes. Way back on Mr. Robot Season 1 Episode 2, before we knew Mr. Robot was a figment of Elliot's imagination, he wanted to blow up Steel Mountain to get rid of Evil Corp data backups. Elliot devised another, more complicated plan, to avoid killing people.
Mr. Robot's decision to go to such great lengths to keep Elliot from knowing about Phase 2 makes perfect sense in this context – he knew that, if Elliot found out, he'd put a stop to it.
But not to worry, dear viewers – Elliot doesn't appear to be dead, only injured/possibly comatose (given that Angela insisted on being the first one he sees when he wakes).
In the final scene, Tyrell called Angela, who is now (apparently) in on the larger scheme. Whatever Whiterose said to Angela during their conversation on Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 11 remains a mystery (for now) – but whatever it was, it (apparently) successfully swayed Angela to Whiterose's side.
Especially since, based on what Angela told Tyrell, she was basically cool with the fact that he shot Elliot (non-fatally) to move forward with Whiterose's plan. That takes some dedication, especially since she, too, admitted to loving Elliot. In fact, Angela was more calm about the fact that Tyrell shot Elliot than Tyrell was.
We haven't seen Angela and Tyrell have any substantial interactions, so I'm looking forward to seeing those two work together and play off of one another next season.
Elsewhere, other loose ends were wrapped up.
In the restaurant shootout, Cisco died but Darlene survived. She was taken into custody by the FBI almost immediately afterward.
The verbal sparring between Darlene and Dom was great, and Carly Chaikin did a great job of mixing Darlene's trademark wryness with an undercurrent of grief over Cisco's recent death (her recounting of ordering the breakfast platter and Cisco stealing some of her bacon was perfectly heartwrencing). Darlene was not falling for Dom's "We're just two Jersey gals!" shtick for a minute.
Soon enough, though, Dom cut the bullshit when Darlene made perfectly clear she wasn't giving up any info. Turns out – surprise! – the FBI didn't really need all that much info. They were onto fsociety all along and were merely laying in wait (the "python" attack) to make their move, so that they could capture "the man in the middle" – Tyrell Wellick.
So we sat back and waited. They call it the python approach. They'll lie and wait for the right moment to strike. You know some can go up to a year without eating? Patient predator.Dom
Of course, it's sort of funny because Tyrell isn't really the bigwig. It's Elliot, who is also on the FBI's big ol' map of suspects along with everyone else.
Interestingly, Romero's death, which kicked off Darlene's paranoia that they were about to be caught or killed by the Dark Army, had nothing at all to do with the hack. As Dom revealed, he was killed in a freak accident by a neighbor's stray bullet. Oh, the irony. Or, as Darlene would say:
You've gotta be fucking kidding me.Darlene
Same, girl. Same.
Meanwhile, the mystery of who was contacting Joanna was solved. It wasn't Tyrell at all – it was actually Scott Knowles, who has devolved into an unhinged, alcoholic, depressed mess in the wake of Sharon's murder at Tyrell's hand.
This reveal wasn't any great shock or twist. His reasoning made sense. He was lashing out at Joanna out of hatred for Tyrell, who took his wife away. Scott was totally broken by Sharon's death, which was compounded by the fact that, as he revealed to Joanna, she'd just revealed she was pregnant as well.
I wanted you to feel what I felt. I wanted to give you hope that I could step on.Scott Knowles [to Joanna]
Joanna's reaction was a perfect encapsulation of everything her character is about. First, she pretended she would comfort Scott, but quickly pivoted to insulting him and mocking his wife and child's death, taunting him over the fact that Sharon was going to sleep with Tyrell. Scott reacted violently, choking Joanna and then viciously beating her.
Based on what happened after, Joanna's goal, here, wasn't to be cruel for cruelty's sake. She wanted to provoke Scott into harming her – which worked – so that she could frame him for Sharon's death, thereby exonerating Tyrell (for that crime, anyway).
At least, that was my take on it. Joanna is ruthless and calculating; I wouldn't at all put it past her to purposely take a vicious beating if only to manipulate her boyfriend Derek into lying to the police in order to frame Scott for Sharon's death.
It's actually a pretty brilliant plan, but I'd expect nothing less of Joanna. It also begs the question – was this Joanna's long-con all along? Did she initiate a relationship with Derek in order to eventually get him to frame Scott? If so, my mind would be blown.
Finally, there was that brilliant coda scene.
Mobley and Trenton are alive! We saw them working at Fry's, far from New York, where Trenton was desperately homesick and attempting to convince Mobley to take a look at something that she believed might be able to "undo" everything they'd done.
Hmmm... I don't know how they could possibly unhack Evil Corp. but I'm definitely interested in seeing how they address this next season. That is, of course, assuming that Leon – who we saw approaching the two and asking for the time – doesn't murder them on behalf of the Dark Army.
- A fun little reveal courtesy of that opening flashback – Elliot (as Mr. Robot) was actually the one to put that line about looking at what's in front of him instead of what's above him in Tyrell's head. Tyrell would later echo this line to Joanna after he had his mental break.
- Mac Quayle's music/score was brilliant as always. I particularly loved Kraftwerk's "Hall of Mirrors" when Tyrell brought Elliot to the facility Dark Army had set up for them and "The Moth and the Flame" by Les Deux Love Orchestra. Perfect, perfect choices. I'm gonna echo my formal request for a full Mr. Robot soundtrack yet again.
- The Asian guy eating a burger while operating the elevator for Elliot and Tyrell made me laugh. It was just so casual.
- I still really don't care for Agent Santiago, but I no longer think he's in on it with the Dark Army.
- Ray ended up being sort of a waste of time. I get that his existence was for Elliot's character development but I'm still inclined to think it went on just slightly too long, since he didn't end up playing a larger part.
What did you think of "Python Pt. 2"? Leave me a comment below and watch Mr. Robot online here at TV Fanatic to relive the season!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.