Need to catch up? Check out our previous Mr. Robot recap here.
Wednesday’s Mr. Robot left me feeling more confused than Elliot after one of his Mr. Robot spells. Did I really just watch an hour of Tyrell Wellick growing a beard and chopping firewood?
If you were dying to know where the chilly E Corp executive disappeared to last season — and I wasn’t, really — you get your answer here, as a series of flashbacks fill in the blanks on Tyrell’s backstory. We start back on the night of the original Five/Nine hack, with Tyrell and Elliot in Season 1’s Coney Island arcade lair. Elliot fishes the gun out of the popcorn machine and points it at Tyrell, and suddenly, he’s Mr. Robot. He pulls the trigger… but nothing happens. Tyrell starts giggling maniacally, taking it as proof: “We are gods.” He pushes Elliot to keep going, and Elliot/Robot admits he could use help with Stage 2 of his master plan. He gives Tyrell the gun, asking him “to protect me, from me.”
But then Irving the car salesman (yes, he was around this early) shows up with a pair of Dark Army henchman: “If you’re seeing me, that means you boys f—ked up.” An E Corp executive ratted them out to the feds, and now Irving has to clean up the mess. He orders Elliot to take Tyrell’s SUV and park it in a lot with a note — that’s where Elliot wakes up in the Season 1 finale — and takes Tyrell to a remote farmhouse in the woods. It’s in the middle of nowhere, with tons of security, so Tyrell can lay low and wait out the inevitable manhunt there.
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He’s not alone, though: The next day, Tyrell finds a Mr. Williams — played by Wallace Shawn! Inconceivable! — in his kitchen, making tea. He was sent there to “confirm your loyalty,” and after sniffing some white powder, he hammers Tyrell with questions, with the refrain “Will you be loyal to me?” repeated throughout. Tyrell eventually breaks down and confesses to getting fired from E Corp and killing Sharon Knowles, and though he won’t be loyal to the Dark Army, “I will always be loyal to Elliot.” (Hmmm…)
Irving encourages Tyrell to keep himself busy, so Tyrell gets himself into a nice mountain-man groove, growing a shaggy beard and chopping firewood in the backyard. He works on coding for Stage 2, he watches his newborn baby on an online baby-cam… and he fumes at tabloid rumors about Joanna seeing a new man. Eventually, he gets stir-crazy and heads out for a walk, and he’s spotted by a local cop, who hauls him in and intends to hand him over to the FBI. At the handoff, though, the cop is shot dead by — Santiago! Dom’s FBI boss is working with the Dark Army! Plot twist!
Once Elliot gets out of jail, Tyrell gets ready to reunite with him, shaving off his beard and putting on that familiar suit of his. (“I have to look my best for him,” he tells Irving. Double hmmm…) Irving gives him back his gun, and explains it was jammed; that’s why Elliot didn’t shoot him. Finally, we see the aftermath of Tyrell shooting Elliot in last season’s finale: Doctors remove the bullet in the warehouse lair while Angela talks Tyrell off the ledge… and reveals that Elliot really is two different people sometimes. After the procedure, when Elliot’s eyes flutter open and he sees Tyrell, he smiles… and suddenly, Mr. Robot is the one smiling.
Bits and Bytes:
* If I can put on my reviewer’s cap for a second: This whole episode just felt unnecessary. I love Tyrell Wellick and all, but all of this backstory could’ve been covered in a flashback scene or two, or even just in a bit of dialogue. Plus, the bearded lumberjack scenes just brought back bad Dexter memories.
* Also, where did all this “Tyrell is in love with Elliot” stuff come from? I never got the sense before that Tyrell had a romantic interest in Elliot, but here he is this week, professing his undying love and loyalty to him. Huh? Did that compute for anyone else?
* We also got a Darlene/Cisco flashback, with her handing him a hard drive to mod, and him handing it right over to Irving, who warned Cisco not to get mixed up with Darlene: “She’s protected. You’re not.” (Shame he didn’t listen.)
* Whiterose continues to play puppet-master, inviting talk-show host Frank Cody to his mansion and urging him to shine a positive light on Tyrell and pin fsociety on the Iranians. Oh, and support candidate Donald Trump for president. (Remember, this is back in 2015.) Cody laughs that off — “The guy’s a buffoon!” — but Whiterose just sees Trump as a man whose strings are easily pulled. Sigh.
* And Bobby Cannavale continues to entertain as Irving, teasing Tyrell by bringing him a box of Swedish Fish candy: “Help remind you of the old country.” (Ha!) And we learned how deceitful he can be, too, as he spun a tale for Tyrell of losing and regaining his wife and kids and watching Big Brother with them, only to later reveal he doesn’t actually have any kids. (He does watch Big Brother, though.)
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