When Mr. Robot really wants to make a point, it will drill it into you. Last season practically flaunted in its refusal to give answers as to what happened to Tyrell Wellick. Every possible flash of insight or answer turned into yet another dead end. Even his reappearance near the end of Season 2 gave no more answers as to what happened to him than the ones we had before. So the premise of this episode is something of a Black Swan event for Mr. Robot: all the cards are flipped over, everything you wanted to know about Tyrell, where he’s been, what he’s doing, and where he’ll be going next is all there. It’s a comprehensive look at the destruction of one man’s psyche and the slow rebirth of it into something new.
If you like Tyrell and Irving, you’re in for a treat. This episode is almost entirely about Tyrell with smatterings of the latter and Wallstrom really gets to make up for lost time. The important thing to remember about Tyrell is that in the first season, he was something of a mustache-twirling ubermensch. Someone who would claw his way to the top by any means necessary up to and including murder, but the thing that changed him was a random element: love. That love being for Elliot, who in a bit of cosmic irony plays a role in this episode akin to the one that Tyrell played throughout season 2. That absence defines the trajectory and oh is it an interesting one.
The story plays out what Tyrell without the need of an audience to impress (Elliot, his wife, business pals, etc) and it’s what you’d expect: someone with a psyche that’s practically held together by glue, easily rattled and prone to rash decisions. But the interesting thing is Tyrell’s true north being Elliot: it’s something that’s baked into the answer of what really happened at fsociety’s old headquarters in season 1 and it guides Tyrell throughout here. Sam Esmail milks that monotony, that slow sense of doom for all its worth. This is more of the Mr. Robot we’ve come to love.
While last week’s episode still feels like a complete nail, this episode at least manages to patch up some of the deficiencies that have crept thus far in Season 3. While I’m not inclined to call it an affirmative yet, at the very least this episode was more focused upon building around the characters instead of tossing pieces of a plot we have yet to see. Frankly, if Mr. Robot were more inclined to deal its cards to the table (even if one of those twists is Whiterose taking credit for Donald Trump getting elected), it wouldn’t be so frustrating when it does come off the rails. But for now, this was a fantastic episode.
4 Axes out of 5