I will start off by saying that this episode was perfect on a technical standpoint. A large majority of the episode felt like it was filmed in one shot (Which was helped by absolutely no commercial interruptions during the live broadcast), the anxiety of Elliot and Angela’s seperate predicaments in E Corp could easily be felt through the cinematography, and minus a brief period outside the E Corp main building, this was essentially a bottle episode. What I wasn’t a fan of was that I feel USA kinda overhyped aspects of the episode before it premiered, claiming it’d be the “episode everyone will be talking about”. This led me to believe a major character death was to occur or that Stage 2 would actually be executed, but instead we got a different type of tense. This episode was great, but I’m really not a fan of over-exaggerating hype to draw ratings in.
Onto the actual episode, Elliot arrives at E Corp and seemingly isn’t aware of how exactly he ended up there. The last day he actually has memory of is Friday and it is currently Monday, meaning his entire weekend was unknown to him. In addition to this, there is also a static in his head that not only serves as a cool effect for the audience, but shows that the injection Angela gave him last episode really did a good job of subduing him for Mr. Robot to take over. Angela also continues to screw Elliot over as she had fired him from his job during his absence as well, which he only comes to realize while trying to log onto his work computer. After finally snapping on his annoying coworker, Elliot uses the coworker’s computer to learn that the Dark Army attempted to execute Stage 2 that day, but Elliot’s patchwork stopped them, for now.
Since Elliot called to learn why his access was revoked, this triggered HR to come and inform him of his termination, so Elliot has to escape that floor and head to another to attempt and learn just how the Dark Army are trying to counteract him now that they’ve learned of his patch. This leads to some humorous scenes of Elliot trying to pick out people he can manipulate, while also dodging the increasing amount of security in search of him. After trying to hide in the middle of a business meeting and stalling to the maximum degree, Elliot tries to head to the 23rd floor of E Corp that contains the hardware security modules he needs to stop the Dark Army for good. After a talk with a fake Mr. Robot that Elliot’s mind came up while trying to think of what Mr. Robot would do in this situation, Elliot realizes his plan is futile as there’s no way he can get to the 23rd floor with all his access revoked and security after him, so he allows the guards to escort him out of the building upon arriving at the ground floor.
After arriving outside, Elliot calls the E Corp record building that is the target of Stage 2 and states there’s a bomb in the building and that they need to be evacuated immediately. If he isn’t able to do anything about Stage 2, at least he can save innocent lives in the process. Darlene had been trying to contact Elliot this entire time and finally confronts him outside nearby the growing protest against E Corp. She cuts straight to the point with him and informs Elliot that she has been working with the FBI and that they have almost everything put together. Elliot obviously feels betrayed by his sister, but she drops even weightier news on him by recounting the last night Elliot remembers. She followed Elliot just as he asked her too and learned Angela is working for Mr. Robot and that she feels Tyrell also has to be involved. This is enough information for Elliot to bring back the memory of him seeing Angela and Tyrell together shortly before he was knocked out, solidifying that Darlene is correct.
Before the moment can even sink in, rioters arrive in the crowd of the protest and begin assaulting the riot cops blocking the entrance to E Corp. Soon enough, hundreds of rioters break into E Corp and begin trashing and ripping the building apart. Caught in the middle of this is Angela, who is currently taking refuge in her office. Irving calls her during this moment and lets her know that there is a package waiting for her at the reception desk. After getting the package and seeing the contents, Irving requests that she locate Elliot and have him copy the very hardware security modules he was trying to get to on the 23rd floor as the Dark Army needs them to continue Stage 2. What Irving doesn’t know is that Angela not only fired Elliot, but will now not be on good terms with him since he is aware of her betrayal. Due to this, Angela tasks herself with accomplishing the goal, but finds difficulty navigating the floors of E Corp thanks to the rioters, despite some of them actually being Dark Army influenced.
A security guard locates her when she almost makes it to the 23rd floor and, after Angela accidentally drops the contents of the package and reveals a high clearance security badge, demands that she come with him. Angela uses the rioters in this moment to call for help and they quickly take care of the poor security guard that was simply doing his job. This buys Angela some time to quickly make her way to the HSM sever room and seal herself within. The hack training she received from Darlene and fsociety last season pays off as she’s easily able to follow the instructions Irving provided, but after realizing she needs a USB, Angela heads back to the previous office and encounters another employee trying to escape the rioters. The employee recognizes that Angela shouldn’t have access to the room, but before the situation can head anywhere, a rioter manages to break into the room. The employee luckily has pepper spray at the ready and neutralizes the rioter before completely forgetting about Angela and leaving for another safe area.
With this, Angela finishes up the hack and then takes the rioter’s left behind fsociety mask in order to blend in with the rest of them. She manages to get to an elevator and calls Irving to inform him of the success, though he’s confused why she did it rather than Elliot. She explains she couldn’t find Elliot and could manages herself, though Irving isn’t convinced she followed the instructions on the paper 100% like Elliot would’ve. After assuring him she did, Irving tells her to meet up with a delivery man who will take the package from her. Before hanging up, Angela demands to know if the record building has been evacuated and Irving seems sketchy about it when he says it has. Regardless, Angela still follows through with the plan and hands out off the package, but seems shaken up over if she’s really on the good side or not. In this moment, Elliot seems to have also broken into the building while the rioters provided a distraction and confronts Angela, probably wondering the same thing she is.
“runtime-error.r00” definitely upped the ante on an already stellar season of Mr. Robot and while I was expecting a major bomb to go off (literally and figuratively), it still did a great job in every other aspect. I honestly didn’t expect us to fast forward to the day of Stage 2 right after the previous one, believing maybe there’d be one more episode of showing how Tyrell manages to get the paper records all back to the building and maybe what Angela and Mr. Robot were up to during the weekend. I admire the fast pace that the show went with instead, but it makes me wonder how much time will be covered from here on out. There’s still 5 more episodes left and White Rose wants Stage 2 to go off in the current day we’re at, so will the remaining episodes all take place hours apart? Or will Stage 2 manage to be foiled?
runtime-error.r00 – 4 out of 5
- Very well shot episode, with the faux-one take feeling and the anxiety oozing from the cinematography.
- The entire bit Elliot does in order to stay in that conference room meeting was hilarious.
- I like that Angela is obviously starting to doubt herself by the end of the episode, but will it be enough to turn her to Elliot’s side?
- Once again just have to say I didn’t like that USA kinda overhyped the episode to draw in people expecting some massive shit to go down.