This season of Mr. Robot has shifted into high gear, while at the same time leaving the possibility of a science fiction twist dangling like a carrot in front of our mouths. There are a lot of insinuations about the goals of Zheng/White Rose’s operation that appear to be about parallel universes or alternate dimensions, but is this just a macguffin? We know Angela involves herself because White Rose convinces her she’ll be able to see her mother again, but the more we learn about Zheng/White Rose, the harder it is to believe anything that’s talked about. Angela is left in the aftermath of the destruction, babbling incoherently to Darlene, rewinding a video of a building toppling until it’s whole again to show her the people inside are still ok. Has Angela been used, or is there truth to what she believes? The amount of manipulation that’s gone into getting these operations off of the ground, both on a micro and macro level, is astounding. The Dark Army does Zheng/White Rose’s bidding, but it’s the people on the periphery that are ultimately duped into bending to Zheng/White Rose’s will. Has everyone been misled about the goal of the operations?
The last time we saw Trenton and Mobley, they had escaped New York and resettled somewhere in the American desert. It seemed they were safe, but it was clear they weren’t when Leon showed up. Leon is one of the most interesting characters floating around the periphery of Mr. Robot, and for the longest time his intentions have been murky. Did he have an agenda of his own, or was he merely on the payroll of White Rose, doing her bidding? He kept Elliot out of trouble while he was still useful to the operation and to White Rose, but once Elliot left prison we didn’t see much of him or hear anymore of his philosophizing about popular television and culture. The guy who could go on and on about Seinfeld is back, and he’s taken Trenton and Mobley captive while waxing on about Knight Rider’s prophetic insight about man’s relationship to technology, as well as the unbelievabilty of Frasier as a lothario.
It’s been a long wait to find out what happened to these two, but their role in White Rose’s endgame becomes incredibly clear. In order to shift the blame away from The Dark Army and White Rose, there needs to be a scapegoat, and Trenton and Mobley are the scapegoats. Tyrell’s part in all of this is to allow himself to be captured, and then shift the blame for the entire operation on Trenton and Mobley. Leon babysits the two while The Dark Army sets up their apartment to appear as if they are planning another strike, only this time instead of buildings exploding, it’s going to be airliners. Trenton and Mobley are just two more set decorations put into the picture White Rose has painted for the FBI. Their deaths are made to look like suicides so there will be no one to explain anything or answer any questions. White Rose has seamlessly covered her tracks, leaving Dom painfully aware White Rose is going to get away with everything, while Santiago and the FBI are content with the apparent explanation.
Zheng/White Rose is the puppet master of Mr. Robot, leaving us to figure out how deep the manipulation and choreography goes. We know Elliot’s father worked for White Rose either in the early stages of developing this plan, or on the nuclear reactor we saw Zheng visit in one of the first episodes of the season. We also know the irony that Elliot ended up working with White Rose to complete what his father started, but what is Zheng/White Rose’s goal? Is it really the ability to open access to the multiverse, or is there something even more sinister going on? When the 71 Evil Corp buildings explode or burn down, Phillip is left in disarray. He wants to know why Zheng did this even after Phillip gave him everything he wanted. We know White Rose’s relationship with time and its value, and it appears Zheng/White Rose did this is because Philip wasted their time. Zheng had to ask Phillip twice to stop Angela’s lawsuit against his plant, so in turn, Zheng destroyed Phillip. Phillip was installed as Evil Corp’s CEO through the mechanizations of Zheng/White Rose’s designs. He was manipulated to deliver the UN vote on the Congo, and now can be tossed aside like everyone else Zheng/White Rose has come into contact with that’s no longer of use.
Elliot’s reaction to the tragedy is to go right to his therapist and confess what he thinks he’s done, only Mr. Robot won’t allow him to speak so freely. Elliot is unable to find his voice. His vocal chords won’t let him make the confession he so desperately wants to make, and soon Mr. Robot takes over. There’s an interesting theatrical trick used to show the transformation. Elliot struggles to speak near a bookcase in his therapist’s room. The lights dim, and he disappears into the darkness, while the camera pans over to a couch where Mr. Robot sits. The destruction of all of the buildings was not something Mr. Robot was privy to, or had planned. His Stage 2 was supposed to be one building, with no deaths. Instead it ended up being 71 buildings with over 4,000 dead. In his anger, he tells Krista he and Elliot were responsible for the 5/9 hack as well as the day’s destruction. At first she treats what Mr. Robot tells her as the ramblings of a schizophrenic mind, but when he points out all the things that show Elliot is capable of this, it rattles her to her core.
Mr. Robot wants answers, and goes to find the only person he knows he can locate, Irving. He’s knocked out by Dark Army thugs before he can get any questions in, and then awakes in the back of Irving’s car. Irving points out a roof top party of the wealthy above them. “You’re revolution was only allowed to happen because it was bought and paid for by them.” What was meant to free the masses from the yokes put on them by big businesses and government has only further entrenched and benefitted the people he tried to topple. Both Mr. Robot and Elliot have been played by Zheng/White Rose, the question is will they be cast aside or are they still useful in some way?
Season 3, Episode 7 (S03E07)
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 9PM on USA
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.
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Jeff Iblings | Contributor