Monday, October 21, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Robot' - Whiterose's Past Is Defined by Tragedy While Elliot Seeks Out Humanity in '403 Forbidden'

USA's Mr. Robot - Episode 4.03 "403 Forbidden"

Whiterose has the feels. Elliot gets owned by his own hack. An old foe chillz in wait.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of USA's Mr. Robot.

"403 Forbidden" was written by Courtney Looney and directed by Sam Esmail

Whiterose wants to create a better world. She has just been corrosive and destructive to the current reality in order to achieve that objective. She has run out of patience. She demands that all of her hard work come to fruition right now. She can no longer tolerate the people who resist her grand ambitions. This hour does a phenomenal job in highlighting her motivation for all of this. For years now, she has existed in complete mystery. She calmly maneuvers through the world dictating the terms of virtually every industry. She controls the world. The Deus Group may collectively embody that vision but they all realize that they are essentially working for her. This project being shipped to the Congo is all that truly matters. It's been a lifelong dream for her though. She lost something truly profound and beautiful a long time ago. She has always been this shrewd operator in the business world. She will tell executives right to their faces that she is going to steal their intellectual property. All she really cared about was spending time with her lover. When she revealed her true self to him, he embraced it fully. He saw her as beautiful. He views America as the place where they can truly be accepted for who they are. The tragedy comes when they are forced to remain in China. That life is one full of ambition for Whitehouse. She can further ascend the government ladder as Zhi Zhang. For her lover though, he can't be living in the lie of a false marriage. The world deserves to be so much better than this. He ends his life in front of the only person who actually loves him. It's so sad and tragic. Whiterose has continually been chasing to reclaim this moment. She wishes to return to it without any concern for what others may think is wise. She has waited too long already. She is ready to strike now. She gives the orders and everyone must respect them. She may live authentically with even more people in this world now. But she hasn't created a better place just yet. Her secret project still needs to fulfill that lofty goal. However, Mr. Robot poses the central question of why does any of this matter. Elliot has lost so much in his pursuit to change the world. Everything in his life is either gone or damaged. He can no longer rely on his relationships with Krista and Darlene for support. He has hurt them far too many times. Some of those moments are clearly on purpose. He still wants to protect Darlene. That's why he forcefully condemns her involvement in his plan. He just does so in a way that belittles her and treats her as one big mistake that continually pops up in his life. Meanwhile, he can't be validated simply because he reaches out to Krista wishing to thank her. She is terrified of him and what he is capable of doing. She may be destined to be forever caught up in his mess though. He cares what she thinks. Vera's associate captures that moment knowing it to be important. Vera is playing the long game in the hopes of Elliot becoming his partner. That's his grand ambition right now. That's why he has returned to the main narrative. The audience still has to be patient in that regard though. This hour is devoted to Elliot seeing the humanity of the world once more. He has found a contact at Cyprus National Bank operating in New York. He believes he can blackmail her to get what he wants just like he has done so many times before. Mr. Robot needs him to see that there is a better way. One that may offer him sanity and salvation. But again, it's a situation fraught with tension because Elliot is on a mission. He needs the code to crack into the bank. He needs to disrupt the financial structure of the Deus Group. Instead, he finds an honest connection where two crazy people can simply be embraced and seen by one another. The show wants it to be sweet and sentimental. It's not long after he leaves her apartment though when his life is threatened once more. Mr. Robot points out the numerous times they have avoided death so far. Instead, they have ruined the lives for so many others. They may just be continually tempting fate. They trust people who are far too careless. Tyrell has no subtety whatsoever when sharing his big news with Elliot. The threat is on Elliot's doorstep once more. He may have found relief for a moment with Olivia. But that seems destined to be all that it can be for Elliot. He simply cannot escape the taut thriller that is his life.