Monday, November 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Robot' - Elliot and Darlene Embark on a Perilous Heist to Get Crucial Information in '405 Method Not Allowed'

USA's Mr. Robot - Episode 4.05 "405 Method Not Allowed"

no xmax lolz for dom. darelliot gives a run-around. krista plays hookie. quiet pls, the show is on.

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.

"405 Method Not Allowed" was written by Sam Esmail and directed by Sam Esmail

This has always been a technically proficient and evocative series. It has long been interested in presenting familiar storytelling tropes in exciting and unusual ways. Every season has found some new way to tell the various aspects of a taut action thriller. This world is very insane and intense. There is room for comedy. And yet, it remains a matter of life or death for Eliot and his allies. This hour removes dialogue in order to communicate its plot through other methods. Yes, it is very much a gimmick in order for the show to highlight a different way of telling story. It's still dazzling to watch because it makes the audience aware of just how much human interaction is through nonverbal communications. Sure, there are moments in the various subplots where characters rely on text messages in order to get their interests across. However, that too is a valuable insight into the way that people live. This show is still set in a fictional 2015. It's a dramatically different world because of Elliot's actions. And yet, texting is the predominate way of communicating. When Janice needs to order Dom to do something, she sends a text. When Price learns of the time and location of the Deus Group meeting, it's written down on a scavenger hunt for him. Meanwhile, Krysta once again communicates how she would rather be anywhere but dealing with the ongoing concerns of the main characters. She still gets forced into their world against her will. That's tragic and unfortunate. This entire conceit comes across as if Darlene has the power to stop the world from talking. She pulls up next to the burning vehicle and Elliot. She tells him that they don't have to talk. The rest of the episode takes its cue from that sentence. It's only at the very end when Vera approaches Krysta that he informs the world that it is okay to communicate with words again. It ensures that there is a clear beginning and end to this gimmick. It means the characters have to be incredibly present in the moment. With Elliot and Darlene, it's a high stakes heist in which they need to be focused intensely on each move they have to make to successfully hack the servers of Cypress National Bank. As such, a lot of their story is physical while showcasing the intricate details that come from planning out and executing their plan. It's not entirely informed by character and how they evolve throughout this story. That is left to the supporting ensemble. Price takes a moment outside E Corp knowing that he hopes to throw one last punch before retiring for good. Krysta is terrified of the threat that seems to be lurking over her shoulder constantly. And Dom is very smooth in hacking the local police precinct even though she wishes that someone would catch her in the act and force all of this to stop. She may never be lucky in that regard. And yet, there is hope because of the ongoing antics of Elliot and Darlene. Dom may be inspired to keep taking actions because she sees these two as still doing their best to take on Whiterose and the Dark Army. It's a successful hack too. Everything seemingly goes according to plan. Even the fakeout with Darlene's fake ID is part of the plan in order to create a distraction so Elliot can get into the building and immediately access the personnel files. But it's an ongoing mission to shut down the cameras, print a 3D replica of a fingerprint and gain access to the secret files that are only stored in this facility. It all risks ending in failure because of one oversight. They forget to close the panel in the elevator all the way. That's the first thing that creates suspicion in the security guard. The second is realizing that his identification was used to access this secure level mere minutes before. But it's also just so intense to watch as Elliot and Darlene are close to getting caught only for them to run for their lives and think quickly in the heat of the moment. They have come too far for anything to stop them now. And yet, the odds may forever be against them. Elliot is running for his life from the police. It's hilarious to see just how insane this pursuit is for him. The police have just as many tools as he does in the hopes of stopping criminals. But Darlene is there at the bottom of a cliff to rescue him. Him reaching out for her hand at the end of this long and arduous journey communicates that he loves and appreciates everything she has done for him more effectively than any words ever could. As such, this gimmick has merit because it creates such an intense episode that still has a lot of sentimentality to it informed by four seasons worth of character work.