Sunday, November 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mr. Robot' - Elliot Reckons with Emotional Upheaval While Darlene and Dom Are Tortured in '408 Request Timeout'

USA's Mr. Robot - Episode 4.08 "408 Request Timeout"

janice wants all the deets. elliot is shook.

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.

"408 Request Timeout" was written by Robbie Pickering and directed by Sam Esmail

The previous episode was big, emotional and theatrical. It delved into these massive reveals that upended Elliot's sense of identity just as he was about to embark on his most daunting hack yet. He and Krysta were tortured by Vera because of his selfish ambitions for the world. A similar quality is apparent in this hour. Darlene and Dom are tortured by Janice who needs to locate Elliot for the Dark Army. Whiterose gave the order to bring him in so that she could explain how they are truly on the same side of this conflict. They should be working together instead of being in opposition. That's the furthest thing from Elliot's mind at the moment. Krysta is the one who sees the urgency of getting out of her apartment as soon as possible before Vera's associates return. She needs to report this crime. She has endured so much but has to be the emotional stability that Elliot needs right now. She gives him that reassurance in the immediate aftermath. She tells him that it's important to keep moving forward and living. That's the best way to cope with the revelation that his father sexually molested him as a child. Elliot was shielded from that for so long. And now, it runs the risk of destroying his entire world. He may have everything ready to go for the hack. He is fortunate because all of these delays could have hindered his ability to pull everything together before the Deus Group meeting. However, he doubts if he is emotionally stable enough to pull off the hack in the hopes of restoring the world to its natural balance. He has been personally motivated on that quest. Darlene and Dom have been as well. Everyone is essentially trying to figure out the best way to break free of the influence of this nefarious organization. And yet, trauma doesn't come solely from those who control the world. Sometimes, it's the most personal devastation that does the most damage. Elliot is left reeling and is at a loss for how to move forward now. He is paralyzed after Krysta kills Vera. He has to be led around the city by his younger self in order to be aware that he did actually fight back as a child. That is his biggest question. He wonders why he didn't do more in order to prevent his father from being a monster towards him. All of the blame should be placed squarely on Edward Alderson. He is the despicable human being who abused his son in this way. Mr. Robot was created in order to protect Elliot from this pain. There was comfort for a long time by providing Elliot with only the happy memories of his father. And yet, Mr. Robot has long been presented as a physical representation of Elliot's father. It was an image Elliot attached to a new personality because it meant so much to him. Here, everyone reckons with the idea that Mr. Robot had to be the protective parent he needed and didn't have with his actual father. The flashback to 1995 shows that Elliot was already talking to Mr. Robot at the time. He may not remember that. But it's vital for him to gain the clarity that he did fight back. It just may not be in the ways that offer the most comfort and reassurance. Elliot goes on this journey. He ends up back at Allsafe willing to let Mr. Robot back in. That is such a visceral moment because it allows Mr. Robot to be more open and vulnerable than he has ever been. He breaks down knowing that he may have failed Elliot. He wants the opportunity to change the past. Elliot doesn't share the same view. He understands that all of this made him into who he is today. That just happens to be a severely broken person who doesn't have what it takes to change the world yet again. He can't handle all of this responsibility. That may create an opening for the third personality to present himself. Or it may allow him the chance to actually rely on the people who have long loved him and wanted to help him. Krysta tells him she'll reach out and help him through this emotional upheaval. She is willing to do that despite the trauma she has endured as well. Darlene refuses to give up Elliot's location to Janice. It's only when Dom and her family are threatened that she is pushed into cooperating. That is such an intense set piece as well. It's one built by claustrophobia and the legitimate stakes that Dom is gasping for air. Despite all of that, Dom is effective in getting the drop on her abductors. She effectively kills all of them with such clear precision. That is impressive and possibly the most straight-up heroic action the show has ever produced. Darlene refuses to leave her behind. But some things may be more important. The connection that they share is palpable from the moment the knife goes into Dom's chest. They don't want to betray each other or the people they love. They just have to at certain points not knowing just how dangerous it may all become. It may be too much for any person at any moment in time. And yet, the heroes survive for now while Janice gets a bullet to the head. That may be a fitting case of justice. But it's far from the peace everyone is hoping to achieve by the end of all of this too.