On A Dark ‘Mr. Robot,’ The Bad Guys Win Again And Again

A quick review of tonight’s Mr. Robot coming up just as soon as I find Knight Rider more realistic than Frasier

After two of the series’ most intense episodes ever aired back to back, the season downshifts again for “Fredrick & Tanya,” a piece-mover episode with a heavy undercurrent of Evil Triumphant, as all the characters — even Elliot, though he appears just for a few minutes before giving way to Mr. Robot for the rest of the hour — come to grip with the totality of Whiterose’s victory, even if none of them can quite understand it.

So Irving shows Mr. Robot how the rich and powerful are still celebrating even in the wake of the revolution’s seeming victory. Angela spends the episode obsessively rewatching cable news footage of the Dark Army’s attacks, in so much shock over her role in this tragedy that she convinces herself the remote control’s rewind button is the time machine (or whatever sci-fi device) she believes Whiterose is building to bring back all her dead loved ones. Tyrell finds out about Joanna’s death and his son’s banishment into the foster care system. Dom still hasn’t recognized the extent of Tyrell’s patsy-dom, but she knows that the investigation has gone awry, and that her real target in Whiterose is likely to gt away with it, while Whiterose in turn tells Price the capricious reason for all this carnage. And the episode’s title characters — really Mobley and Trenton, to whom the story has finally caught up — spend the day being terrified until something beyond their worst fears are realized, as they’re not only murdered but framed as chief architects of these 4000 (and counting) deaths.

The build-up to Mobley and Trenton’s deaths are intercut with the FBI raiding the house, and at first I wondered if this was the how’s second Silence of the Lambs homage in as many weeks, where we would find out the feds were in a completely different location. Instead, it’s revealed to be the same place, but slightly different timeframes, so that we’re watching the FBI burst in — with the possibility in our heads that Trenton and Mobley might be rescued, albeit spend the rest of their lives in prison — only to learn that it was too late the entire time we were watching, and they were already dead by the time the agents breached the house.

In a way, the hour’s almost too grim, in that it’s such a rout for the Dark Army, with several episodes to go in the season, that things seem to have no choice but to look up for the more well-meaning characters like Elliot and Dom. And it leans too heavily on Trenton and Mobley, who remain mostly non-characters despite lingering on the edge of the first two seasons, for that climax to have quite the emotional wallop it’s going for at the end of a fairly plot-intensive episode.

Mr. Robot complains to Krista about Elliot’s continued refusal to speak directly with him. Both sides of our main character are now so disillusioned, and their circumstances so desperate, that it seems they’ll have no choice but to work together now. And we’ll find out over the season’s remaining hours whether it’s already too late to do anything, or if Angela’s not completely delusional in her belief that this can all be undone somehow.

What did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@uproxx.com. He discusses television weekly on the TV Avalanche podcast. His new book, Breaking Bad 101, is on sale now.