Mr. Robot “Fredrick & Tanya” review

Adam Mathew 28 November 2017 NEWS

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The whole K.I.T.T. and caboodle.

Though he's a remorseless sociopath who'd slice your throat to test the edge of a razor, you've gotta love Leon. He keeps it real, regardless of the situation. Example: after murdering a friend of Trenton and Mobely's, he ignores the corpse, pops on the telly and monologues to the terrified geeks about how Frasier may be an award-winning show, but there's no way an old bald white dude could get as much arse as he does. Also, why isn't Knight Rider given more props? He may do the things we'd never consider, but Leon asks the stuff we're all thinking, folks.

I'm also convinced that he's the consequence-free conduit for Sam Esmail to randomly sprinkle in his favourite pop culture from yesteryear. Last season it was a Seinfeld homage; this time Leon gets to drive his two captives out into the desert while being serenaded by the synth-tastic Knight Rider theme. For the moment, it's a lovely little time trip that us viewers can enjoy, too, because Leon has told Trenton and Mobely that he's their babysitter, not their executioner. But time will tell on whether this will change.

The bumbling hacker twosome sure aren't increasing their chances of survival, though. As the burial process is going on outside their Cadillac prison, Mobely manages to cinch her way out of her bonds. She wiggles into the driver's seat, but there's a problem: she can't drive worth a damn. A bemused and largely disinterested Leon watches as she crashes the car a very short distance away. End result: the wannabe escape artists just earn themselves shovels and the job of putting their roomie six feet under.



Speaking of digging your own grave: horrified that he's had a hand in 71 building explosions and thousands of fatalities, Elliot goes to confess everything to his shrink, Krista. Mid-session, Mr. Robot spawns in to do the talking and laments that he and Elliot still need her as a middleman. Mr. Robot says that he isn't the real threat here – it's the string-pullers out there, the master manipulators lining their pockets and seeking total control. He and Elliot were well on the way to seizing their power and giving it back to the people being shit on, but their ideas were twisted by others with their own agenda. Furthermore, he only wanted one building blown up, not this nationwide carpet bombing of E Corp. Krista freaks out and later asks a colleague what she should do with this info. She's held in check by doctor-patient privilege. For now.

Wellick, now in the custody of the FBI, has lawyered up. His defence argues that he was targeted by hackers because of his access and credentials. The idea is that he was coerced, as the safety of his wife and son were being used as leverage for 5 months. Dom doesn't buy his coincidental resurfacing right before the nation's worst attack unfolds. She's even less enthusiastic with Wellick's offer to swap info about the real terrorists for protection and immunity. The pressure is on the bureau to comply, however, as there's been another credible terrorist threat made by fsociety.

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Interestingly, as Wellick is getting grilled, he still requests news of his wife and child (so he's still not exactly Mr Current Events here). He IDs two suspects from the FBI's big book of Guess Who, and Special Agent Santiago “rewards” this by turning off the camera and having a one-on-one chat with him about his wife. She's been dead for two weeks; killed in a lovers' quarrel with some dude she was banging. Oh, and his son is in foster care at a place that only has a 1 in 5 abuse rate. That news is received about as well as you'd expect. Aside from his momma's boy shtick, Santiago is pretty much pure evil in my mind now.

Elsewhere, Angela and Darlene are holed up together. The former is still in cuckoo land with her theory that people don't really die. The 4000 or so who just got barbecued and/or crushed should be a-ok in her estimation. She sits there, binge-watching newscasts of buildings falling over and takes comfort in the fact that the rewind button makes everybody come back again. Spooky stuff, people. She may not come back from this.

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It's hard truth time for Mr. Robot, too, when he goes to see Irving and cops a bit of a beating. When he comes to, they're out on the street, below a high society club. Mr. Robot demands to know why he was betrayed, but Irving just wants to slide into one of his famous lazy monologues. This one's entitled: What Catastrophe? The Party Continues For The Rich Pricks Up Above Us. Sure enough, there they are, celebrating on a balcony as their stocks surge and the nation mourns the deaths of thousands of drone workers. He reminds Mr. Robot that his “revolution” happened only because it was bought and paid for by the drunken jerks carousing above them. He then wanders into the same building. Clean up is required. Some senator's mistress has just OD'd.

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Most ecstatic of the one-percenters is Whiterose. She's having a grand old time, rubbing it in to a disgraced Phillip Price while watching global conflict create profits. Sure, China signed his accord and E coin is poised to become the world standard, but Phillip Price won't survive this. He was ok with the 5/9 attack, a false flag that served them both, but now he wants to know why he was targeted, specifically. Chillingly, Whiterose took exception to the way Price didn't “handle” Angela Moss and her lawsuit against the plant. She says Price was installed as CEO to do one thing: protect the plant. He failed. Now Whiterose moves her plant to the Congo and Price is dead and buried.

On that topic, after a day of digging and desert adventures, Trenton and Mobely have been lulled into a sense of security as Leon chaperones them home. There's a Dark Army fixer crew waiting for them, however, tweaking the scene and preparing for something. Leon says it's time for them to part ways. He hopes that their new babysitters will treat them well.

They really don't. The two frightened hackers are ushered into a garage that has workstations present. The terminals are set up to release malware into air traffic control - the literal fallout will make passenger jets drop from the skies. The code is pre-written, so why does the Dark Army need them? The answer comes in the form of two pistols placed before them, and a long-winded spiel from a Dark Army fixer. This zealot informs them that their organisation holds self-sacrifice for the cause in the highest regard. They're then each manhandled into shooting themselves in the head. It's a final exclamation point to what has truly been one of Mr Robot's most riveting episodes.

VERDICT

Watching our world's slow decent into oblivion has never been this entertaining. Fredrick & Tanya was about the bleakest Mr. Robot episode yet. Two formerly-major characters got served and thousands of civvies have been wiped out. Worse, and as Dom says in the closing seconds – they're going to get away with it. I can't wait to see if that's the case.

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