Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 3 “Legacy” review
As much as I hate him as a person, I missed the sociopathic Tyrell Wellick during his long, unexplained absence in Season 2. I craved the return of this major character so much, I'm ashamed to admit that I was delighted when Sam Esmail threw me a scrap appearance of him in a non-canon delusion-themed cameo in the 1980s sitcom Alf. Man, talk about desperate.
Legacy is basically a catch-up episode that dissipates the fog of war covering this character. It's well Wellick. You and I finally get to know what the heck (or possibly “what the hack”) happened between the triggering of the five-nine attack on E[vil] Corp, right up to when a deranged Wellick tried to ventilate our hero, Elliot, with a 9mm.
Here's one revelation that's worth knowing: on the night of the hack, Elliot's alter-ego, the titular Mr. Robot, took control and tried to shoot Tyrell, but the gun jammed. And this, kids, is why you should never stash firearms in popcorn. Being the nutcase he is, Tyrell takes this as a sign – divine providence. He convinces Mr. Robot to keep him alive as an ally for Stage 2 of the attack (destroying E Corps physical records) and even tries to go in for a smooch. Mr. Robot politely declines to stick his tongue in crazy.
Mr. Robot is saved further social awkwardness when 'the fixer' Irving, and the Dark Army appear. They state that Gideon told the FBI that Tyrell shut down the honeypot, effectively making him the destroyer of the world economy and public enemy numero uno. They exfil Tyrell to a cabin in Jersey so that he can do three things: do more Stage 2 prep work for them, get buff chopping wood, and work on his beard game. The group also does a brutal psych evaluation that determines, beyond a doubt, that this guy hero-worships Elliot. Tyrell is then given secure access to engineer Stage 2 and Cisco's firmware.
Just as everything is going smoothly, media coverage of Tyrell's estranged wife, Joanna, reaches his ears. She's moving on, don't you know. Our favourite Swede snaps (both mentally, and physically, by breaking his own thumb to escape his bonds) and heads back to civilisation where – of course – the silly numpty gets arrested by a local po-po. Out of nowhere, Dom's superior, FBI Agent Santiago reveals himself to be another Dark Army plant – he whips out his sidearm and executes the statie in cold blood.
Understandably, Tyrell is freaked out by the execution, and the way his life is spiralling out of control. He's brought back from the brink of madness by the Winston Wolf-esque Irving, who's fast becoming my new favourite master manipulator in this show. Basically, this guy is slicker than owl shit; from the way he'll monologue a little and lazily reference the guns he's about to pull, to skilfully calming Tyrell down by feeding him a load of bullcrap about winning his family back, just as he himself once did. This languid trickster is such a welcome change from the self-serious headcases that surround him.
As talented as Irving may be, he's still just a minion to the ultimate puppet-master, Whiterose, double-faced leader of the Dark Army. She orchestrates the planting of Elliot's only friend in prison, Leon, who then becomes their means to spy on the young hacker. Whiterose also makes a sly comment about Donald Trump, suggesting he's just another one of her playthings. “If you pull the right string,” she says to an underling, “a puppet will dance any way you desire.”
Tyrell is taken to a Dark Army controlled hotel and is excited by the prospect of meeting Elliot once again. From here we're caught up to the end of Season 2 finale, where Tyrell is more or less forced to shoot the object of his infatuation, lest he ruin Stage 2 of the plan. Angela finally fills in the missing pieces for Tyrell by telling him about Elliot's alter/split personality. While in surgery, Elliot awakens and shifts into Mr. Robot (via a neat special effects blink) and smiles at Tyrell for following the plan. Top episode, folks. Great hook to bring us back to the present, too. Worth every E[vil]-coin paid for admission.