Mr Robot: Hello/Bonsoir Recap Ep 2

Hello friend.
Where were we?
“I want you to be where you belong…here with me.” -Tyrell images-2

The back of Elliott’s head is front and center on the screen, as men walk from behind Tyrell and take their seat at the conference table.  The image forebodes revelations that will be made about the way Elliott’s mind works, later in the season.  As, various men appear to be multiplying from one another around him (Matrix anyone?).  From this initial perspective, Elliott is literally the head of the table.  Once, all the men have taken their seat on the round table, there is a cut to a wide shot.  This image shows Elliott on one end of the table and Tyrell on the other.  There is a pillar that cuts the screen in such a way that Elliott’s seat at Tyrell’s table is being blocked.  So, is there space for Elliott at the table, or does an immovable force separate them from one another?

images-5“I think, I am happy where I am.” -Elliott

During this opening Tyrell provides us with a lot of exposition as he offers Elliott a job at E-Corp.  We learn that since Terrance Colby took the fall for an E-Corp hack (performed by fsociety), Tyrell has been named interim CTO. “In a way it’s kinda…what’s the word in English?  Serendipitous?” describes Tyrell.  He also divulges that E-Corp will be soon ending their partnership with AllSafe, Elliott’s employer, which would be detrimental to the small cyber security company. Normally, exposition dumps bore viewers because it feels excessive.  In this case the information is very necessary considering that the pilot episode ended with Elliott being abducted by Tyrell’s men.  Now we know why Elliott was hand delivered to Tyrell and more about the plot.  After Elliott declines Tyrell’s offer, orchestra music plays as Tyrell turns and walks away.  In the midst of rejection, Tyrell takesimgres a god like position and retreats back to the conference room’s windows.  He looks down at the New York City streets, some thirty, or so floors separating him from the people below.  Meanwhile, Elliott retreats back through the darken hallway from which he came.   

“Didn’t I say if you walked away you were no longer apart of this?” -Mr Robot 

In the second episode, Elliott not only walks away from Tyrell, but he turns his back on fsociety too.  Elliott learns that Mr Robot’s big plans involve killing a lot of innocent people, which crosses a moral line for Elliott. During the closing sequence, he returns to Coney Island to find Mr Robot sitting alone on the railing of a pier. Elliott makes his way towards Mr Robot, as he walks through a group of skaters. There is no immovable object separating Elliott from Mr Robot as he makes his way to reclaim his spot in fsociety.  He literally jumps up and sits right alongside his friend on the pier’s railing.  Both seated high above the sandy beach below.

images“You didn’t commit to the sacred pact you had formed ” -Mr Robot 

In an effort to make amends, Elliott tells Mr Robot about his father’s death.  How he broke his promise that he would keep his father’s illness a secret from his mother.  Sharing this story is a very vulnerable moment for Elliott, whom usually keeps to himself.  Note, Elliott keeps his hood on during this entire scene, while in the opening he had it off.  Hoods are often used to obscure your face from the public, a defense against being seen by people.  We see just how defenseless he is at the pier, as Mr Robot pushes Elliott off the ledge.  Cut to a wide shot and there is one lone, dark figure sitting on the railing.  Where does Elliott belong?  Are we even by his side anymore?

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

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The Affair S1: From Montauk to Neverland

The Affair Season 1 Recapimgres
Warning contains spoilers

 “Guess what my favorite book is?”-Allison
“Anna Karenina…”-Noah
“No Peter Pan…”-Allison
“All children grow up except one”-Noah
Episode one

The Showtime series, The Affair, is set to return for season two on October 4th, 2015. Based on the trailer, we will pick up right where season one ended, with Noah Solloway (Dominic West) being arrested for the murder of Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell). While, Noah is being handcuffed, his now wife, Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson), promises that she will get him out of this.  How did we get here?

images-1Ironically, even those who watched season one don’t know how Noah and Allison made their way back to one another, during the fallout of their own respective marriages. Throughout season one, both Noah and Allison are recalling their summer affair in Montauk while being interrogated by Detective Jeffries in the present. As the season progresses the viewers pick up on small clues that some time has passed between the past affair and the present murder investigation. Still, the amount of time between these two events is never given.  The story is told through flashbacks and each episode has two parts; one tells the events from Noah’s perspective, the other from Allison’s. This employs the Rashomon effect on the plot revolving around a choice two characters make together, it takes two to cheat. Now in preparation for season two lets reflect on Mr. Pan’s (Noah) affair with Mrs. Karenina (Allison).

“Doing one bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person.” –Noah (Episode 4)images

The failed writer turned teacher, Noah Solloway, is contently married to Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney), raising their four children in New York City. The pilot opens with Noah turning down a young woman’s sexual advances at a swimming pool. Excited by the advance he attempts satisfaction with his wife until the youngest child interrupts.  Noah, frustrated, but, faithful he crosses paths with Allison Bailey.  “She was in a very dark place and she came at me very hard,” protests Noah in episode seven.  Noah’s narration reveals his loneliness and frustration with his marriage.  We see that he is nearing a mid-life crisis as he finds himself envious of his children’s youth, You’ll never have this opportunity to read for pleasure again…seize this opportunity” (episode one).  He begins to resent Helen, feeling like he settled for their life, not built a life that he wanted.  As the season progresses, we see Noah deal with his own guilt for having an affair as he comforts his daughter for making a mistake.  By cheating on Helen
he is not only being a bad husband, but a bad father too. Noah Salloway, the boy who married Helen in an attempt to grow up.  He wanted to become a man through the act ofimgres-1 marriage, but his action never fulfilled his desire. Based on season one, Allison awakens a latent desire to be a knight and rescue the damsel in distress. Allison is his opportunity to become the man he wanted to be and now is the time for him to “seize this opportunity.”

“She seemed like the loneliest person in the world.” –Noah (Episode 2)

Alison Bailey is somewhat of an enigma for both Noah Salloway and the viewers. images-2That could be a result of presenting her perspective as part two in the pilot. During Noah’s narration, Alison is portrayed as a small town seductress, who actively pursues him. Then during Allison’s narration, she is depicted more elegantly, unsure, and apprehensive about her attraction to Noah. These contradicting perspectives spark an alarm to go off in the viewer’s mind, as we begin to suspect that one of the two is a liar. Then again employing the Rashomon effect on a story only proves that our memory is an unreliable resource. Two years prior to the series’ events, Alison’s only son died after drowning in the ocean. Without her son she feels alone in her marriage to Cole Lockhart (Joshua Jackson). They drifted apart through their grief. In comparison to the Solloway marriage, Allison’s affair with Noah is a repercussion to a detrimental event that destroyed her marriage to Cole. Noah’s infidelity tears the Solloway household images-3apart. “I don’t know how to fix what broke between us Cole…it’s unfixable,” cries Allison in episode ten.  Allison mentally left Cole the day their son died, she perceived Noah as a way out of her hometown, not her marriage. Throughout the season we witness Allison reclaim her independence with her interactions with Noah. For example in the pilot episode, during her narration, we watch her save Sally Salloway from choking on a marble, at the Lobster Roll diner. During their first encounter, Allison is able to show an act of strength. Meanwhile, she is reduced to a closed-mouth housewife whenever in Cole’s presence. Allison Bailey’s story is a modern day, American version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenia; she pursues an affair with a married writer, because her love for her husband has become dormant.

“Well, no one ever really knows what’s going on in someone else’s marriage.” –images-4Noah (episode 10)

The affair takes place in Montauk, a place where people from New York City go to escape their real lives for the summer. Noah Salloway, finds this summer place as his own version of Neverland; a place where he can make a mistake and pursue his boyhood desires. For Allison Bailey, Montauk, her home, is a constant reminder of her son’s death. She discovers her own Neverland later in the season when she leaves Cole, and creates a home for herself in New York City.  Noah Salloway is her ticket to the life she has always wanted. Now as we head into season 2 the question becomes, is Neverland a real place, or a fleeting summer mirage?  Stay tuned.
To watch The Affair season 2 trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

 

Mr Robot the Finale & the Fool

Hello friend.

Did you watch the finale?

Here is what I saw.

Mr Robot’s season one finale is aptly titled, zer0-day.avi, a reference to when an undisclosed and uncorrected application threatens a computer system. The vulnerability within the computer’s software can be exploited and adversely affect by additional computers and imgresother networks.

The finale’s opening scene took us back to where we began, with Elliott’s take down of Michael Hansen, I mean Lenny. Krista meets her former beau at a restaurant, where Michael attempts to talk Krista into providing information for him to use against Elliott. “This kid should not be allowed to do what he did,” explains Michael. Their conversation continues and then takes a turn after Michael discloses that all Elliott wanted was for him to leave Krista alone. The nobility behind Elliott’s action, no matter his means, allows him to remain a hero in her eyes. The Mr Robot title sequence appears on screeimages-2n right after Michael has connected Elliott to the global hack currently being covered by all the major news networks.   Now that Elliott has decided to play hero for the rest of the world, is he still a noble knight, or the court jester? The fool…the madman.

“Where am I? Seriously, what do you remember? Wait, I don’t even trust you.”-Elliott

Elliott is a madman, as he wakes up in Tyrell’s abandoned car all alone. He has no memory of how he got there, or how many days he has been “asleep” for, or where Tyrell is at the moment. While Elliott tries to remembeimages-3r, in the background on a wall there is a graffiti mural of a man in a suit completing the heart in a I heart NY logo. The image is very reminiscent of a ringleader at a circus, one who is putting on a glorious show for the audience. Elliott heads to E-Corp, determined to find Tyrell, and he finds their offices in utter chaos, thanks to the fsociety hack.  Circus music begins to play as Elliott wonders around the corridors, as he narrates each step of their master plan. Therefore alluding to the fact that he is the ringleader behind this new world…behind this circus.

image“Come out…I need to know what happened…Come out…I’m here waiting for you.”- Elliott

Elliott’s episode arc through most of the finale, is very similar to his arc in episode six-titled, v1ew-S0urce.flv. In that episode he plays a “zero-sum game” with Vera, and then discovers Shayla’s dead body, in the trunk, at the end.  In retrospect Elliott knew the whole time that both of them were not going to make it out alive. Now in this episode all signs suggest that Elliott killed Tyrell, unfortunately we will have to wait until next season to know for sure. Note, that when Elliott returns to Tyrell’s abandoned car, he checks the trunk first. Elliott is the ringleader, who can’t seem to remember what he did prior to the hack.  In the previous episode Elliott acknowledges that he is Mr Robotimgres-1,  admitting to having dissociative identity disorder. For people with this condition when they can’t remember previous events in their lives, it indicates that a different personality was in control during the time that they have forgotten.  Mr. Robot finally appears just as  Elliott is about to turn himself in to the officials for the hack. He explains to Elliott that they both know where Tyrell is, “So do you… you forget kiddo, I am you.”  Then in an epic scene where the camera breaks from Elliott’s narrative perspective, for a brief moment, it shows him up against a wall, while choking himself, with his own hand. Yes, if this scene is an indication of anything, it’s that to the outside world Elliott is a madman…a fool.

“I am only supposed to be your prophet. You’re supposed to be my God.”-  Mr. Robot

imagesNow rewind back to the pilot, remember the scene after Elliott finds out that, with his help, fsociety has taken down E-Corp CTO Terrence Colby? He runs out into the middle of Time-Square and amongst a sea of people raises his hands in victory. Fast forward to the finale; fsociety has won and we find Elliott being carried by Mr. Robot, amongst a sea of people wearing fsociety masks, in Time Square.  Mr. Robot not only was successful in making fsociety achieve their goal, but allowed Elliott not to be alone in the world anymore. Throughout the episode we see frequent cuts to TV screens, as reporters cover the fsociety hack and it’s worldwide ramifications.  Whileimages-1, Elliott searches for Tyrell he encounters various people wearing the fsociety face mask on the New York City streets. The two argue once again, and Mr. Robot gives a great monologue about the translucent definition of reality in the 21st century.  His angry rant is reminiscent of Elliott’s subconscious, one that is about everything wrong in the world, back in the pilot episode.  By creating Mr. Robot and creating us, Elliott dissociates himself from his actions against fsociety.  Now that in reality society is just as angry as Elliott he finds himself even more unstable then before, “I want to be alone…I nimgreseed to be alone,” states Elliott as he closes his eyes to the outside world.

“Whoever is behind this, they’re just people…like you…and me…except of course, I have the full weight of the world’s biggest conglomerate behind me…you’ll come to realize that when you have that…matters like this…tend to crack.” –Philip Price

The only thing that Elliott cannot separate himself from is Mr. Robot.  Now aware of his own mental state, he allows his prophet to tell him what to do next. Elliott lifts up the hood of his black sweatshirt, symbolic that his alter ego has taken control, and returns home to his humble fortress.  The finale concludes with Elliott opening his door to an unknown person.  During the season finale, Elliott may have tentatively cracked under the pressure of being the ringleader behind fsociety and their global hack; Elliott may be a mad man but he is “no more mad than” Feste, the fool in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

imgres-1SceneNNerd will continue to discuss Mr. Robot’s season finale during our next podcast episode.  Go to iTunes to rate and subscribe.  Check out our podcast episode called Hanging with Mr Robot for discussion about the season overall. 

Goodbye friend.

See you for season two.  

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont