Mr. Robot continued to up the suspense, a phrase that is very cliche in talking about television but we’ll get to that soon, in a way that introduced characters and storylines which invoked a fresh, change of pace for the already pretty well paced show. The sixth episode, “eps1.5br4ve-trave1er.asf,” brings in certain philosophical dogmas and lines of thinking into question, while reminding viewers some villains, in this show, don’t wear suits and ties.
Once again, if you have been keeping yourself relatively spoiler free of Mr. Robot, continue to do so, because this episode features several twists that are timed at some of the most tense moments of the show. Mr. Robot is a show that is made better if you don’t know what is around the corner, and I loved going into the episode relatively blind. The storylines are rife with emotion and intrigue, but it feels even better when these raw emotions are presented in a fresh manner, which is why you should go in blind, and why these reviews will remain relatively spoiler free.
In “eps1.5br4ve-trave1er.asf,” Elliot is tasked with attempting to break Vera out of jail, and the main reason for this is because Fernando Vera, Shayla’s supplier, notices Elliot’s expertise at hacking and correctly surmises that Elliot is the one who put him in jail. It should be a very satisfying aspect of a show when they can turn a base, somewhat natural character as Vera into a cold-blooded, intelligent criminal. The change of pace is superb, and it provides a chilling comparison and reminder for viewers about Elliot’s life; even though he and fsociety deal so closely with computers and technology, they are still human. Physical threats will remain just that when they come across them, but maybe be even deadlier than what they are accustomed to.
Vera makes for a creepy addition for the show. In this episode, Vera has his brother and friend kidnap Shayla, because he believes Elliot put him in prison, and knows that Elliot can get him out. Elliot Villar, the actor who plays Vera, commits to the role with a chilling amount of control. He knows when to let his emotions run wild, and when to draw himself in, poking at Rami Malek’s Elliot like a spider ensnares its food. Throughout the entire show, while very effective, we have been subject to villains in the form of ECorp, who seem real since corporations are very hard to trust. But we’ve all seen or heard, or at least remember, how hubris can corrupt even the most dangerous of individuals. And that’s Vera, whose arc in this episode provides for two very satisfying twists at the end of the episode.
The show also remained strong when the suspense briefly turned away from Elliot and Vera, with the Tyrell’s humiliation and Angela’s pursuit of justice. Tyrell’s humiliation comes in two folds: the new CTO realizing the true intentions behind the dinner and Tyrell’s realization that his wife is much smarter and more competent than he is at their deadly game. I found the kitchen scene to be an interesting change of pace for Tyrell, as his usual elegance and calm demeanor melts while he his smashing plate after plate. The rage exhibited from Tyrell made him much more relatable than the stoic corporate suit he usually is depicted as, and it’s a relation for all the better. His wife, frankly, needs more to do, and hopefully this will be the case in season 2.
Angela’s investigation into the toxic waste scandal by ECorp was both a sad realization for the 99% of people who are not living like the people of ECorp, and a frank reminder of how little anyone can do about it. Portia Doubleday’s look of dejection and defeat as lawyers repeatedly denied her case or claims weren’t undermined with a sense of perseverance; viewers should know by now that her natural demeanor is to weather such debilitating storms. I felt for Angela, as she’s told they need the testimony of someone from the inside, which sounds impossible, and Angela doesn’t wither. Her determination help support and appropriately contrast an episode of overwhelming doubt and suspense.
Mr. Robot’s sixth episode improves upon and adds to a very successful formula that the show has established. Three impressive character arcs make for an excellent hour of television, as there is very little to note this episode failed to cover or do well.