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Mr. Robot recap: eps.1.5_br4ve-trave1er.asf

Things are just as bad as we imagined.

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David Giesbrecht/USA Network)

Mr. Robot

TV Show
Crime, Drama
Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin
Current Status:
In Season

For a second there, I was excited to start recapping Mr. Robot, and then tonight’s episode happens. It’s hard to muster much excitement when you consider the contents of that trunk, but, damn, it was good television.

Are we sure that this show is on USA? Anyway, let’s get down to business.

(Sidenote before we begin: I was on set for the filming of this episode. You can read my report here.)

On top of how strong the show has been in its first five weeks on the whole, there’s a singular pleasure in watching how each episode opens and guessing when the title treatment will appear. This week’s was a terrific misdirection, featuring Elliot and Shayla—who we all figured was being held somewhere after the cliffhanger with Vera—sitting alone in a restaurant with “Some Velvet Morning” playing in the background… or that’s what it looks like at least. So we’re disoriented right off the bat, since there’s always the possibility of dream sequences/hallucinations. Soon that illusion is broken, and we see the scene for what it really is—an ever so brief meeting between Elliot and the captive Shayla.

So things are as bad as we imagined after the end of last week’s episode. Vera, having figured out that Elliot must have been behind his arrest, has taken our narrator’s girlfriend hostage, but his demand is rather simple: Elliot has to break him out of jail… that night. And until Elliot manages to do that, Vera’s men are going to keep Shayla, and the dealer’s brother Isaac and crewmember DJ are going to hang out. So things aren’t great for Elliot.

But they’re not going very well for Tyrell Wellick either, so it’s all good, right? No, not really. Tyrell’s problems are more on the level of an awkward dinner date than a life-or-death scenario. After planning the evening over a charming session of kinky sex, the Wellicks are meeting the Scott Knowles, who Evil Corp has tapped as their replacement CTO, and his wife, Sharon. The major concern for Tyrell and his wife—who is clearly more dastardly than her husband—is that they don’t know how to take down Knowles and sabotage his new job. (Maybe they could somehow damage Scott Knowles’ heavenly pipes.) Tyrell finds his opportunity after Sharon excuses herself from her dinner guest’s insults and her husband’s boring wine talk to relieve herself. Privacy not being the thing it used to be, Tyrell waltzes right in and is received by a surprisingly welcoming Sharon. Yes, it was very weird.

But Sharon hasn’t gone completely rogue yet. She’s still faithful enough to Scott to tell him about her unsanitary rendezvous. “Did you enjoy the view,” he asks Tyrell, before offering to take a leak in front of him. “I’ve had several glasses of water.” The moment was perfectly absurd in just the right way and another example of a scene from the fantastic TV show in my head that’s just about Tyrell. Knowles, confident that he’s got his adversary beaten, even offers up his watch to help pay the bills. It’s a real cold slap in the face, but Mrs. Wellick reassures her husband that all isn’t lost. They know, after all, that Mrs. Knowles wants to be wanted.

NEXT: One point for Team “That Dude Totally Isn’t Real”