BY KALI O'ROURKE
After watching “Mirroring,” this week’s episode of Mr. Robot, I read an interview with series creator Sam Esmail who talked about how the show was initially conceived as a feature film. Several weeks ago, I claimed that parts of Mr. Robot would work better in a movie – namely, the tension would be more condensed and the plot even tighter – though I don’t think morphing the idea into a TV show was a mistake. Especially since putting everything that’s happened in the show into a movie would make it super long.
But “Mirroring” was an episode where if you wanted to argue Mr. Robot would work better as a movie, you could certainly make that case. Because, yet again, not a lot actually happens in the episode. This isn’t always a problem for the show, but after the big reveals of last week, I expected “Mirroring” to have a little more punch.
It doesn’t help Mr. Robot that most of the TV watching world has speculated that Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) was a figment of Elliot’s (Rami Malek) imagination and would actually turn out to be Elliot himself. This week should have been the second punch in a one-two punch combo to knock us out flat, but it ends up playing second fiddle to the revelation that imaginary Mr. Robot looks exactly like Elliot’s dead dad.
For a little while during the flashback at the beginning of the episode, I was excited. I thought we were going to get some kind of answer or backstory in the past because I certainly didn’t expect one in the present. But while the flashback was good, it didn’t offer up any answers, merely propelling us into an episode which chased its own tail in the way Elliot was doing.
Last week, we stuck with Elliot for much of the episode, which gave the reveal a real impact. We had gone on the journey of the day with him, we wanted to celebrate with him, and we saw the devastating blow as it hit.
In “Mirroring,” the episode is split into pieces, and while the pieces, particularly Tyrell Wellick’s (Martin Wallström) nightmare, are intriguing, they distract from Elliot’s role. Elliot is not the central figure in the episode, but should he be? He would be in a movie, but obviously, that’s not quite the story Mr. Robot is wanting to tell.
Really, the main scene in the episode that didn’t work for me was Angela (Portia Doubleday) at the law office. I didn’t read that scene as her asking for a job per se, simply wanting to help with her mother’s case. But somehow it became about the former. Once again, Angela’s scene with Colby was great with her new choice to work for Evil Corp or not almost a catch-22. I expect she will take the job, giving us something new to play with next season, but will this affect Elliot’s plan?
Meanwhile, Tyrell’s life falls apart even farther when his wife says she doesn’t want to be married to him anymore, and then he gets fired. I would probably feel bad for the guy, if he wasn’t a murderer. Plus, it was nice to see Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) get a scene where she wasn’t a terrible person, if only for a brief period of time.
But the best part had to be Tyrell and Elliot together – at last, according to Tyrell. I can’t imagine they’re actually going to work together – though I would like to be wrong on that point – and the fact that the episode ends with Elliot looking straight at the popcorn machine where there should still be a hidden gun didn’t exactly ease my suspicions.
And that’s it – pretty much everything that happened in the episode. Sure, there were some sporadic scenes with Darlene (Carly Chaikin), and I have not forgotten that adorable moment between Gideon (Michael Gill) and his husband.
I would say it seems strange for a show that’s been building momentum the way Mr. Robot has to suddenly stop, butMr. Robot has been slotting the pieces in like this all along, creating a series of episodes that most closely resemble baseball pitches. Several fall just outside of the strike, but a few have hit that sweet spot in the middle.
The fact that “Mirroring” doesn’t hold a lot of tension worries me for the season finale. A season finale more or less has to hold tension because it’s designed to keep your attention fixed on the show over the long break before the next season. Based on “Mirroring” alone, I can’t say I’d be interested in watching a second season, but with the show’s track record and depending on what next week brings, I probably will.
- This is definitely a show I’ve considered rewatching though, simply because it would be fun taking the Mr. Robot scenes and factoring in the fact that Elliot is Mr. Robot or taking the scenes between Elliot and Darlene and reminding yourself that they’re siblings. I also think it would hold together better when binge-watched.
- In the promo, we definitely see Christian Slater in the last episode, but how much of him do you think we’ll see after this season? The same amount? Less? Will he be on the show at all anymore?
- I could hear the song in the background of the final Tyrell and Elliot scene, but I couldn’t quite place it. Thank you, Internet.