Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 11 Recap: The Fishbowl

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Elliot opens the episode, wondering where Mr. Robot has gone. Has his greatest enemy abandoned him in hour of need? Elliot wishes he could be a fly on the wall, like us. He must get his wish, because we don't see either again for the rest of the episode. The episode proper begins with Angela in the van on the way through some admittedly picturesque countryside. That's quality kidnapping! Never let yourself get kidnapped except to the most bucolic places. Dom, our special agent avatar, is having blood tested. Not hers, but you know. She's "going off handle," according to her boss, who threatens to make her take leave. She, correctly, tells him that they need to keep investigating the murder in the last episode and that she thinks the Chinese government is involved. We now get treated to a really high-quality "You're a loose cannon!"-style exchange that's weirdly heightened because Grace Gummer is an amazing actor and it's kind of out of place in the show. She won't be stopped. By the way, China just dropped $2 trillion into E-Corp's pockets. So, uh, good luck with that investigation. Angela's van shows up at a perfectly nice country home. See? Everything will be ok. Or not, as she enters a room with a fish tank (complete with fish), disc drive, and an ancient PC. Things get stranger still when a young blonde girl who looks strikingly like Angela enters and begins asking her questions. The "Hang in There" poster behind Angela is a nice callback to her affirmations addiction from earlier in the season. The girl asks her questions ranging from personal to random. Then, we leave. If only Angela could. Philip Price wants to start his own E-coin wallet, and seems to have the government over a barrel. The conspiracies at this point are so overlapping that it's more or less impossible to know who is playing whom, but we can be assured that the U.S. government is not in control. The insistence on the monolithic "Chinese" seems less than ideal, but we get some amazingly specific characterization with Whiterose, so it's hard to accuse the show of pure cliche. Next scene and we're back with Angela in the room. There's a whole drama with a key that's resolved when Angela discovers that she has the key in her fist in her pocket all along. Or something. Frankly, this is confusing and, since Angela doesn't seem to be in any kind of danger, doesn't 100% work. It does work in the sense that Angela starts thinking for herself and stops thinking out of fear, but it's sort of dead air on a plot level. Now, we get Dom in her apartment, talking with the Amazon robot Alexa. This scene is sort of a mirror of the scenes with Angela, in that a childlike robot is responding to adult human questions. Grace Gummer is really having a fine performance wasted on a blank slate character. Give her some life! And not just one based on conversations with the bodega guy. We swear, we won't mind. Whiterose shows up to Angela's dark room, and the fish is dead. We keep cutting back to the fish. Also, there's a strange beeping sound that plays every time Angela answers one of Whiterose's questions. Ultimately, this is a test about belief. Does Angela believe that she can will things into existence? Does she believe that her mother's and Elliot's father's deaths were necessary? Does she believe the little girl from earlier will be harmed? She doesn't know, but she does know she wants to go. So she does, eventually. Remember when we said that Elliot was going to leave for the rest of the episode? We lied. People lie, especially on this show. He's back, and he watches Mr. Robot (whom he can now observe) cracking a complex numeric code, piece-by-piece. This is a return to the pleasures of the first season. We get to see a problem, then we get to see it solved. Simple, elegant, with a complicated core. Excellent, now Elliot is off to the place that Mr. Robot just figured out. Back with Angela, and she's now with the Dark Army. Not only that, but she's threatening Antara. Lights flicker, a van awaits. No wonder they call it the Dark Army, are we right? We are right. Anyways, Antara isn't supposed to call Angela anymore. And we get to go to where the real action is. Elliot shows up at the meeting place, gets in the cab and...nothing. Until Tyrell Wellick joins him. Bam. We didn't see that coming, and Elliot doesn't believe his eyes, because he screams at the cabbie to confirm the identity beside him until they're both left on the street short of their destination. What. Is. Happening. Tyrell tells Elliot that this is the start of a beautiful friendship, and we get to frantically scour the internet for clues about just what the hell is gonna happen next week.

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