Last time! Tyrell took home a beautiful man who honestly kinda looks like Elliot. Despite what might seem unusual nighttime activities (if you’re BORING), Tyrell was the E Corp Golden Boy. But … was he?
Then (or perhaps always) he developed an obsession with Elliot; the red wheelbarrow connection was made. Since then … Tyrell is real, he’s not real, he’s imaginary, he’s an android replicant clone character from the Sims. He was real and alive, but now he’s dead and imaginary. Or he was never alive. Or he’s always been alive. Elliot spoke of what was above them; in another scene, Joanna asked ‘What?’, and Tyrell said ‘God’.
And so, we flashback to that same moment from the Season 2 opener, when Elliot and Tyrell enacted the first fsociety hack. Tyrell repeats his line about something coming alive. An eerily detached Elliot fishes the gun out of the popcorn machine. He approaches Tyrell from behind, gun drawn directly at Tyrell, and now he’s Robot and he fires the gun! Oh, shit! It misfires, probably from the popcorn dust and grease which shouldn’t be such a big surprise really. Is THAT the big twist Esmail thinks we missed? So both answers were true, they did ‘shoot’, Tyrell, the intention was there, the act was carried out. Just with the wrong result.
Tyrell goes full Jules from Pulp Fiction for a second about the misfire being ‘proof’, then he laughs like he’s actually honestly crazier than Elliot. Then he tells Robot ‘We…are Gods’. Even Robot, the (as near as we know) imaginary friend of a very mentally unwell young man, looks at Tyrell like ‘…..oh damn son, you’re legitimately crazy’.
Tyrell gets … well, Tyrell, intense, and talks about how god chose them to lead the revolution, and proves he knows his stuff by pointing out how the hack won’t be enough, and there has to be a plan for Evil Corp’s inevitable collating of the hard copies of all their data. He talks up their ‘connection’ since that first day they met (which waaaaasss when, exactly, T?) and to prove his worth invites Robot to go ahead and shoot him again; Tyrell will just accept the result.
Robot demures and admits he will need help for that oh so important second stage, so Tyrell embraces him, which makes Robot flicker back to Elliot for a second. Tyrell thanks him and wants to say he loves Elliot, but Robot stops him. What happened between these two that Tyrell loves him? Because it sounds pretty romantic when he says it, especially when he gently cups Elliot’s face and leans in for a kiss like that. Robot gives Tyrell the gun, and plants the idea one day it may have to be used on Elliot. Tyrell just takes it and I’m sorry, butMartin Wallström walks away with every damned scene he is in.
Outside, Irving arrives with two Dark Army goons and they bust into the arcade, and surprise Tyrell and Elliot in the middle of Tyrell letting on he knows who will deal with the hack within Evil Corp. Irving takes Tyrell’s phone and keys, the gun, sends Robot to dump Tyrell’s car while Tyrell is taken with Irving. RobElliot shoots that down, so Irving explains Tyrell’s little trick hack was reported to then alive Gideon, who in turn passed that on to the FBI.That’s why they think Tyrell is The Guy, and Irving is here to keep him safe. Robot creeps up on Tyrell and says ‘You should go’ and I think I imagined how well Slater affected some of Rami Malek’s way of speaking on those three words but if I didn’t, hot damn, Slater.
We cut to a shot very intentionally referencing The Shining, both visually and musically, and as we’ll see, narratively, as Tyrell is escorted to his new home, a rundown cabin at an unknown location. Irving is pretty gracious about offering to let Tyrell call Joanna through secure means, but Tyrell knows this isn’t safe. Irving is leaving, and Tyrell is anxious about being alone; turns out this isolated cabin is at the centre of 37 acres of highly secured property that ‘we’…Dark Army, I guess, just casually owns. No one is getting in. Or, presumably, out.
We quickly cut to Elliot’s arrest and the flashbacks of Whiterose as Minister Zhang, being informed by her assistant — who by the way, doesn’t appear to have an official name just yet. The scene takes place in some crazy beautiful location on an unmapped island, because the show is done hinting at how powerful this Goddess is. Dark Army ‘tried to interfere’ with the arrest, which we know for them could mean anything from calling in some fake order to release him or, you know, kill everyone they could see. But, it happened too fast, and now he’s in prison. Whiterose, takes out some of her frustration about this by demanding Assistant use Rosetta Stone to learn English, to Assistant’s subtle distress. Whiterose orders Leon be sent to meet Elliot and sets up the early release we know gets handed down later on. Whiterose asks what Elliot stole, and laughs at news it was the dog. On the TV Whiterose is watching Pre-presidential Trump waffle and bloviate.
So if those ‘god’ allusions Tyrell made were still rattling around your noggin, Whiterose is about to double-down. After blithely ordering her Assistant to just up and free Elliot from that entirely right and proper prison sentence he did definitely earn, in the USA, mind … Whiterose greets her next visitor, the TV host Frank Cody, who has been the only sensible media voice we ever get to hear on the show. Whiterose explains Tyrell is about to get Bin Ladened in the press, and so our TV host friend will be salvaging Tyrell’s image, blaming fsociety in Iran (referencing this in some way?) and oh … backing Whiterose’s presidential candidate.
Who … it turns out … is Trump. Cody joins us in ‘bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah?’ territory, because Trump is entirely unpredictable. But, Whiterose knows she can control anyone, because she is, and I’m serious, God. And I mean, not a masculine ‘god’, I mean, she is the Creator, The Alpha, The Omega. At least, in my mind.
Tyrell is woken by TV noises and sees two Dark Army guys in their opera masks in the den, watching what looks like some old Hasbro looking cartoon at full blast. Um, rude. The Cartoon is called M.A.S.K., and is about a group of underground crime fighters taking on an eeeeevil syndicate. Oh, show.
In the kitchen a Mr. Williams is played by living legend, Wallace Shawn (Vizzini!) putters around making Swedish tea just for Tyrell — but Tyrell, who has been alone for 4 days up to now — just wants answers. Luckily, Williams is here to give them, but only after he has a little snifter of white powder from a glass jar and that HAS to be a little in joke to Iocane Powder, right? Last year, Ray’s IT guy used the log in name Dread Pirate Roberts.
If you’re not sure what I mean, go and look up The Princess Bride.
Williams opens a notebook of questions and says he is here to confirm Tyrell’s loyalty but all Tyrell wants to do is carry on the work. Williams asks firmly if Tyrell killed Sharon Knowles and Tyrell flinches, recoils, eventually answers ‘No’. The questions get more intense, similar to the ones Angela was asked though less abstract, for the most part; does Tyrell love his wife, (Of course!) has he slept with anyone else since he’s been married. Tyrell says ‘No’.
Williams won’t let the anxious Tyrell look away and asks more. The questions become about whether Tyrell hates or fears becoming like his father. The questions loop, and he’s asked about Sharon again. We see three crosses beside the question, three denials, Williams has more coke (?). Tyrell’s asked about his loyalty, Sharon, his sexual behaviours. Finally, he says ‘Yes’, he’s slept with others. But, he has not cheated on Joanna(which the audience knows to be true. His sleeping around was strategically planned by both of them). He’s quietly weeping now. The red tea kettle screams. He does hate his father and it hurts him to admit it. He was fired from Evil Corp. He’s sobs as he admits he is afraid of becoming his father and yes, he murdered Sharon Knowles. He will not be loyal to Williams. He breaks down sobbing. The Assistant enters as Williams turns off the kettle, shakes his head about Tyrell. Tyrell firmly says he will always be loyal to Elliot. That is, it seems, enough.
Williams explains Tyrell will be given a phone and laptop, and be able to set up Stage 2 remotely. The mission? It’s called “Red Wheelbarrow”.
Tyrell shakes, and demands to speak with Elliot. Later, we see Tyrell’s side of those strange phone calls Elliot would get, but of course, to Tyrell, Elliot’s reactions are weird and off, so the phone is treated to a flying lesson across the room. Irving is babysitting, and decides to help Tyrell work through his frustration and stave off insanity by teaching him to chop wood, and balancing ‘the work’ with relaxing. He sets up another block, Tyrell easily and expertly cleaves a block in twain, explaining he used to do it as a kid, but hated it. I mean, he IS Swedish. Irving is genuinely rattled by Tyrell’s utter badassery as Tyrell gets to work.
A musical montage kicks in. Tyrell emotionally checks in on Joanna and the baby. He grows a beard, chops wood, plans the hack. We cut to Darlene and Cisco preparing for Angela’s FBI hack; Cisco is fatigued and over it all. He wants to just be a normal couple. Sweetly, Darlene promises that when ‘the shitstorm’ dies down, they can be normal. Um, excuse you Sam Esmail for HURTING ME LIKE THIS.
Cisco delivers the drive to Dark Army to get modified for their hack, and Irving has to cruelly remind Cisco that Darlene is ‘just a job’ but she’s also protected in the event of a failure, Cisco is not, so should be careful. Tyrell is working on the drive and bitches about the Dark Army’s own software, about wanting to be working directly with Elliot. Irving is in NO. MOOD, but neither is Tyrell.
Back to his montage and look, I love this show but if it became a montage of Tyrell chopping wood I would be all here for it. Tyrell checks on Joanna and the baby again, learns about Joanna and Derrick, and starts to crack a little.
We cut to him shirtless, bearded, sharpening his axe. Oh …. my.
He’s just learned about Joanna’s ‘divorce’ plans and he’s not happy. Irving has brought some candy, Swedish Fish, which Irving keeps joking about, to try and cheer him up. Irving is actually, again, sort of sweet talking to Tyrell about how it’s probably all tabloid lies, after all they ruined Richard Gere’s life. Which would seem a left field comment except go watch Gere’s Primal Fear, and come back so we can talk about Esmail and his references.
Tyrell quotes Deuteronomy 23:1 — “No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord”, and Irving is visibly disturbed. Tyrell’s mood changes entirely when he finds aviator shades in the bag and puts them on, delighted at the gift. He looks exactly like the frikkin’ Unabomber now, but okay. He whistles to himself, sharpens his axe.I die laughing at wide shot of Irving looking around this vast wilderness; he’s entirely trapped alone with, with Actual Crazy Person™ Tyrell Wellick. Irving quietly leaves.
We cut to a verrrrry stressed Tyrell even more weeks later, staring at Joanna on his laptop screen. He decides he’s had enough and packs a bag to head out for a walk. Cypress Hill are on the soundtrack as he hikes through the woods, and his adventure is cut short when he finds a general store with a cop parked right outside. Tyrell is just the very model of suspicious, shady weirdo so the cop, of course, chases right out after him.
Tyrell runs into the woods, but he’s caught by the cop and in moments, he’s cuffed in the back seat. The cop CALLS the arrest in, and their conversation makes it clear the arrest will be kept quiet, likely as a security consideration since Tyrell is being compared to Bin Laden at this stage. What that means is, dispatch will have no record of him being picked up. This will be important, I’m sure. The cop has pulled over and stands outside the car, waiting to meet their Fed contact. Oh, this can only go well.
Tyrell dislocates his thumb to get out of the cuffs, as you do. The cop actually seems concerned at Tyrell’s visible pain and distress, and just as Tyrell is works his hand free, a black SUV pulls up alongside and executes the innocent cop. Tyrell remains trapped in the back of the car. The door opens and we see the shooter … Special Agent Santiago, Dom’s boss, the man who mysteriously survived the Dark Army hotel massacre, and has been SO CLEARLY. SO EVIL. THIS ENTIRE TIME.
Tyrell is taken back to his cabin and sulks while Santiago rages at Irving about, pretty much, everything that just happened up to and including his murdering that poor cop who was so concerned for Tyrell’s actual well being just before he died. A mere raised eyebrow from Irving makes him back down but Santiago points out how his dodging that shoot out in China has not gone unnoticed.
Since I’m the only person I know of that raises that issue every single week, I feel that comment was directed at me so, thanks for reading, Mr. Esmail.
Irving, drinking tea from a ‘Number One Dad’ thermos is his usual calm self, so Santiago storms out, calling Tyrell a weirdo as he goes. Um. Harsh. Irving gives Tyrell ice for his thumb and again, tries to be an actual friend to Tyrell about Santiago being a dick and Tyrell running away. Tyrell is angry and teary-eyed as Irving shares that they’re not different, both married to their work. It cost Irving his wife and sons at one point, but he made it right, with patience and time. So, tonight when he goes home his wife and kids will run to greet him. He assures Tyrell that someday, Tyrell will get to have the same reward.
Oh my God, that hurt. That hurt so much that I forgot Irving is a very good salesman and liar, by trade. Tyrell says he has to be strong for Joanna. Which means the mission has to be back on track. Which means Tyrell and Elliot need to be together. Irving, the most reasonable man alive, promises a few more weeks.
Back at his car lot Irving, with his cheesy thermos in hand, closes a sale someone else was struggling with. Turns out his ‘wife and kids’ shtick is a bit he uses; he doesn’t have kids at all. Irving’s another of those reality builders, hey?
At home, Irving has a whole selection of socially hacking thermos mugs, one for each different customer. He clearly lives alone and watches Big Brother and works on his novel, called ‘Beach Towel’, about a young man called Jonathan, who appears to be having a bad day because he winked at someone. If you read the text on the screen … I mean, just look;
Irving has a crush. And, who can blame him?
Later, Irving visits LEON! BELOVED! in the prison and asks ‘how it went?’ Leon’s awful blissed out at getting to stab Neo Nazis, but a disturbed Irving means about Elliot getting out of prison. HA! Irving delivers the news to Tyrell, and the childish delight on Tyrell’s face is a picture. They arrive together at the dank, grim attic from Season 2, and Irving returns the gun, which he reveals would have killed Tyrell had Robot taken that second shot. Tyrell is taken to the ‘Fukan Hotel’ which is definitely a Dark Army front. Irving explains how things will go down; that Elliot has been contacted and a meet will be arranged. Tyrell will take it from there, with DA feeding instructions. Tyrell demands his suit, saying he has to look ‘his best’ for Elliot. But … kind of also planting the idea that Tyrell has not changed all these six months … Irving is against him wearing it, finding it too conspicuous, but Tyrell is basically readying for a date. We get a montage of his dressing, and the effect the suit has on his posture and general body language is remarkable. We see his side of Elliot getting in that cab; we see his mysterious appearance was just careful timing, as his hotel room was directly above where Elliot’s cab stopped.
Then, the gunshot.
Then, hey look it’s Elliot’s guts! He’s in surgery in the nastiest looking basement of all time, and Tyrell is rightly afraid of how not remotely safe this is, while Angela tries to comfort him. Tyrell is freaking out that Elliot kept saying he wasn’t real, and Angela hints at Elliot’s ‘condition’. Later, Elliot is awake, and it’s one of the only times we see him as Elliot while Robot is in control. It’s one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. Rami Malek is amazing. He looks at Tyrell. He smiles and flashes to Robot. And there we end.
I usually end each episode with a raft of new theories, but while that was utterly fascinating, and confirmed a few existing things, it didn’t actually reveal anything entirely new. And yet, it’s still genius. They explained the bullet in the arcade, and the actual details of ‘the shooting. They clarified the Red Wheelbarrow link, they revealed why Tyrell appeared as if from nowhere, seemingly unchanged from the last time Elliot saw him. They confirmed at last that yes, Santiago has been crooked this whole time (again, thanks for coming out, Mr Esmail). And for those of us who care (ME!) they confirmed that Cisco … he didn’t just stick his neck out for Darlene; he was given a dire warning not to do that exact thing, and basically sacrificed himself for her. My heart. (Sidebar, go and check out Cisco’s back story on the show Wiki. Whiterose recruited him as a ten year old, which for me opens up a whole new can of questions about how Whiterose operates).
But, other than that, we didn’t learn much. We learned Leon isn’t necessarily an assassin, which is very interesting. While he’s Zen about killing Neo Nazis,it doesn’t appear that killing is what he gets dispatched for. Could this mean he’s off protecting Trenton and Mobley, rather than our collective fear he killed the pair?
Oh, thanks to Cindy for most of these images, especially all the captioned ones.
This was a great, great episode, and I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t drum up some awards talk forMartin Wallström. He was spectacular. His capacity to emote is extraordinary, but what’s most fascinating is his switches. The way he can flick between one mood to the next, like the scary bible-quoting giving way to gleefully donning shades … It’s eerie and spectacular. Mr. Robot returns to USA Network and Hulu next week.