There’s a lot to discuss about the first episode of the third season of Mr Robot. “power-saver-mode.h” generally picks up where season two left off, but also shows us the horrifying dystopian future that our characters (and possibly us as viewers) have ahead of us.
We start “power-saver-mode.h” at the Red Wheelbarrow BBQ, which was promoted heavily at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. They actually set up the BBQ place in the Gaslamp district and I even got a shirt. Every season seems to have a weird mind trick and if I were the betting sort, I’d bet that it has to do with the Red Wheelbarrow BBQ. Seems weird that something so personal to Elliot would suddenly pop up as a BBQ joint out of nowhere. However, I’m sure that more astute minds than myself will catch on to what’s going on this season before I do and I’m likely way off the mark. I’m keeping my eye on the Mr Robot subreddit for theories. I may touch on these theories in future reviews, so stay tuned.
The new character, whom I’ve dubbed “Hacker Taxi Man,” walks directly into the cliffhanger from last season. While he isn’t the one to save Elliot, he’s clearly a cog in the big hacker wheel and has a part to play in coordinating people. I’m interested in seeing where he goes as a character. Is he an illusion? Is he real? Well, probably since he interacts with Tyrell while Elliot is unconscious, but this show has me paranoid, okay? Who is real? Who is not? Okay, so this guy is almost certainly real but whatever. The first two seasons have conditioned me to question everything.
One of the strangest things for me was hearing Obama’s voice during the episode. We know the show plays out during the Obama administration, but during Elliot’s internal monologue we get a flash forward of what lies ahead in their timeline. Like our own reality, Trump becomes President in their world. I can’t even begin to imagine how Trump would handle F-Society. I’m nauseous just thinking about them fully integrating his administration into the show, so I hope so very much that they remain in the Obama era. It makes me sad over better times, despite the fact their society is crumbling into a rather horrifying dystopia. Strange how that horrible crumbling world feels almost pleasant compared to our own horrible daily dose of apocalyptic threats. I’d rather pay $12 for a milkshake and have power surges than get nuked. But hey maybe that’s just me.
Oh, if it isn’t obvious, I’m not a fan of Trump. He wouldn’t usually show up in my reviews and I’d typically address larger societal issues on a broader scale, but, well, he’s entered the canon as a character so he’s relevant now. Trump fans will not like my reviews if they continue to integrate him into the show. But if you’re a fan of his, you probably hate all the social justice stuff I ramble about anyway, so no big loss, eh?
But moving on.
Elliot’s entire monologue was brilliant from beginning to end. It touches on the commodification of revolution, the “revolution being televised,” and general societal upheaval. It’s a really heavy sequence and I applaud the writers, editors, and actors involved in putting it together.
The biggest bombshell of “power-saver-mode.h” involved Angela, whom the title of the episode seems to be referencing. Elliot states that she doesn’t love people who love her. It’s her “power save mode.” It’s a clever analogy, but hits a little close to the “nice guy” cliche. I love this show enough to look beyond those parallels, though.
It turns out there’s a lot more going on besides her tendency to shy away from love. It seems Angela is aware of Mr Robot and has been working with him for a long time. She justifies herself by talking about the emotional trauma of losing her mother, but it’s clear she’s not being entirely honest. She’s essentially lying to Elliot and no amount of justification is going to change that.
Angela is passionately hated in the fandom, but on some level I can relate to her. She can manipulate people. She can act selfishly. She can lie. Her justification can be faulty. And yet? I still get where she’s coming from. I understand the frustration with her character and I’m angry at her lying to Elliot, but I don’t hate her like most of the fandom seems to.
Too much happened in “power-saver-mode.h” to touch on everything. I haven’t even really talked about Darlene or White Rose and both of them were very much present. And goodness I didn’t even touch on Tyrelliot. I definitely ship that and I’m sad. But this is the type of show where some things just have to simmer for a while before being able to string together a coherent thought about it. I’m sure by next week I’ll have a million new ideas to share and, without a doubt, much of that will be thanks to Reddit’s influence. This season is going to be wild.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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