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This whole episode is a flashback. showing us everything that happened to Tyrell that we missing since the end of Season 1 when he and Elliot activated the 5/9 Hack. Spoilers ahead!

 

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“It’s Happening”. The 5/9 Hack is Activated by Elliot and Tyrell

 

 

 

Starting off the episode, we see Elliot (who quickly becomes Mr. Robot) with Tyrell in fsociety headquarters on Coney Island. Mr. Robot does not want to work with Tyrell, and, shortly after the hack is initiated, tries to shoot Tyrell with the gun he retrieves from the popcorn machine. The gun fires, but, oddly, no bullet hits Tyrell.

At first, I thought that this was more proof that this was all occurring in some kind of Matrix-like simulated world, but upon rewinding, I see that no muzzle-flash comes from the gun. What happened is later confirmed by Irving: A “squib” round (a defective round fired with insufficient power to push the bullet through the barrel) occurred, jamming a bullet halfway down the barrel.

Tyrell laughs maniacally, taking the misfire this as a sign that he and Mr. Robot/Elliot are “gods” (whatever that means), quoting Elliot saying “You’re not seeing what’s above you”, and states he and Elliot are destined to work together to bring down E Corp, and so pledges him his loyalty.

Mr. Robot isn’t into the idea of working with Tyrell at all, and calls him a “psychopath”, funny coming from him), and neither of them seems to understand the various disconnects happening between them. Disconnects that are due to Tyrell’s violent, unsolicited obsessiveness and Elliot’s dual nature. Tyrell is quoting Elliot but Mr. Robot, of course, doesn’t remember what Elliot said, and Tyrell is too into the whole thing to notice Elliot’s amnesia and dual personality. Tyrell is almost child-like in his adoration of Mr. Robot. A murderous child, sure, but a child none-the-less.

Despite his hesitance, Mr. Robot eventually agrees that he could use Tyrell’s help with Stage 2, which is greeted with a hug and a very out-of-place “I love you”. Tyrell really can’t read a room, and Mr. Robot interrupts Tyrell with “Some things are better left unsaid. Subtext, you know?”

Mr. Robot, finally seeing the potential usefulness of Tyrell’s devotion to him, then gives Tyrell the gun that eventually is used to shoot Elliot, saying: “You might just be the perfect kind of crazy who can protect me from me.”.

 

Irving Arrives at fsociety Headquarters

 

 

Irving shows up outside the fsociety HQ with some Dark Army goons in their dragon masks, and explains to them before going in that they are not to show their guns unless “someone gets heroic”. Irving then asks the Dark Army goon how his Pontiac (which Irving apparently sold him) is treating him (it’s working well, by the way).

Just before Irving barges in, Mr. Robot is heard explaining to Tyrell his plan to collect paper records from local governments and businesses, a plan that was later replaced by the blow-everything-up-at-once-plan with which we are now familiar, obviously due to Elliot’s imprisonment.

Irving enters fsociety HQ and confronts Tyrell and Mr. Robot with the Dark Army goons. Mr. Robot is actually successfully intimidated (as much as I’ve ever seen him be, at least), which is a rare, if not unprecedented occurrence.

Now we finally find out why Elliot was in Tyrell’s car at the start of Season 2. Irving instructs Mr. Robot to take Tyrell’s car to a parking lot with a Post-it-Note to put on the dash, drop it off, and go home. We know that is where Elliot wakes up in Season 2, with amnesia of all events that happened after, at Tyrell’s insistence, he initiated the 5/9 Hack.

Irving forcefully suggests Tyrell go to a safe-house somewhere in the woods to lie low, and Mr. Robot tells (or orders) Tyrell to go. So, Tyrell goes.

Once Tyrell arrives at the safe-house, he asks about Elliot (the first of many times), but is not allowed to contact him, and is told by Irving to not leave the safehouse. Irving stresses that Tyrell is absolutely safe as long as he remains there, and doesn’t return the gun he took from Tyrell, saying he doesn’t need it. Irving also says he can get Tyrell in touch with his wife, Joanna, once he gets a secure method of contact set up, but in contrast to Tyrell’s desire to contact Elliot, Tyrell’s strategy with Joanna is “no contact”.

 

Elliot is Arrested, MinisteR Zhang Reacts and Plans

 

 

Elliot is arrested at his apartment for Unauthorized Use of a Computer, Computer Trespassing and Grand Larceny, which was initiated by his vigilante hacking victim, Lenny. Elliot doesn’t say a word, or resist in any way. He also, apparently, pled guilty to all charges “almost immediately”.

Minister Zhang is notified of Elliot’s arrest by his assistant as he watches footage of Elliot being put in a police cruiser on a tablet. The assistant says that they (Dark Army) tried to stop the arrest, but that it happened too fast.

 

Zhang suggests his assistant, who is speaking in Chinese, learn English, to be better equipped in dealing with the Elliot project, and suggests Rosetta Stone. This seems to be embarrassing to his assistant, who constantly pushes back whenever Zhang tells him what is to be done, thinking he knows better. I suspect this is going to culminate in a problem for the assistant and Zhang. Maybe a big one, in the form of a coup.

Zhang orders that the Dark Army operative (Leon) inside the jail where Elliot is imprisoned make contact with Elliot, and that Elliot’s sentence be reduced as much as possible through Dark-Army-connected public officials wielding their influence.

Zhang asks the assistant what Elliot stole, and the assistant informs him that it was a dog named Flipper. Zhang finds this quite amusing.

A man who seems to be a PR hacker of sorts meets with Zhang, and is ordered to do some things we would normally think impossible: 1. Keep Tyrell’s image positive in the wake of the 5/9 Hack, 2. To “put fsociety’s origin on Iranian soil”, and to possibly promote Donald Trump for US President (while watching a Donald Trump speech that happened IRL on 5/9/2015, by the way). The man seems to take it all in stride and sees it all as do-able, except maybe the Trump request, which he eventually agrees to anyway after Zhang tells him:

“If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance any way you desiiire.”

 

 

Tyrell meets Mr. Williams and Takes the Dark Army Personality Test

 

A mustached man in a bow-tie (Wallace Shawn, The Princess Bride) who calls himself Mr. Williams arrives with Dark Army goons at Tyrell’s safehouse, and proceeds to slam cocaine while giving Tyrell what seems to be a very personal loyalty questionnaire, strikingly similar to the one White Rose gave Angela in Season 2.

To the tune of a shrieking kettle on the stove, the questions are repeated and marked with an X for every untruthful answer. Mr. Williams unrelentingly repeats the questions until Tyrell gives honest answers. which Mr. Williams can somehow discern beyond a shadow of a doubt. Somehow, he already knows the right answers to all these (very) personal questions.

Once finished, though Tyrell is by his own admission, untrustworthy, The Dark Army eventually determines that Tyrell is 100% loyal to Elliot, and that’s good enough for them. Apparently, Tyrell’s loyalty to Elliot is sufficient for the Dark Army’s purposes, so Tyrell is allowed to proceed to work with them on Stage 2, which the Dark Army is calling “Red Wheelbarrow”, supposedly at Elliot’s request.

The Dark Army then allows Tyrell to call Elliot, and the “bonsoir, Elliot” phonecall we’ve heard many times is made. Now, Tyrell knows for sure that Elliot is alive and in prison. Tyrell again picks up on the fact that Elliot is not exactly who (or maybe what) he seems, and freaks out, telling Irving that Elliot was “acting strange” on the phone. Irving isn’t surprised by this, and of course, neither are we. It’s a little hard to understand how Tyrell hasn’t noticed that Elliot has forgotten entire important conversations they’ve had together, but I’m guessing he’s blinded by infatuation and obsession, two of Tyrell’s most dominant traits.

 

Tyrell Chops Wood, Part One

 

Irving tries to teach Tyrell to chop wood, but Tyrell is already very good at it, having done it as a child, but says he “hated it”.

We see a musical montage of Tyrell chopping wood and working on Stage 2, researching E Corp facilities and putting pins in maps to the tune of Gordon Lightfoot’s sad song, “If You Could Read My Mind”.

Tyrell has also accessed the baby monitor in his infant’s room, and sadly watches his baby sleep and wake. It’s easy to feel bad for Tyrell when he isn’t murdering people.

 

Hey, it’s Darlene (and Cisco)

 

 

Darlene passes the femtocell to Cisco, and we get a little more insight into the Darlene/Cisco relationship that imploded in Season 2. They actually seemed to have had something real between them.

Cisco passes the femtocell to Irving, and we see firsthand what we (and Darlene) learned in Season 2, that Cisco is a Dark Army mole. Irving tells Cisco she is “a job” and to “stop caring about her”. Interestingly, he also says “she’s protected, you’re not”. We know this is indeed the case, as Cisco has since been killed, and Darlene is still alive. Her connection to Elliot must grant her privileges not afforded to Cisco. Is it because White Rose needs Elliot? Probably, though Zhang wants Elliot killed once he’s done with him, so that protection has a limit.

 

Tyrell Chops More Wood, and Quotes the Bible.

It’s Even Weirder Than it Sounds.

 

Irving gives Tyrell the femtocell, and Tyrell puts code on it, but notes there is code (“Android malware”) on the device that isn’t related to Stage 2. Tyrell is frustrated, but gets no answers and hands the femtocell over to Irving.

Here we get another montage of Tyrell chopping wood, as well as now reading tabloids about Joanna divorcing him. Irving gives Tyrell Swedish Fish and tells him not to believe the trash that tabloids are saying about his wife (which are true, by the way). Tyrell simply responds: ‘“No one who’s been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:1′.

Now I’m really curious. Tyrell talks a lot about God, but it always seemed he had some idea of God that is very non-standard. He says that he and Elliot are “gods” and that they are in “God’s” company because of what they have been chosen to do (the destruction of E Corp and the global financial system). Now he’s quoting the Bible, seeing Joanna’s divorce as a possible emasculation that would disqualify him from being one of the chosen ones. He thinks if he just ignores the divorce, he’ll be fine, for some reason. He’s not ignoring it as well as he’s pretending to, though.

What is Tyrell’s worldview? I haven’t heard any other characters espouse the beliefs that Tyrell has about what is going on, and we’ve only seen bits and pieces of his beliefs in practice. He is, without any doubt, a total and complete fanatic. For Tyrell, the ends have always justified the means, and the same went for Joanna, who okayed Tyrell’s infidelity in order to get him to a higher position at E Corp.

At the end of Season 1, I thought Tyrell and Joanna may have been spies from a foreign government. They were so motivated for Tyrell to move up in the E Corp ranks, and for a brief time I thought this was just simple House-of-Cards-esque power-hunger. I no longer think that is the case. Remember, at the end of Season 1, Joanna saw Elliot on the street and seemed to recognize him, speaking to him in a language he didn’t understand. This seemed to be a test. I thought this was possibly Joanna trying to determine whether Elliot was a fellow spy, but he didn’t understand, so he failed the test.

Tyrell is obsessed with Mr. Robot, but still cares about Joanna, so it doesn’t seem as if he’s trying to replace her. Tyrell seems to worship Mr. Robot as his deity, or at least as a demi-god of some kind. This must be related to Tyrell’s unknown, but very unconventional religious and ideological belief system. I’m sure more of this will become clear fairly soon.

I don’t have an answer here, but I do know these clues point to this: Tyrell and Joanna are/were fanatics, part of a separate conspiracy and ideology that is mostly compatible with the 5/9 Hack. Stay tuned, I’ll keep an eye on this.

 

Tyrell Has Had Enough, and Makes a Run For It

 

Tyrell leaves the safe-house and seems to be flying the coop to find Joanna, but a very (very) eagle-eyed police officer spots the bearded, hat-wearing, sunglassed Tyrell from far away, and immediately has “a hunch” it’s him. The cop gives chase, and arrests Tyrell. All I could think was “good thing he was right,” because he pulled his gun and fired into the air to stop Tyrell. The whole scene was very bizarre.

 

The cop calls the FBI, while Tyrell desperately tries, successfully, to dislocate his thumb to get out of handcuffs in the backseat. This is painful to watch, with the cop completely unaware of Tyrell’s attempted escape, chatting with him about how this is “going to get him a promotion”.

A black SUV meets with the cop on a deserted country road. We don’t see who is inside, but we can be certain that cop isn’t going to live long. Bang, cop gets shot in the head. Surprise, it’s FBI Agent Santiago, who we learn is yet another Dark Army mole. Santiago then returns Tyrell to Irving.

Santiago rants and raves at Irving and Tyrell, very upset that he had to kill a cop and that Tyrell came so close to escaping. He’s also upset with the way the Dark Army does things in general, making him “solve a —-ing math problem” to get the address to the safehouse. Santiago also mentions “Operation Berenstain”. This is a reference to an IRL internet theory. The theory is this:

The series of children’s books, “The Berenstain Bears” (correct spelling), is misremembered by many people (including myself) as being spelled and pronounced “The Berenstein Bears” (incorrect spelling).


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Because of this, some people have theorized that both spellings are actually correct, but that those remembering the incorrect “Berenstein” spelling are originally from an alternate universe, one where the book series is actually spelled that way, and that we were somehow transported to the current “Berenstain” reality from our original “Berenstein” one at some point.

This is a fun conspiracy theory, and one that I believe the creators of Mr. Robot are referencing. We still don’t know what Operation Berenstain is, but you can be sure it has something to do with the subjective reality that we’ve been pointed to this whole time.

 

Irving: #1 Dad

 

Irving attempts to give Tyrell a pep talk, saying he almost lost his family as well. but eventually worked things out and now goes home to them every night, eats popcorn, and watches Big Brother with them. Tyrell opens up a bit and cries, and Irving asks for a few more weeks of patience from him.

 

Irving goes to his used car lot (“Irving’s”) and gives the #1 Dad thermos he has to his salesman, telling him to relate more to the customer. Irving’s story about his family is revealed to have been a total lie, one that seems to have been inspired by the #1 Dad thermos he had with him that day. He has a lot of thermoses that say a lot of things, by the way. This guy is a psychopath for sure.

Irving works on his Gore Vidal-inspired book, “Beach Towel: A Novel”, at home, alone.

 

Irving gets Elliot out of prison

 

Irving meets with Leon (Joey Bada$$), who updates Irving on the fact that he protected Elliot in prison from Neo-Nazis, and that Elliot is soon to be released. Seinfeld, Leon’s favorite topic of conversation in Season 2, is unfortunately not mentioned.

Irving gives Tyrell the news of Elliot’s release, which causes Tyrell to beam like a little kid. Irving then takes Tyrell to the warehouse which is supposed to be he and Elliot’s base of operations, where Tyrell will eventually shoot Elliot. On this note, Irving gives Tyrell his gun back, and tells him that the gun had a bullet (meant for Tyrell) jammed in the barrel, and that the next shot would have blown the gun up. This confirm’s Mr. Robot’s analysis of the misfire: “#### happens all the time!”

Irving takes Tyrell to the Fukan (Overlooking) Hotel. Get it? It’s like the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. The axe, and Tyrell’s solitary, isolated work could also be seen as references to the same film. The hotel is super nice, devoid of color, and is populated by creepy, wordless, motionless staff. Obviously, this is a Dark Army Hotel.

Tyrell demands his suit, wanting to “look his best for him” (Elliot). Irving protests but assents. Old-school romantic music plays as Tyrell has another montage to clean himself up.

We see Elliot enter the taxi from the end of Season 2, Tyrell joins him. Elliot couldn’t be more obviously confused, but Tyrell doesn’t pick up on it at all.

The screen goes black, and we hear a gunshot. It’s Tyrell, shooting Elliot, at the end of Season 2.

 

Elliot Receives Surgery in a Disgusting Warehouse

 

Elliot is being operated on in the warehouse. They’re really fishing around in his guts. It doesn’t look normal. I’m no surgeon, but it doesn’t even look like the bullet caused any internal damage when it entered Elliot. I don’t see any hole beyond the one the surgeons made.

Angela is there. She went to the warehouse as a response to a phone call in Season 2, telling her to “be there” when Elliot regained consciousness. Angela speaks to Tyrell, trying to calm him down, and lets him in on a little not-so-secret secret about Elliot:

“You’re right. He sometimes can become a different person”

The surgeons finally find the bullet inside Elliot (apparently hiding behind intestines) and pull it out. It’s completely untouched, with no deformation. Hmm.

Elliot wakes up, smirks at Tyrell, and becomes Mr. Robot before our very eyes

 

Final Thoughts

 

This episode clears up a ton of stuff we were kept in the dark about for all of Season 2, and I think the showrunners knew they had to give us this information at some point. Until now, Tyrell’s disappearance was very creepy and mysterious. While watching Season 2, I thought Tyrell was likely dead. It makes perfect sense that he was in the “safe” hands of the Dark Army this whole time. They have the resources to disappear someone to the point where it seems that someone is dead.

What this episode doesn’t clear up are Tyrell’s core motivations and the source of his unsavory personality traits. We get some teasers in this regard, but nothing that gives us all the answers we need to understand Tyrell’s character or actions. Typical Mr. Robot, and one of the reasons I love this show. 

 

See our other Mr. Robot Season 3 Recaps and Analyses here

 

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