Warning: Post contains minor spoilers
“Mr. Robot” season 3 episode 1 “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.sh” arrives as one of the top episodes in the series. While its second season started out a bit slow, albeit nonetheless captivating, the third season of “Mr. Robot” starts off with a quick pace. Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) was shot by a reluctant Tyrell Welick (Martin Wallstrom). No surprise here, but Elliot survives the gunshot. Upon waking a few days later, the unreliable narrator elements of the show resurge forcefully.
From the onset, there’s a ton of character development. At the conclusion of the second season, Elliot switched his stance on the 5/9 attack. Rather than his drive to proceed with Stage 2, Elliot instead wishes to reverse the hack. It’s this sentiment which led to Wellick shooting Elliot. (Although, their differing stances on preferred Linux desktop environments could have played a role in Tyrell shooting Elliot). In “Mr. Robot” season 3 episode 1, it’s clear that Elliot’s mentality has changed. Instead of the heroic vision he once held of the attack and rebooting society, he now holds himself responsible for the state of chaos around the globe.
Moreover, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) assumes the same worldview as Elliot. It seems her change of perspective derives from Cisco’s (Michael Drayer) demise. Strangely Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday) evolves greatly. Season 2 found her increasingly involved with Elliot and conniving to bring down E Corp. This carries over to the third season, and “Mr. Robot” season 3 episode one find her relationship with Elliot shifting on multiple fronts. White Rose (BD Wong) doesn’t get a ton of screen time, though Rose drops a few major reveals at the beginning of the episode, and it’s clear that she and the Dark Army play a substantial role in the third season of “Mr. Robot.”
“Mr. Robot” season 3 episode 1 is one of the best series entries to date. It wastes no time plunging back into the action. Whereas season 2 dabbled in some spectacularly clever narrative structure, it was admittedly a bit of a slow burn. “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.sh” eschews that, and while there’s a quick pace it doesn’t feel rushed.
Character development is at its best. This isn’t the same Elliot as in season 1, though in many ways it is. He’s still consistently breaking the fourth wall, as well as morphing into Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Similarly, I enjoy how Darlene and Angela have changed so drastically. It’s unexpected, though refreshing as there’s a lot of nuance to the characters.
One area where “Mr. Robot” season 3 episode 1 truly excels is at setting up the state of the series universe. Instead of the glorious future which Elliot envisioned after his hard reboot on society, it’s a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The show stays as relevant as ever and pulls no punches in its overt commentary on the real-world socio-political climate. Elliot delivers an internal monologue replete with a montage of Donald Trump campaign clips and white supremacist rallies while pondering the dark places where society often treads. I like this aspect, as it’s a show which makes a strong, clear statement.
What solidified my commitment to the series, aside from terrific acting, storytelling, and an excellent score, was the accurate tech portrayal. There’s not a ton of tech in “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.sh” although that’s likely because most of “Mr. Robot” season 3 episode 1 sets up the remainder of the season. At one point, Elliot wins a hacking tournament where he uses the command line, and there’s a quick shot of a Kali Linux background on his laptop.
Easter eggs include a restaurant, the Red Wheelbarrow BBQ joint. I appreciate this continued reference and am curious how it evolves as the season progresses. New for season 3, there’s a character Irving (Bobby Cannavale) who comes across as a bit of a Saul Goodman type. Rumors of a time travel subplot emerged, and oddly something Angela mentions suggests time travel. It’s unclear where she’s going with this though.
Arguably the most striking moment of “Mr. Robot” season 3 episode 1 stands as a scene where a character speaks knowingly to Elliot when he’s acting as Mr. Robot. It’s unprecedented on the show and comes as a major surprise. Overall, “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.sh” is one of the best “Mr. Robot” series entries yet.