TV Show Review

TV Review: MR. ROBOT: Season 3, Episode 5: Eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00 [USA Network]

Portia Doubleday Mr Robot

Mr. Robot Eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00 Review

Mr. Robot: Season 3, Episode 5: Eps3.4_runtimeerr0r.r00 is bold even by the standards of the show with an ingenious camera technique that compounds the episode’s drama.

 

The technique I’m describing, of course, is the decision to shoot the entire program in one continuous take, a move that we’ve seen used to great effect in films such as Birdman and other TV programs like The X-Files in that series’ episode “Triangle”. While it is certainly a powerful way to capture the audience’s attention and keep them engaged, it easily could become a gimmick in the wrong hands, although I am confident in saying that if any show today should use the technique, it’s Mr. Robot.

Tracking Elliot (Rami Malek) as he tries to foil a Dark Army plot whilst evading apprehension by E Corp security, the program sees him venture up and down the company’s headquarters. The twists and turns the camera maneuvers as it follows Elliot accurately convey not only the labyrinthine nature of the building but the multifaceted nature of the episode’s story as well. He tries to figure out what the Dark Army is up to, but he also has to deal with such niceties as making small talk with other employees, adding a layer of interpersonal awkwardness to the suspense we already feel.

This is most visibly displayed when he walks in on a sales meeting to avoid security and tries to bluff his way into staying until his pursuers leave. When the head of sales (Erik Jensen) challenges his presence, Elliot feigns importance by using a variation of the “do you know who I am?” routine. Granted, his target isn’t fooled, but he’s able to grandstand long enough for security to leave, but not before dropping one of his unintentionally profound assessments of others on the sales chief. There’s just something thrilling about seeing someone as low on the corporate ladder as Elliot use nothing more than his wit and bluster to hold his own against a higher up, to say nothing of avoid capture.

Angela (Portia Doubleday), whom the show switches its focus to about two-thirds of the way through, also has to resort to some underhanded methods to do what she needs to do. Although she proves to be a slightly worse liar than Elliot, she is just as good at staying calm under dangerous circumstances, with Doubleday turning in a tensely-collected performance as the E Corp functionary-turned-Dark Army mole that ranks as one of her best appearances on the show. All this and a generous sampling of Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach make the episode one of Mr. Robot‘s best.

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About the author

Reggie Peralta

An aspiring writer, longtime film junkie, and former UCLARadio.com disc jockey (where I graduated with a BA in Political Science), I’ve made the jump from penning book reviews and current events editorials for HonorSociety.org to writing movie and TV news and reviews.

When I’m not working towards my certificate in Radio and Television/Video Production at Fullerton College, I enjoy reading (horror, science fiction, and historical/political nonfiction are particular favorites), participating in my school’s TV and theatre clubs, attending movie screenings, plays, concerts, and other events, and trying to come up with pithy things to say on social media. Believe it or not, there are occasions where I find time to write for my own leisure.

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