Wednesday's Mr. Robot filled in a lot of the missing pieces from Season 2 by telling the story of what Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) went through from 5/9 to when he and Elliot (Rami Malek) reunited. So much that didn't make sense before makes sense now.
We saw him fall in love with Elliot (or maybe Mr. Robot [Christian Slater], not that he understands the difference yet). They met fixer Irving (Bobby Cannavale), who took Wellick to a safehouse in rural Pennsylvania, where he got psychologically tormented by coked-up Wallace Shawn into disclosing his darkest secrets. While there, he basically went insane due to isolation and reading gossip news about his wife Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen). He worked on Stage 2 a little bit — and noticed that the Dark Army is slipping some extra Android malware into the code — and then tried to escape but got scooped up by a local cop, who was then murdered by Dom's FBI boss, who's officially working with the Dark Army. Then, finally, when Elliot got out of jail, Wellick was taken to the secret place where he would eventually end up shooting Elliot, the man he loves.
But beyond that, the episode also explained something else: how Donald Trump got elected, or at least emerged as a presidential candidate. Mr. Robot is set in the spring and summer of 2015, and as Carly Chaikin told TV Guide after the Season 3 premiere, Trump is still a "worst case scenario" in the world of the show. But art is probably going to imitate life in fall 2016, because Trump has a very powerful backer in Whiterose (BD Wong).
Whiterose, as Zhang, China's Minster of State Security, summoned the Alex Jones-like right wing TV host Frank Cody (Erik Jenson) to one of her houses and gave him three orders. Two seemed reasonable to Whiterose's secret mouthpiece, but the last was preposterous: one, start an image rehab campaign for Wellick ("Any chance Obama goes after him? People love to defend anything he hates."); two, push the narrative that Iran is behind fsociety ("That's brown enough, shouldn't be too hard."); and three, maybe back a certain potential presidential candidate. She gestured at Trump on TV.
Cody laughed. "Look, the country's desperate right now, but you can't be serious," he said. "I mean, the guy's a buffoon. He's completely divorced from reality. How would you even control him?"
"If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance any way you desire," she said.
The darkly funny scene's darkest joke is the idea that Trump can be controlled. In real life, there's no vast secret conspiracy with some unknown puppet master calling the shots. We know what actually happened and it was much stupider. But other than that, it's like BD Wong's old show: ripped from the headlines. A hostile foreign power is manipulating an American election by implanting fake news. Your democracy has been hacked.
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA.