- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The second episode of Mr. Robot‘s third season removed a player from the field, killed off in shockingly brutal fashion: Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen), a mainstay since the earliest days of the series, shot in the head by her jilted lover Derek (Chris Conroy). It’s the first series regular casualty in three seasons of Robot, and one that feels especially surprising considering Joanna’s enigmatic role as a devil-may-care power player in the Sam Esmail-created universe. But as Esmail tells The Hollywood Reporter, there’s a certain “justice of the universe” that Joanna’s death satisfies — and for his part, writer-producer Kor Adana backs that position.
In the second installment of our weekly conversation with Adana about all things Robot, we’re digging into Joanna’s death, but first! A “New Sensation,” as we discuss Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) and his new day job working at E Corp. From his current position within the belly of the beast, Elliot’s striving to unravel Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) and the Dark Army’s nefarious Stage Two plot, all while dealing with his renewed sense of loneliness. By the end of the episode, Elliot’s focus shifts toward another powerful entity: the FBI, with his sister Darlene (Carly Chaikin) reporting directly to Dom DiPierro (Grace Gummer) as her confidential human source.
Read on for all of Adana’s thoughts on these Robot developments and more.
Before we dig into this week’s episode, how are you feeling now that the season three premiere is out in the universe?
The time leading up to the premiere is always a nerve-racking experience. You have this shiny little gem that you and a private group of people have been working on for months, and then you get to release it to the world. Overall, I’m pleased with the reaction. I enjoy seeing how the community reacts to certain reveals, performances, music choices, shots, details and Easter eggs that we spent so much time preparing. I’m also happy that people are noticing the shift in pacing for this season. If they felt the premiere had this rapid burst of momentum, I can’t wait for them to see the rest of the season.
The second episode sees Elliot returning to the office environment for the first time since season one. What were the discussions like as the writers room wrestled with how best to depict Elliot’s return to the workforce?
Once we decided that Elliot would be returning to Evil Corp. in an attempt to undo the Five/Nine Hack, the idea of him in an office environment was something that excited everyone in the room. We knew that it would make most sense for him to be a part of the recovery initiative, the team that’s trying to recover the encrypted debt data. In a way, it’s our return to the energy of season one while placing Elliot in the belly of the beast. Elliot’s journey here makes me think of this passage …
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts, 18
The episode ultimately presents Elliot’s new employment at E Corp. through an upbeat montage set to “New Sensation,” culminating in an explosive title card reveal. It’s really evocative of the types of sequences we saw in season one, an age of innocence for this show, if such a thing ever existed. Was that by design, bringing things back to basics?
While we did a couple similar things in the first season (the hacking sequences are in a completely separate category for me), I don’t think we’ve ever done anything with this much upbeat energy. I was talking to Justin Krohn, the amazing editor who cut this episode, about this opening. He recounts numerous conversations with Sam about the tone of the montage. They wanted it to feel like the opening of Trainspotting, All That Jazz, or something out of a Scorsese film. And this is a long montage. It’s not normal to have an eight-minute sequence like this on television, so it was important to keep the pace up and use repetition in an engaging way. I know they went through a bunch of songs before settling on “New Sensation.” At first, it was some B-side Oasis song, but that didn’t have the right feel. Eventually, [post-consultant] Sean Schuyler and Justin Krohn found the INXS track and tried it out. The song works because it has a lot of space in it. It doesn’t sit on top of the dialogue/action, and it has this propulsive quality to it.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day