Updated: The first trailer for the third season of USA’s Mr. Robot is available now, for those who managed to figure out some nutso internet puzzle.
In it, a voice (maybe Leonard Cohen’s? I don’t know) recites the lyrics of the Leonard Cohen song “Democracy.” Not much happens, there are just a lot of chilling shots of Malek’s character touching his mouth, Carly Chaikin crying, and Grace Gummer holding a gun. We also get a glimpse of B.D. Wong, who was upgraded to series regular this season. It’s been clear for a while that his character, Whiterose, and the hacker group the Dark Army will be central to this season’s conflicts.
In classic Mr. Robot fashion, this trailer wasn’t so much revealed as it was found. At 1PM EST, the official Mr. Robot Twitter account started tweeting lines from the Leonard Cohen song “Democracy,” for reasons that are now somewhat clear. (Still not really, though.)
About three hours before, when the Mr. Robot account tweeted a photo of new cast member Bobby Canavale, one Reddit user pointed out that there was readable Morse code on his tie. Translated, the Morse code provided a bit.ly link that led to a promotional website with the following text:
Sure. In the comments, several Reddit users agreed that the phrase “Bird of the Mountain” was in reference to a piece of piano sheet music from 1871, which you can view in full on the Library of Congress’ website.
They had yet to decode its message, and were talking about the hidden meaning of time signatures when a Twitter user figured out the puzzle (he did not “show his work” so I don’t know how). Another faction within the same comment thread was convinced that the phrase referenced a poem written by the Japanese military commander Shibata Katsuie, who died in 1583.
Who can say. All I know is, eventually one or both of the groups will be proven wrong. And right now we’re all watching an unlisted trailer for Mr. Robot.
Created by Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot follows Rami Malek’s moody-boy-unreliable-narrator character as he dives deeper and deeper into various government conspiracies and his own fractured brain. Though the depictions of “hacking” on the show often take fairly extreme creative liberties, Mr. Robot has been well-received critically. The series picked up Best Drama and Best Supporting Actor (for Christian Slater) at last year’s Golden Globes, while Malek took home his first Emmy. But the second season finale drew only 850,000 viewers, a drop from 1.2 million the year before.
To be fair, this elaborate internet game seems to have involved a lot of planning, and USA’s marketing efforts are known for being created in tight collaboration with Esmail and his writing staff. Mr. Robot also has an eager fanbase that lives for this kind of thing. It’s annoying me only because I’ve been tasked with embedding a short video and briefly summarizing its contents and this made that process take a long time. I’m sincerely glad that everyone else is having fun, and Friday afternoon is a good time for a confusing group activity.
The third season of Mr. Robot premieres on October 11th, according to this trailer.
Disclosure: The Verge is a former independent editorial partner in the Mr. Robot Digital After Show.