After an exceedingly strong pilot Mr. Robot struggled a bit in its sophomoric episode. It wasn’t anything that made me worry about the future of the show. If anything, it improved on the weakest element of the pilot, Mr. Robot himself, but this episode was a noticeably slower and more meandering one. A problem that could easily fixed in episode three, if they cut the episode time down even further. I applaud Mr. Robot for its cinematic look and feel but bemoan its longer than average television run time.
“We Meet Again, Mr. Alderson”
Picking right where the pilot ended, Elliot is in Tyrell Wellick’s boardroom at Evil Corp. As it turns out, Tyrell has not invited Elliot there to accuse him of framing his former colleague but instead to offer him a very lucrative job at the company. Even this act of kindness seems apart of some master evil plan because everything Tyrell Wellick says is accompanied by orchestral music that sounds like it comes straight from Satan’s workout playlist. Elliot of course, turns the job down and this upsets Tyrell way too much considering he just met and barely knows Elliot. If Martin Wellstrom hasn’t already auditioned to be the next James Bond villain, he really must do so at the earliest opportunity.
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Elliot deals with the pressure the only way he knows how, heavy painkillers and hacking. He hacks Tyrell’s servers and finds nothing. Paranoid that Tyrell was expecting an attack and set up a trap, Elliot destroys all of his computing equipment.
Elliot Makes a Hard Choice
When Elliot goes to work the next morning, Gideon tells him that Mr. Robot’s group, fsociety, has released a video claiming responsibility for the hacking attack on Evil Corp. fscociety promises to keep going after Evil Corp unless the corporation completely dissolves. Speaking of fsociety, when Elliot comes back to his apartment, Darlene, his foul-mouthed fellow hacker, is waiting for him. Darlene seems to have no clue why showing up in a relative stranger’s apartment without invitation is an odd social behavior, which prompts Elliot to call her insane. Pot meet kettle.
Darlene takes Elliot to fsociety headquarters and Mr. Robot tells him the new plan. He wants to blow up a factory that Evil Corp relies on to start the process of crippling them. Elliot is horrified when Mr. Robot is unconcerned about the civilian casualties that will undoubtedly come with creating an explosion in a major metropolitan area. So Elliot quits fsociety, despite Mr. Robot’s best arguments and Darlene’s best screeching to convince him otherwise.
Elliot Rescues Shayla
Elliot runs to Shayla, his neighbor/casual sex partner/drug dealer for his next fix and Mr. Robot realizes they haven’t set up any central antagonist for the episode. So here enters Fernando. He is Shayla’s drug supplier and is in her apartment when Elliot arrives. Shayla is locked in her bathroom and Fernando is outside the door, barring Elliot from entry. According to Elliot, (because he hacked him), Fernando is the worst person alive. According to the scene that follows where Fernando threatens Elliot’s life and reveals that he roofied and raped Shayla, he really is the worst person alive.
Shayla refuses to go to the authorities or do anything about Fernando and Elliot decides to take matters it to his own hands, even if it means cutting off his drug supply. Mr. Robot doesn’t just give us our revenge on a sliver platter. Instead it overlays footage of Elliot informing the police of Fernando’s drug dealing and his subsequent arrest with audio of another one of Elliot’s cynical rants about society at a therapy session with Krysta. At least there’s one less rapist in the world though.
Never Take A CD from a Stranger
Ollie and Angela, who have been absent for most of the episode, make a grand reappearance. Angela is trying to call Elliot, but he doesn’t answer. While she frets, Ollie is on the computer trying to get a CD to play that he got from an aspiring rapper on the street. Ollie also gets an email from his mistress, Stella B. and quickly leaves Angela to go meet up with her.
It is revealed that the CD from the rapper is not a CD and the rapper is not a rapper. The camera pulls out to show that “the rapper” used the CD to access the webcam on Ollie’s laptop. He opens up an online chat and types in Chinese, “We’re in.”
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Out of nowhere, Elliot finds Mr. Robot on the pier. Elliot tells Mr. Robot he has a way to do his plan without blowing anything or anyone up. Mr. Robot isn’t interested in that but instead wants to hear about Elliot’s dad. Elliot tells Mr. Robot about the night he betrayed his dad’s trust and told his mom that her husband was dying of leukemia. Elliot’s dad was furious with him and accidentally pushed Elliot out the window, breaking his arm. Mr. Robot doesn’t see this as such a horrible thing and maybe Elliot deserved it for breaking a vow. Mr. Robot then pushes Elliot off the pier and into the rocks below.
Now while it’s a killer way to end an episode, pun very much intended, it’s safe to assume Elliot’s alive. So there is really only one burning question to ask.
Mr. Robot airs at 10pm on USA
(Image courtesy of USA)