Mr. Robot was my favorite show of 2015 by a long margin. Mr. Robot season 1 came of nowhere for me and completely amazed me with its weirdness, inventive cinematography and powerful performances. Rami Malek deserves all the Emmys for the history of forever, and he will sadly (probably) never get them. While the 2-part season 2 premiere was not the strongest episode in the world, it did set up a season that has the potential to be just as wild and unpredictable as the inaugural one.
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Keeping Up With the Aldersons
One of the biggest mysteries laying around in Mr. Robot season 1 was what happened to Tyrell Wellick. Your investment in this mystery assumes that you care about Tyrell at all and don’t just see him a delivery vehicle for his much interesting and terrifying wife, as I do. In any case, Mr. Robot has no answers for us about Tyrell’s disappearance. The episode opens on Elliot’s blackout period from the season 1 finale where Tyrell disappeared. As soon as we see Elliot (who is really Mr. Robot at this point) reach into the popcorn machine to grab the hidden gun, the scene cuts. No closure.
We then jump forward in time where Elliot is living with his mother and going about a very regimented routine. Elliot’s goal is if he keeps things as boring and mundane as possible, he can regain his sanity and keep a firm metaphorical hand on his life. The only problem with this plan is that Elliot keeps seeing hallucinations of his evil ghost dad, Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot also keeps shooting Elliot in the head during these interactions.
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Unlike all the other interactions between Mr. Robot and Elliot in season 1, this is not an example of Elliot beating up himself. These are metaphorical bullets, the most pretentious of all bullets. Mr. Robot is trying to break into Elliot’s mind and shooting Elliot in the head is the way to do that apparently. What can you do? Evil ghost dads, so much needier and annoying than regular dads.
Elliot isn’t just connecting with people from his past though. He has a new friend in Leon, a man who is obsessed with recapping and trying to find the secret meaning of Seinfeld. This esoteric trait consequently makes me obsessed with trying to figure out the secret meaning of Leon’s character. More importantly among the new brood is Craig Robinson’s character Ray. Ray knows a lot more about Elliot than Elliot knows about him and wants Elliot back in the hacking game as much as Mr. Robot.
Unfortunately, without Elliot’s knowledge, Mr. Robot has been talking to Ray. Those metaphorical bullets are working I guess. Without Elliot’s knowledge, Mr. Robot has been taking control of Elliot when the latter “sleeps.” This is supposed to be a big shock that Christian Slater is still, sadly, on the show. There was no way that Elliot’s other (and worse) half was leaving. Also not a big surprise when Mr. Robot takes over Elliot’s body next, Elliot “wakes up” and finds himself holding a phone. On the other line is Tyrell, alive and waiting to talk.
FSociety Strikes Again
While Elliot is fighting for his sanity, Darlene has taken over fsociety. While I’m particularly overjoyed about this development, Darlene is the way more compelling Alderson child after all, Darlene seems to be struggling.
Fsociety does seem to be thriving in the wake of season 1 finale. They have hacked into a smart home mansion of one of Evil Corp’s executives, Susan Jacobs. They have grown from the ragtag group of hackers to a whole group of followers who admittedly seem like total idiots. Darlene is not impressed with their accomplishments. Darlene tells her band of anarchists that they are losing the war against their enemies, mainly Evil Corp. They have become complacent and weak.
To strike back, Darlene and the rest of fsociety hack into Evil Corp again. They hold the banks of Evil Corp hostage in exchange for 5.9 million dollars. Darlene doesn’t want the money though. She wants one of Evil Corp’s chief executives to take the money into a public park and burn it for everyone to see. Darlene succeeds too by threatening the executive’s life if he doesn’t comply with her demands. As the whole display goes down “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins inexplicably and awesomely plays in the background. All acts of protest, hacktivism and any manner of public political statements should be accompanied by Phil Collins and/or Genesis.
Characters with the last name of Alderson are not the only ones have been up to new things in between seasons. Angela has settled into her new job at Evil Corp and become a complete corporate nazi. Angela is in love with her new job as she believes Evil Corp values her in a way no else has in her life. It makes Angela looks stupid as Evil Corp is totally playing her. Yet Angela’s stone-faced impression of an hardened Evil Corp executive is way more interesting than her doe-eyed wandering and wondering of season 1.
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Joanna Wellick, Tyrell’s terrifying wife, has no idea where her husband is. She is, however, getting mysterious packages in the mail. Packages that involve burner cell phones and music boxes. It’s so weird that the packages have to come from Tyrell but Mr. Robot leaves us in the dark. While Joanna waits for Tyrell she has acquired a buff new boy toy to do all the weird sex stuff that Tyrell can’t do. In short, it’s a new season and Joanna is still the most interesting, scariest and weirdest character on this show. I also dearly love her in a way that makes me scared about my own well-being and mental health. Maybe I have a secret evil ghost dad too.
Lastly, Mr. Robot trots out Elliot’s boss Gideon who is being blamed for the Evil Corp hack. Gideon was a sad sack in season 1 before his life was in shambles. Now that everything for him is in the gutter, he is even more of a downer. It’s not a surprise then that the final moments of the episode end with Gideon being shot, and presumably murdered, by a “fan.” A dead Gideon is probably the best type of Gideon at this point on Mr. Robot.
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10pm on USA.
(Image courtesy of USA)