"Mr. Robot" Season 2 Review - An Excellent Hacker Series
Let's continue with Mr. Robot the fantastic hacker TV-show starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater. After a powerful and surprising first season, we'll see if they can keep up the pace and atmosphere for season 2. You can follow along episode by episode with commentary and at the end of the article we have a wrap-up of Mr. Robot season 2. If you don't want spoilers don't read further than the episode you are watching, these reviews follow a chronological path with spoilers. The episode titles are based on encryption types and encrypted file types.
Season 2 Episode 1-2: eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc and eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc
Once again, Mr. Robot evades the direct route. Who knocked on Elliot's apartment door at the end of the first season? Either it was nobody important, or on the contrary, someone so crucial that the show had to take another road, for now.
Because when season 2 starts, we are presented with a flashback of the night in the arcade between Elliot and Tyrell, both about to unleash the massive 5/9 hacking. And yes, Elliot definitely went for the gun hidden in the popcorn machine.
But we don't see what he does with it. The massive blackout (inside his head and around the world) is still there.
It's been a month since the 5/9 hack and yes, the world is in chaos. A missing Tyrell Wellick is the main suspect throughout the media. And, of course, although E Corp is going through a terrible moment, the true collateral victims of the attack seemed to be the common citizen.
Elliot, on the other hand, is not making any revolution. He is focused on making an analog "perfect loop" to his daily life. His routine consists of being controlled by his mother to meet his sleeping schedules. Or listening to his new friend Leon talk about Seinfeld. Or going to the local basketball court to analyze the hidden social codes of the game. Or going to therapy with Dr. Krista. Or visiting addict support groups. But above all things, the routine evades any interaction with any electronic device that can be hacked.
"I cannot trust myself back there," Elliot tells Krista about returning to his old life. Actually, Elliot does not trust Mr. Robot, his radical alter ego.
And is that the perfect loop, which includes detailed journaling of his activities and descriptions of his encounters with Mr. Robot (including bizarre moments like shots in the head), is a trick to restrict Mr. Robot's control and also manipulate him to give information about Tyrell Wellick's whereabouts. But there is no progress. Only stagnation.
Gideon, on the other hand, has lost AllSafe. He visits Elliot to see if he can get his help and be exonerated of the suspicions of being an accomplice of the 5/9 hack. When receiving the Elliot cold shoulder treatment, Gideon, desperate, tries to blackmail him. Days later, Gideon apparently confesses everything he knows and suspects to lollipop-enthusiast-FBI-agent DiPierro (Grace Gummer), a new character who will obviously be very important further down the road. The fate of Gideon turns out to be way more tragic, when a disturbed stranger named Brock murders him in a bar, after blaming him for being a fundamental piece in the 5/9 hack. No country for innocent, decent men.
Darlene is the de facto leader of fsociety. Concerned about E Corp not being mortally wounded, she activates several plans in guerrilla warfare, viral videos, and radical protests. Fsociety castrates the golden statue of Wall Street's charging bull and manages to manipulate Scott Knowles of E Corp into publicly burning $5.9 million (because of "5/9" hack, get it?). Also, The new fsociety base of operations is the technologically advanced smart home of Susan Jacobs, the general counsel of E Corp, who had to flee the place after fsociety hacked into all the systems (apparently an extremely cold place with full-blown noise on all speakers and alarms isn't cozy).
Joanna continues with her masochistic bondage sexual fetishes, but now in apparent infidelity (because, yes, the Wellicks seems to always have a secret agenda). Derek, a naive bartender who evidently doesn't know what he's getting into, is his new boy toy. Joanna doesn't seem to know anything about Tyrell either, but she has received a gift at her doorstep: A hidden cell phone.
Angela, on the other hand, seemed to have distanced herself from the idea of destroying E Corp from within. She seems to feel valued in her new job and has climbed positions quickly. But with Angela and those great enigmatic eyes, you never know.
On the local basketball court, Elliot is contacted by Ray, who wants to make some illegal moves and has been informed of the fact that Elliot is an expert hacker. Elliot, of course, shakes him off quickly. But Ray being played by Craig Robinson makes evident that he will have more screentime.
And indeed, that's exactly what happens half an hour later. Ray returns to talk with Elliot as if continuing a conversation/plan that they recently started to map out. Elliot doesn't understand. Two seconds later, terrified, he understands it clearly: Mr. Robot has managed to take possession of his life in the only moment in which Elliot hasn't journaled his activities: In his sleeping hours.
But that won't be the last revelation in Elliot's life. A phone call with a "Bonsoir Elliot" on the other side seems to make it clear that Tyrell is alive and in control.
Of course, the only certainty in all this is that Elliot is an unreliable narrator capable of imagining characters and situations. On top of that, it seems that the motif of the names of the episodes is encryption. So, the plot is hiding information behind a code that cannot be easily deciphered.
Elliot says he doesn't trust us because we "kept things from him". The truth is, it's the other way around.
Season 2 Episode 3: eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd
Internal Fatal Error. This episode is about anguish, inner distrust and desperate efforts to solve errors.
The revelation that Mr. Robot takes control while Elliot is convinced that he's dreaming detonates desperate measures: It's time to fight the urge to sleep with an unhealthy dose of Adderall. Seeing a hyperactive, conversational Elliot is a tragicomedy on itself.
Of course, the mental battle is messy. Mr. Robot makes several tricks to try to make Elliot vomit or give up using drugs, but Elliot is determined to eradicate his alter ego at any cost.
We get some Ray details. He has a dark and turbulent deep web business and needs a talented cyber engineer to be able to recover his virtual platform. Ray is a chilling figure, obviously capable of the cruelest violence, but always with a caring and warm facade that seems genuine. Using his wife's death angle and "talking with ghosts" scenarios, he manages to empathize with Elliot, using even a playful element: chess.
Elliot is not the only one in panic mode. After finding Romero dead at his home, coupled with the news of Gideon's murder, Mobley and Trenton are fully convinced that The Dark Army is after them. They even begin to distrust Darlene and Elliot.
The relationship between Angela and Phillip Price continues to raise eyebrows. It's a constant tension that lingers between flirtation, the role of a genuine mentor and the hidden agenda. Obviously, this will culminate in something big.
We also get to know Agent DiPierro better. Her personal life, predictably, is deeply lonely. Alexa, the interactive virtual assistant voice of Amazon, is her only and faithful companion.
But her detective skills prove to be a serious threat to fsociety. Clearly more astute than all her colleagues, she is three steps ahead in the investigation. After thoroughly reviewing Romero's place, DiPierro found the "end of the world party" flyer and, therefore, the address of the fsociety headquarters/ arcade in Coney Island.
Kernel Panic indeed.
Season 2 Episode 4: eps2.2_init_1.asec
This episode does very little to move the plot forward. Incredibly, it doesn't matter. The character development is so good, that we cannot say in good conscience that we are in front of a filler hour.
The episode starts teasing us, showing Elliot responding to a knock on his door, like the cliffhanger of the previous season. But what we are seeing is a last year's Halloween flashback. Darlene is visiting. She and Elliot continue the tradition of watching The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, a B-movie slasher where the killer wears the mask of the Monopoly Man. Darlene has found the mask in a local market. Several bong hits later, Elliot puts on the mask, slowly letting the Mr. Robot persona rise for the first time. With the mask on, he practically maps the 5/9 Hack plan to Darlene. This is the actual genesis of fsociety.
Back to the present, the episode continues to focus on the mental battle between Elliot and Mr. Robot. On this occasion, with chess as the battlefield.
The threats are growing. DiPierro found a bullet casing in the arcade, which starts to generate nervousness in The Dark Army which is closely monitoring the FBI movements. However, Cisco assures Darlene that the Chinese are not behind Romero's death. His money is in the Berenstain project, an illegal FBI hard surveillance program.
Meanwhile, Angela is convinced that Price has helped her climb positions so that she ended up settled the lawsuit. Price assures her that everything is in her head. Their foggy but warmth relationship continues.
Elliot's plan to eliminate Mr. Robot through chess fails. They kept finishing every game in a stalemate.
But his internal battle has to be put on standby. Darlene has asked for Elliot's help (not Mr. Robot's, she assured), after learning that the FBI is close to catching them, which would generate a violent response from The Dark Army to cover their tracks.
Elliot decides to accept Ray's job offer, with the hidden agenda of hacking the FBI from that machine.
And although it sounds like a solid plan, something feels way off. We just can't shake the feeling that Elliot is imagining a big part of his "perfect analog loop".
Season 2 Episode 5: eps2.3_logic-b0mb.hc
The hacking of the FBI requires two stages. One of them was already executed by Elliot. The other, more complicated, must be achieved by Darlene and includes convincing Angela to collaborate by installing a device at E Corp (where the FBI is conducting the Five/Nine hack investigation). The plan is to erase the records of the investigation, which would save everyone from being connected to the hack, including Angela and her Allsafe CD.
Hesitant at first, Angela decides to aid the hack after discovering that her ex-boyfriend Ollie tried to sell her to the FBI. Logic bomb perfectly fulfilled.
In the face of financial problems, Joanna unleashes her more villainous side. After not being able to get a deal with Scott Knowles in order to get a proper Tyrell's severance pay, and unable to pay any more for the silence of the nervous parking attendant that found Tyrell's SUV, she ends up ordering his execution.
DiPierre and her team travel to China to investigate the role of The Dark Army in the Five/Nine Hack. There, they meet Zhang, the Chinese Minister of State Security, which, of course, is no other than Whiterose. DiPierre and Zhang bond in a personal conversation, where she even has access to the collection of millennial clocks and traditional dresses (which Zhang points out are from his "sister"). But just right after that, DiPierre and her team are attacked by gunmen. Miraculously, she manages to survive.
Elliot is still working on Ray's project, under the watchful vigilance of one of his henchmen, who must make sure Elliot doesn't dig deep into Ray's virtual business.
Elliot calls for RT (the previous IT specialist) with a false excuse. Through the WordPad, they chat about the details of Ray's virtual business. Elliot is disgusted with what he discovers: Sexual slaves and murder services, among others. Irremediably, Elliot wants to unleash his vigilante mood. Mr. Robot, on the other hand, exhorts him to choose his battles and concentrate on the big picture.
Ray immediately learned that Elliot has taken a good look at his illicit business even when he was warned not to do so. That's why some thugs broke into Elliot's house, dragged him to the street and began to beat him before a disappointed and concerned Ray.
It's worth mentioning that this episode helps a lot in the case of one of the most popular fan theories of this season: The supposed "perfect analog loop" is the product of Elliot's imagination, who is actually in jail or a mental institution.
Would that be this season's big plot twist? We'll see.
Season 2 Episode 6: eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes
With this episode, Sam Esmail wanted to refresh the visual narrative a bit. And boy, did he succeed.
This hour starts presented in the form of a 90's sitcom. Perhaps inspired by Adult Swim's parody Too Many Cooks, we see in its 4:3 Beta tape glory, the adventures of the Alderson family, with an intro written and performed by Bennett Salvay and Jesse Frederick (the same ones responsible for the Full House and Family Matters intros). So, yes, there’s a lot of zooms, smiles and saxophones.
In a convertible, Elliot and his family make a road trip full of dark humor. Tyrell is alive in the trunk, Gideon is a police officer, Angela works at a E Corp gas station and even Alf makes a cameo. Elliot, as usual, doesn't understand anything that happens around him.
The interesting thing about the sitcom gimmick is that it honestly doesn't get many laughs at the beginning. But slowly and progressively, as it consumes several minutes of the episode, the absolute and relentless commitment to the format ends up being enormously entertaining.
And when we were already convinced that the whole episode was gonna be in sitcom form, Mr. Robot obviously changes the formula. Sitcom Elliot finally understands the reason behind that world. It has been Mr. Robot's way of creating a fictitious mental world to prevent Elliot from suffering the brutal torture and beating that Ray and his henchmen had done to him.
Elliot wakes up on a stretcher in a hospital, severely beaten. Alf is on TV. He’s quickly thrown out to a horrible small room. There, in his solitude, Elliot does the unthinkable: He hugs Mr. Robot with tears in his eyes, grateful for the mental trick.
Meanwhile, back in the US, Dom talks to Santiago, her immediate superior, about the shooting that she just survived. The official version is that the perpetrators were Chinese separatists, but Dom is convinced that The Dark Army is the real threat.
The attack has political ramifications. The congress denies Phillip Price's plan to borrow from China because of that incident.
All this episode, as its name implies, is about power relations, like Mr. Robot/Ray on Elliot and The Dark Army on everyone who asks too many questions. But more specifically, it's about Angela's "heist" in E Corp under the tutelage of fsociety. After a very tense sequence, Angela manages to install the device.
However, when already on her computer doing the last needed movements, she's interrupted by Dom, who just wants to ask her some questions.
Season 2 Episode 7:: eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme
Dom is a great detective, but Angela has ice in her veins. Supported by Darlene through her headphones, she quickly manages to shake off the agent and complete the FBI hacking like a boss. Minutes later, Dom realizes that fsociety (and Angela) have hacked their systems and erased the evidence. Poor Dom, always three steps ahead but still unable to get any evidence.
Angela finally decides to settle the lawsuit against E Corp, asking Price that, in exchange, he allows her to be reassigned to the Risk Management division. That way, from within, she can try to avoid future disasters. Of course, on her first day, she manages to win the contempt of her colleagues and immediate boss, without having been able to generate the slightest change in the agenda of the day.
Elliot and Mr. Robot continue their weird alliance. Both even admit to having shot Tyrell, but without acknowledging further details.
The immediate problem must be solved. Elliot is forced to restore Ray's hideous Dark Net website. However, in a final personal conversation with a chess match in between, Ray, with a great sense of guilt and remorse, lets Elliot know that he knows he is condemned. Elliot confirms it: While fixing the problem, he also sent an anonymous tip to the FBI. Ray and his online business are done.
The consequences are instant. A gang attacks Elliot, but Leon, in a majestic display of talent with the knife, neutralizes them all. It's revealed that Leon works for Whiterose and that his mission was to protect Elliot.
And this is where the hottest fan theory of this season is confirmed. An episode too late to have a real shock reaction but far enough from the season finale to really matter: Elliot admits to Krista that he knows he is not in his mother’s, but in prison.
But the really interesting thing is that the "perfect analog loop" was not a figment of Elliot's imagination, but just a way to deal with confinement. And above all, a flagrant lie towards us, the spectators. A lie he acknowledges.
I don't know what will happen in the future, but everything seems to indicate that Elliot's relationship with us, the audience, will be the last plot twist of the whole series.
Season 2 Episode 8: eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12
The revelation that Elliot is in prison came with a price. With no fantasy scenario to lash on, Elliot, like any person in prison, is disconnected from the outside world. Thus, this is the first episode in the entire series in which Elliot doesn't appear.
With Elliot out of the picture, the episode (as its name suggests) then deals with the back-up: The rest of the fsociety.
The Project Berenstain is real. After the Five/Nine Hack, the FBI has made illegal surveillance of more than three million people, resulting in 16 prime suspects, one of them deceased. fsociety doesn't know their names, but Mobley and Trenton are convinced that the deceased suspect is Romero, which would mean that the FBI is breathing on their neck. Fsociety deals with that problem by releasing the information to the public. The FBI is now in public relationship hell.
But a more concrete problem has come knocking at the door. Susan Jacobs has returned to her home and discovered them red-handed.
It's evident that fsociety is not prepared for this type of situation. They tie her up and hack her to try to blackmail her. However, while they are in that process, Darlene has a personal talk with her. She remembers how Susan laughed when E Corp was cleared in the case regarding the toxic leak that killed her father. She was just four years old, but she never was able to forget the anger she felt at that moment. Susan then enters into a negotiation mode, which disgusts Darlene further. Almost by inertia, Darlene shocks her with a stun gun. Susan, who has heart complications, dies instantly.
The murder destroys all trust in the core of fsociety. Darlene claims that it was an accident. Trenton and Mobley doubt it. In the end, Darlene and Cisco deal with Susan's body. After that, Darlene is surprised about not feeling bad about what happened.
Mobley is taken by the FBI but is released shortly after. Dom tries to keep him, but his superior Santiago points out the fact that they don't have any proof against him. On top of that, the Bureau has too much political pressure after the fsociety leak on Project Berenstain.
Everyone enters a pit of absolute paranoia. Trenton sees USVs rounding her house. Mobley tries to warn her. Even Darlene cannot help being jumpy. After seeing that Cisco is reporting to The Dark Army about fsociety actions, she decides to destroy his computer and attack him with a baseball bat.
Season 2 Episode 9: eps2.7_init_5.fve
Almost as a favor to the audience, Mr. Robot has finally revealed who was behind the door in the season one finale. It was the FBI, ready to arrest Elliot for having hacked and manipulated Lenny, Krista's ex-boyfriend.
Of all the possible threats, Elliot ended up in jail for perhaps the least expected. It talks volume about the futility of paranoia. The whole initial sequence gives us the details to better understand the fantasy Elliot subjected us for the last 8 episodes. For example, Ray was the warden of the prison all along. Elliot's mom still lives, but she is in a catatonic state in a mental/elderly institute.
But this episode, as its name "Init 5" states, is about the return to normality. The correct boot. Because even though his sentence was 18 months, Elliot has been released after only 86 days due to--allegedly--a prison budget cut.
But Elliot, of course, is convinced that The Dark Army is behind his early release. And although Mobley and Trenton have disappeared from the face of the earth, Darlene and Cisco are still there to inquire about that supposed "Stage 2" that The Dark Army mentions so much.
Whiterose shows her cruelest side. She visits the tomb of the previous E Corp CEO and urinates on it, talking to his assistant about how she orchestrated his death because he opposed her plans. Phillip Price seemed to be her next target. But Price is not amateur. Talking with Whiterose’s alter ego Zhan, Price manages to make him understand that the Washington plant could remain under his control if China loaned bailout money as goodwill. Macro-politics as it best.
Meanwhile, Angela has decided to hack E Corp herself. What she gets is enough to want to resume her thirst for justice. However, her paranoia about corrupt internal cells in the FBI doesn't allow her to follow her plan to be the E Corp whistleblower. Dom makes a friendly visit just to remind her that she is running out of options.
The episode closes, as is already customary this season, with paranoid gimmicky cliffhangers. Cisco returns to Susan's house to retrieve a fsociety tape and a sound catches her attention. Darlene listens to a hacked Dark Army member claim that Stage 2 is Elliot's idea at the same moment someone knocks on her door.
And Elliot, who is experiencing more and more periodic blackouts, where Mr. Robot seems to take control, faces an unexpected visitor: Joanna.
Season 2 Episode 10: eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx
The "desktop macropolitics" continues. Price needs the US to abstain its vote at the next UN meeting, thus achieving China's control over the Congo. In this way, Price will achieve his precious financial bailout. "offering countries like trading cards", says Colby. Welp.
Joanna doesn't get answers from Elliot, but her visit will not be in vain. Joanna gives him the cell phone she received so that Elliot can trace the place where the calls have been made. Elliot finds a location, but upon seeing it, Mr. Sutherland is convinced that it's impossible for Tyrell to be the one making the calls from THAT place. Of course, we don't get more details than that.
Elliot and Angela share an intimate moment, kiss included, in the subway. Angela is defeated by the pressure and is convinced that the best thing to do is to confess her role in the FBI Hack. Angela also warns Elliot not to trust Mr. Robot. Shocker. They separate, but Angela is soon intercepted by two people.
Cisco has found one of the fsociety members, badly injured in Susan's house. After discussing it for a while, he and Darlene decide that the right thing to do is to take him to a hospital.
Minutes later, the FBI arrives at the site. A witness has identified Cisco on the scene, which triggers an investigation. Santiago, Dom's superior, wants to stick to FBI's "new rules" by making the information public to the media. Dom, always three steps ahead, is against the idea because she is convinced that The Dark Army will attack and kill Cisco.
But the damage is done and Cisco's picture is in the media as a suspect in the 5/9 hack. But Darlene and Cisco, who have been in the hospital and then at a dinner, are not aware of any of that.
Dom is determined to get them before The Dark Army.
Sam Esmail masterfully directs the final sequence. After all, not all cliffhangers can be people knocking on a door. Here, Esmail holds a steady shot from the sidewalk across the street. It's the immovable aspect of an incident. There's a traffic light that works as a countdown to the tragedy and an ad that changes from "Lupe's" to "Lies". Dom manages to reach Darlene and Cisco, but only 20 seconds before The Dark Army. A shooting leaves at least one dead. But we are confined to be distant spectators.
The only clue we have is that Dom is alive and covered in splattered blood. Blood from Cisco, Darlene or maybe both.
Season 2 Episode 11-12: eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z / eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z
The second season finale invests a large part of its time in establishing the “big power” aspects of its universe.
Phillip Price has achieved his mission. He has received $3 trillion from China for the financial bailout. In response, he will use it against them. For Price, the 5/9 Hack simply accelerated an unstoppable process: cryptocurrencies. He will use the money to strengthen E Coin, a financial move that the US government will be forced to support in order to maintain peace with China and rebuild the economic apparatus.
This same political climate is what prevents Dom from continuing her investigation into the Dark Army. Santiago tries to make her understand that, after all that bailout money and the peace between the two countries, it's simply not worth it to bother China for that "little" incident.
Angela spends much of the episode in a dark room with a fish tank and an old-school computer circa 1991. A little blonde girl, who could be her younger sister and who is obviously there to manipulate her, begins to ask her a questionnaire with random questions that seemed to correctly classify Angela's personality. Angela refuses to answer at the beginning (A little girl asking you if you cry during sex is certainly disturbing) but the girl shows some bruises. If Angela doesn't respond, she will be punished. Angela immediately agrees to complete the questionnaire.
At the end of the Q&A, it's revealed that Whiterose is behind her abduction. The little girl bruises are makeup (allegedly). She confesses to having almost half an hour to know Angela better, which in Whiterose's time is something almost inconceivable.
The reason is simple. Not only is Angela Elliot's childhood friend, but Phillip Price seems to modify his agenda thanks to her. Whiterose admits that Angela had been about to be murdered multiple times. But this time, Whiterose's intentions seemed to be different. This time the idea seemed to embrace Angela, and recruit her. Whiterose even mentions the fact that Angela's mother and Elliot's father died for the greater good as if everything were part of a generational plan.
Angela, apparently as a consequence of her kidnapping/recruitment, and with her trademark stoicism, goes to her lawyer's house and cuts off all ties with her.
Scott Knowles was the owner of the mysterious phone given to Joanna. He just wanted to torture her psychologically, making her believe that Tyrell was alive. Scott is in an emotional hole, drunk and devastated by the death of his wife, who was also pregnant. Joanna, being the villainess she is, starts pushing those buttons. Scott bursts into a rage and begins to beat Joanna. He back off after seeing her spitting blood.
Of course, everything was Joanna's plan. Joanna convinces her boyfriend Derek—the bartender she met the night of the party in which Sharon was killed—to make up a story and frame Scott for Sharon's death. A naive Derek wants justice for Joanna, so he agrees.
In a more positive light, Darlene is alive. Dom and Santiago try to extract information from her, but obviously, they get nothing. Dom tries to empathize with her, comparing their lives. The "two girls from Jersey" speech doesn't work. Dom then decides to take the most devastating route: the truth. Darlene cannot believe what she sees. The FBI has clearly identified all the main fsociety members with some other astonishing connections.
Meanwhile, Elliot tries a lucid dreaming technique to be able to spy on Mr. Robot and determine his true intentions (Yes, is in this kind of descriptions when you remember how mentally compromised Elliot is). He manages to watch him decode a message that ends in one address, where a taxi will be waiting for him. Elliot goes to the place and takes control, leaving Mr. Robot out. An Arab driver, who speaks almost no English, only wants to be certain of Elliot's identity before asking for an address to go to. Elliot, of course, doesn't know what to say. After all, all this has been assembled by his alter ego Mr. Robot.
And then, the shock. Tyrell enters the cab, cool as ice. Elliot doesn't know if he's hallucinating. The driver is not very helpful because he doesn't understand the language. Elliot panics. Both are left on the street.
Tyrell doesn't understand Elliot's reaction but continues with the plan. He informs him that Stage 2 is ready and that Elliot will be very pleased with the preparations. He takes him to a hidden location, near the building where E Corp maintains its physical records. Stage 2 consists of, basically, making that building explode, erasing the physical backup records in the process. Strategically, all the records will be in the same place thanks to different preparations.
Of course, the violent terrorist plan is something that sounds more like Mr. Robot than Elliot. The firmware hack that will start the process for the explosion is ready, but Elliot, convinced that Tyrell isn't real, is ready to undo everything Mr. Robot planned. Tyrell, who has delusions of being a god alongside Elliot, doesn't understand his change of heart. It's evident that all this time Tyrell has been communicated only with Mr. Robot. But Elliot is determined to end everything. Immediately, as part of a protocol, Tyrell points a gun at him. Elliot ignores him. Tyrell, desperate, shoots. Elliot feels the shot, sees his blood and falls unconscious.
Again, the viewer is left with doubt. Could it have been all Elliot's imagination?
The answer is immediate, in the form of a revelation. Angela receives a call from Tyrell, who audibly affected explains what happened. Angela calms him down and tells him that he did the right thing. She leaves her apartment, so she can be the first person Elliot sees when he wakes up.
That trio planning everything makes sense. Angela's decisions make more sense now. It's evident that all this season, or at least its second half, has been about Mr. Robot's parallel actions. Actions that neither Elliot nor we were able to witness.
The epilogue shows Mobley and Trenton working in a department store on the West Coast. Trenton confesses to knowing how to undo the hack. Both are interrupted by Leon, who paradoxically, being Whiterose his superior, asks for the time.
Cut to black.
The Dark Army continues to have true control.
What's Your Favorite Episode of Mr. Robot Season 2?
Wrapping Up Mr. Robot Season 2
It's not a secret that after a smashing debut, there is nothing more complicated than the follow-up. It happens in movies, music and, of course, also on TV. The surprise effect no longer exists and the audience wants to continue being surprised, but with the same formula that they learned to love.
That's why Mr. Robot ’s second season seems to be slightly inferior to its predecessor. It was almost an impossible task to overcome the quality standard of a show that surprised everyone with its innovative narrative style, its imposing aesthetics and its accurate representation of hacktivism, which also managed to surprise everyone with a huge plot twist at the end.
The first and more important element is that Sam Esmail took total control of the season. All twelve episodes were directed by him. This freedom for experimentation gave us memorable scenes. From the amazingly strange sitcom episode to that distant fixed shot full of details that, incredibly, gave unique dynamism to a bloody shooting scenario. Mr. Robot is Sam Esmail's playground. And boy, is a pleasure watching him have fun.
But understanding the obvious dilemma of the follow-up, this season continued to be TV of the highest quality, which also added several innovations to the universe.
Perhaps the only criticizable aspect of this season is the fact that Elliot's arc was taken apart of hacktivism, to focus more on the psychological thriller. The efforts of Sam Esmail to correctly establish Elliot's fantasy and hide the reality of the prison were interesting (All episodes have an encryption suffix because of this!), but the series lost its soul a little in the process. Luckily, Esmail was smart enough to change gears towards the last act of the season.
However, the execution of this "Elliot sans hacking" was wonderful. The work of the editor Franklin Peterson to achieve visual representation of Elliot's psyche is technically a great masterclass of montage and audiovisual narration.
However, this didn't mean that the acclaimed technical rigor of the series was compromised. On the contrary. In this season, Esmail expanded the team of hackers and cybersecurity experts, adding names like Marc Rogers (head of security of DEF CON and chief security researcher of Cloudflare), Jeff Moss (founder of Black Hat), Ryan Kazanciyan (Chief security architect for Tanium) and Andre McGregor (former FBI Cyber Special Agent). All the hacking processes were made in real life, recorded and then represented in the series through animations.
This season continued to be a wonderful gallery of details and intelligent references. For example, an element as simple as the fact that the two Dark Army agents who intercept Angela in episode 10 can be seen in the background in many other scenes in previous episodes, speaks of the level of planning and detail of the series.
Another great element that we cannot fail to mention is the soundtrack. Not only the original score of the great Mac Quayle, who won an Emmy for his work in the first season but the work of soundtrack coordinator Ben Zales, whose curatorship reaches levels of perfection this season.
The merit is remarkable. The show took Tears for Fears, Perfume Genius, ScHoolboy Q, Jim Carroll, Phil Collins, and Mozart, among others, and somehow made them all have an important and coherent space in the same universe and atmosphere.
And, again, all with an incredible level of planning and narrative detail. When Scott Knowles burns the $5.9 million while Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" plays, the montage also shows Elliot recalling images of his childhood home. And considering where Elliot really is at that moment in the series, the musical choice became a wonderful sound clue. Or, for example, the musical montage where Angela sings a beautiful karaoke rendition of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", while fsociety deals with the surprise presence of Susan Jacobs, whom they tie and hack in a desperate attempt to maintain the control of the situation. Nothing is gratuitous.
Mr. Robot flaunts its relevance and deep knowledge about macro-politics. It manages to get ahead of the world's central topics, several months prior. And it does it on its own terms. Yes, the show mentions Obama, Trump and other world leaders as to contextualize, but the real power, according to the series, is in other elements such as the new format of currencies. We now all talk about cryptocurrencies and mining, but for more than a year and a half, Phillip Price already had a master plan with his E-Coin.
The third season's biggest challenge is not to repeat the formula with impunity, while the plot remains static. There must be an element that shakes everything. Its own version of the 5/9 hack that makes the characters grow and move forward.
And with The Dark Army, E Corp, the FBI, fsociety and the internal battle between Elliot and Mr. Robot, there's a good chance that Sam Esmail will nail it.
I hope you've enjoyed Mr. Robot season 2.
© 2019 Sam Shepards