This week’s Mr. Robot opened with a blast from the past, in the form of a flashback that answered some questions we perhaps didn’t know we had.
Set up to the mirror the end of the Season 1 finale, that opening sequence found Elliot answering a persistent thumping at his apartment door — courtesy of Darlene, who came sporting a dime-store Halloween mask from The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, an obscure movie they sometimes watch together. (Thus, the origin of the Mr. Robot mask is established.) We also see Elliot pull from his closet and slip on his father’s old “Mr. Robot” work jacket. While wearing both the mask and jacket, Elliot abruptly spews forth a plan to take down E Corp, catching Darlene a bit off guard. But perhaps he is onto something….
Back in the present, Darlene, as she promised Mobley and Trenton, pays “fragile” Elliot a visit at his mother’s place — where she promptly questions his choice to be there. But anyway…. She has a roundabout way of expressing her need for his help, withholding the details about what’s been going on in the outside world, including Romero’s murder and the FBI finding their home base. Darlene’s desperate need for Elliot’s expertise — as she reminds him, he always said the “after” of the hack would be the hardest part — only amplifies his internal struggle with Mr. Robot. So, nudged along by Ray — and after allowing himself to “dream” about what his “existence” could be, normally associating with friends and family (while the E Corp tower crumbles to the ground) — Elliot and his other self agree to a chess game. If Elliot wins, Mr. Robot goes bye-bye and Elliot finally finds peace; if he loses, he will “lose” a lot more time than the three days that went “missing” after the hack. He’d fall into that black hole forever.
When, time and again, their chess match ends in a stalemate, Mr. Robot points out that Elliot will always know the move he is about to make against himself, so there will never be a winner. As such, why not just allow Mr. Robot to remain a part of his life? Later, when Darlene reaches out to Elliot by phone, she beseeches him (but him, not the other guy) to “meet up” with her via computer. To obtain computer access, he offers to help Ray with his sketchy website’s migration (while bruiser Lone Star looms nearby). Finally back online, Elliot gets the bigger picture from Darlene, murder and FBI surveillance included. Realizing the stakes, he makes the decision to return to his Mr. Robot ways, and hack the FBI database.
Elsewhere in the hour:
* Paranoid about men in suits seemingly following her, Darlene managed a rendezvous with Cisco, her Dark Army liaison/hook-up, who brought her up to speed on the extent of what the feds have learned. Though Darlene is tempted, Cisco warns her not to run, lest the Dark Army sense the heat is on and snuffs her. (Speaking of the Dark Army, White Rose’s male persona bickers with Price over the phone about the integrity of whatever they’ve got cooking. White Rose seems particularly concerned about some “plant” staying in business, or something.)
* Angela surmised that E Corp hired her for a reason — to help massage out of Washington Township’s class action lawsuit a stipulation that Price wants gone. She offers to do just that for Price, in trade for a certain lofty job and office, and while he admires her pluck, he claims that her theory lives only in her head.
* Joanna Wellick is running low on funds to keep paying off
some street rat the parking lot attendant who found Elliot after the hack (to keep hush about what?), so she appealed to E Corp CTO Knowles to get Tyrell’s severance package released — you know, for “the baby.” In turn, she won’t give her husband an alibi for the night he killed Knowles’ wife. Knowles, though, rebuffed the trade, saying that Tyrell Wellick’s baby gets exactly what it deserves. (Also, we learned that she is banging this Derrick dude because he is just a bartender who will never afford to take her on a nice trip.)
* FBI Agent DiPerro’s team scoured the arcade, only to find the casing from a bullet, fallen behind one of the games. Could that have to do with the night of the hack, when Elliot and Tyrell went to the arcade, before the latter vanished?
What did you think of the episode “eps2.2init1.asec”?
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