Mr. Robot Recap: Freedom Isn't Free

Mr Robot Recap Season 2

Elliot may be walking the streets again in this week’s Mr. Robot… but that doesn’t mean he’s smiling underneath that hoodie.

OK, fine, Elliot never smiles. But he’s got a lot on his mind just the same. The episode kicked off by flashing back to the end of Season 1, when Elliot heard that knock on his apartment door. Turns out it was the cops, arresting him for hacking his therapist’s sleazy boyfriend and stealing his dog — a dog that cost $1,200, by the way, making the canine theft a felony. So when Elliot pled guilty to the charges (over Mr. Robot’s protests), he was sentenced to 18 months in the county lockup.

We then got to see Elliot’s jail existence how it really was, not the rose-colored version he showed us in Season 2’s first few episodes: Ray was actually the warden, his tough-guy sidekick was a prison guard, and Leon was a fellow inmate, raving about the unsung genius of Paul Reiser on Mad About You. (This guy really needs a blog to share all of his thoughts on ’90s TV. I’d read it.)

But Elliot was suddenly on his way out, released after just 86 days. The guard signing him out told him “you got lucky,” but Elliot wasn’t so sure. He thought the Dark Army must’ve had something to do with his release, and enlisted Darlene and Cisco to put him in touch with Whiterose. Elliot managed to hack Whiterose’s phone so Darlene could listen in while he and Cisco met some Dark Army henchmen in an abandoned library. They’d been discussing moving to “Stage 2” of the hack, and Elliot demanded to know what Stage 2 is… but as Darlene discovered from her eavesdropping, Stage 2 was Elliot’s plan all along. Or, more accurately, Mr. Robot’s.

So yeah, Elliot’s mind wasn’t in great shape. The line between him and Mr. Robot kept blurring, with images of Mr. Robot flickering into Elliot. Has he been off his meds since he was in jail? (He did tell the intake officer he wasn’t on any medication.) Plus, we learned his mental health may have a genetic component when he paid a surprise visit to… his mother! Yes, she’s alive, but barely, sitting catatonic in a nursing home. Could Mom hold the key to healing Elliot’s split personality once and for all?

Meanwhile, Angela was really getting into this whole hacking thing — she’s a natural! — using Cisco’s flash drive to swipe key E Corp documents related to the toxic waste dump that made her mother and Elliot’s dad sick. She took them to a guy at the nuclear regulatory commission, who promised to investigate, but another woman there knew Angela worked for E Corp, and seemed to be luring Angela into a trap before she escaped. Home wasn’t safe, either: Dom barged in and basically announced she knows Angela is up to no good, leaving her business card in case Ang wants to confess. Time for an emergency trip to the karaoke bar, am I right?

But truthfully, this show has been missing a key element all season long: Tyrell Wellick. The slick-haired, cold-blooded exec helped make Season 1 the addictive ride it was, and so at the very end, when Elliot spotted Tyrell’s SUV outside his apartment, I got excited, thinking we might finally catch a glimpse of him. But no: It was just his wife Joanna, rolling down the window and calling out to Elliot, “Hello, Ollie.” I’m still holding out hope for a Tyrell comeback this season… but more scenes between Elliot and Joanna would be a nice consolation prize.

Bits and Bytes:

* Nice touch, Sam Esmail, with the “RISK AHEAD” poster looming just above Angela’s head in her office as she copied all of E Corp’s incriminating documents. In related news: Angela got an office! No more cubicles for our girl!

* Whiterose took time out to visit the grave of former E Corp CEO Lester Moore… and took a piss on it, too. Seems Whiterose might have had a hand in the plane crash that killed Moore. That doesn’t bode well for current CEO Phillip Price’s lifespan, especially since he shrugged off Whiterose’s threats: “I will reign chaos, even if it hurts me.” Well… it might.

* How did they get Nancy Grace to appear in those news clips about the Five/Nine hack? Is it a clever edit job like they did with President Obama? Or is Nancy getting into showbiz, post-Headline News?

* The song playing during Elliot’s prison montage: Depeche Mode’s “Walking In My Shoes.” Appropriately moody/emo stuff, don’t you think?

What did you think of this week’s Mr. Robot? Hack your way into the comments.

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