In the Mr. Robot season 2 premiere recap, Eliot tries to stamp down Mr. Robot with a daily routine, Darlene leads fsociety and Evil Corp faces a new reality….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s been one month since fsociety brought the financial world to its knees with the Five-Nine Hack in what was supposed to be the hacker group’s ultimate triumph over corporate greed and smug superiority over the common man, but in reality the blow that was struck merely slowed down the money grubbing monster that is Evil Corp and the little guy is still the one getting squashed beneath the enormous weight of all this.
While the Five-Nine Hack certainly crippled Evil Corp in some ways, there are many others where the people who had their loans and bank information held by the giant conglomerate are now left with more questions than answers. As one woman vexes when visiting an Evil Corp bank — she’s made payments on her home for years, but suddenly there’s no more records that she ever spent a dime. Does she still own her home? Can Evil Corp now come along and take it?
It’s a harsh reality that we wake up to witness as Mr. Robot season 2 gets underway with Elliot Alderson not only detached from fsociety, but nearly detached from any kind of reality outside of one long string of loops that’s locked himself into in an attempt to silence the vision of his father who he now knows as “Mr. Robot”.
Elliott’s sister Darlene is attempting to rally the troops in the wake of her brother’s exit as she continues to lead fsociety following the mega-hack and she’s still trying to strike at the heart of Evil Corp while secretly struggling in her leadership role without any real backup these days.
And then there’s Angela — the previously meek and mousey pushover, who has now fallen in love with life as a corporate PR shill for Evil Corp. But is Angela really all in or is she quietly bringing down Evil Corp from the inside out?
All these questions were raised and plenty more so with that let’s recap Mr. Robot season 2 episodes 1 and 2 titled “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc; eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc”….
I Am In Control
After the shocking discovery that the person he had been talking to for months was nothing more than a figment of his own imagination, Elliot Alderson decided it was time to step away from the hacking game and resign himself into a little corner of the world where his “father” could no longer do any more damage. Elliot still flashes back to the day his father accidentally shoved him out the window of his childhood home and the argument his parents shared about how they would pay the medical rell bills for his hospital stay.
Elliot also flashes back to the fateful day when he executed the Five-Nine hack that sent the financial world into upheaval and he gets one step closer to understanding what really happened to Tyrell Wellick during those three days he was blacked out after he pressed that enter key. Elliot is riddled with questions about those times he blacked out when Mr. Robot was in control but at the top of the list are the whereabouts of Tyrell, who has completely disappeared and we are led to believe that perhaps in his dissociative state, perhaps he fished out that gun in the popcorn machine left behind by his sister and he blew away his co-conspirator.
Then again, Elliot can’t be sure what really happened over those three days so in an effort to trap Mr. Robot and keep him from taking over again, the wayward founder of fsociety has faded into a truly unimaginative life that spins like a vinyl record around a never ending loop with each day beginning and ending the same way.
Elliot now stays at home with his mother before waking every morning for breakfast with his Seinfeld obsessed friend Leon. He talks so much about his theories involving Kramer, George and all the other characters in the show about nothing that Eliott never really has to say a thing.
He repeats this routine for lunch and dinner alongside Leon as well. When he’s not at home cleaning up, Eliott ventures off to a local basketball court where he watches wanna-be professionals play the game for hours and while he’ll never understand the fascination with sports, it’s a great way to keep his mind distracted and far away from a computer.
Elliot is even back in therapy while keeping a daily journey of every event — no matter how mundane — in an effort to track his movement so there are no more blackouts where he disappears and Mr. Robot takes over.
Of course no matter how quiet Elliot makes everything around him, Mr. Robot is still omnipresent in his head, except the Tyler Durden-esque vision that lives inside his head is no longer chanting at him to change the world — he’s now angry and vindictive that his “son” is too scared to face the reality of what he just unleashed with the Five-Nine hack. Mr. Robot is so angry, in fact, that he’ll regularly point a gun at Elliot’s head and paint the walls with his brains only to discover that it’s all just another figment of his imagination.
Sadly for all of Elliot’s routine, his mask is beginning to slip after he runs into a new person who wants into his life — a fellow basketball enthusiast and dog lover named Ray, who desperately wants to be his friend. Never mind the fact that Ray shows up in the park one day and already knows Elliot’s name and his penchant for computers, but more importantly he just wants to be his friend.
Elliot rebuffs his request but then a few days later while watching the latest basketball game, he’s confronted by Ray once again except this time he’s talking like they have already been friends before. It seems the previous night, the two park dwellers and dog loves hung out for hours and it shakes Elliott to his core because he now knows for all his efforts to keep Mr. Robot at bay, his alter ego is starting to take over again.
Elliot rushes home to his journal and he finds a gap — several hours between sleeping and waking up that he can’t account for. Mr. Robot is back and he’s finding a crack in Elliot’s routine — and it can’t be that much longer until he’s taken over again. Right?
Cutting the Balls Off the Bull
In the wake of Elliot’s absence, Darlene is now leading fsociety with a rabid group of followers, who are more interested in cutting the balls off the Wall Street bull and taking selfies with the golden testicles than actually effecting real change.
Darlene manages to procure a new headquarters — a smart house belonging to Evil Corp general counsel Susan “Madam Executioner” Jacos — that will now serve as the hosting spot for all things fsociety. While she riles up the troops with her speech about still losing this ongoing battle with their corporate overlords, Darlene is quietly tearing apart at the seems without her brother around.
Of course, Darlene is still doing her best to change the world — including the latest hack where she threatens to erase even more of Evil Corps bank records if they don’t succumb to a ransom of $5.9 million or a virus will be unleashed in their system that will once again ravage the corporation’s holdings.
CEO Phillip Price reluctantly agrees to the demand along with chief technology officer Scott Knowles willing to be the person to drop off the money in accordance with fsociety’s random requests. The problem is this latest stunt — where Knowles is ultimately ordered to wear a fsociety mask and set the $5.9 million on fire — is just another minor annoyance for the giant corporation. As Susan Jacobs so astutely points out — this company can find $5.9 million in their couch cushions.
In other words, fsociety struck a blow, but this is still the first round of a 12 round war and Evil Corp may be stung, but they are far from knocked out.
Even the government bends to the will of Evil Corp after they asked Price to step down as a condition of their financial bailout for the gigantic conglomerate and he essentially laughs in their faces and tells them to come up with something better because he’s not walking away and they were foolish to even suggest it.
Fsociety might have cut the balls off the symbolic bull in front of Wall Street but it’s clear Evil Corp is still in charge no matter how much the Five-Nine hack may have hurt them.
I Am a Good Person
With her ex-boyfriend gone and he ex-best friend living back at home with his mother, Angela is now left all alone as she continues to navigate a new world as a public relations rep at Evil Corp. She spends her days pitting one media giant against another in an effort to procure the most willing partner who will allow Evil Corp’s CEO to tell the story the way they want to tell it and without a single question being left to chance.
Angela shows strength and confidence in the face of naysaying co-workers, but the reality is she’s still questioning every decision and just hoping it works out the right way. In her spare time, Angela is taking home strange men from bars to help fill her many hours of loneliness and after a quick trist in bed, she retires to the living room to watch positive affirmation videos in at attempt to give her the confidence to face her new corporate overlords each and every day at work.
Angela has even bowed out of the lawsuit she helped spur on during season one after admitting that she’s really fallen in love with her new job.
Is Angela really turning to the dark side or is she just quietly plotting her revenge as the ultimate insider at Evil Corp? For all the masks we see on this show, Angela might be wearing the best one yet because at this point, it’s anybody’s guess who is hiding underneath.
I’m Just a Patsy
As much as Elliot attempts to maintain a cycle of normalcy, the outside world still finds a way to creep into his vanilla existence from time to time. At the top of that list is a visit he receives from his former boss and pseudo father, Gideon Goddard, who has lost everything as a result of the Evil Corp hack. His company has gone under, his husband has left him and now Gideon is facing potential criminal charges if he doesn’t turn over the real mastermind behind the crash at Evil Corp.
Gideon still wants to protect Elliot but his visit is a little unsettling because he tells him that if he doesn’t come forward, he’s going to have to drop the dime on him to save his own ass. Gideon realizes that he was just a pawn in Elliot’s giant chess game and he’s no longer going to pay for someone else’s crimes. He’s even meeting with FBI Agent Dominique “Dom” DiPierro in an attempt to clear his name.
Unfortunately for Gideon, his visit to Elliot may have done more harm than good because that talk sends Mr. Robot into a blinding rage and later in the episode, he ultimately meets his demise after running into a “good citizen” who shoots him in the neck despite knowing that this seemingly harmless, witless man is nothing more than a patsy set up to take the fall.
Did Mr. Robot send this assassin after Gideon during one of Elliot’s blackouts or did he perhaps plant the seed in the mind of some unstable individual in an attempt to silence Gideon once and for all? Or perhaps this was just more bad luck in a string of disasters in Gideon’s life? Either way a bullet through his neck will bring an end to all his suffering.
Finally at the end of the episode, Elliot is once again confronted with the reality that Mr. Robot is beginning to take over again. He can’t account for the time where he was hanging out with Ray and he wonders why his alter ego made it a point to speak with him in the first place.
That’s when Mr. Robot explains to Elliot just how much he exerts power of him, even when he thinks he’s in control.
“What do they see when they see you coming?,” Mr. Robot vexes. “Because I’m going to make you realize — that they see me.”
The entire point of interacting with Ray was to prove to Elliot that he’s still not really in control of his faculties no matter how many loops he locks himself into everyday. Of course, Elliot fights back in the only way he knows how — by taunting Mr. Robot that this game can continue to play out but the only way it ends is with both of them going completely and utterly mad.
Finally, Elliot asks Mr. Robot one last time — where is Tyrell Wellick?
A few minutes later, Elliot is sitting in his church group — another of his routines — when he dozes off asleep. When he wakes up, he’s sitting on a phone hearing a ringing on the other end. When the line finally picks up, Elliot asks who is there and the voice on the other end of the phone answers “is this really you?” and finishes by saying “bonsoir, Elliot”.
Hello, Tyrell Wellick….
— The episode also catches up with Joanna Wellick, who is caring for her child while quietly satisfying her every BDSM urge with a new lover, who questions his dominance over her a little too much. Of course, Joanna is really the one who’s in control but this guy is far too timid to truly enjoy the role he’s playing while running over her body with a sharpened knife or smacking her as foreplay.
Joanna also receives a gift during the episode — a music box with a burner phone taped underneath. She listens to the music one day before going to check on the baby and that’s when the phone decides to ring with an unknown caller ringing from the other end. Is this Tyrell calling? Or someone else?
— New FBI agent Dom DiPierro loves to chug down those Five Hour Energy’s doesn’t she?
— The Smart House doesn’t seem like such a fun investment anymore after seeing Susan Jacobs’ haunted trip through hot and cold hell inside her Manhattan abode.
— The music in this episode included:
“Daydreamin'” (Instrumental) by Lupe Fiasco and Jill Scott
“Take Me Home” by Phil Collins
“Bull in the Heather” by Sonic Youth
Return next week friend for a new episode of Mr. Robot on Wednesday night on USA….