Mr Robot: 2.01, 2.02

ll the ingredients that were in season one of Mr Robot are present in season two and then some. Sam Ismail has done a stellar job, with this comeback

Mr Robot season one was simply superb cutting edge TV; with its dark aesthetics, corporate doom and gloom, psychosis, its abundance of melancholic complex characters; all put together it bizarrely made for a compelling watch. Creator Sam Ismail taps into the zeitgeist of the permanently plugged-in millennials, post the late 2000s recession. Elliot though, is still very much different to your run-of-the-mill New York twenty-something; his odd behaviour sets him miles apart from the rest. Rami Malik is an absolute genius as Elliot Alderson; with his constant anxious inner dialogue, his relentless paranoia, his inability to relate to anyone and of course his unbeatable hacking skills. Further to add to the mix, he has an alter ego Mr Robot, who happens to be his dead father, played pitch perfect by actor Christian Slater.

Season Two, starts off with Elliot in another existential crisis post ECorp hacking and the revelation that his dead father is living inside his head. It is proving unsuccessful for him as he is unable drown Mr Robot’s incessant talking and tormenting. He devises a meticulous plan, where he accounts for every single minute of his day, in attempt to quieten Mr Robot, but also to prevent Mr Robot taking over. The routine is the same, day in day out; involving tasks such as: house chores, lunch and dinner at a diner with dug dealer friend Leon, played rapper Joey Bada$$, who Elliot allows to just let’s talk and talk whilst basking in the mental distraction that Leon’s ramblings provide. Also a portion of the day is spent hanging out the local basket ball court watching people play, but never at any point does Elliot interact with anyone.

We find hackers FSociety, trying to piece themselves back together from season one, after Elliot’s departure. Picking up where they left off, they are continuing their crusade even further, against ECorp. Elliot’s sister and ringleader; Carly Chaikin’s Darlene and her IT followers, hack the smart home of E Corp general counsel Susan Jacobs and manage to drive her out, using her place base to run their operation. The episode ends with FSociety managing to hack again into ECorp’s system, creating an impenetrable firewall, freezing everyone’s computer. The are requesting a 5.9 million ransom hand delivered by one of ECorp’s chief officers, in a yet to be specified location.

Episode Two is an immediate continuation from the first. Fast forward a couple of hours, we find an ECorp partner in a park carrying two bags, with the 5.9 million. A courier on a bike approaches him and drops off a bag, but cycles off not picking the bags with money. ECorp partner opens the bag, and takes out a mask with instructions at the back of it. He wears the mask, empties all the money on to the pavement and then proceeds to set fire to it. A puzzled and shocked crowd starts to gather around him and we see Darlene among them.

We are introduced to a few new characters. The slightly goofy but curious and brainy FBI agent, Dominique DiPierro, played by Grace Gummer, who is now hot on the heels for Gideon, the owner of IT company Allsafe, which Elliot worked at. She is trying to decipher their involvement of the ECorp hack. Another new character is Ray who approaches Elliot on his daily visit to basket ball court. We are not given any hints as to who Ray is or what his intentions are, however he does tell Elliot they had recently met. Elliot doesn’t recall the meeting and panics realising, that he couldn’t account for this meeting, and is then led to believe that Mr Robot manages to take over and his routine plan isn’t all that fail-safe.

The episode does end rather dramatically. Gideon is approached at a bar by a man named Brock. Gideon is reluctant to speak to him, thinking that the person is coming onto him, but instead Brock shoots him in the neck, killing him instantly. Gideon had earlier in the episode threatened to report Elliot’s suspicious behaviour whilst he was working him at Allsafe to the FBI, specifically agent Dominique DiPierro.

The brilliance of both these episodes, promise another amazing season. All the ingredients that were in season one are present in season two and then some. Ismail has done a stellar job, with this comeback. He has done so by continuing and magnifying Elliot’s incessant inner dialogue and paranoia, the complexity of the characters, the dark and bleak aesthetics that overcast everything but more importantly the intense story telling.

Daniel Theophanous

Updated: Aug 16, 2016

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Mr Robot: 2.01, 2.02 | The Digital Fix