MR. ROBOT Review: “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme”

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makes a grand revelation as to what’s actually going on with Elliot, while Angela and fsociety continue to work from inside of E-Corp to take them down once and for all. If E-Corp does go down will it change anything, or will Zhang be there to pick up the pieces and profit off of them?

The first scene seems to be a fantasy of Joanna Wellick’s about how things were before Tyrell went missing and their marriage and lives fell apart. Her fantasy is quickly dashed as a woman on the street drenches her with a bucket of blood and yells “Capitalist Pig!” I’ve been wondering what’s the point of Joanna in this season? I don’t see why she’s such a big part of the story right. Her BDSM punishment sex routine, her new lover, the government watching her, the cover up and murder of the guy from the car lot where Tyrell’s car was found, none of it seems very important at this point. Unless Tyrell is another persona of Elliot’s, I don’t understand why she’s given so much screen time.

When we last saw Angela, Dom had just confronted her at her desk. She grills Angela about why she was on a restricted floor, while all the while Darlene listens on through the phone. Dom tries to break Angela down, tells her she knows about her past and how curious it is she finds Angela now working for the company responsible for killing her mother. These are interrogation techniques to throw someone off, make them reveal things they don’t want, but it doesn’t work on Angela. She dodges all of the questions and keeps her cool. When Dom leaves, Angela completes the hack. Fsociety owns the FBI now.

This by no means shakes Dom off Angela’s trail. Dom tries to view surveillance footage to see what Angela was up to, but someone (Darlene) has corrupted all of the video footage. Dom realizes they’ve been hacked, and suspects Angela was behind it. The problem is there’s no way she can prove it. Dom is smart, and has figured out a lot of what’s going on that’s escaped her superiors, but I think she’s going to be a day late and a dollar short this entire season. She’ll figure it all out, but what good does that do if she can’t prove any of it? With fsociety now able to monitor the FBI’s every move, Mobley is excited to show Darlene something big the FBI has planned.

Beyond just the hacking of the FBI, Angela is hard at work trying to get a settlement made for the class action lawsuit over her mother and others deaths from the negligence of E-Corp. She knows the whole company is going to go belly up, and wants her father to settle and get money before there’s no money to get. At the same time Price wants to settle as E-Corp hemorrhages money like crazy. It would be cheaper to settle than to pay the legal fees. Angela’s position inside of the company allows her to manipulate all sides to get what she wants, and when she makes the settlement happen by getting a clause in the plaintiff’s demands removed, she uses the leverage to make Price give her a in risk management where she can find out all of the dirty dealings of E-Corp. What will she do with this access? I’m guessing she’ll pull an Edward Snowden data dump to finish off E-Corp, unless her new boss gets in the way.

Elliot is still locked in the basement, badly beaten, but has now forged an alliance with Mr. Robot that’ll make them both stronger. Ray needs him to finish migrating the website, and both Elliot and Mr. Robot know that when he’s finished, and Ray has what he wants, Ray will likely have him killed. He stays his execution by challenging Ray to one last chess match. It seems when Ray told Elliot not to look at what was on the website, it was because Ray had agreed when his wife set up the site to never look at what was for sale on there. He only looked after Elliot looked, and what he saw made him sick. He had Elliot complete the transfer of the website knowing full well Elliot would do something to get him caught. Elliot did, he made the site easy to find for anyone who googles the right key words, and also set up banner ads to drive traffic and notice to the site. Ray wanted to be caught, and allows Elliot to leave before the feds show up.

Problem solved right? Wrong, in the aftermath of Ray’s Silk Road style website going down, there are a lot of angry people who lost money in its collapse. Elliot is confronted by a group of white supremacists at the basketball courts who say he owes them money now. On top of it Mr. Robot finally tells him what happened to Tyrell. Mr. Robot says “I shot him” to which Elliot replies “no, I shot him”. Mr. Robot may have been in control at the time, but he’s just an extension of Elliot. How do we know Mr. Robot is telling the truth? We don’t. According to Mr. Robot the hack was all Elliot’s idea, Mr. Robot just followed his lead. Elliot needs to finish what he started and take down E-Corp. The only problem is whether he can do it before Ray’s angry clients get to him.

Nope, he’s grabbed by a group of them while walking on the street. Each time they punch him, Mr. Robot’s face momentarily takes over and takes the punch for Elliot.   He’s about to be brutally beaten and raped, but Leon shows up out of the blue like a ninja, and takes out the entire crew. It turns out Leon was hired by the White Rose to look after Elliot and keep him safe. Elliot’s going to receive a letter in a few days, and Leon tells him to do what it says, and that he’ll always be rooting for Elliot.

Elliot tells his therapist Krista how he’s come to turns with his alter ego, she’s glad, but also asks Elliot if he knows where he is right now? Here’s the big reveal: everything we’ve seen so far this season with Elliot in it has been a construction of his imagination. Real events happened to him, which he turned into this fantasy of a monastic life, and his involvement with Ray, but it’s all taken place entirely inside prison where Elliot is an inmate.

The letter Leon told him seems to be a parole letter. What did Elliot do to go to jail? I’m guessing it was all set up by White Rose to keep Elliot safe in the aftermath of the hack. If he’s locked up and looked after in prison, no one will suspect what he’s done. Leon has made sure nothing bad has happened to him, but now that he’s getting out, what does the White Rose have planned for him? If this was all an illusion in Elliot’s mind, what else have we seen that is unreliable or false? Are there any more twists in store for us? I’m guessing Esmail has another big one saved up for the finale.

TB-TV-Grade-A
Season 2, Episode 7 (S02E07)
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 9PM on USA

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For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.
Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

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2 Comments

  1. “…none of it seems very important at this point. Unless Tyrell is another persona of Elliot’s, I don’t understand why she’s given so much screen time.”

    I agree, and further I’d submit that — as much as I like the show overall — this sentiment applies to many things, especially the drug and psychic delusions (and even many of the monologues), which to me are little more than padding. I think one could edit this show considerably, to about half of its total length so far, and it would be much more compelling (and less pretentious).

    I didn’t care for the big reveal, though after being desensitized to such tricks by far worse (if lauded) works such as “The Usual Suspects”, it didn’t bother me that much. But I would have preferred we knew that he was in prison from the beginning of the season. I don’t see how that would have harmed anything, and would have made things less confusing. (And, oddly enough, actually provided more visual diversity, both making it easier on our eyes as well as easier to keep track of where we are.)

  2. I’m just glad we can put the reveal or twist behind us now and focus on the real guts of this season’s story. It was a long winded divergence that I hope pays off, or I will be slightly annoyed by it all.

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