USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 1: “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc” – click here
We start on the fsociety mask, of course underneath is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), as many of us suspected. And the whole time he was recording that video, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) was right there with him. So, what happened to Tyrell afterwards? Did our boy use the gun he hid in the popcorn machine ages ago on him? I’m not so sure.
“It‘s almost as if something‘s come alive”
Flashback to when young Elliott got knocked out of the window by dear ole dad, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) himself. At the doctor, the bills are naturally of concern considering dad’s unemployment. And doc wonders if there’s anything nasty going on at home.
Note: I was late starting into this show, and can’t understand how that happened. Because not only is the acting and the writing fantastic, the visuals are outstanding, the cinematography is unique. So much to enjoy. But best of all is how the visual style, even the music, really helps to put us in the fractured state of mind where Elliot exists perpetually. Playing into the narration, where the audience is treated as the voices in his head, at least in the sense of us being who he’s talking to directly.
Leon: “The human condition is a tragedy, coz.”
Now things are all fucked up. Even Obama’s talking about Tyrell Wellick, fsociety, and their impact on the economy as a whole in the country, abroad. Everything’s gone mad. Elliot, though, he’s making new friends like Leon (Joey Bada$$), whom he hangs with often, eating together, watching basketball games at the park. Although our hacker doesn’t understand sports, except for the rules: “The invisible code of chaos hiding behind the menacing face of order.”
Because Elliot likes routine, normalcy, repetition. No more thinking, just a drone from day to day. He goes to see Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben) regularly for psychiatric sessions. She’s not exactly thrilled with him, after all he’s done. But professionally she gives him the benefit of the doubt.
At home, Elliot deals with dad coming back, trying to force his way back inside. The son wants answers. All he gets is an imaginary bullet in the head. Yet he goes on, effectively ignoring Mr. Robot, that other part of him. I wonder, at what cost?
The Wall Street bull is having its nuts cut off, fsociety sending that figurative message to the elites that they’ve neutered them. A clever gesture.
We’re introduced to Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt), she works as general counsel for Evil Corp. Nicknamed “Madame Executioner” for dealing with lawsuits often involving deaths. She lives a fairly normal life. Jobs, watches the news. Tonight, life is a little different. Her licks flicker while she’s swimming in her pool, music plays then stops. The shower nearly burns her skin. In the rest of the house, the temperature’s been dropped. Her TV turns, the phone rings. Someone’s hacking her Smart House. You just know Darlene (Carly Chaikin) is kicking around someplace.
Later, Elliot meets with Gideon Goddard (Michel Gill). Apparently the FBI believes Gideon was involved in the hack, in some way, shape, or form. He’s hiding away, scared, paranoid. Problem is our hacker has to contend with dad rambling in his ear while listening to his old boss plead for help. When he refuses to help, there’s the possibility of blackmail, plus the fact Elliot can barely tell reality from delusion anymore.
“How do I take off a mask when it stops being a mask? When it‘s as much a part of me as I am?”
Part of why I love Mr. Robot is that it takes a look at the toll on those who try to bring revolution, what it takes personally, professionally, ethically/morally. We see Elliot’s further deteriorating mental state, exacerbated by this feeling of wanting to save the world. We also see Darlene warped by a sense of power, not doing too well, either; she’s pointed in the right direction, but even those with good intentions can be warped, too.
Seems the hack has made things a bit worse than better. People had their debt wiped out, though now the banks can’t verify how much people paid, if they did at all, their systems are all out of whack. And it’s getting worse. By worse, it’s Darlene hoping to make things better, to affect genuine change.
Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) and Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell) meat with Susan, to talk over the hack, issues of money. She gives her thoughts on paying the ransom to fsociety in regards to the latest hacking move. She thinks it’s best to pay and be done. Then Scott offers to bring the money himself.
Damn. A very intense, mysterious opener that has me curious about what’ll happen to Scott, where Darlene is headed, and most of all how Elliot’s going to keep coping with dad.
“eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc” is next.