USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 7: “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” – click here
Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) keeps finding gifts left for her, the baby. Of course they’re from estranged, lost husband Tyrell (Martin Wallström). We see that these little gifts were always a thing. We’re briefly flashing back to a time when Sharon (Michele Hicks) was still alive. Then quickly we’re back to the present, where a woman tosses a bucket of red paint all over her: “Capitalist pig!”
What about Elliot (Rami Malek)? He’s still down in the basement, dad (Christian Slater) trying to keep his spirits up, holding him close. It’s become a rough life for our hacker. His altruistic, if not foolishly heroic intentions have landed him in a bad way. Now they’re trying to retrace memories, to figure out what actually happened on the night of the big hack with Tyrell.
And back over at E.Corp, Angela (Portia Doubleday) is surprised to find Dominique (Grace Gummer) at her desk, inquiring as to what she’s been up to, floor to floor, looking busy. The FBI agent knows who she is, sweating her subtly. But off she goes, leaving Angela to finish off her coding. Darlene (Carly Chaikin) lets her know all is finished; they’re in deep.
Dad’s telling Elliot they killed Tyrell. Of course it’s all under the guise of protecting his son, protecting them all. Supposedly, they used the gun from the popcorn machine. But is that true? Hard to tell. Just as control is an illusion, as is the truth most often.
FBI’s discovering the hack, though Dom doesn’t take it too hard. She expected it, almost. And she knows Angela, whoever else is behind it, has wiped every trace of their tracks. Might as well try finding another, better way inside fsociety. Meanwhile, Angela’s only just now putting together all the pieces of the puzzle about her childhood friends.
Back out of the basement, Elliot is brought to see Ray. He’s bending to the master’s will now, or so he pretends. He’s back at the computer, working on migrating the black marketplace site. At least he’s needed, which keeps him alive, safe. For the time being.
We see Joanna dealing with Derek dissatisfied over their relationship. He wanted her to come publicly be his girlfriend. She was busy, though now shows up to present him with the divorce she’s filing, separating herself from Tyrell. But I wonder, how does a divorce work when the other party is nowhere to be found?
Later, the literal chess Ray and Elliot play mirrors the mental, figurative chess they’re playing. The black market kingpin talks about his wife, that she was involved with him creating the site. He talks about morality, how Elliot is his “answer.” He realises the hacker turned him in, that the cops are coming. In a way, Ray recognises he’s been, effectively, saved from himself.
The missing Wall Street Bull’s balls come crashing down on the senate floor.
Perfect. Everyone can see.
Elliot gets a visit from a few tough guys. Lots of people aren’t happy with the Ray situation, Bitcoin money fucked up in limbo. One guy wants to get paid back. He’s watching Elliot. Ah, more trouble. No good deed goes unpunished, huh? Love Leon (Joey Bada$$) referencing “the Sword of Damocles.”
Angela is still trying to change things from the inside. She keeps trying to get what she can from Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer), angling to whatever’s in her best interest. Even if her own father doesn’t trust her anymore. In a way, Price has become a kind of father figure. At times, a threatening one.
Now, Elliot is going back to his father, to find inspiration as what to do next, to finish what he started concerning Evil Corp. But dad reminds his boy that it’s all him, he’s the one who’s done all of this to begin a revolution: “Because you are a leader.” Except our hacker doesn’t want to be one. A big transformation is ahead if he is to become one.
At the office, in her new department, Angela gets an overview of what she’ll be doing. An internal investigations department. She has to work discreetly, fast, smart. Help the company. She’s starting off with the Flint water contamination case that’s on the horizon. Oh, that’s great.
Elliot keeps running into the tough guys, they beat him more. They’re about to do something awful when he’s saved by none other than Leon, always watching out for his friend. A vicious, bloody scene that was totally unexpected. Leon only asks that Whiterose (B.D. Wong) hears about how he did right by our hacker.
“You can‘t destroy a part of yourself”
At the psychiatrist’s office, Krista (Gloria) helps us see that Elliot hasn’t been staying with his mother. He’s in jail, meeting with her. He keeps on seeing the outside world, an illusory experience. Illusion has now given him control, rather than the other way around. That’s why we had the bloody scene, Leon’s knife-wielding ninja act. All the while, since Ray’s arrest, he’s also been kicking around in jail. Using his mind to project another place, somewhere he could hang on to sanity, even if delusion and illusion are his current best friends.
So it’s pretend, pretend, pretend, to make it through the day.
Jesus, this show constantly reinvents itself, and flips the script on the viewer so well, in interesting, inventive ways. So much to look forward to going forward, particularly where things go with the FBI.
“eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” comes next, many things are about to go down.