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TV Review: Mr. Robot 2.1 “” & 2.2 “”
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Mr. Robot
Season 2 Episode 1 “” & Episode 2 “”
Directed by Sam Esmail
Written by Sam Esmail
Created by Sam Esmail
Starring Rami Malek, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, Grace Gummer, Michel Gill
USA Network
Air date: Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 10pm

Last year, Mr. Robot was the breakout show for the USA network, nominated for four Emmy Awards and winning Golden Globes for Best Drama Series and Supporting Actor for Christian Slater. This year, it snagged nominations for Best Drama Series, Best Actor in a Drama Series (Malek), Best Writing For a Drama Series, and ones for casting, music composition, and sound mixing. The series, created by Sam Esmail is like Fight Club for the modern era, only without the fighting. An undercover high tech group of hackers called “fsociety” are trying to sabotage the biggest world’s corporation, nicknamed “Evil-Corp,” and erase the debt Americans have. If you’re thinking that sounds a bit like Fight Club‘s “Project Mayhem,” just wait, the similarities don’t stop there. Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) works for a tech security firm and finds the hack. But instead of being a noble worker bee and calling it in, he feels somehow compelled to join fsociety and meets the crew in the backroom of an abandoned Coney Island arcade. He is led there by the Tyler Durden of the group, Mr. Robot (Slater). The first season is as binge-worthy a show I can think of, and if you haven’t watched it, GO… it’s available on Amazon, free with a Prime subscription. The big twist that occurred at the end and rocked Elliot’s world… he IS Mr. Robot and Slater is his deceased father! Which made it all the more awkward when Elliot tried to kiss Darlene (Carly Chaikin) early in the season because he didn’t remember she was his sister… Holy Luke & Leia Batman!!! Let’s delve back into Elliot’s crazy world with the two part season premiere… sorry I’m late… I was on vacation.

Spoilers below for the Mr. Robot season premiere:

“I always knew we’d end up working together. Still I have to know… why’d you do it?” – Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom)

“I wanted to save the world.” – Elliot

Starting one month after fsociety dropped their bomb, and we even get Obama press conferences blaming Tyrell Wellick; that’s some nifty editing. Elliot lives with his mom again, and spends most of his days with Leon (Joey Bada$$) who talks his ears off about Seinfeld. He attends a church group and keeps a journal. Rinse, repeat… “isn’t that where it’s comfortable… in the sameness.”
Mr. Robot is waiting for him at home, and tries to stir him back to finish the revolution. But he is hiding something from him; Wellick’s location. 5-minutes in and the show is again all sorts of trippy and messes with your sense of reality. Mr. Robot shoots Elliot in the head. “Again” he writes in the notebook. Truly there is nothing like this on network television.

Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt) is having a rough day in her tech savvy 1%-er Greenwich apartment. The thermostat is down to 40, the alarms are going off, even the shower has turned on her. When she leaves to go to a hotel (the apartment looking like a fancy Christmas display), fsociety waltzes in, Darlene in the lead. Gideon (Michel Gill) shows up at Elliot’s apartment to explain that All Safe is basically out of business, and that the FBI believes he is complicit in the hack. Gideon is the one person Elliot truly respects, and this news may be kick in Elliot’s ass to get out of his routine and go back to fsociety. Mr. Robot is the one framing Gideon, which means Elliot is framing Gideon. “We are linked by insanity,” Mr. Robot tells him. Slater is so damn good. In season one he was helping Elliot discover his place, and of course acting fatherly in a not so subtle way. Here he is maniacal, giddily trying to push Elliot over the edge, not a shred of paternalism anywhere. Mr. Robot has ceased being the memory of Elliot’s dad, and now actually is Mr. Robot, and will stop at nothing to finish the job they started. They need Elliot.

At Susan Jacobs’ house, a party is going on as fsociety celebrates the literal castration of the Wall Street Bull. Darlene stops the fun because they are at war. Susan Jacobs is “Madame Executioner” when it comes to any lawsuit filed against Evil-Corp. Darlene wants the people to know fsociety will keep fighting for them… the plan is launched. They will “brick” E-Corp’s entire system in 24-hours unless they agree to give them $5.9 million… INTERMISSION.

An exec at E-Corp brings the $5.9 million ransom and then receives a bag by bike courier. In it are a Mr. Robot mask with instructions. He proceeds to wear the mask while publicly burning the money. Darlene is pleased. Elliot meanwhile, is still clinging to his regimen, turning down a lonely dog walker (Craig Robinson) who heard he knew computers. No one knows where Wellick is, though his wife Joanna (the stunningly gorgeous Stephanie Corneliussen) is finding other ways to get her 50 Shades of fun. Wellick does find ways of leaving her gifts, including a secret cell phone.

Angela (Portia Doubleday) is cozying into her role at E-Corp. The whole join-the-monster-to-destroy-them-from-the-inside thing has gone the wayside. Her biggest issue was a lack of acceptance. She was passed over routinely at All Safe, and even Elliot, her best friend, failed to keep her in the loop. So it makes sense that she’d turn to the dark side, although it’s obvious she is still conflicted and desperate for that acceptance.

Elliot has a breakthrough… or maybe breakdown… I can’t really tell. Rami Malek is so good here. He looks legitimately insane, not like an actor playing crazy. He’s got the bags under his eyes, he appears malnourished. If a child looked that way in my class, I’d call social services. But he finally has ammo against Mr. Robot… you see his imaginary friend is really the desperate one. Mr. Robot NEEDS Elliot to go back to work with fsociety. Without a computer to hack, Mr. Robot lives exclusively in Elliot’s mind. Elliot is having a battle of wits with his own wits! THAT is insane!

Gideon goes for a drink and gets approached by a seemingly nice man. At first I’m thinking everyone just goes to bars and meets people instantly for one-night stands, but no, the man knows Gideon from the news, knows he’s a chief suspect in the economic devastation, and says he will “wake up a hero tomorrow,” before shooting Gideon through the neck, likely to his death, a death Elliot could’ve prevented. Elliot dozes off during his church meeting and wakes up, phone in hand as Tyrell Wellick greets him.

There aren’t enough words to describe this show. I’ll try a few: hypnotic, jaw-dropping, hallucinatory. Rami Malek is breathtaking (there’s another good one) and Elliot is one of TV’s most fascinating characters, like Don Draper tuned to eleven. At the end of season 1, I was a little irked by the similarities the story had with Fight Club. The two-part premiere has created something wholly different. I was only 4-hours home from vacation, unpacked, and truly exhausted but I watched these episodes back to back with no break. For a show dealing with a main character who has crafted life’s most boring routine, this show was riveting.

If you’re not already addicted to Mr. Robot, catch the two-part premiere on demand, and catch the next episode Wednesday night at 10:00PM ET on USA.


Mr. Robot: “˜Has Elliot Lost It?’ from_2.01

Elliot seemingly descends into madness when he realizes there’s a lapse in his journal.

Mr. Robot: on the next episode_2.02

elliot vows to beat mr. robot but it aint easy, smh. angela sees behind the scenes at evil corp. sh*t
hits fan with fsociety.

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