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TV Review: Mr. Robot 2.4 “eps2.2_init1.asec”
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Mr. Robot
Season 2 Episode 4 “eps2.2_init1.asec”
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
USA Network
Air date: Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 10pm

We left Elliot (Rami Malek) on the brink. He’s so desperate to keep Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) out of his head, that he is drugging himself into a trance-like existence. He is starting to snap. He goes on a God-hating tirade at church, and re-swallows regurgitated adderall. He has a new friend, Ray (Craig Robinson), who has helped him stabilize, but more problems are soon to come. FBI investigator Dominique DiPierro (Grace Gummer), digging through garbage, found a clue that has led to the Coney Island arcade that houses fsociety. And Darlene (Carly Chaikin) and the rest of the group are spiraling – one murdered, and others believing Elliot is the one who ratted them out.

Spoilers for this week’s Mr. Robot below.

We open with Darlene and Elliot hanging out watching an old horror movie before the days of E-Corp, fsociety, and the Dark Army. It’s strange watching them as semi-normal brother and sister. They even discuss their dad, and Elliot pulls out his old coat with his business, Mr. Robot, patched on. Dressed in his father’s coat, wearing the Mr. Robot mask, Elliot first makes mention of taking down Evil Corp. “I can’t tell if you’re joking behind that mask,” she says. He wasn’t.

The FBI found the arcade and are getting close. Angela (Portia Doubleday) is getting closer too. Not to fsociety, but to the top of E-Corp’s food chain. She’s taken Price’s (Michael Cristofer) offer to sabotage two executives who were cogs in the machine that led to her father’s death. She’s convinced Price needs something from her, which is why he is being so helpful to her career. Elliot and Ray play chess while Mr. Robot hovers overhead. Ray easily defeats him, but Elliots wants a rematch.

“You know the definition of insanity?” asks Ray.
“Clearly he doesn’t know who he’s talking to,” Elliot responds.

Mr. Robot offers Elliot a deal – one game of chess (against himself). If Elliot wins, he can confess and Mr. Robot will disappear. If Elliot loses, Mr. Robot takes over. One game to rule HIM all.

Darlene is starting to feel the paranoia. There are strange men in the subway who seem to be following her, and Cisco (Michael Drayer) tells her The Dark Army is nervous about the FBI getting involved. Destroying the world’s economy was a lot more fun until you realize all the consequences that rain down on you after.

Leon (Joey Bada$$) discusses the end of Seinfeld with Elliot before delving into philosophical questions of existence. Elliot thinks about whether he truly values things like a future, one filled with friends and family… a really excellent dream sequence… we’d even be there. Elliot comes to the conclusion that this normalcy is something he truly wants and will fight for. And so they play. Chess in the park, one on one, for Elliot’s soul, mind, and body. Stalemate after stalemate. How can you predict the opponent’s moves, when the opponent is you. “I can’t beat you and you can’t beat me… We will always be at this impasse, and you knew the whole time.”

Elliot finally touches a computer to help Ray out. With Mr. Robot at his side, he decides to help Darlene and maybe, move towards the goal of a genuinely happy future. First… unpack the FBI. This episode was a methodical, but still fantastic. Sam Esmail’s scripts are at the same time paranoia inducing, funny, and deeply moving. For the first time, we were allowed to dig deep into what Elliot really wants, and I feel like knowing this will enhance the audience’s empathy with him and his cause moving forward. This was one of the better psychological studies I’ve seen on TV in a long while. Playing chess with Mr. Robot reminded me of Jack Klugman literally dying to beat Jonathan Winters in a game of pool in a classic Twilight Zone episode. Great acting, writing, and emotions make this one of the best shows going right now.

Mr. Robot returns next Wednesday at 10:00pm ET on USA.

Video

Mr. Robot 2×04 Promo “eps2.2init1.asec”


Mr. Robot 2×04 “eps2.2init1.asec” – Elliot friends Ray, who he hopes can help delete Mr. Robot; Dom makes a major discovery; and Darlene questions whether the FBI or Dark Army is the bigger threat.

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