"Mr. Robot" arrived on television last year and dominated the scene with its engaging storyline and dark connotations. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the USA Network show, let me give you a mini rundown of what this summertime sensation is all about (with spoilers, obviously, within).
"Mr. Robot" tells the story of a cybersecurity engineer and hacker named Elliot Alderson. Elliot suffers from social anxiety disorder and clinical depression; as a result, he has very few friends and is highly disconnected from the ones he does have. Elliot speaks to his imaginary friend, the viewer, about his concerns with his life and society. Elliot was recruited into a group of "hacktivists" called fsociety, lead by a peculiar man known only as Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot pushes Elliot to join a revolution focused on canceling all debts in the country by attacking a large and corrupt company called E Corp (perceived by Elliot as Evil Corp).
The first season revealed that Elliot has a sister named Darlene, a fellow hacker in fsociety; Elliot didn’t remember that Darlene was his sister until fairly late into the season. We also find that Elliot’s conversations with us can’t be fully trusted because he hasn’t fully been in control of himself. He realizes that the man known as Mr. Robot is really his father that died from cancer (reportedly due to an event called the Washington Township Scandal), along with the mother of his childhood friend, Angela. And, in the end of the season, Elliot realizes that Mr. Robot, the leader of fsociety, isn’t real; in reality, Elliot was Mr. Robot all along.
The end of the season was marked with the ambitious Tyrell Wellick, the Senior Vice President of Technology of E Corp, discovering that Elliot was the one behind the massive hack on E Corp and demanding to know how Elliot made it possible. We see Elliot reach for a hidden gun in the fsociety headquarters, but we have no clue if he actually used that gun on Tyrell.
Without further adieu, now is the time for us to discuss the two-part second season premiere!
Right before the first scene, we hear a flashback of a conversations between Elliot, his therapist Krista Gordon and Tyrell Wellick. The conversations reveal Elliot’s reasoning for his repugnance for the current state of society: He simply wanted to save the world from "the invisible hand."
The premiere then begins where we left off last season, with Elliot telling Tyrell about all of the inner workings of fsociety. Right after Elliot reaches for the gun in the popcorn maker, the scene is immediately switched to the moment after Elliot fell out of his bedroom window as a child. After the accident, Elliot was at the doctor where his brain scans were zoomed in on. The audience/Elliot’s imaginary friend is finally able to see where it all began; something in Elliot’s head changed the day he fell out that window.
Now that we’ve seen his beginning, we can now see where Elliot’s life has been after his majorly successful hack and departure from fsociety. He’s fallen into what he calls a perfectly constructed loop, a daily program to help him stay in control of himself and keep Mr. Robot at bay. He keeps a journal of his day to keep his program running. Elliot doesn’t get sidetracked by his hacking obsession due to his mom’s (who he’s now living with) lack of computer or Wi-Di access. His daily program includes a lot of time spent with his new friend Leon, a talkative guy who recently became enthralled in the show "Seinfeld," a show that is "really f*cking with him."
There’s much more to Leon than what meets the eye, however, because at one point in their conversation, Leon states that, "The human condition is a straight up tragedy, cuz." True, Leon, true. He’s obviously an informed and aware guy, which probably makes his presence a little more rewarding to Elliot besides the fact that he doesn’t have to talk since Leon talks so much.
Other activities included in Elliot’s program are a visit to a church group twice a week and a daily neighborhood basketball game. Despite his daily attendance to basketball games, Elliot doesn’t like sports, but he sees the beauty in the rules. He refers to the rules as "the invisible code of chaos hiding behind the menacing face of order." Elliot eventually meets a pensive man named Ray at the basketball games who seems to know a great deal about Elliot. Elliot tries to push him away and tries not to talk to him.
Elliot still occasionally visits his therapist Krista Gordon, who remains visibly uncomfortable after he hacked into her whole life and made her privy to that fact. Despite her discomfort, she seems to be genuinely intrigued by Elliot and wants to help him figure his sh*t out. Elliot thinks that normal people keep their lives on repeat and that comfort is found in the sameness of it all. He also revealed that he sometimes feels alone and can’t trust himself – or us, for that matter. He said something else to Dr. Gordon, but we weren’t allowed to peep in on that fact.
We weren’t able to see what he said because he doesn’t trust us anymore, for he believes that we kept things from him. "Friends are supposed to be honest with each other, and you weren’t," said Elliot. Frankly, the same can be said about you too, Elliot — but whatever, I won’t be salty.
Mr. Robot begins popping up again, trying to disrupt Elliot’s routine. He claims that their revolution needs a leader, and he’s not going away until Elliot complies. Elliot asks Mr. Robot where Tyrell is, but he won’t spill the beans; instead, Mr. Robot shoots Elliot in the head, an event that has apparently happened before. Elliot records his encounters with Mr. Robot and asks himself if control is an illusion. I think it could be said that control is an illusion. No matter how hard we all try to control things, the inevitable will happen anyways. So no, I don’t see Elliot getting rid of Mr. Robot at all.
We’re introduced to a new character named Susan Jacobs, the General Council at E Corp. Susan’s nickname at E Corp is Madame Executioner, due to her uncanny ability to kill any lawsuit against E Corp, especially those involving debts. She lives in a smart house that begins to go haywire, forcing her to leave until the problem is fixed. Of course, dear little Darlene was behind it all, making Susan’s house into a new fsociety HQ. Darlene took over as the head of fsociety after Elliot went AWOL, and she doesn’t seem to be enjoying her new position. Unfortunately, Darlene was never meant to be a leader; she jumps the gun way too easily and lets her emotions get in the way of the bigger picture.
Back at Elliot’s house, his old boss at Allsafe, Gideon, came to pay him a visit. Allsafe is virtually no more after the fsociety hack, and the FBI thinks that Gideon had something to do with it. All Gideon did, however, was be a friend to Elliot, and all it got him was being caught in the crossfire of the new revolution. As Mr. Robot stands in the corner eating an apple, Gideon threatens to go to the FBI with what he knows about Elliot.
Mr. Robot asserts his dominance on Elliot with reckless speech, the reappearance of Elliot’s imaginary gunshot wound and slitting Gideon’s throat (which obviously didn’t happen). Elliot is trying to stay in control but is quickly unraveling. Mr. Robot insists that he is vital to Elliot’s existence; can this be true? After all, Elliot himself says, "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?"
At E Corp’s banks, the company's whole system is frozen by fsociety and won’t be back up unless they give up $5.9 million. Susan Jacobs, along with E Corp’s CEO and CTO, try to diffuse the situation and find that their only option is to comply with the terms. The CTO Scott Knowles volunteers to make the money drop. As he stands waiting in the designated spot, a bike messenger hands him a bag with the fsociety mask and some lighter fluid. The instructions? Wear the mask and ignite the millions of dollars on the sidewalks of New York, symbolizing the destruction of capitalism.
Meanwhile, the CEO of E Corp, Phillip Price, is having a hard time with his board after the system was hacked. They refused to help in any way, to which Price responded with rage. He reminded them that every day they con the public into believing whatever they want them to, and without the confidence, there is no con. This is deep, people.
Tyrell Wellick’s wife Joanna is still being tied up in bed, but not by Tyrell. She now has a new boy toy – and a bodyguard. I guess she feels somewhat unsafe after her husband disappeared ... but does she know anything about his disappearance? Upon arriving at home one day, she was met with a present on her stoop. Inside was a music box with a cell phone taped to the bottom. She doesn’t do or say anything about the phone, which eventually received a call from an unknown number. Could it be Tyrell calling?
Elliot’s friend Angela is still working at E Corp, despite the company causing one of her parent’s death. She seems to be disliked at the company, but even so, she's slowly thriving there. She informs her partner in bringing down E Corp, Antara Nayar, that she is no longer planning on leaving the company. Antara spews an analogy of a man approaching a woman and negotiating paying her for sex before leaving Angela to be hit on by a guy at the bar right after.
Angela did, in fact, sleep with the guy, followed by a positive affirmation video. Seems like Angela is trying to trick herself into being happy. I can’t tell if she has an end game or if she has really sold her soul to the devil.
Sitting at a bar all by his lonesome is Gideon, wallowing in his sorrows after going to the FBI. We don’t know what he told them, but he seems pretty stressed out. A man approaches Gideon and begins talking about the state of society. The man knows exactly who Gideon was and tells him that he’s never met a bigger crisis actor before he met Gideon. He followed that up with, "This is for our country," and shoots Gideon point blank in the neck. What!? What was the point of Gideon dying like that? It seriously was an eye-opener moment to let you know that sh*t just got real.
Back at his daily basketball game, Elliot encounters Ray once again. Ray insists that he and Elliot had a conversation the night before, of which Elliot has no recollection of. Uh oh; he’s lost control! Elliot recorded going to bed around 10:30 p.m. the night before and waking up around 6 a.m., yet he can’t account for the time he was apparently out roaming the streets. This obviously means that Mr. Robot is working behind the scenes, but we don’t know what the purpose is.
Mr. Robot reappears and tries to convince Elliot that he is the one that everyone sees. Elliot breaks out into a psychotic laughing state, then asks Mr. Robot one more time where Tyrell is. Mr. Robot refuses to tell Elliot where Tyrell is, prompting Elliot to go to his church group. Elliot falls asleep in the group and wakes up in a hallway with a red phone to his ear. A mysterious voice greets Elliot, but who on earth is it? Is it the person who orchestrated Gideon’s assassination? Could it be Tyrell?
All we know is that there are moments in Elliot’s day that are now unaccounted for. Could his daily program truly be an illusion? We don’t even know how much of what we see is true. After seeing this episode ... talk about trust issues.
Zoe Benjamin, currently a senior at UW-Milwaukee, was raised in the South suburbs of Chicago. She is a foodie, an avid traveler and music junkie, with just the right amount of nerdiness to top it all off.
Growing up in a large Jamaican family exposed her to a lifestyle full of food, laughter and pride. Zoe’s appreciation for her family’s eclectic nature led her to celebrate the differences in others. She just so happens to especially enjoy the study of food, seeing that eating is her favorite pastime.
Ever since she was able to get on a plane by herself, Zoe has taken the liberty of traveling to every place within her reach -- whether that be the next state over, or across the seas. Her wanderlust has taken her to 10 different countries, with France being her favorite. Nothing excites her more than French food and wine. Zoe hopes to absorb and share as much culture as she can so that the world may become that much more accepting of all the bountiful diversity in the world.