Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the season 2 premiere of USA’s show Mr. Robot. Read at your own risk.
I think we can all agree that USA’s tech-thriller Mr. Robot was one of the most surprising shows of 2015 (as well as one of the best shows of 2015 period). Many fans didn’t know what to expect of the show, and the beauty is that feeling of not knowing where the plot was headed was not only sustained, but heightened throughout the remainder of the season. As we fell further into the rabbit hole that is the twisted reality of our unreliable, psychologically disturbed protagonist Elliot (Rami Malek), we felt almost as detached from the real world as he was. The show broke the fourth wall in impressive ways, and left us with more questions than answers.
While the season one finale left an awful lot unresolved (like the knock, which isn’t addressed in the season 2 premiere), we did get one answer: “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater) isn’t real. Rather, he’s a dissociated personality of sorts resembling Elliot’s father, who actually died in 1995. And Darlene (Carly Chaikin), one of the Underground Hackers of FSociety, is actually Elliot’s sister. With Angela (Portia Doubleday), the siblings took on E Corp (a.k.a. Evil Corp) as a form of vengeance for the company’s hand in their parents’ deaths. At the end of the explosive season 2 finale, we saw Elliot come completely unhinged as the world around him began to riot. The hack happened, disgraced exec Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström) disappeared, and Elliot has lost his memory.
But where does that leave Elliot for the two-part premiere of the show’s second season? Not in a good place, that’s where–though he’s halfway decent at pretending nothing is wrong. At the top of the episode, we see Tyrell and Elliot executing the hack that devastated E Corp. Before the scene ends, Elliot reaches into the popcorn machine (which as far as we know, still has a gun in it). Did Elliot end up killing Tyrell after the hack? Who knows, but the nugget is worth holding onto for now.
Tyrell’s whereabouts and his memory loss have vexed Elliot during the finale and continued to be a central issue for him during the premiere. As a way to keep his problematic alter ego at bay, Elliot moved in with his mother, and stays on a tight schedule. In short, he has breakfast, lunch, and dinner with his new friend Leon (Joey Bada$$)–who is obsessed with Seinfeld, and talks about it non-stop, giving the anti-social Elliot the relief of not having to talk. We’re already pretty big fans of Leon and hope to see him throughout the season.
But as jam-packed as his daily regimen is, that doesn’t stop Mr. Robot from whispering sweet words of revolution into Elliot’s delusional ears. The part of his brain inhabited by his father wants Elliot to get back to work, while the sane(ish) side is trying to find out what happened during his blackout. Throughout the premiere, we see the duo fight. When Elliot begs to know what happened to Wellick, Mr. Robot pulled out a gun and shot him. Apparently it’s something that happens all the time, as indicated by Elliot’s journal note: “He shot me again, but this time I didn’t panic.” The shocking hallucination happens several times, with Elliot eventually bandaging his imaginary wound.
But Elliot can only push Mr. Robot out of his mind for so long until he cracks–which is exactly what happened. Despite documenting every waking hour of every day, Elliot came to the realization that his alter ego is able to work while he’s asleep. This frightening revelation came about after a stranger mentions a conversation Elliot didn’t remember having with him. After Mr. Robot admitted to working behind the scenes, Elliot erupted in laughter and told him to shoot him again. The moment was insane in the membrane and another testament to Malek’s superb acting skills. Seriously, that laugh was terrifying.
Of course, Elliot isn’t the only one with issues. His former boss Gideon paid a visit to his home and told him that the FBI is on his case because they think he was responsible for the hack. He wants Elliot’s help, and went so far as to threaten to reveal what he knows about the troubled hacker to the feds if he doesn’t comply. Fortunately for Elliot (but unfortunately for Gideon) he isn’t able to follow through with the threat because a strange man murdered him towards the end of the episode.
As for Darlene, she’s still in charge of FSociety but is finding it hard to keep the rabid followers in check; they removed a metal bull’s genitals for pete’s sake. The crew hacked their way into an E Corp executive’s smart apartment (via screwing with her technology, forcing her to vacate to her other apartment). Darlene clearly isn’t handling the pressure well, but was able to wipe away her tears before inspiring her troops to keep fighting the good fight. We also know that she hasn’t seen her brother in a while, which probably explains the tears.
We also caught up with Angela, who is still working at the hellish job that Colby hired her to do. Her co-workers hate her, but that didn’t stop her from being the ruthless business woman we saw hints of towards the latter half of season one. Despite crumbling in private (repeating over and over to herself that she has value), Angela puts on the tough gal act pretty well. We saw it in full force when she met with the lawyer working on the E Corp case. Despite the woman’s dislike of Angela’s new profession, she tells her that she likes her job and is planning on staying there.
Tyrell’s wife Joanna, as per usual, was up to some seriously twisted stuff. In between S&M sexcapades, she takes care of her new baby. We’re not quite sure what’s going on on her end, but she received a strange box, and call from an unknown caller. Our guess is that she has a bigger hand in everything going on, or Tyrell is trying to get to her. Speaking of Tyrell, our only knowledge of him came at the end of the episode when he called Elliot. Of course, we don’t know if that was actually him, or if it’s another delusion.
E Corp is also falling apart, with disgruntled bank visitors unable to access their own money, and more issues now under their belt. After the company’s servers went down, they took FSociety’s bait and sent an executive to a park with $5.9 million in ransom money. But the hackers made it clear that things won’t be so easy; the group’s instructions involved the man putting on an FSociety mask, emptying out the money, and lighting it all on fire.
The season is already off to a great start. We can’t wait to see where it’s headed!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Do you have any new theories? Let us know in the comments below, join the conversation on Facebook, or reach out to me on Twitter: @Samantha_Sofka!