Monday, July 25, 2016

Mr. Robot 2x03 Review: "eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd" (Don't Worry, Be Happy) [Guest Poster: Jon]

Original Airdate: July 20, 2016

When we last left Elliot, he had just discovered that he was no longer in control of his Mr. Robot persona and received a mysterious call from Tyrell. The premiere began with such strong momentum and this episode proved to be no different. Since Elliot no longer has control, he’s decided to go to a bit more of an... extreme route.


Before we get into Elliot’s troubles however, we first take a look at what the other members of fsociety are doing. Romero is walking around Coney Island with Mobley, who recruited Romero into fsociety in the first place. It’s a nice way to open the episode, and allows us to focus on something that isn’t centered around Elliot.

However, their nice little bonding session is cut short when shortly thereafter, Romero is found dead by Mobley in his backyard of an apparent gunshot wound. It’s quite possible that the mysterious Hank, who killed Gideon in last week’s episode, is also responsible for killing Romero. It’s a bit odd, considering both individuals are connected to Elliot in some capacity. Perhaps their connection to Elliot is the reason for their murders?

Elsewhere, after the death of Romero, Mobley and fellow hacker Trenton are worried his death might be tied to the Dark Army, another hacker group from last season. However, Darlene brushes off their concern and states that there is nothing to worry about. The seeds of distrust are now sowed inside Mobley and Trenton’s minds, however, which makes their potential storylines more intriguing. I was fascinated by how this might turn out, as we could see members of fsociety break off into their own factions.


When we return to Elliot, he’s not doing so well in the wake of last week’s big revelation. To cope, Elliot decides to take Adderall just so he can make it through the day. But Mr. Robot attempts to fight back, and Elliot’s lack of sleep makes him hallucinate that he is captured for his role in the hack, and is force-fed concrete. In actuality, this hallucination makes Elliot throw up the Adderall he just took, with Mr. Robot taunting him. Elliot then defiantly shoves the pills back into his mouth.

This leads to quite possibly the most frightening part of the whole episode: when Elliot is high on Adderall, he becomes abnormally happy, to a point where it’s almost infectious and terrifying. Rami Malek must be commended for his performance here, because he does an excellent job. The stand-out moment in this sequence is when Leon is spouting more nonsense regarding Seinfeld and Elliot responds in such a way that is borderline hysterical. It’s a scene that helps showcase what happens when someone is pushed too far and they have no one to turn to.  After the Adderall runs out, Elliot begins to spiral into anger, questioning God at a local group therapy. It remains to be seen though if it’s Elliot who said this, or Mr. Robot.

Elliot finally DOES turn to someone: Ray. While we’ve previously seen Ray go after a cyber engineer (for reasons that will hopefully be clarified later this season), he’s visited by Elliot later on in the episode. Ray then explains the story of how his wife died, and how every morning he talks to his wife as if she’s still there as a way of coping. This prompts Elliot to talk about Mr. Robot, asking Ray for advice. It’s a sweet and tender scene that establishes the rapport between the two characters. It’ll be interesting if Elliot will eventually play into whatever plan Ray may have.


Over at E Corp, Angela — who is doing an excellent job in her new position — is suddenly invited to dinner with Phillip Price. While at dinner with Phillip and two executives of E Corp, Phillip then reveals to Angela they were part of the group that covered up her mother’s murder. He then hands her a disc, with enough evidence on there that would end up destroying both of the gentlemen’s lives, if she chooses to release it to the public.

This is such a major bombshell, as Angela has almost all but put everything in the rearview mirror to focus on her career. Having this power to ruin people’s lives not only could firmly put her on Team E Corp, but could also represent the loss of any innocence she had remaining.  Now that she finally has information about her family, the question lingers: what’s next? It’s a choice that I do hope is addressed either next episode, or is a recurring plot throughout the season.


Finally, we check in on FBI Agent Dominique DiPierro (Grace Gummer), who is investigating the E Corp Hack (Note: While she did appear in the season premiere, I neglected to mention her in my recap as her role was rather minimal. My sincere apologies for forgetting her). While we see small tidbits about her (hint of insomnia, lonely nights, which continues a theme that’s been running this season), we know she’s someone that could cause some big trouble for fsociety down the line.

While investigating the death of Romero, as well as examining the crime scene, she happens to stumble upon a flyer for “The End of the World Party.” She heads to the location of the party, which just so happens to be the arcade on Coney Island. So now that Dom knows where fsociety is located, what happens now? It’ll be exciting to see where her investigation leads and what that will mean for fsociety.

The third episode of Mr. Robot raised more mysteries while shedding light on some that have been up in the air since season one. While still focusing more on Elliot than anything else, the show has started planting small seeds and stories for the supporting characters.


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