Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mr Robot 2x09 Review "eps2.7_init_5.fve" (Distance Between Them) [Contributor: Jon]

Original airdate: August 31, 2016

The endgame for this season of Mr. Robot is starting to take some shape, as we found out the truth in regards to what Elliot’s really been up to, things have become even tenser between fsociety and the Dark Army, and Angela makes some big moves within E Corp. To start, let’s begin with checking in on Elliot, as we previously discovered that he had been in jail this whole time.

(Note: A big thank you to Amir for covering this show while I was on vacation!)


When we last left Elliot, we discovered that everything we had seen this past season -- including the fight with Mr. Robot and Ray kidnapping him -- was all a ruse as a method of coping with being in jail. The beginning of the episode details what’s really happened to Elliot this entire season.

It’s revealed that the person who was at Elliot’s door in the season one finale was a police officer, arresting Elliot for hacking Krista’s ex-boyfriend. Elliot is then put on trial, where he pleads guilty as a way to escape his Mr. Robot persona.

We then go through a small montage where it’s shown what was revealed and what wasn’t. We see how Elliot and Leo meet for the first time, as Leon is in jail too. We also see that Ray doesn’t really own a black market site, but is simply the warden of the prison. Finally, Elliot’s room, that we thought was owned by his mother, turns out to have been a prison cell this entire time.

While it was rather neat to get to see Elliot’s time in prison -- and how what he saw translated into his fantasies that he needed to cope -- there sadly wasn’t much of this new change of scenery. Elliot is only shown in prison for a short time, and then is immediately put back outside, where he reunites with Darlene and the rest of fsociety. It should be worth noting that both Elliot and Darlene do get a nice quiet moment together.

However, upon returning to Darlene’s apartment, Elliot begins to experience something different...


When he returns to Darlene’s apartment, the first free thing Elliot does is... take a leak. In retrospect, I found this rather funny. There’s something comical that Elliot’s first use of freedom is use to the bathroom.

However, while taking a break, Elliot suddenly begins hearing Mr. Robot speaking to Cisco, who is an informant for fsociety. (On a side note, I find it really funny that one of the hacker's name is Cicso, but maybe that’s because I always think of The Flash). Elliot then finds himself talking to Cisco and Darlene. Confused, he realizes that he and Mr. Robot are detaching from each other.

This raises a lot of questions about the state of Elliot and Mr. Robot. Is it possible that the time in prison has further distanced the two of them? After all, the majority of what we’ve seen this past season is mainly due to Elliot trying to cope with what’s happened in prison. Unless the mental battles between him and Mr. Robot genuinely did happen, there’s a possibility that due to his time in prison, Elliot now feels disassociated with Mr. Robot.

After finding out about Cisco’s connection to the Dark Army, Elliot organizes a meeting with the contact and demands to know what stage two is, while simultaneously managing to hack the contact’s phone.

However, before we find out what fsociety discovers, let’s see what our supporting players are up to.


Angela’s story arc has had its ups and downs for me over this past season. This week, we finally get to see her find more information about the toxic leak in the nuclear power plant that ruined her family. After visiting the nuclear regulatory commission and hacking E Corp to discover more information, Angela discovers the leak at the plant was never fixed.

While it felt like not much was further progressed here -- only Angela still going down the path toward potentially being a future hacker -- we did get a brief appearance from Dom, who let Angela know that he’s had her followed since her ex- boyfriend gave her up a few episodes back. Dom then cautions Angela that the next person who approaches her won’t be as lenient as Dom is.

Overall, Angela’s continuing arc this week really felt like it went nowhere. We get to see some confrontation with Dom, but it felt like not much happened this week in regards to progression.

We also do get a brief interlude with Whiterose and Price. While Whiterose previously went to visit the grave of a former E Corp CEO, he attends the meeting with Price in the role of Minister Zhang.

Price announces that the Washington Township plant will be turned over to the federal government. Zhang is clearly not happy about this, as that plant is a vital component for the government. Price then blackmails Zhang into asking the Chinese government to loan E Corp the money it needs for bailout at low interest rate in exchange for saving his plant.

It’s here we get a brilliant monologue by Michael Cristofer, as he states that he will do whatever it takes to see Zhang lose, even if it means damaging himself in the process. It’s a scene that beautifully shows the true nature of E Corp, and what lengths they will go to in order to remain on top. All the coldness of Price’s character comes out in a fiery rage, as Cristofer spits every word out with pure venom and menace.

And speaking of Whiterose and the Dark Army...


With The Dark Army’s phone now hacked, Darlene and other members of fsociety can listen in on what they’re up against. Darlene then hears information regarding Elliot’s request. However, it turns out phase two of the Dark Army’s plan... is ELLIOT’S plan.

Meanwhile, Elliot, who is still suffering from some disassociation issues and therefore isn’t sure what’s real or not real, is visited suddenly outside by a black SUV which is chauffeuring Joanna -- who refers to Elliot as “Ollie,” an alias he previously used upon their last encounter.

With the revelation that Elliot is a key part of the Dark Army’s plan, one can’t help but wonder what massive role Elliot has to play, or what deal he made with them while in prison, if any deal was made at all. In addition, Joanna’s story arc, which I’ve criticized as being rather unnecessary this season, is now starting to come into a bit more focus, and her connection with Elliot will be interesting to see as we head toward the endgame.

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