Mr. Robot: season 2 episode 9 review – eps2.7_init_5.fve
The clocks are ticking for our characters as each of them are stepping deeper and deeper into the maws of oblivion in this week’s episode of Mr. Robot. As subtle cracks appear in the foundations of modern society and its functions begin to slowly come apart we can finally see things beginning to unveil as the season approaches its final moments. Below is our detailed and spoiler-heavy review.
The sense of dread is indeed undeniable in this week’s episode; brown-outs are beginning in the city, the ticking of clocks is constantly heard in the background, and the unknown dominates the scenes. While some light is shined as to what’s going on with Elliot and the others, the show stays true to its nature and raises new questions to replace the answered ones. Moreover, the divergent paths of our characters are finally starting to come together as the endgame of the second season becomes much clearer. At the same time, however, each of the characters find themselves in a different kind of jeopardy: Mobley and Trenton are with the FBI on their tails (and missing in action this week), Angela finds herself cornered with paranoia getting the better of her, Darlene and Cisco are facing danger from The Dark Society, and Elliot… well, Elliot is losing it all over again. In other words, tension is rising and stakes are high.
Two weeks ago the show took an (un)expected twist by revealing that Elliot had been locked up in prison since the beginning of the season, but last week’s episode took a break from Elliot entirely, and we were left in a week-long suspense for yet another week as we watched the fSociety members deal with their problems. It was a welcome change from the unreliability of Elliot’s narrator but the suspense remained. Now, we finally got the missing pieces of the puzzle depicting Elliot’s time inside. The knock at the door that happened during the last scene of season 1 was no other than the FBI, and Elliot was arrested for no else but a dog theft. Ray was apparently a worker at the prison, too – we are left to assume that he performs his illegal operations from the prison which can be rather shocking, but it’s no news that illegal things like that can indeed happen in real life prisons as well. Elliot gets an early release from prison, apparently, due to budget concerns that arose because of the five/nine hack, highlighting the irony of the situation. Our main character is finally back in action, but it does raise questions whether what happened to him in the first 8 episodes was truly worth dragging on for so long. While we did get some incredible bits, such as his 90s sitcom dream or his reconciliation with Mr. Robot, it still does feel like it could have been done in a much shorter amount of time.
Elliot’s troubles far from end with his release, though. He finds that memory losses are coming back to him, and Mr. Robot takes over during those blackouts. In a trippy and horrifying sequence we see Elliot standing in one subway car, watching Mr. Robot and Cisco talk to each other in another. Our character is clearly losing grasp on reality all over again, and it raises new questions: just how much has Mr. Robot been planning and devising without Elliot’s knowledge? Which parts of the plan are devised by Elliot, and which by Mr. Robot? As we have now seen, Mr. Robot had already planned Stage 2 of the hack without Elliot’s knowledge and we can only guess what this alter ego had done besides that. My personal guess is that Mr. Robot has something to do with Tyrell too (who is still MIA), and the build-up to his undoubted reappearance is reaching new heights; the end of the episode shows us Joanna waiting for Elliot in the car outside his apartment.
Other characters got a chance to shine too this week. Angela tries to hack the incriminating information about the toxic waste leak and succumbs into paranoia, which is where DiPierro finds her again, and who might (or might not) be Angela’s way out of it. Phillip Price, meanwhile makes a deal with Whiterose. We will have to see how that will surely connect with the rest of the storyline in the last few episodes. We even get a glimpse of Elliot and Darlene’s mother, who seems to be living in some kind of an institution – the state of her mind clearly damaged.
This week’s episode shows us that the show is steadily moving towards the end of the second season – while many episodes before were rather slow and tedious at times, the pace accelerates this week and the series begin racing towards its finale. There is still one episode between now and then, however, but the signs of coming doom are evident as each character finds themselves stuck in an unwelcome situation and the paths begin converging. While the episode’s title refers to a fresh start, as Elliot explained it to us, a “fresh start” may not necessarily be a good thing in the Mr. Robot universe.
Image credits: USA Network