Not sure where I thought we were going to go with Mr. Robot, but the second episode was much darker than the pilot as we got a glimpse of the very gritty and dangerous world that Elliot already lives on the edge of, before he ever met Mr. Robot and his crew.
He’s spiralling into his drug use and paranoia, neglecting Flipper, and just hanging on when Darlene shows up in his shower and takes him to a meet with Mr. Robot, which sends him further down the rabbit hole.
Mr. Robot’s latest plan involves killing innocent people as collateral damage to take down Evil Corp’s data banks, and that’s a line Elliot can’t, and won’t, cross, despite Mr. Robot trying to bait him with a diatribe about whether he’s going to be a one (like him) or a zero (his dad).
So he walks away and when he gets home, he finds out that Shayla’s been raped and roofied by her dealer, which he’s tangentially complicit in because he’s buying drugs from her. Being Elliot, he decides to turn the guy into the cops with a treasure trove of digital damage. When he goes for his therapy session, he rails at her for his current plight, feeling like it’s on him because he thought he was into something for the greater good.
He’s avoiding Portia after agreeing to go to dinner with her and skeevy boyfriend and we see that she’s being surveilled by somebody else who knows her boyfriend has at least one side piece.
And that closer last week? Opens this week with Wallstrom offering Elliott very lucrative compensation if he will bring his talents to Evil Corp, and he says no, hence the spiralling.
Essentially, in a switch from the pilot, here we have less of the hacking and more of the fractured psychology of the hacker.
The closer of the episode has Elliot coming back to Mr. Robot with a nonlethal alternative to the plan, and Mr. Robot asks him to discuss his dad because he wants to hear it from Elliot, so he tells him about how his father felt betrayed when he shared his secret with his mother, and Mr. Robot responds by pushing him off the pier railing onto the rocks below.
It’s a strange stew. I wasn’t as hooked as I was by the premiere because there weren’t really any moments of hope. No saving the dog, or averting a crisis or ousting the big bad. More of a muddle. Which is fine. We’re just getting started, but I’d like a smattering of hope here and there. I’m funny that way.
Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA. Here’s a sneak peek of next week’s episode.
Photo Courtesy of David Giesbrecht/USA Network; Videos Courtesy of USA.