Mr. Robot 2×05 ‘eps2.3logic-b0mb.hc’: Ceding control

Source: USA

This has really been the first point this season that I’ve felt the jitters I had when I watched the first season of Mr. Robot. There was something particularly exciting about watching Elliot try to navigate some sort of high-tension situation, about watching him deal with a moral issue like those he dealt with in season one. There’s also something exciting about watching the gang slowly come back together, watching Angela get backed into a corner and team up with Darlene, watching Dom come up against the Dark Army and barely live through the encounter. It felt like Mr. Robot once more, and it’s easily the best episode this season.

Source: USA

Source: USA

The plot to hack the FBI records is the most direct plot element so far this season, and it immediately infuses the narrative with tension and a forward motion that carries it through its extended runtime (though that runtime is only 51 minutes, almost 15 minutes shorter than the last two episodes). Elliot sets up malware to infect the FBI’s network, and Darlene looks to recruit Angela to set up the hack. Elliot’s run-in with Ray also helps to refocus the Elliot/Mr. Robot drama that has driven his character narrative through the beginning of the season. Clearly, when Elliot finds out that Ray runs a black market website, he’s way in over his head, as he’s beaten by Ray’s men at the end of the episode. Elliot, on his own, is never going to be able to defeat Ray. He’s going to have to cede control over to Mr. Robot to keep himself safe.

Source: USA

Source: USA

Angela is kind of in the same situation. She finds out that her ex-boyfriend from the first season, Ollie, is trying to sell her out to the FBI, trying to get her to incriminate herself on tape in order to make his own life easier. She’s being hunted, same as Darlene, so she decides to help with the hack, choosing a middle ground between control and the lack thereof. She has spent her time listening to mantras of self-empowerment, but she finds that power diminished to the point that she has to resort to helping fsociety in order to take back any semblance of control or power. It’s the realization that reworking the system from inside it doesn’t take days or weeks; it takes years or decades, keeping your head down for a long time while you slowly build power. And Angela is far too impatient for that.

Source: USA

Source: USA

Really, everybody is pinned down and is acting recklessly in order to push forward, even if it isn’t working as planned. Dom’s character stands out in this episode, as she pushes China’s Minister Zhang (who is really Whiterose from the Dark Army) about information on the Dark Army. This isn’t done subtly, and of course, it comes back on Dom in the form of hitmen attacking the FBI office and killing most of Dom’s team. It’s a superb sequence in a season that hasn’t had many (think of the reveal of Shayla’s death in Season 1; nothing this season even comes close to that), and it shows a pivotal point in Dom’s search for the truth behind the 5/9 hack. Dom doesn’t have the control that she thought she did, and it came back to really hurt her and those around her.

What makes this so interesting is the notion that even after something like the 5/9 hack, there is some omnipotent force overshadowing everybody. There’s Ray looming over Elliot, the FBI looming over Angela, Tyrell looming over Joanna, the Dark Army looming over Dom, and really everything looming over Darlene and fsociety. Nobody is safe and nobody has control, even after this so-called rebellion. So how do you find that small semblance of control? Sometimes you have to sell your soul, like Elliot ceding control over to Mr. Robot, or Angela siding with fsociety, in order to gain anything back. Life is never a win-win situation. You’re always losing something, even if you don’t think you are.

What did you think of this episode of Mr. Robot? Do you think the FBI hack will be successful? Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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