Mr. Robot 2×07 ‘eps2.5h4ndshake.sme’: All an illusion

MrR 2x07 Cover

Oh, plot twists. Sometimes they’re a great way to inject some excitement into a storyline, to say something new and interesting about the thematic ideas at play. Other times they’re a sad attempt to keep the story interesting, a gimmick more than anything else. Good twists usually elicit some sort of “whoa” reaction; they go for an emotional response at first, drawing out thought later on. So, what kind of plot twist did we see here, a twist almost on par (in terms of scale) with the Mr. Robot reveal in Season 1’s penultimate episode?

Source: USA

Source: USA

I’m still not entirely sure, and I don’t think I’ll know until we see more of what happens over the next couple episodes. So far, Elliot’s plotline this season has concerned finding his way to his true self, trying to figure out what that entails so that he can go back into the world and be Elliot instead of Mr. Robot. But he’s found that Mr. Robot is a part of him, that Elliot has both of these personalities to keep him safe and needs to learn how to harness the power from both of them in order to function. But in order to do that, he needs to shed the false nature of his beliefs, the illusion that is drawn over all else. And so he finally realizes that he has been in prison the whole time. The streets are the hallways. The diner is the cafeteria. The support group is a group for convicts. His mother is an irritable prison guard. His room is his cell. Clearly this has been thought out, and it’s impressive, to be sure, but to what end is this plot twist here for?

Source: USA

Source: USA

Really, that is unknown at this time. Clearly Elliot is only here for a short period of time and is not in prison for the 5/9 hack (the psychiatrist saying “when you get out” makes it feel like he’ll be out soon), so what does him being in prison accomplish? Is it just another step toward Elliot awakening from his delusion, getting ready to do what he has to do in order to stop Evil Corp? While Elliot’s story has been a little frustrating because he’s so ridiculously isolated, it’s clearly building up to Elliot taking his agency and using it to inflict massive harm on his enemies, something that would validate all of the time taken to wake him up. But we are seven episodes into the season, moving past the halfway point and towards “third act” territory, so Elliot’s storyline needs to prove that it still has space to move. The twist at the end of this episode, as fun as it is, still needs to prove itself purposeful.

Source: USA

Source: USA

The rest of the episode had to do with Angela and Darlene (mostly Angela) as they hacked the FBI. The greatest part of the FBI hack has to be the way that Angela tries to be two separate people (much like Elliot is two separate people), only to see how those two cannot exist on their own. Angela just wants to exist in peace as a corporate employee, learning more about how to be part of a company that “takes care of her”, essentially being a normal person. But part of her wants to fight back against the company that killed her mother and defeated her father. Part of her is a vicious rebel. And while those Angela tries to separate those parts, there really isn’t a way to only be one of them. It consistently gets her into trouble, where she tries to be one thing only to have the other start to bleed into the situation as well. In the end, she can’t win, her new boss mad at her, her father mad at her, neither side of her really happy at the outcome.

But really, seven episodes into the season, we still don’t really have any answers. Darlene and the rest of fsociety are nervous about the FBI and the Dark Army. Dom is still hunting whoever is behind the 5/9 hack. Elliot is STILL trying to figure out who he is. Angela is still stuck between corporate and rebel. And we have no idea whether Tyrell is dead or not (though, to be honest, even though Mr. Robot said he was dead, I think he’s lying). The thematic focus is as strong as it ever was, maybe even stronger than the first season. Some of this season has been really great, and parts of it have been more audacious and daring than anything from Season 1. But there needs to be some payoff at some point. Let’s hope we get there.

So what did you think of this episode? Do you think Tyrell is dead? 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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