Season Two Gets Back on Track With Some Trademark Shocks
There’s a dangerous duality at play in the second season of Mr. Robot and as the FBI begins to close in on fsociety and Dark Army, it becomes clear that Elliot isn’t the only one hiding a dangerous secret – or secret identity for that matter.
In “eps2.3_logic-b0mb.hc,” Elliot’s back at a terminal, setting everything in motion for the big FBI hack. The only problem? He needs someone to make a physical plant on the FBI’s floor at Evil Corp. Initially, Darlene intends for Angela to be their in, a move which even Mr. Robot approves of. But Angela refuses, unswayed by Darlene’s warnings that the FBI will find out that she was integral in the hack that brought down AllSafe. It isn’t until Angela meets up with her ex, Ollie, that we see Angela’s true side.
In Season One, Cisco’s encrypted CD hacks into Ollie’s computer, giving him access to evertything, including Angela’s back account and student loan information. With her identity compromised, Angela gives into the Dark Army’s demand that she insert the CD into her work computer, giving them complete access to All Safe’s systems and thus insuring the 5/9 hack was a success. During her catchup with Ollie, Angela discovers he is recording the conversation and that he has spoken with the FBI. While he says that he didn’t rat her out or tell them about the CD, Angela can’t take any risks. Her entrance into fsociety has been sealed. But it doesn’t come from loyalty to Elliot, despite a bittersweet catch up where she promises to be a friend to him and to help him get well. Instead, just as in Season One, Angela is motivated by self-preservation. With her career on the rise, Angela isn’t going to let anything compromise her taste for power, even past mistakes made out of fear. At the end of the episode, Angela zigzags her way to Darlene’s hideout, officially throwing her hat into the ring. But can she be trusted? Maybe not for long.
The women of Mr. Robot have always been strong, competent and well-written but we’re also starting to see how the show’s more obvious villains pale in comparison to how ruthless they can be when crossed. On the surface, Joanna Wellick is the beautiful socialite wife, tending to her infant son and gracing the glossy cover of tabloid magazines. But behind closed doors, she is tirelessly trying to track down the whereabouts of her husband, Tyrell. We don’t get any closer to discovering what happened during those three hours Elliot can’t seem to remember, but we do learn that Tyrell is in Manhattan.
We also learn just how perfectly paired the Wellicks are. Where Season One hinted, Season Two delivers, as we learn that Joanna has ordered the death of an informant who was getting antsy about lying to the FBI on her behalf. As she is told of the details and how it was staged to look like a break in, she asks for details – did he feel anything, did he look his killer in the eye? And why did Joanna specifically ask for her victim to be paralyzed before being shot? So that he could see the moment coming because killing a man instantly “robs him of explanation.” And it is this explanation that allows Joanna to rationalize what she has done. As with Angela, Joanna’s self-preservation has very serious consequences.
The episode also gives some insight into Dom, the FBI agent hot on the trail of fsociety. Dom has made more progress in her investigation of the 9/5 hack, having discovered Elliot’s raspberry pie at Steel Mountain, which insured that Evil Corp’s backup data would be destroyed. As she heads back to Evil Corp’s headquarters, where the FBI have taken over an entire floor and security is questionable (take note, Angela), she learns that she is being sent to China with her entire team. It seems to come out of the blue until the team is greeted by Whiterose and we realize just how deep the Dark Army’s reach is.
Whiterose finds Dom interesting, not unlike Price’s fascination with Angela, and the two have an interesting conversation about her motivations for joining the FBI. She explains to Whiterose that she walked away from a long-term relationship and joined the FBI because she wanted something better for herself. In return, Whiterose shows off a beautiful collection of dresses, which he explains belong to his sister. Except we know better and it seems Dom might too, as she later explains to a colleague that Whiterose doesn’t have a sister. Be careful, Dom. While everyone might have a hidden side we’ve also learned they also fight hard to keep it hidden.
Finally, the other shoe drops for Elliot regarding Ray, whose friendly demeanor at the park was a mask for some very real violence. As Elliot works on the server migration for Ray (while also writing malware to hack the FBI), he discovers an encrypted data base that he can’t decode. He asks to be put in touch with the former IT guy, one who was viciously beaten by Ray’s henchmen, and eventually Ray relents, allowing the two to work together. Naturally, Elliot has questions and our sense of dread begins to grow as we realize he has gotten too deep in something really horrible. As Elliot hovers over the enter key, mentally weighing the decision to open the server and find out what Ray is hiding, we feel like Mr. Robot, yelling at Elliot to not get involved. But Elliot can’t resist and we learn that Ray is running a black market website where gun running and sex trafficking are fair game. Can Elliot take down the FBI and Ray at the same time? Maybe not.
And what would Mr. Robot be without a good kick in the head right before the end of an episode? As Dom winds down her trip in China, she chats with her colleagues in their hotel lobby and learns that someone at Steel Mountain destroyed any fingerprint evidence on Elliot’s raspberry pie. Without warning, gunshots erupt, Dom’s colleague is shot next to her and all hell breaks loose. As masked gunmen storm the hotel lobby, Dom is forced into a gunfight as her colleagues are killed all around her. But before this can even be processed, the scene cuts to Elliot, who is yanked out of bed by two burly henchmen who drag him outside to face an angry Ray. He told Elliot not to dig where he didn’t need to and now Elliot will have to pay the price. And that’s where the episode ends, leaving us gut-punched like Elliot, staring at a bloody rattail on the floor. But like Elliot says earlier in the episode, we live for this shit.