9:30am PT by Josh Wigler
'Mr. Robot' Season 2: Shedding Light on the Show's Dark Armies
[Warning: This story contains spoilers through season two, episode four of USA Network's Mr. Robot.]
"Two sides. Two players. One is light, the other is dark."
John Locke was describing backgammon during this early moment in Lost, but his words extend across countless other games waged in the war between good and evil, right and wrong. Case in point: the latest episode of Mr. Robot, in which Elliot Alderson and his father figure of an alter ego compete in a series of chess matches, with nothing less than the fate of existence hanging in the balance. If Elliot wins, he gains control over his soul. If Mr. Robot wins, he becomes the dominant personality, forcing the real Elliot into isolation forever.
When the first match begins, Elliot sits on one side, moving his white pieces across the board at a determined pace; Mr. Robot's dark army responds in kind. After three matches end in stalemate, Elliot comes to accept his other side's truth: Elliot can't beat himself. The best path forward is peace between the two armies. For now, at least, Elliot and Robot finally move forward together, sitting in front of a terminal once again, ready to hack the FBI in order to protect the people they care about — like Darlene, Elliot's sister, in desperate need of her brother's help…or "Init 1," as she would say, her version of sounding the alarm.
For her part, Darlene's been at the head of her own army, leading fsociety through the aftermath of the 5/9 Hack. She's shown signs of stress at multiple points throughout the season, most notably in this latest episode, when she reunites with ex-boyfriend Cisco and learns that the China-based Dark Army is wary of a federal investigation into fsociety's activities. Are the authorities closing in on Darlene as a suspect? Certainly, if agent Dom DiPierro starts researching the attendees of fsociety's massive end of the world party, and dives into Darlene's social media history, she is sure to find Darlene's Instagram of The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, the film that inspired fsociety's actions, or at least their "Monopoly Man" aesthetic. This can't be good news for Darlene, with investigators able to come after her, but only if the Dark Army doesn't react first.
Of course, the Dark Army's true agenda remains murky at best. B.D. Wong reprised his role as White Rose in the most recent episode, emerging for the first time since the final conspiracy-tinged moments of season one. During a phone call with Phillip Price, White Rose continued providing counsel and bouncing ideas back and forth with E Corp's CEO. Why is the head of the hacker army responsible for severely wounding the global economy taking meetings with the enemy? One explanation sees White Rose manipulating the corporate "fussy cat," with Price unaware of his confidant's role in the current state of the world. An equally enticing possibility suggests the two sides are not as opposed as one might think — that the Dark Army, or at least White Rose, wants to collaborate with Price in an attempt to revolutionize and control the global economy on their own new terms.
Whether or not the two sides are linked, Price certainly has another worthy opponent of his own to contend with: Angela Moss, former E Corp enemy turned E Corp employee, who's becoming more and more entangled with the corporation's figurehead with each passing episode. This week, Angela deduced that Price wants her help in keeping some unsavory information in the dark; she threatens to bring it to light if her terms are not met. Instead of engaging the attack, Price deflects and tells her she's off base, but the bitter scowl on his face backs up Angela's claim: "I'm not wrong." It's very likely that she's right, Price's words notwithstanding.
Four hours into the new season of Mr. Robot, war rages all around the people of this hacked-apart world, whether it's something as small as Joanna Wellick versus Scott Knowles in the search for more money, something as large as fsociety versus E Corp in the tug-of-war between societal upheaval and status quo, something as conspiratorial as the Dark Army's infinite fingers in infinite pots, or something as meta as Elliot's internal struggle for existence finally simmering to a survivable level. With so many hours still to go before the season finale, it's only a matter of time before one or more of these armies, light and dark alike, fade out of existence for good.
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