7:30am PT by Josh Wigler
'Mr. Robot': 10 Key Moments From the Season 2 Premiere
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the season two premiere of USA Network's Mr. Robot.]
Who knocked on the door? The penultimate mystery of Mr. Robot season one remains unresolved by the end of the season two premiere, even as all-new doors are kicked wide open.
Take Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) and the many new people in his life, for instance. Is he finally living in his perfect little loop, free from insanity? Obviously not, based on Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) still taunting and tormenting his way through the day, and that's not even mentioning the other suspicious characters in Elliot's new orbit.
Far away from Elliot, though not entirely unrelated (because nothing on this show is entirely unrelated to Elliot), several familiar faces face off against new circumstances and challenges, from Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday) in the belly of the Evil Corp beast, to Darlene (Carly Chaikin) rallying the fsociety forces in a second wave attack against their enemy. And through it all, there's one massive player who remains off the board … right up until the episode's closing moments.
Here are the 10 most important moments from the Mr. Robot season two premiere:
1. Before the Hack
What happened to Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom)? How did Elliot's fall from his childhood home actually play out? These two events aren't fully revealed in the premiere, but both get play time in the opening scenes. First, Elliot and Tyrell work together as the fsociety hack against E Corp takes place, culminating in Elliot reaching into the nearby popcorn machine — the same machine currently stashing a handgun. Before we see whether he's grabbing a gun or a handful of snacks, the scene crashes into young Elliot landing on the ground, blood leaking from his head, his parents rushing to his side. He's next seen inside a hospital, with a focus on scans of his brain — a brain we know contains at least two very distinct personalities.
2. The Infinite Loop of Madness
When we catch up with Elliot in a modern context, he's living a new life in a new neighborhood, far away from his All-Safe and fsociety days. He's completely unplugged, living with his mother, going to church meetings twice a week and keeping time-coded track of his activities in a journal. Oh, and still seeing Mr. Robot, of course, albeit doing his best to ignore and suppress the menacing ghost of his dead father. That's not stopping Robot from shooting Elliot in the head with an imaginary handgun, or threatening the lives of people Elliot cares about, like Gideon Goddard (Michel Gill) — or even arranging meetings with new potential clients and/or allies without Elliot's knowledge, apparently, based on Elliot's encounters with a man named Ray (Craig Robinson).
3. The New Neighbors
Speaking of Ray, he's a prolific speaker and dog walker in Elliot's neighborhood, in apparent need of Elliot's specific set of skills … skills that make him a nightmare for conglomerates like Evil Corp. But what does Ray want from Elliot, and what has he already arranged through Mr. Robot? And what about the other new people in Elliot's life, like newly devoted Seinfeld binge-watcher Leon (Joey Badass)? Until we see a scene of Leon acting independently of Elliot, it's wise to wonder whether or not he is Elliot. That's the kind of paranoia and suspicion this show breeds in its viewers.
4. Show Me a Hero
Speaking of new characters, a new series regular has entered the scene in the form of The Newsroom and Extant alum Grace Gummer, playing a federal agent named Dom DiPierro. We know precious little about the character so far, other than she likes turkey sandwiches, frequently orders said sandwiches from the same deli, has a friendly rapport with the owner, and also has a day job involving investigating the hack attacks against E Corp — specifically, Gideon Goddard's role in the attack, or lack thereof. More on him in a bit, and more on her as the season progresses.
5. Madame Executioner's Palace
Yet another new character emerges in the premiere: Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt), a high-level counsel for E Corp sporting the nickname "Madame Executioner," due to her ability to decimate the lawsuits leveled at her company. Like so many others in the world, her life completely revolves around technology, a notion that's used against her when fsociety hacks her home and causes all of her electronics to malfunction. Susan's forced to head to her second home in Connecticut while repairs are done to her palatial New York apartment (what a terrible life!), and as soon as she leaves, Darlene and her foot soldiers storm in and set up shop in their new temporary headquarters, ready to implement their next attack against E Corp.
6. Take Me Home
The attack takes the form of fsociety hijacking E Corp banks and threatening to unleash untold amounts of damage unless a high-level executive delivers $5.9 million in cash, in person, to Battery City Park by midnight that night. CTO Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell) volunteers for the job, and probably regrets it very much as soon as the full nature of the ask is revealed: A bike messenger rolls up to him, hands him a backpack containing an fsociety mask and instructions for Knowles to wear the mask and burn the millions, in 10 seconds, or else the hack will proceed. Knowles complies, as Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" soars in the background, with countless camera phones recording it all … including an astonished, unmasked Knowles at the end of it all.
7. Confidence Ma'am
Who can clean up the mess Knowles made? Leave it to Angela, Elliot's childhood friend, former co-worker, former crusader against E Corp, and now current rising star in the evil conglomerate's public relations department. She negotiates a high-profile, exclusive interview that won't even mention the Scott Knowles situation, and will only ask one question about the televised suicide that occurred one month earlier; impressive stuff from someone with minimal PR experience. Angela looks to be drinking the E Corp Kool-Aid, especially after she cuts ties with the lawyer helping her to take the company down. But when she goes home, she watches a series of video affirmations, asking her to repeat these words: "I am confident. My confidence is powerful. I recognize myself as exceptional." That either drives the point of her newfound loyalty home, or opens up the strong possibility that Angela is trying to dismantle E Corp from within — a notion only supported further by a line from E Corp CEO Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) earlier in the episode: "We all know a con doesn't work without the confidence."
8. The Mystery Box
Who knows what's up with Tyrell, but at least the premiere gives us eyes on his wife Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen), leaning on some old habits in the wake of her husband's disappearance. She's seeing a new man and tasking him with playing the role of Tyrell's Christian Grey to her Anastasia Steele, though he's not exactly convincing in the part. Later, Joanna returns home with her child, and receives a mysterious package containing boxes within boxes within boxes, and a cell phone. When she goes to comfort her child later that night, the phone rings, with an unknown caller on the other end. Is Tyrell, much like E.T., trying to phone home?
9. The Crisis Actor Exits Stage Left
fsociety's hack against E Corp left the world reeling, beyond just the company. People don't have full access to their funds, panic is spreading far and wide, and at the center of it all is a person both the public and investigators are looking at with a skeptical eye: Gideon Goddard, director of All-Safe, at least until All-Safe went belly up. Gideon pleads with Elliot early in the premiere to help clear his name, but Elliot refuses, too afraid that he, as Mr. Robot, might cause further harm. Further harm is indeed caused, thanks to Elliot's previous actions and present inaction, as a man in a bar shoots Gideon to death, knowing full well that Gideon was nothing more than a "crisis actor." Bon voyage, good Gideon … and good luck with all that blood on your hands, Elliot.
10. Bonsoir, Elliot
Before turning his attention to the actual dead, Elliot remains focused on the presumed dead. Even after he finds out that Mr. Robot and Ray had a midnight meeting behind his back, Elliot refuses to return to the digital realm, not unless Mr. Robot reveals what happened to Tyrell Wellick. That night, Elliot nods off during his church meeting, and when he wakes up, he's on the phone — and a familiar voice sounds out from the other end: "Bonsoir, Elliot." Looks like Tyrell is alive after all … unless he's just another voice in Elliot's head.
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