Mr Robot: – Analog Loop (Review)

 Mr. Robot - Season 2

After a long wait, Mr Robot is back and  there is no apparent answer to the Wellick question, i.e. just who or where  he is.  With flashbacks to the season one  finale, which makes it seem once again that Elliot “killed” Tyrell,  Alderson still does  not know what became of  Wellick or where he is.

As E Corp and the country  scramble to recover from the F Society attack, Elliot is in an “analog loop.” This loop is meant to be a way to exert control. He uses journal entries to keep track of his time and his constant visitor is “Mr. Robot,” aka dear dead dad, aka himself as the late Mr. Alderson.

Elliot is desperately attempting to thwart Mr. Robot and by leaving the digital world behind he plans to win through attrition.  Part one of the two part season open has Alderson revealing the details of his day.  He does this by narration and by letting us observe portions of his journal entries.

Shockingly, Robot shoots Elliot in the forehead.  It is not, we learn, the first time this has happened. In the journal entry, Alderson reveals that the last time, he panicked. Elliot’s other personality is turning more violent. (Later he slits Gideon’s throat as he sits at the dining table.)

Mr. Robot’s action against Gideon proves to be prophetic as the former Allsafe boss is later shot in the throat by a man he meets in a bar. Does this mean that Elliot will be killed from a shot in the head?  While not necessarily a literal death, it could well be a metaphorical one. After all Elliot is fighting Mr. Robot for control and at the moment he is losing.

Elliot is going through some sort of meltdown. The signs are all there.  For instance in his mother’s dining room during his meeting with Gideon (Michel Gill).  At the start Elliot has no wound visible in his forehead. As the conversation continues and Mr. Robot interjects more and more the bullet hole appears and begins to bleed. 

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Joey Bada$$ as Leon

It is also apparent that Leon is just another facet of Alderson’s personality.  The fact that he can talk without Elliot having to answer signposts it. Plus when “real -life” Ray (Craig Robinson) and his dog Maxine turn up, Leon does a fade and Mr. Robot appears briefly. Later when Ray returns neither of the other two turn up.

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Craig Robinson as Ray, Rami Malek as Eliot

Back to Tyrell Wellick:  He has been made the ultimate scapegoat as everyone believes he was behind the attacks.  Wellick is also chief suspect for the murder of Scott Knowles’ wife.  Elliot tries to order Mr. Robot to tell him what happened to Tyrell or where he is. Finally his other personality reveals that he cannot “do that.”

The reason may be down to the fact that a schizophrenic’s other personas, are not aware of each other. They do not interact with one another either.  Therefore it would be impossible for Elliot as Mr. Robot to know where Tyrell is.

If Alderson shot Tyrell, then he would have done so as Mr. Robot. (This personality is the violent side of Elliot.) Thus far Robot has shot Elliot, slit the throat of Gideon and goodness knows what else.  This lack of knowledge dealing with Wellick could mean that the missing  scapegoat is indeed another facet of Elliot.

Of course Wellick is also violent. He beats his wife, with her consent (BDSM),  has beaten up bums on the street and killed Scott’s wife.  He comes pretty close to Mr. Robot in that regard.  (This applies whether or not he is another Alderson personality. )

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Elliot on the phone to who…

Wellick’s wife (or widow) is being taken care of by a temporary BDSM partner whilst  being looked after by someone with a lot of money.  She also receives a music box with a  burner phone attacked to the bottom. Later in episode two she gets a call from an unknown number but misses it as the baby is crying.

Joanna’s new phone rings as Elliot nods off to sleep at his church meeting.  He wakes up back at his mother’s house holding the red phone receiver. It is ringing on the other end.  He says hello and on the other end of the line Wellick says “Bonsoir Elliot.”

There is a lot more going on in and than just Elliot and his struggle for control.  Angela is doing very well at her new E Corp job and she is taking a self improvement course at night to increase her confidence.

Darlene hacks the smart house of Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt) and takes Madam Executioner’s house over as the new fsociety headquarters. She also hacks and holds E Corp to ransom for a cool $5.9 million.  Jacobs, Price and Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchelldecide to pay up with Scott delivering the money.

At the park a messenger delivers a mask and the face-piece has a message on it for Scott. He is to burn the money on the sidewalk. He does.

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Brian Stokes Mitchell as Scott Knowles

(Sidenote:  Continuity or just a plain miss here.  In this scene, Knowles reads the instructions on the fsociety mask.  He then empties the two bags of money and pours a flammable liquid  over the banknotes. Scott then gets a call from Darlene who tells him he needs to hurry.

After torching the money he removes the mask and holds it facing the camera. The instructions show up on the close up of the mask,  as it is held over the flames. However,  when Knowles wore the mask earlier, for another closeup,  there is nothing on the mask at all. Oops.)

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Carly Chaikin as Darlene

It is interesting that both Angela and Darlene are now literally bookends  to one another.  Elliot’s sister was always aggressive and prone to violent thoughts.  Now that Angela as gone over to the other side, she too is aggressive and confident.  She loves her new job and decides that she wants to keep it.

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Portia Doubleday as Angela

RIP Gideon Goddard.  The poor guy goes to the FBI and tells, presumably,  all he knows  to Dominique DiPierro (Grace Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep) and another agent. In terms of personality Dominique  seems less aggressive and more assertively ambitious. 

Not too long after Gideon spills his guts to the authorities, he is shot in the neck by a man named Brock in a bar. Since Mr. Robot slit Gideon’s throat earlier, it seems even money that he had something to do with Goddard’s murder.

The episode ended with Wellick, apparently on the other end of that red phone.  Of course Elliot could be hallucinating or making the conversation up.  It is never really made clear if his mother in really in the house or not.  Since Elliot is struggling for control here it seems very likely that neither mother nor Tyrell are there at all.

Speaking of control, Mr. Robot tells Elliot at one point that “they see me.” This seems to indicate that when Elliot interacts with people they see the Mr. Robot side of him.  It sounds like the control is wavering.

Both episodes were a cornucopia of images and interesting little twists. For example, at one point Elliot opines that this is all make-believe. A sign behind his head reads “Hell is Real.” As Esmail leaves nothing up to chance, this was a clear hint at what is really going on.

Mr. Robot airs Wednesdays on USA.  It has been a long wait. Esmail directed both these episodes and does so very well. He has managed to keep the intrigue coming and changed the ambience  of the show to very, very dark.  Do not miss  this addictive show. Tune in and see what happened to Wellick.

Mr. Robot - Season 2
Martin Wallström as Tyrell Wellick





Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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