Mr. Robot: eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme Recap

Synopsis: Mr. Robot and Elliot try to make nice. Elliot’s true situation is revealed, and Angela presses forward on her “evil secret agenda.”

Rating:

To be honest, I don’t really know how to tap dance around the big reveal for the sake of drama, so I’m just going to come out with it: Elliot has been in prison for killing Tyrell this entire time.

The tiny bedroom he’s been sleeping in? His cell. His mom? A prison guard. Regular meals with Leon? In the mess hall. Basketball games in the park? Basketball games in the yard. The same table he always sits at when meeting with Darlene and Angela and Gideon? Prison visitation.

This is built up slowly through the episode, and physically revealed at the end in a series of badass single takes where people appear in jumpsuits as we pan from one side of a circle to the other, a diner becomes the mess hall in between flickers of a fluorescent light, and Elliot’s bedroom becomes his prison cell as he turns around to look out the window.

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Elliot discovers this after he’s tossed in Ray’s basement (solitary confinement?) and confronts Mr. Robot about the circumstances that brought them there. Mr. Robot finally admits that after the big hack, he was afraid that the unstable Tyrell was going to kill them, so he killed him first, with the gun Darlene had hidden in the popcorn machine.

This theory has been popular among fans since the season first aired, as Elliot’s conveniently regimented lifestyle and isolation from both computers, and his friends, pointed to something going on behind the curtain that Elliot wasn’t showing us.

It’s important to note, that Elliot doesn’t seem surprised to have this revealed to him. His main arc for this episode was coming to terms with the necessity, and power, of the things Mr. Robot has done. Mr. Robot, being a part of Elliot subconscious, treats him how he feels he deserves to be treated. Until now, Elliot has been scared and unsure and objectively horrified by the things going on, and his guilt let Mr. Robot berate him and break him down.

But now he can’t be broken down much farther. He’s not only hit bottom, he faces a bigger threat than his own mind. As such, he and Mr. Robot are able to more or less make peace. The Mr. Robot persona, when truly put to the test, proves to Elliot that he might not want to be a leader, but he has it in him, and since he has effectively started a revolution, it’s time to step into the ring.

Elliot’s new alliance with Mr. Robot also gave him the guts and the drive to shut Ray down. Elliot agrees to fix the website, but in the process, makes it publicly searchable, and shoots off a tip to the FBI, who respond en masse, as Elliot beats Ray at chess for the first time. Which he can do, because he and Mr. Robot are playing together as one, instead of against each other.

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Not everyone at the prison is happy to lose their money and their business though, and a particularly nasty gang of white supremacists corner Elliot in the yard. Before they can do… whatever it is they were going to do though, they’re struck down in sprays of blood and by Leon, appearing from behind like an avenging angel. He tells Elliot he’s got his back, and to make sure Whiterose knows that next time he sees her. It seems the Dark Army has been looking out for Elliot all along.

Back on planet Earth, Angela makes a strategic play that might cost her everything. After barely deflecting her way out of a confrontation with Dom, she gets the class of the Washington Township case to drop the independent inspection contingency – to her father’s dismay – and uses it as a bargaining chip against Price.

Her request is for a transfer to the Risk Management department, which Price finds suspect, as it’s essentially a lateral move. When she gets there, she finds no sympathy from her new boss, who shuts down her premature ploy to access the files pertaining to her mother’s case.

Despite the fact that she keeps telling people she wants to stay at the company because they value her, and the fact that she keeps making odd moves like letting the inspection clause get dropped, and stopping Ankara from going forward with her investigation, everything she does seems to be a long game that gets her closer to whatever it is about the case she’s really looking for.

Which is an idea compounded by her confrontation with Darlene, where she finally bursts out that she’s much smarter than Darlene and Elliot have ever given her credit for, even though she’s not a hacker like them. She admits that she’s always known that they were fsociety, because she knows them, and she recognized the masks from the movie they used to watch as kids.

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Darlene actually seems to take this in stride, recognizing that she’s been unfair to Angela throughout all of this, and Angela has come through for her every time. She offers to answer any question Angela has about anything, and, even though we know Angela has them, she just walks away.

It’s okay though, because Darlene is a little bit busy having complete computer access to the FBI. So far all she’s done is erase Angela’s foray onto the 23rd floor, which did not go unnoticed by Dom. But it’s a good thing Elliot seems ready to make a move, because a big one is certainly coming.