Right now I feel a bit like Elliot Alderson, unable to decipher the difference between the real world and what’s going on inside my mind. What’s reality? What isn’t? Did people really hate the second season of Mr. Robot that much?
In these dark days we live in, the alternate wordline created by the 5/9 hack in penultimate episode of Mr. Robot’s first season should resonate more with the viewer in an existential way, no? Not thrilled with all the plot points dangled throughout S2? Struggling with the pretentious college-level philosophy soliloquies? Upset that writer/director Sam Esmail indulges in the works of his favorite auteurs too much?
Not me. I’ve loved every second of it.
The second season of Mr. Robot continues where season one ended adding to the beginnings of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, not from a nuclear attack but rather a cyber-attack like none before it. The subtle world building done here is extraordinary. The fact that season two firmly brought The Dark Army (and China, and Whiterose) into the fray, playing a longer con against E Corp and America as a whole, shit this show couldn’t be more close to the world we live in.
But Mr. Robot isn’t our world. It exists in a parallel universe to ours, and while it closely resembles our Earth there’s still something slightly askew. I love the idea of alternate realities, and I have a slight obsession with John Titor and his apocalyptic future (also featuring China, a technological-based World War III, and time travel). There’s something very resonant about Mobley & Trenton (deep in hiding) discussing the possibility of undoing what they’ve done. Whiterose has discussed the possibility of alternate realities during her monologues this season, and of course there’s the overt callbacks to Back to the Future with the soundtrack played in Part One of the finale.
There’s something beautiful in John Titor traveling to the past from the year 2036 to save his future. There’s hope within the darkness.
Elliot’s struggles against Mr. Robot have been a roller coaster ride this year and now that Phase Two is about to begin with Tyrell Wellick carrying out Robot’s plan, Season Three will hopefully be a story of Elliot taking control of his life once and for all (hopefully Angela will still be on Elliot’s side when the dust settles). Elliot (and us, his silent friend) has been an observer for some time, and after being shot in the belly and snapping back to reality he may finally be able to assert himself and change the future.
It’s weird to me that so many critics and fans didn’t like this season, or thought it was a waste of time. Those wasteful moments featured some of my favorite moments this year. Craig Robertson’s Ray story line, Joanna Wellick’s creepiness, and Angela’s battle with Evil Corp (and arguably herself) have all been fulfilling in their own way, even if it doesn’t relate directly to the main plot (yet). It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
∅ Christian Slater has been great as ever, but how about Rami Malek’s amazing Christian Slater impersonation while playing the Mr. Robot version of Elliot during that convo with Tyrell in the finale? It’s no wonder Malek won an Emmy for his layered performance as Elliot.
∅ The soundtrack for season two may not top season one, but it’s still fucking great.
∅ I’m still of the mind that all talk of sci-fi concepts and time travel is just misdirection for the very real world plot of toppling the United States economy forever, but what if Mr. Robot suddenly went full sci-fi? Would that bother people too much? I mean they did have aliens in the second season of Fargo. Uh, spoilers for Fargo season two.
∅ BD Wong should be in everything. Like, every show and film.
∅ Joey Bada$$ was fantastic this season, but I hope he doesn’t kill Trenton & Mobley!
∅ I don’t want to discount the incredible talents of Portia Doubleday and Carly Chaikin though. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Darlene’s story this year she was undeniably fierce in her portrayal this season. Portia was amazing this year, and I loved her Ocean’s Eleven style hack of E Corp. I can’t believe she was Sheeni in Youth in Revolt!
∅ RIP Cisco. Just as you became more likable that bulls-eye on your
back head became bigger and bigger.
Next summer cannot get here fast enough!