S2 episode 1

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Aired on July 13, 2016

Warning: Recap Contains Spoilers

As it turns out, revolutions aren’t achieved in one day. 

That’s the unfortunate rude awakening that the members of fsociety experience in the first episode of the second season of Mr. Robot. While Elliot has given up the fight, Darlene continues to soldier on, determined to make good on fsociety’s promise and finish the job. But something continues to gnaw at Elliot’s brain—whether it’s Mr. Robot, the ghost of his dead father, Elliot’s own conscience, we really don’t know—and moving on may be more than a few monotonous discussions of Seinfeld over limp diner food can achieve. 

Here’s how this first episode went down…and ended going up in flames.  

He Wanted to Save the World…

Elliot doesn’t remember what he did during the three days after the hack on 5/9, including what happened to Tyrell Wellick after he showed up at fsociety. So he has retreated to his mother’s house and for the last month, has taken refuge—of sorts—in his “perfectly constructed loop,” a monotonous routine devoid of computers, Internet access, and anything resembling mental stimulation. Elliot’s dream about revolution didn’t succeed. The world has been thrown into economic chaos and Evil Corp still stands. He has returned to meeting with Krista, the psychiatrist whose personal life he ruined, in the hopes of drowning out the needling voice of Mr. Robot in his head. However, no amount of journaling with a dull pencil has driven away the relentless demands of Elliot’s alter ego to stop his “zombie act” and get back in the game. “I am not a tumor to be excised!” Mr. Robot argues. “I am an organ vital to your existence!” But until Mr. Robot tells Elliot what happened to Tyrell, which he refuses to do, Elliot remains on the bench, locking them in a twisty kind of stalemate. 

She’s Still Trying to Save the World

Despite her tears behind her heart-shaped sunglasses, Darlene is determined to keep the revolution on track. Mobley is mostly still on board, but without Elliot (who we now know is her brother!), Darlene doesn’t have anyone she can truly count on, who is taking their mission as seriously as she is. Sawing off the balls of the bull statue on Wall Street is meaningless bull-s%&#, not progress. After driving out Evil Corp’s General Counsel, Susan Jacobs, from her tricked-out smart house loft by making her ultra wired home system go haywire, Darlene and her misguided band of merry hackers secretly install themselves there to plot out their next move. Darlene warns them that Susan Jacobs isn’t known as “Madame Executioner” for nothing so they have to take down her and the rest of Evil Corp before Evil Corp does the job first. 

Control Is an Illusion

Meanwhile, the FBI won’t stop harassing Gideon, who has been nothing but cooperative with the authorities as he tries to clear AllSafe’s name, as well as his own, from any wrongdoing. He visits Elliot at his mother’s house and begs for his old employee’s help, while Mr. Robot taunts Elliot from the sidelines. When Elliot says no (to Mr. Robot? to Gideon? to both?), Gideon threatens to go to the FBI with what he knows -- or doesn't know, but suspects -- about Elliot. Between the two of them, it’s unclear who wins the prize for being the most desperate about their shrinking options. #tooclosetocall. 

Between a Park and a Hard Place

Per Darlene’s command, fsociety’s next target is Evil Corp Bank. The demand: $5.9 million delivered to Battery Park City by a chief executive of the company. The consequence: the entire bank system will be bricked in twenty-four hours. The newly widowed Scott Knowles, Evil Corp’s now CTO, is against negotiating with these “terrorists.” But Susan Jacobs says that while the FBI won’t sanction them paying the ransom, they can’t afford to wait the five days for IT to fix their system. Besides, according to Madame Executioner, a few million is nothing but couch cushion change. (Please hold while we look underneath our couch cushions…damn. Only a linty penny.) CEO Phillip Price decides that they need to pay them off and Scott volunteers to deliver the money. 

Flame Out

At the appointed hour, Scott shows up with the requisite briefcases full of C-notes. A bike messenger asks Scott to sign for a duffle bag, which contains an fsociety mask and instructions. He has 10 seconds to execute the demand or every bank system will be bricked. As directed, Scott dumps all the cash on the sidewalk, pours lighter fluid all over it, and sets the whole pile on fire. Then he drops the mask on the pyre as Darlene watches amidst bewildered onlookers, the expression on her illuminated face inscrutable before she turns and walks away.