Mr. Robot: “eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes” Season 2 Episode 6 Review

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With the tension on the outside world building after last week’s shocking ending, Mr. Robot continues to sideline Elliot from the heart of the action. This week he literally went to his perceived “happy place,” which is a terrible ’90s sitcom where he and his family, as well as a few guest stars, commit heinous acts, all with an either ignorant or desensitized audience providing an occasionally haunting laugh track. Remember the “Too Many Cooks” viral video from a few years ago? The first fifteen minutes of Mr. Robot live entirely in the portion of that video where things just start to go wrong, but doesn’t dare leave it. Sure, Mr. Robot kills the tied up man who is so obviously Tyrell before Elliot wakes up in the hospital, but that’s the only bit where things maybe go too far.

Elliot’s story here gets a lot less interesting once we return to our gritty, grey filtered 2016 drama, where he’s mostly just thrown around by his captors. Luckily, the same can’t be said for the new Angela and Darlene team-up. With Angela’s access to E Corp from the inside, Darlene and fsociety are ready to do some real damage. Angela’s transformation this season is so exciting. The company she works for has poked her just enough in the wrong places, all while building up a strong, more formidable force to fight back against them. fsociety’s frustrations with Darlene’s trust in Angela, who’s never hacked anything in her life, grounds this whole heist to make it just believable enough to work.

Once Angela is inside her office with Darlene in her ear, Mr. Robot finally gets to remind us of its insane tension building skills. Portia Doubleday was terrific throughout the whole thing, fending of horny co-workers with her own wit. Besides a few sharply written speed bumps, things seem to start going their way finally. That’s when Dom shows up at Angela’s desk ready to continue her investigation.

After last week’s cliffhanger, imagine if this was the show’s way of telling us she survived? The explanation of her survival would have likely interrupted whatever incredible opening scene the creators have ready for episode seven of the season. But it does feel a bit like a missed opportunity as is.

Sadly, the time spent with Elliot this episode results in another major cliffhanger, this one less earned than the previous. Whatever conversation is to come between Angela and Dom, with Darlene in the former’s ear, is surely going to be exciting. Why break the tension of it all with a week of waiting?

Still, this episode was a lot stronger than the previous two. The opening was innovative, if a bit pointless, and the interactions of all the show’s leading ladies were flawless. Mr. Robot still has to solve the problem of its sidelined main character, but at least we’re only halfway through the season. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • I love the commitment to he ’90s sitcom, all the way to the commercials, some of which were made and some of which were actually old commercials.
  • Dom’s explanation for how she survived was super exposition heavy, but I liked the character a lot more in this episode. It was a nice bit of world building and character building showing her interact with the clerk at her local bodega.

By Matt Dougherty

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