Image: Michael Parmelee/USA Network

The first 10 minutes of last night’s Mr. Robot didn’t follow through on the murderers out to find F Society hackers or the hunt for F Society by the FBI. Instead, it took a break and cast us into a dreamlike flashback to the origin of F Society, and of Mr. Robot’s most pernicious villain: Mr. Robot himself.

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The villain inside Elliot’s mind didn’t rise up slowly, peeking through the cracks of his psyche when afforded the time. No, Mr. Robot came on like a storm over one particular Memorial Day weekend. Elliot became too engrossed in a white hat hacking job and was locked away with the servers, like an automaton himself. Then he blacked out, and when he woke up a few million dollars of computer equipment was destroyed.

It’s proof that while Mr. Robot likes to espouse constantly about the injustices committed against America’s bourgeois, the root of his fury is over the injustices committed against Elliot personally.

Image: Michael Parmelee/USA Network

As for F Society, the titan of a disaffected generation’s rage against commercialism and capitalism, it was born out of two stoned kids’ movie night.

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Last season it seemed Mr. Robot was the lead of F Society—a disaffected rebel who gathered Darlene and the other hackers together. But last night we see that Darlene was there from the beginning, poking and prodding her brother into doing something more than sitting alone in his room on Halloween night.

We also see, for the first damn time ever, these two actually acting like siblings. There’s the getting stoned and watching shitty movies from their youth (said movie is also the origin of the F Society mask), the casual discussion of their messed-up brain meats (Darlene has panic attacks and Elliot’s been blacking out and breaking things), and the way they discuss their traumatic childhoods. Darlene’s clearly the younger sibling with a rosy image or two of their dead father, while Elliot saw things—like when his dad shoved him out a second-story window.

It’s good that we spend the first 10 minutes of this episode building Elliot and Darlene’s relationship, because the climax of the episode is completely dependent on that pairing. We have to believe Elliot is a protective big brother and that Darlene, as unaffected and manic pixie cool as she is, can still be too young and naive for some of the games they’ve been playing.

Image: Peter Kramer/USA Network

And we have to believe that Elliot would willingly embrace Mr. Robot just to protect his sister.

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Unfortunately, the show tries to force all of that onto us in one episode. For such an elegant TV show, it’s a deeply inelegant solution. But there were a couple of inelegant moments happening in this episode. Like did you know Evil Corp and B.D. Wong’s hacker from season one are secretly working together to affect some kind of major global change involving the U.N.? Well, you do now!

Did you know all Elliot needed to do to understand his psychosis was to play chess alone in the park? Because that happened. Elliot’s therapist, Krista, also showed up to remind us she’s the worst therapist ever. Seriously, as good as Gloria Reuben is as an actress her character seems to have run her course. I mean, how many times can we watch Elliot go to her, her give him a suggestion for mental healthy improvement, and him rant and say no? There was something comforting and maternal about their relationship in season one, but now it’s so wrecked that Krista’s every scene feels like a slog and another trip to the “REMINDER: ELLIOT IS INSANE” well.

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I don’t need another trip there. I know he is insane. Now I need Elliot to do something.

Image: Peter Kramer/USA Network

So thank your preferred higher being for Ray. Sure, he’s a master manipulator using Elliot to his own end (I think he’s some kind of Silk Road kind of guy), but he also got Elliot to do something for the first time this season, and he’s the reason we get the lovely sequence of Elliot seeing all his friends and family joined around a dinner table while Evil Corp explodes in the distance.

Ray is a champ, matched only by Angela. While Darlene and Elliot are wracked with fear and guilt Angela’s getting shit done like a boss (or trying to).

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She kind of fails miserably, because she’s profoundly out of her depth playing mind games with Phillip Price. He’s a billionaire who’s been doing this for decades; she’s over a hundred thousand dollars in debt and just started playing power games this year. Woman is so outclassed it’s sometimes shocking she’s alive.

But Price has a soft spot for her. Which is why he can calmly decline her brazen attempt at blackmail and just walks away. He probably sees her as a little chihuahua that thinks it’s a guard. It’s so cute that it thinks it’s more than what it is.

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In that way, Price and Ray are very much alike. These are confident operators luring out heroes into their worlds. Let’s hope Angela and Elliot eventually get smart enough to fight back, otherwise the rest of this season is going to be watching the villains just play with their food.

Assorted Musings

  • Darlene took an Instagram shot of the movie. 10 bucks that comes back to haunt her later.
  • Can we all agree that the show just committed a major computer faux pax by having Elliot use uTorrent? What is this? 2011?! Everyone knows Deluge or rTorrent is where it’s at!
  • I’m still not convinced Ray is a real person, but I like the character so much that I’m going to treat him as real until told otherwise.
  • But Leon is still DEFINITELY in Elliot’s head.
  • Elliot is still kind of in love with Angela. I ship it.
  • Grace Gummer is lovely.
  • I want to care about whatever is happening with Tyrell’s wife.
  • But I do not care.