Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 7 Review: eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme

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Well, that was wild!

I can't say that I'm surprised by the twist revealed in the closing moments of Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 7. There have been many hints towards that end all season.

That said, I do think that the twist was revealed perfectly – once again proving that it's the execution, not the twist itself, which keeps us all tuned in to this series.

Playing Nice - Mr. Robot

So, by now, we all know the big twist: Elliot has been in prison all season. Not at his mother's house.

Unlike the major reveals of Mr. Robot Season 1 – that Mr. Robot was a hallucination of Elliot's dead dad and that Darlene was Elliot's sister – this reveal wasn't actually a delusion, per se. Instead, it seemed more like Elliot was purposely deceiving both himself and us (the audience) in order to be able to deal with his circumstances.

The reveal was absolutely perfect, on a visual level, but before we get to that, I want to talk about Elliot's storyline, start to end.

We picked up with Elliot right where we left off at the end of Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 6. Beaten by Ray's men, he was thrown into a basement. While in there, Mr. Robot comforted him and eventually – at Elliot's pleading – reluctantly revealed the truth about what happened to Tyrell. According to Mr. Robot, he/Elliot shot Tyrell back in the fsociety arcade, right after initiating the 5/9 Hack.

Here's the thing: I don't buy it. At all.

Not because I don't believe that Elliot's conversation with Tyrell on that red rotary phone earlier in the season could have been a hallucination – it totally could have. I just don't think that a hugely significant character like Tyrell would be killed off-screen, and then have said death mentioned in a random, non-finale installment.

Doesn't fit. Plus, Mr. Robot is suspicious as heck. He was so hesitant to reveal the truth to Elliot, so who's to say that he didn't decide to fudge the truth to cover up what REALLY happened? That's my theory (and my hope), anyway. Mr. Robot and Tyrell are in on a grander scheme together, and Elliot isn't ready to be clued in quite yet.

After this admission, Elliot was brought back upstairs by Ray and made to finish fixing that horrific darknet website. Elliot did but, true to his own vigilante nature, he also opened up the site, making it accessible to the FBI. He then distracted Ray with a game of chess, during which Ray opened up about the site's history.

Shockingly, it was Ray's now-dead wife who had the idea to create the site. Neither of them was thrilled with the dark, highly illegal and immoral exchanges going on there, but they were each perfectly content to look the other way when the money was rolling in. According to Ray, his WIFE was even better at denial and not looking at what exactly was on the site.

Also according to Ray, being made to see what is on the site unlocked something in him, leading to the extreme violence he unleashed on both RT and Elliot when they looked to see what was on there. He seemed genuinely apologetic, and genuinely ready to be done with it all – of course, who's to say that wasn't just because he realized that Elliot turned him into the FBI and fighting him was useless?

That was the coolest and most unexpected moment. I assumed that Elliot would not let Ray get away with this. It's not in Elliot's nature whatsoever. But the idea that Ray knew it would happen, allowed it to happen, and then allowed Elliot to leave so as not to become implicated – that was interesting, and it made Ray's character so much deeper and more complex.

Elliot... Be careful.

Ray

Don't get me wrong – dude's got some issues and some real darkness in him. But I do think his wife's death screwed him up, substantially.

I don't believe this is the last we've seen of him either. If the FBI has him, I'd bet that Dom will get her hands on him as she gets closer to figuring out the 5/9 Hack. Will he turn Elliot in? Will they find traces of whatever Elliot did to initiate the FBI hack with Darlene on Ray's computer?

The remainder of Elliot's scenes played out much as expected. A group of probable white supremacists were quite perturbed about Elliot taking down Ray and (more importantly) Ray's site, because they had money in the form of bitcoins tied up in it. When they decided to corner Elliot and beat and rape, they inadvertently gave us one of the most epic and shocking scenes in Mr. Robot history.

You're gonna get a letter on Tuesday. Do what it says. Yo man, when you see Whiterose, make sure you say I did you good. I'll be rooting for you, cuz. Always.

Leon

Leon, revealing himself as a Dark Army affiliate, saved the day by swiftly killing each of Elliot's attackers in ninja-like fashion. It was amazing. And brutal. And horrifying. I think he stabbed one guy in the butt?!

I had several theories about Leon but can honestly say that him being involved in the Dark Army and knowing Whiterose was NOT one of them. My best guess was that he was another of Elliot's hallucinations. We now know that this is not the case.

Finally, the big reveal: Elliot is in jail. We found out thanks to Krista, who specifically asked Elliot where he thought he was when he let slip "living with his mother." He was not shocked when the room revealed itself to be the visitor's area at jail, not Krista's office – it was more like a "the jig is up" reaction.

Please don't be mad too long. This will be the last time I keep things from you. I promise.

Elliot

The series of absolutely phenomenal shots of what Elliot originally "saw" as his neighborhood dissolving into their real-life prison settings was great. It was the best possible way to establish what had *really* been going on all season.

I'm sure we'll get a fuller explanation of how the Ray thing (and Leon slaughtering a group of white supremacists) was possible, within the confines of a jail, next week. Ray was likely an admin worker there, which explains why he had a computer and a gang of burly men willing to do his bidding.

Leon killing a bunch of dudes... that one's harder to explain, given that Leon was apparently a fellow inmate.

The other big development in this installment – Angela is making big moves at E Corp. But Dom is on to her.

Angela successfully avoided admitting to Dom why she was on the restricted FBI floor and managed to get the wi-fi back up, enabling Darlene to finish hacking the FBI.

But the damage was done. When Dom later found the security footage missing – courtesy of Darlene wiping it to cover Angela's tracks – she wasn't surprised in the slightest and immediately told them to check Angela's computer, though she knew Angela would have wiped it.

What was strange here was that Dom didn't seem at all concerned about the fact that Angela was presumably involved in the hack.

What is Dom's deal? This is so strange. I get that she has a good read on people, but the fact that she was able to ascertain that Angela was merely a pawn and not the "real" threat so quickly was strange and honestly kind of illogical. Why wouldn't she drag Angela in for questioning right then and there? Angela pretty clearly looked just about ready to crack.

Elsewhere, Angela went forward with her plan to remove the contingency that Price wanted gone from the lawsuit settlement, allowing E Corp to settle for having caused the deaths of Angela's mother and all the other victims of the leak for relatively small amounts. Her father was, understandably, horrified and couldn't fathom why Angela would do this.

To be honest, I'm also not sure what Angela's long game is here.

Clearly, she wants to amass power at E Corp, but it's unclear whether she wants to do this in order to destroy them from the inside or to change them and make them a "good" company. I assume it's the former, given that, once she got Price to switch her over to the Risk Management team, she attempted to finagle access to their files (in the most inelegant way imaginable).

Of course, that failed miserably because her new boss seemed to realize *exactly* what she was up to. But I didn't expect it to work. It's far more interesting to watch Angela continue to struggle against this massive conglomerate, losing bits of herself to it in the process.

Stray Thoughts:

  • One caveat to my Tyrell-isn't-dead theory: I think the FBI found a shell casing from a gunshot at the arcade when Dom tracked it down. That said, it doesn't necessarily mean that the shot lodged itself in Tyrell. Fatally, anyway.
  • I still don't 100% get why Krista is down to keep seeing Elliot. She's the nicest person ever to be visiting him in jail, seemingly out of the goodness of her own heart.
  • On the Joanna front, not much developed. A woman threw pig's blood (?) at her – while she was walking with her baby, no less!! – and she showed her boyfriend Derek the divorce papers she had drawn up in order to assure him of her commitment to him. Derek seems really gullible, so I'd bet he forgave her for missing his 30th birthday quite easily.
  • So now we know what happened to those Wall Street bull balls – they wound up thrown through the skylight of the U.S. Capitol building during the bailout meeting, courtesy of fsociety. Guess that's what Darlene was instructing the fsociety member to do earlier in the season.
  • The detail of shrimp cocktail at the debriefing meeting that Angela attended was a great callback to when she mentioned that Colby and the others sat around eating shrimp cocktail when they decided her mother would die, back in the first season.
  • Happy birthday, Philip Price, you sketchy old man.
  • A big moment: Angela confronting Darlene about the Alderson siblings always having assumed they were smarter than her, and telling Darlene that she basically figured out they were involved with fsociety thanks to the masks from that movie they loved – but she didn't want to think they were capable of doing what they'd done.

What did you think of "Handshake"? Leave me a comment below and watch Mr. Robot online to catch up on anything you may have missed!

eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

Elliot... Be careful.

Ray

Price: Would you like to celebrate with me tonight?
Angela: No.
Price: Well, maybe next year.