Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 9 Review: eps2.7_init_5.fve

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As the season hits its home stretch, Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 9 marks what is sure to be a pivotal installment of the series – and one of the best yet.

"Init 5" was deliciously tense and a welcome return to Elliot after the Elliot-less (but still wonderful) Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 8.

Looking For Answers - Mr. Robot

We opened on a rundown of exactly what happened between the end of Mr. Robot Season 1 and Elliot ending up in jail, continuing the ongoing Mr. Robot Season 2 use of flashbacks to fill in gaps between and before what we've seen already. The knock at Elliot's door in the closing moments of the Mr. Robot Season 1 Finale was the police coming to arrest him.

As many had guessed, the crime that landed Elliot in the big house was the hack on Krista's scumbag boyfriend and stealing the guy's dog. Of all the things Elliot has done, it's pretty laughable that this is what they got him for: grand theft dog (and hacking).

Against the advice of his attorney (and Mr. Robot, who hilariously screamed at Elliot over the judge sentencing video), Elliot pled guilty to the charges and wound up with 18 months in county jail.

The 10-minute-long opening sequence also clarified some of the details about what we've seen so far this season – Ray was the jail warden, his thug Lone Star was (I think) a guard, and Leon was a fellow prisoner with a penchant for '90s DVDs and a knack for finding "anything" for others. 

Elliot was released from jail early – ostensibly thanks to Dark Army's intervening, given that Whiterose's assistant told Whiterose that "he's been released" – and immediately thrown back into the fray.

As far as I can tell, Elliot doesn't know that Darlene killed Susan Jacobs, the E Corp attorney – then again, Darlene did whisper in Elliot's ear when she hugged him after greeting him post-release, and we weren't privvy to what she said. Maybe she did tell him.

Darlene was a mess of paranoia. A conversation between Darlene and Cisco – who, apparently, wasn't dead or maimed or anything after Darlene took a bat to his head – revealed that the murder of Susan was a month prior. In that month, Trenton and Mobley wound up missing.

Whether they absconded to avoid being arrested or killed by Dark Army (together or separately) or actually were killed already is unknown. Cisco did find a gasping, male-sounding person when he returned to Susan's smart house to retrieve the incriminating VHS tape with Darlene's face on it that Darlene dropped shortly before the murder.

I'm guessing that gasping person is a gruesomely injured Mobley, left there as a warning to Darlene and the others. Just a hunch.

"Init 5" also offered up a lot of information to clarify some of the larger, more complex issues at stake – most importantly, it gave us some insight as to what's up with Whiterose.

Specifically, we discovered, in the course of Whiterose's conversations with Price and with their assistant, that Whiterose's project is the Washington Township Plant – the very same E Corp plant which had a leak that was covered up by the company, and led to the deaths of Angela's mother and Elliot's father.

What exactly is happening at that plant is still unknown. Whatever Whiterose is doing there is clearly quite high-stakes, given that a multi-billion dollar conglomerate is in on it and that Whiterose is willing to literally kill to protect it.

Whiterose revealed, in no uncertain terms, that they'd had the prior E Corp CEO killed (in a plane crash, no less, meaning innocent bystanders were also taken out) in order to prevent the plant from being shut down.

The connections between both Whiterose and Philip Price and Whiterose and Elliot are more complex than we realized.

Whiterose and Price are far more adversarial than I'd thought. Whiterose is primarily concerned with their plant project (whatever that might be) while Price is a self-described "mercenary."

You see, I'm a mercenary. I don't play fair. I play what I want. You deal with a mercenary, then all decorum gets tossed out the window. So you go ahead with your cute threats and your watch beeps. Order will not protect you anymore, my friend. I will rain chaos, even if it hurts me. Because I would rather see you lose than win myself. Oh. That's all the time I have.

Philip Price

This is (apparently) personal for Whiterose, but all about the money for Price. The two are entangled, but Price would be more than happy to blow everything up (possibly literally) in order to see Whiterose lose.

Price bargained with Whiterose, convincing Whiterose to agree to get China to loan E Corp the bailout money it was denied by the US government, in exchange for Price "saving" Whiterose's plant from the US government.

I can't wait to find out how Whiterose and E Corp became involved and what, exactly, Whiterose's game plan is. They're seemingly dependent on E Corp (to some degree, anyway) while simultaneously assisting Elliot in taking them down. I don't get it at all, to be quite honest, but I'll definitely stay tuning in until it's explained.

Whiterose's relationship with Elliot was also revealed to be deeper than we'd realized.

The mysterious "phase 2" that Darlene discovered when she looked at Cisco's laptop wasn't some nefarious Dark Army scheme after all – it was Elliot's idea, a fact which Darlene overhead via Elliot's phone hack on Xun, Whiterose's mercenary.

Darlene was, obviously, shocked that Elliot not only knew what Stage 2 was but came up with it himself – and kept it from her. Of course, Darlene doesn't seem to truly know the depth of Elliot's mental issues. She might not realize that he might not even know that he masterminded Stage 2.

And what the heck even is Stage 2? We'll have to wait and see, I guess. Whatever it is, Darlene might not be around to worry about it anymore – a knock on Cisco's apartment door spooked her, and we didn't get to see who it was. Will Darlene be the next fsociety hacker to go missing, after Mobley and Trenton?

Angela, meanwhile, was on her own yet again, separate from Darlene and Elliot. Her motives remained murky, though her actions in "Init 5" seemed to indicate that she really does want to take down Evil Corp (in a roundabout, complex way) as opposed to climb the corporate ladder.

Angela masterminded a hack of her very own – go Angela! – breaking into risk management boss guy's computer at Evil Corp in order to retrieve the Washington Township Leak files that she unconvincingly tried to finagle on Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 8. She took the files straight to the Nuclear Regulatory Committee and that's where things got sketchy.

Seemed pretty clear that the Deputy Director was in the pocket of Evil Corp, didn't it? They left Angela alone in a room for what seemed to be many hours after she turned over the files she'd stolen. Then, the Deputy Director showed up to escort Angela down a very long and menacing hall to "chat" with her colleagues.

Of course, we may have been seeing things through the lens of Angela's paranoia, but it certainly seemed very fishy – especially when Angela spotted all of the many security cameras catching her on tape after another regulatory employee promised her anonymity in her whistleblowing.

She hightailed it out of there but her problems didn't end there – Dom showed up, baring sandwiches and socially awkward/overly friendly as usual, at Angela's apartment.

After a very cryptic stand-off – and an overshare by Dom – the FBI agent revealed that Ollie had given up everything about the hack CD at Allsafe right away. Feds were tailing Angela, because they knew she was involved in the hack but, apparently, didn't yet have proof. Dom suggested that Angela level with her in order to avoid being thrown in jail once another, less friendly FBI agent found definitive proof of Angela's involvement.

Angela, to her credit, remained silent. But the situation is looking completely dire for her. It would be really unfortunate and disappointing to see her go down for the hack, all on her own, after all the trouble she's gone through to dismantle Evil Corp.

Finally, in the closing moments, Elliot found Joanna Wellick waiting for him in Tyrell's SUV as he returned home. 

Hello, "Ollie."

Joanna [to Elliot]

She addressed him as "Ollie" because that was the name he'd given her during their brief encounter outside of the Wellick home near the end of Mr. Robot Season 1.

Stephanie Corneliussen and Rami Malek are two of the best actors on the show. Their sole conversation last season was electric, and I've been wanting to see them interact again for quite a while.

Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 10 should be a good one. Especially because Elliot is rapidly unraveling, experiencing weird moments of disconnect where Mr. Robot (who feigns ignorance or is honestly ignorant about what's going on with him) is forced to take over and speak for him.

It began as a failure. Everything. My existence. I should recognize that. Accept it. For me, there's no such thing as normalcy. My dead father appears and disappears at will. I talk to you, an invisible friend. I'd ask if you're normal, but you never talk back.

Elliot

Where is Elliot's mind? And can he recover enough to fend off the FBI and finish his destruction of Evil Corp? Normalcy isn't an option for him, but at this point he might not even be able to manage basic competency.

Stray thoughts:

  • The show's soundtrack is always excellent, but "Init 5's" was particularly impressive – great electronic '80s vibes and Depeche Mode.
  • Angela's head directly in front of that "Risk Ahead" poster is a phenomenal detail.
  • That shot of Whiterose (in his Minister form) and Price with the umbrellas, facing one another, was like a painting. Simply gorgeous.
  • Elliot's random visit with his mother was a small but striking moment. Why is she in a nursing home facility? What happened to her? She's definitely not elderly, as far as I can tell.
  • Whiterose's assistant is basically a non-entity. I keep waiting for him to become more interesting or important, but it's yet to happen.
  • The dream Dom mentioned to Angela – being choked under water by a woman she described as "sexy" – definitely seemed to hint at Dom being a lesbian. I also sensed major sexual tension between Dom and Angela in Angela's apartment. Is this going to become relevant soon? I wonder...

What did you think of "Init 5"? Leave me a comment and watch Mr. Robot online here at TV Fanatic anytime!

eps2.7_init_5.fve Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

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

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Mr. Robot Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

Leon: You don't say much, do you?
Elliot: No.
Leon: Well that's cool man. I'm here to provide you with anything you may need. I can pretty much find anything. And I mean anything. Smokes, pills, hard shit, porn, grandma porn. Some of these guys like that shit. Gay porn. I don't judge, man. Whatever you need.
Elliot: Can you get me a notebook?

Check it out, I'll give you the low down. Routine, that's key. It's best you find your routine, whatever it is, and stick to it. Mornings, we chow. Afternoons, we hit the ball court. Evenings, that's when I get my TV time. Some people join church groups or AA or whatever but I like to binge, personally.

Leon