BY SAMANTHA HOLLOWAY
Mr Robot airs on Wednesday nights at 10pm on USA.
If the list on Wikipedia is accurate (and after tonight's episode, that might be questionable), we are now half way through the episodes we have for the first season, which means that sense that things were coming together and getting close to a conclusion last week? Not even.
This show continues to be strange and unexpected, and as of this episode seems to be branching out into new territory that makes it feel more expansive--and makes it a little easier to see how this could be continued into the second season we know they've been given. Up until this week, and maybe the weird Tyrell story intro last week, the whole plot was very tight and maybe even claustrophobic, and it made it hard to envision this let's attack the man story as an ongoing thing, but as of this week, it feels more like a quest than an attack.
So! Elliot gets into Evil Corp by way of awkward bluffing and some on-the-fly hacking by the others outside, where he is viciously mean to an underling who really just makes us all feel sad, and then again to a slightly more senior underling who gets crushed, and he almost doesn't manage to accomplish his mission because Tyrell shows up out of nowhere and wants to be buds. Turns out he really just wants to understand Elliot's motives and is Moriarty-level disappointed that it's revenge. Elliot doesn't handle the stress well, what with his constant anxiety and his still-ongoing detox, but he does manage to graft in their hacker-tech to the building's data line before he has to leave.
Meanwhile, Tyrell continues his attempts to claw his way up by having dinner with some boring upper-level guy and his wife, and manages to almost-seduce the guy's wife just by staring her down which was a little impressive but mostly uncomfortable-making.
Also meanwhile, the hacker girls find out that because of what happened last week, the Chinese hackers are out, which means their big attack won't be coordinated and will be able to be recovered from. Darleen tries to get a hook up to fix it and fails, blames herself, and tries to execute the hack anyway. Mr Robot rages and breaks stuff, but it's Elliot standing right next to her and just saying "please" that gets her to shut it down before doing it.
He offers her a place to crash for the night and when they get there, Shayla's nowhere to be seen and that druggie ex they put in jail calls him all threateningly--which, of course, happens when she's got a legal job she turns out to be good at and everything is going smoothly for a second. Drug-dealer-ex also has figured out some stuff that he can hold over Elliot, and it looks like he's trying to leverage that next week.
And on the other meanwhile front, Angela finally dumps her scumball now-ex, informs him that she's very deliberately ruined his life while saving her own, and leaves to go stay with her dad in Jersey. He offers her money to keep her affloat, but she finds out he's drowning in debt, and she is faced with a literal crossroads as the episode ends. Will she join the hackers and try to save him? I'm guessing probably, and finally, and how great is that going to be?
Also: this may have been the episode where the Mr-Robot-is-in-Elliot's-head theory was very clearly killed, because he was interacting with people all over the place.
So we have these old story threads--the hack, the misery of all the characters, the unhappy lives--colliding with the new strands--the Chinese hackers backing out but having an in to the dull job, Tyrell trying to be top dog in really ick-ifying ways, everyone getting a little desperate while also finding more stuff to fight for, and the ongoing conspiracy about the poison-coverup that killed Elliot's dad and Angela's mom. Where it goes now is anyone's guess, but I'm willing to hazard that the attack will be delayed a bit longer since we've still got half a season to go, and more personal things will both get in the way and prove more important than we thought.
Look how far we've come already! Five episodes in and we've quietly and tensely had enough story for twice that. If this is really the mid-point, and if the narrative follows something close to a standard shape (which to be fair it hasn't really much), things should be getting much more complicated, much more dire, and more much important from here on out.
So what do you guys think is happening next?