Yes, we’re quoting Yoda for our first review for “Mr. Robot” season 2, because why not? This is a show about extremes in some ways; you commit the act, you issue the threat, or you do not. Either you fall into your old ways, or exorcise demons. There are some tricky hardline mysteries hidden underneath a veil of gray areas, especially for Elliot Alderson.
In this premiere, writer / creator / director / master of everything Sam Esmail sticks largely to his strengths, which oddly still feels innovative. The camera work is different, the writing is compact and complex, and the music sounds different than almost anything else we’ve seen beyond the “International Assassin” episode of “The Leftovers.” Elliot is still the focus of the show, but clearly in the aftermath of the fsociety attack, the focus is broadening. Seeing law enforcement start to raise a flag in the wake of what happened with Evil Corp at the end of season 1 is evidence of that.
Odds are, you saw the premiere if you are reading this, so there is little point with a beat-by-beat breakdown of every individual event or appearance from Mr. Robot. What was to us fascinating was the distinct change in relationship with these two parts of Elliot now that he was aware of who he truly was. Mr. Robot became combative, angry, and more threatening than ever. We saw a part of Elliot unrelenting in his hope for control, no matter how long he tried to stay under wraps and away from the world. There is hope to get better, but still that feeling of imminent dread that he will not.
As expected, Rami Malek and Christian Slater are brilliant, but you can say the same thing with most of the cast as they sift through consequences, but then also face off against a multimillion-dollar offer in the closing minutes of the hour. We tackled the potential hollowness of speeches, the notion of trying to clean off and start again, and then also the vast uncertainty of America facing a threat that is so new. The way in which the show uses President Obama (or “President Obama”) is amazingly innovative, and it makes you wonder why some other series do not make similar efforts in their journey for authenticity.
Ultimately, there is no fear with this show. There is no try, only do. “Mr. Robot” does with a visual flourish, psychological questions, and a scale that varies between micro and macro. It’s a brilliant series, and even without an emotional peak similar to the season 1 finale, we know this is still brilliant. The only downside is that complete with “Intermission” sign, this episode feels unfinished. Luckily, it is one of two airing tonight.
Would Yoda approve of this show? We like to believe so. Grade: A.
We’ll have more news on “Mr. Robot” and the premiere tonight over here, so stay tuned! Also, sign up over here to get some further TV news on all we cover via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: USA.)