If “Mr. Robot” is a ghost, so is the show. It’s strange, weird, winding, and fantastic. We cannot decide if it is pure psychosis or a fever-dream worth staying asleep for.
In part two of the premiere, we ventured further inside the brain of Elliot Alderson to see that, once more, his grasp of reality is a little bit off in between demands, fears, and elements that may or may not remain in his mind. He continues to keep up the facade of doing better while a part of his brain’s in need of a serious refresh. Mr. Robot continued to put that gun to his brain, and all he wanted was to know where Tyrell was. At the end, all he received was a phone call.
In the middle, a tremendous turn surfaced from Craig Robinson, bringing some of the swagger of “The Office” with a very different flavor as Ray. Maybe he’s Elliot’s new friend, maybe he’s an enabler, or maybe he’s both. Either way, he and Dominique (Grace Gummer) construct the new pieces on the chessboard. Grace’s introduction as that person in the convenience store proved wonderful in contrast to who she is outside those walls.
As for other characters, we saw plenty of them … maybe too much at times … but fairly satisfying nonetheless. Joanna and Angela continue to be highlights for various different reasons. Joanna’s nighttime pleasures seem perfectly suited for Showtime’s “Billions,” but her power relationship is compelling and firmly of this world. Angela, meanwhile, is being exceptional while reminding herself through audio snippets to recognize herself as such. There was something about those scenes that was so soft, so earthly, and warm. It may have been the strongest seconds of the episode and a lovely turn from a convention that is often used for comic effect.
Want to discuss the most visceral moment of the episode? No, it was not the reference to “Vanderpump Rules.” It also was not the money being set on fire in what was a truly badass way to kick part 2 off. It was the shooting of Gideon Goddard, bar none. This is not a show that treats death lightly. It’s not a crime procedural with a body every week. A shooting is quick, it’s stunning, and it stays with you. Maybe this will visually, but it certainly will circumstantially.
What do we take away from this second episode? Maybe a lot, or maybe nothing. Elliot’s wires are coming apart, his memory per Ray may be failing him, and the idea of staying away from the game may be getting closer to a Game Over. We maybe wanted more Elliot in episode 2×02, but we’re still moving in compelling directions and find ourselves glued to the drama around the next corner. Grade: A-.
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