To us, there is no question that “Mr. Robot” had one of the best pilots that we’ve seen over the past year. We loved it so much that we’ve gone back and re-watched little pieces of it here and there. Sam Esmail did a wonderful job of putting you in the head of socially-stunted hacker Elliot, making him into someone you completely care about, but at the same time do not entirely trust to make the right decisions.
Yet again on tonight’s second episode, we see that this is a guy with an inherent capacity to do good, but the way in which he chooses to process that from time to time works against all of that. We saw glimpses of that with what happened in the Shayla story.
The presence of Mr. Robot himself and Fsociety each bring something a little bit different to the world, and we see the potential here in both. Christian Slater is pretty fantastic as the former, and this is such a different character from what we are accustomed to seeing him play. It’s just a bummer that the hacker group hasn’t really proved to equal that. The surprise appearance in Elliot’s apartment tonight wasn’t really earned enough, and in general we don’t really know this group well enough yet to be attached to them.
It’s possible that some of the distance between us and the show’s supporting characters is a little bit deliberate, since it tries to keep us grounded in Elliot’s perspective the majority of the time. Just as the show may be finding its voice in the early going, we may still be figuring out to a certain extent how to watch it, as well.
We don’t feel like this second episode overall had the same exquisite pacing and relentless tension that the premiere did, but Rami Malek may be the TV star of the summer and there is so much to like still about this series. With that, it’s definitely got all of our attention. Grade: B+.
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