‘Mr. Robot’ season 2, episode 4 review: Welcome to the dinner table

“Mr. Robot” is a story of what could be. Very rarely is it a show about what is, about accepting the world in front of you.

The night’s most beautiful moment, and maybe the most beautiful moment of the second season, came when Elliot envisioned for a moment what his life could be. It was a normal life complete with friends and a dinner table in the middle of the street. The music was of a poignant lullaby, entrancing and welcoming. That smile on Rami Malek’s face showed what he was capable of.

By the end of the episode, we saw a man who was ready to help Ray with his “computer problem,” and to go along with that, was also ready to accept something more resembling a friendship with him. Yet, at the same time, he was still fighting his inner demons and an impasse from Mr. Robot that just wouldn’t go away. He could not except the pleas of “I am here for a reason,” or at least he did not want to. In his mind, it is so much easier to avoid.

Hacking. The game. These are Elliot’s addictions, and by “the game,” we’re not talking about chess. By the end of the episode, he was working his way back within, while at the same time being offered a perfectly good reason to get back out. Darlene was making it clear that the FBI was getting closer, to the point where she was ready to leave the city and get away. (If you’re at a point where you realize that leaving is the best option, it is probably not going to actually happen for you.)

As a matter of fact, Elliot used Darlene’s jeopardy as an excuse to dive deeper into a game than ever before, ignoring that dinner table and all of those friends for a chance at a life behind bars. He hacked the FBI, and the results of that are certainly to be determined.

Elsewhere in the episode, we saw Joanna and Angela face off against what you could describe as threats — or, as we call them, obstacles in their way. We cannot say we clinged to these stories much in comparison to events elsewhere, but we feel like Angela especially will climb that latter one way or another.

Ultimately, this was another sensational episode of “Mr. Robot.” Is there a case to be made for tightening up the edit? Certainly, but an extended 90 minutes of something great is far preferable to 60 minutes of a blip on the radar. Grade: A-.

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