Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot | Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

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Hello, friend! Welcome to the Mr. Robot podcast on Post Show Recaps. Every week, Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Antonio Mazzaro (@acmazzaro) discuss the latest episode of Mr. Robot, covering each and every hour of the USA Network drama’s second season.

This week, Josh and Antonio initiate “Init 1,” because it’s a podcasting emergency: Elliot has become Mr. Robot! At least, we see the beginning of Elliot’s decision to form fsociety during a flashback sequence at the start of this week’s episode. What’s more, Elliot embarks on a cosmic game of chess against his alter ego in a battle for existence. Beyond the Elliot story, Darlene learns some rough news about the target on fsociety’s back, Angela makes a play against Phillip Price, one of the show’s most mysterious figures reemerges, and the questions surrounding Tyrell Wellick’s whereabouts only increase.

Subscribe to the Mr. Robot podcast by clicking here, and leave questions and comments for Josh and Antonio on Twitter, in the comments section below, through our feedback form, or by e-mailing us.

Read Josh’s THR Coverage of Mr. Robot

  • John Davis

    I think it is interesting that the Seinfeld episode Leon talks about in this show is the Seinfeld finale where George, Elaine, Kramer and Jerry get arrested for violating a Good Samaritan law and eventually all end up in jail. The last lines are about shirt buttons which references one of the first conversations their first season. It may seem trivial, but don’t you think that Sam Esmail is using this last Seinfeld episode to foreshadow Eliot and his f society gang’s eventual fate?
    This was another great podcast Antonio and Josh. I put together Mr. Robot and your podcast as the absolute highlight of my week.

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      interesting. could be.

    • TrentC

      Mr Robot is reminding me of another great show, The Leftovers. Not in subject matter or execution, rather that both series had good first seasons, and then the second season gets exponentially better.

      Every episode is an infinite Russian doll collection. Just when you think you’ve gotten down to the last one, there’s another doll hidden within. I’m also reminded of Breaking Bad in terms of how much underlying tension each episode exudes. I keep waiting for something horrible to happen, even when the scenes look fairly innocent.

      Can’t say that I understand what’s really happening in each scene of Mr Robot, and that’s why it’s becoming one of my favorite TV shows.

  • Trevor L
    There you are the whole movie.

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      it literally dropped five minutes after we recorded. I’d like to think we brought it out of the ether with our wishes.

  • James Griffin

    Another fantastic podcast, thank you both

  • Tenley

    Guys, it’s not whether Angela will be like Hamlet and kill the king. Elliot is Hamlet: To be or not to be.

  • susan appleby

    Have you guys been playing the ARG?

  • Spencer Watson

    You missed something. Regarding the chess game between Elliott and Mr Robot, we are forced to think of them as two separate entities with corresponding differences in goals and strategies. This episode, obviously, underlines that with the thought that one could have a chess strategy that the other is unaware of. This, of course, isn’t true and we see that. What you missed is that this entire event IS part of a strategy that Mr Robot has that Elliott is unaware of until the end of the chess segment. Mr Robot maneuvers Elliott into a situation (much like one would maneuver an opponent’s position in a chess game) where Elliott has hope (hope that Elliott can be free of Mr Robot by simply winning a game of chess). Mr Robot then takes this hope away by playing for a stalemate repeatedly. This glimpse of hope that is then removed allows Mr Robot to convince Elliott that Elliott will never win and to, therefore, give in (at least a little).

    Near the end of the last episode we hear Elliott refer to God as an entity that controls people using hope. This idea is then used by Mr Robot against Elliott in this episode. One could even say that Elliott gave Mr Robot the idea.

    Aside from that, I find it interesting that Elliott and Angela have the same inspiration for justice (or revenge, whatever) but technically have different targets. Angela seems to have as a target the individuals who made the actual decision to allow the poisoning from the plant. Elliott seems to have the corporation as a whole as his target. The difference between these two things could speak to one of the overarching themes of the series.

    Phillip Price says that the decision was made by ordinary men who were capable of extraordinary things. If we look at the high level corporate environment as one in which ordinary people can become corrupted to the point where they can willfully allow people to die then removing the people will only replace them with other people who may become corrupted. So we ask the question: is this the case? Is the system rigged in a much more nefarious way than we would like to believe?

    • Spencer Watson

      Just did a 2nd watch with particular attention paid to the chess stuff. I might be reading way too deep into this but whatever. Down the robot hole is down the robot hole.

      The chess board is shown 3 times. In each of its 3 appearances the white queen plays a part. The first appearance is the end of the game against Ray. The first move displayed to us is a sacrifice of the white queen by Ray to win the game. The second appearance is in Elliott’s room with Mr Robot. The scene opens up with a close up shot of Mr Robot placing the white queen. The third appearance is in the park when the stalemates are played. The moves from both sides during the stalemate games are very unreasonable. that is, they are all legal chess moves but no reasonable player would use any of these strategies in the hopes of winning. Elliott repeatedly puts the white queen in jeopardy and Mr Robot repeatedly refuses to take it. The white queen is still on the board at the end of all 3 stalemate games.

      Who could the white queen represent? There are two likely possibilities: Angela and Darlene. I think Angela is more likely. There is an Angela scene immediately before the first two white queen appearances (and her face is the last shot of each of those scenes) and there is an Angela scene immediately following the stalemate sequence. I’m not sure what it could mean except that Angela is likely to be a key player for Elliott at some point coming up this season. This would seem extremely obvious except that so far there have been no scenes between the two of them this season.

  • susan appleby

    Don’t you guys think that Mr Robot is the “true” Elliot? The Elliot side is what Mr. Robot needs to function in society.
    The main character isn’t simply some flawed human. He’s a monster. I’m finding this show very disturbing because of that.
    I do love how the show started us off last season by showing Elliot in a positive light of using his hacking skills to catch a pedophile. Makes it harder to see the evil underneath the main character.

    • TrentC

      I’d like to think that the ‘good’ Elliot (pedophile catcher, exposing his therapist’s crappy boyfriend) is the dominant personality. He can’t control his psychotic breaks but is fully aware that something negative is happening and he’s trying to take steps to prevent it. He spoke about blacking out, then waking up in that locked room and all of the servers were smashed. He’s in the very least aware that when he loses time/blacks out that negative incidents occur. And part of this goes beyond his recognition and acceptance that Slater-Dad-Mr Robot is a part of his personality.

      He was the main player behind the E-corp hack yet the show keeps hinting there may be other entities that influence Elliot. The Dark Army has a murky agenda and always seems to be a constant threat in the background. We see Darlene a fair amount and now I’m wondering is she a delusion too?

      I’m playing darts while blindfolded here since we never know how much of Elliot’s life is real, but I will always consider him to be the good guy protagonist of the story. People like Price/The Dark Army and maybe even Angela Moss, his old crush, may become opponents for Elliot at various points. In particular the Asian guy/girl with the time obsession. There’s just too many other ‘bad guys’ for Elliot to be the main monster of the show in my opinion.

  • Bryant Hughes

    My pet theory is that the knock on the door at the end of S1 is Shayla

    Ties into the beranstain reference because something he believed to be true turns out to be not true.

    And such a revelation could certainly cause him to commit himself.

  • Kolohe

    I believe the chess match Elliot plays against himself is also a Wargames reference – another hacker movie, if the most hollywooded up of them.

    Remember how it ends with them trying to get WOPR to play himself (in both Tic Tac Toe and Global Thermal Nuclear War), but each iteration keeps on coming up a stalemate. WOPR finally learns “The only way to win is not to play” and then, of course, offers to play a nice game of chess.