How does one possibly follow season one of Mr Robot? With a bloody excellent season two, that’s how. The first season was critically acclaimed by critics and Joe Bloggs’ alike. It had one of the best opening seasons of any television shows since The Wire, or even The Sopranos. It’s created by Sam Esmail and quite frankly, it’s utterly flawless (mostly). Season 2 follows suit in an incredible fashion in the hit USA show. The biggest conundrum of this season, is where the hell is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom)? Joanna Wellick (Stephanie Corneliussen) has been busy, looking evil and very haunting. She makes me unfathomably nervous. Tyrell is in hiding and has been blamed for the hacks. As for his current location, Elliot (Rami Malek) is as clueless as we are.
The twists and turns in this show are in abundance. I predicted many of the surprises before they happened but that doesn’t make this series any less good. Both seasons have these twists and the events after these “WTF” moments have been devastating in the world they are depicting, which is not so far from the realities of our own. It’s more real than I’d like to admit as we are living in this very dystopian reality. Mr Robot centres around a very broken protagonist and Malek gives a masterclass performance, deserving of every accolade that comes his way; including his acting Emmy at 2016’s Emmy awards.
The body of the season was messy. Well, the season wasn’t messy, it was very good. The world where the show is set is messy, as it tries to find its feet after the cataclysmic hack of season one that tore the world’s infrastructure a new hole. Evil Corp were on death’s door because of fsociety. But this season shows that Darlene (Carly Chaikin) and company were merely pawns on a chessboard being used in a bigger scheme, concocted by Whiterose, played by Jurassic World’s BD Wong, and the Dark Army.
The first half of season two was all about Elliot, exiled, battling with the demons of his mind AKA Mr Robot. He’s in a constant fight with that side of brain, while dealing with Ray (Craig Robinson). In the second half of the season, it gets dark and grim fast. Well, that escalated quickly. Mr Robot (Slater) is Elliot’s conscience and his voice of reason. Too often, Elliot is trying to reject sanity, logic and reason if favour of less savoury things like foolishness. He’s trying to sacrifice reason for madness. Many times, I often wanted to throw things at the screen because he was making so many dumb decisions. At the same time, Elliot being this way shows us how easily we make decisions; some good, some bad, a bit of both.
It took Elliot some time to accept Mr Robot and stop trying to force him from his brain. By the end of the season, it was a curious of case of Elliot not trusting his mind because he kept lying to himself. He couldn’t differentiate between lies and truths and vice versa, thus lying to us as the audience. It didn’t take long for the narrative to be buried six feet under, in psychological coping techniques containing all numbers of distorted realities, mindboggling stuff indeed.
Angela (Portia Doubleday) is back for this season as well as newcomer Grace Gummer as FBI Agent Dominique DiPierio (Grace Gummer). These two actors really mesh well together. Whenever Grace Gummer (Good Girls Revolt) appears, you have to tune in. She’s a sensational actress and her talent is evident in this season. Angela has been up to shenanigans and her antics push her into a corner with the FBI whilst Darlene is in over her head with a falling fsociety. They’re all puppets tangled in strings, as Whiterose (Wong) manipulates them from afar.
Season one depicted what happens when people take the law into their own hands. We saw the crumbling establishment, and boy, it was a sight to behold. Season two shows what happens when the system you try to dismantle wants payback. The system is an abstract concept and you can’t really destroy it nor can you control it. That’s where I think our heroes are naïve; cut off one head and two more will take its place. Darlene gets busted and Elliot is shot while thinking that Mr Robot was trying to pull a fast one on him. And that’s just a couple of the mind-blowing things that happen this season.
I still think that this season could have done with ten episodes instead of twelve. The shorter season could have done it wonders. Mr Robot continues to wow us with its sociopolitical insight and the direction of every episode was truly something special. This season felt like Twin Peaks had a lovechild with The Blacklist, with that very Esmail-ness to it. The second strand of episodes followed the incurring dangers following fsociety. These hackers are very exposed, despite bringing down the establishment from he shadows. This is more noticeable this time around than its predecessor, before they looked to be out of the law’s reach.
All in all, it’s a wonderful season, except for the season’s length. Filled with excellent performances and a good narrative, Mr Robot continues to be as engaging as ever. I for one will be watching this show as long as it runs. Hear! Hear!