USA’s “Mr. Robot” answered some questions, created new ones, and revealed a major secret in its August 17 episode, entitled “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme.” David Buchanan, Riley Chow, Daniel Montgomery, and I debate the impact of these developments and anticipate tonight’s new episode in our weekly recap of the Emmy-nominated drama. Watch it above.
In this episode, written and directed by series creator Sam Esmail, we find Elliot (Rami Malek) still imprisoned by Ray (Craig Robinson). Still believing there are secrets being kept from him, Elliot forces his alter ego Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) to reveal that he shot Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrom) to protect them both from Wellick’s instability.
Elliot then is brought in to finish his work for Ray’s black-market website. After he completes his work, he plays a game of chess with Ray, who reveals that the website was his late wife’s idea as a means to make money. But Ray is haunted by the type of business he helps support, and the fact that Elliot has secretly alerted the authorities to his location is a relief to him. Ray wishes Elliot luck and allows Elliot to leave as law enforcement arrives.
The loss of Ray’s website infuriates some local thugs, who threaten Elliot and later attack him before they are –rather graphically — killed by Leon (Joey Bada$$), who is revealed to be protecting Elliot on the orders of Whiterose (B.D. Wong).
Then during a therapy session with Krista (Gloria Reuben) we learn the truth: that Elliot is actually in prison for an as-yet unknown crime, and that all of his storylines have really taken place within the prison walls.
We disagree slightly about the effectiveness of the episode’s major reveal. I found the reveal to be incredibly effective. Chow praises the execution claiming, “it reminded me of ‘Birdman’ in how seamless it was.” Buchanan agrees saying, “I kind of felt like they pulled one over on me pretty effectively.” Montgomery is less surprised by the reveal, arguing that he might have enjoyed it more had there been less speculation floated about the blogosphere.
We also discuss the trajectory of the remainder of the season. When will Elliot be released and what awaits him when he gets out? Have we seen the last of Ray? Did Mr. Robot really kill Tyrell Wellick, or is there more to the story? Most significantly, we discuss possible reasons for Elliot’s incarceration.
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