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Mr. Robot “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme” Review (2×07)

17 Aug

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“Where do you think you are right now?”

Here’s the thing about reveals: it retroactively makes you wonder about the logic of past storylines, and it becomes a problem if it’s viewed as some magical restart button that can be employed every so often. I’m going to give the show the benefit of the doubt here and try to be optimistic about the second half of the season, but the first half seems like the result of pretension catching up to Esmail a bit. Sure, I’m enjoying the season so far–and last week’s episode was a wonderful piece of entertainment in and of itself–but Malek can only do so much with a storyline that sometimes seems lost. Mind you, pretension is not inherently bad, but it can weaken and needlessly convolute this show.

With that out of the way, it’s still a good twist to explore thematically. “Control can sometimes be an illusion, but sometimes you need the illusion to gain control,” Elliot’s voiceover states near the end of the episode, and it’s an interesting way to complicate one of the biggest themes of the series: control as an illusion. It makes sense, though, when we consider these characters’ journeys and their efforts to just keep pushing forward. Whether we’re talking about Angela, Joanna, or Elliot, we see some uncertainty that they all try to take control of. And in Elliot’s case, that means accepting the part of himself he wants gone, or “[cloaking the] harshest reality to gain comfort”. This is the only way he can really move forward in life; the fantasy may be the only avenue available to reach reality. Maybe that’s just how we can allow ourselves to look ahead.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Subtitles that weren’t said in the Elliot-Ray scene: “I gave Ray the chance to make the right move, and he let himself wide open to me.”

– “No.” Jeez, Angela.

-That little snippet in Congress is hilarious.

-More religious imagery: Mr. Robot as Jesus.

-If this is it for Ray–it better not be–then kudos to Craig Robinson. He’s been fantastic throughout this season, and his character’s fascinating to watch. I’m left scratching my head about his involvement in all this and how much of him is real/not real. Is he a prison guard? What’s the timeline on this?

-So Leon is connected to whiterose in some way. Interesting.

-The title card this week–with a silent image of a paint-splattered Joanna screaming

-Any theories on why Elliot is in prison? It can’t be for the hack or for the death of Tyrell–I don’t believe he’s dead, furthermore–so what could it be? The dog guy from season one? There are a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered in the coming weeks, as this twist raises a few uncertainties about past events we’ve seen.

Photo credit: Mr. Robot, USA

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2 Responses to “Mr. Robot “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme” Review (2×07)”

  1. Hepburn3 August 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Hey PB!
    I like this show for Rami Malek so I try to over look how pretentious it can be,the show runner guy really thinks he is a clever clogs, and that is getting boring .
    I have to say I LOVED that Joanna got painted, she is such a cow and I loathe her deeply and I am happy that Tyrell is dead ,well I hope that he is ! I just hope thatJoanna is next, but knowing the show runner he will pull a ain’t I clever jag move and Tyrell will have been alive all along.
    So Elliot has been in prison the whole time, it makes sense in terms of his daily routine. I think he is there because he has not followed his court mandate from first season. There were some tip offs that he was in jail, the basketball , the set up of the diner he ate at with Leon, the vile White Supremacist gang that threatened Elliot they would NEVER live in that neighbourhood that Elliot was suppose to be in, they would get stomped, how he was taken and beaten both times, the hole that he was put in, which is what solitary confinement is called, the fact Ray knew that Elliot was a computer wiz, why would he know that on the outside world Elliot keeps to himself and what he does, but in prison everyone knows your history.
    I do not understand Angela and her motivation she is uneven,Darlene should be called Ms Robot she is so beyond in control. Leon is kind of quiet cool, do not mess with him, remember when I said that Elliot was the true god of this show so his rant about God was rather lame? Showing Mr. robot as God kind of backs up what I said.
    I wax and wane with this show, in truth I am just watching it for Rami. 😉❤️

  2. Alice August 19, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    I don’t think we are done with the lies (and probably we never will be). That can’t be a men’s prison, because there’s that young woman who sets fires in the red wagon by the basketball court. She wouldn’t last fifteen seconds in any capacity in a men’s prison. I can’t, however, offer a theory that he’s actually in a mental hospital because that doesn’t fit either.

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